Symbols have become really powerful in Sketch. Last year they got Overrides, and recently Symbols abilities were upgraded with Smart Layout features.
Now we just received the new way to find and use them. What’s more, this also applies to Text and Layer Styles. Say hello to the new Components Panel!
Before we dive into the feature details, let’s summarize top improvements made in Sketch 60:
- Cloud Libraries Improved— Now, you can find the Libraries that belong to your team (and your personal workspace) on Sketch Cloud in the Libraries tab in Preferences. The button “install” has also appeared to get the Library into the Sketch instantly.
- New Components Panel & Popover — The new feature brings Symbols, Text Styles, and Layer Styles together. You can search sort & filter them quickly. If you need a specific Symbol instance or Style, just drag and drop it onto the Canvas from the components panel. No more endless dropdown menus to find the right thing!
- Scale + Math — You can now enter math operations in Scale Layer Sheet!
- Rename Cloud Documents in the app — To rename the cloud document, just choose File -> Rename.
- SVG code from slices — To copy SVG code from slide go to Edit -> Copy -> Copy as SVG code.
New Components Panel
If you look at the top of the left panel (the one with Pages and Layer list), you will notice a new tab called “Components.” Switch to it to discover new panel that helps you find and manage all components in Sketch.
The change is huge. Now we do not deal with the modal page as is previous versions of Sketch. Version 60 makes the Components panel an integral part of our workflow. The panel is divided into 3 tabs — Symbols, Layer Styles, and Text Styles. You can also filter their content with the input at the bottom of the panel.
Here are a couple of things good to know while working with the new panel:
- The old naming convention with “/” was transformed to be presented as folders.
- You may consider renaming your styles with less “/” to flatten the structure. It should be more convenient in the new panel — especially for search purpose.
- To use a specific Symbol or Style, you can drag and drop it on canvas.
- You can manage styles lists just like layers (select multiple instances, group, ungroup, etc.). This is very convenient!
- Search is not so universal. It is rather filtering. If you do not know a specific name of Symbol or Style, it may be hard sometimes to find it. Example: If your style name is “Fill/Black” and if you will type it into the popover — it will not appear. When you type “Fill” it will show you all fills, when you type “Black” it will show you all styles with this word (Fill, Border etc).
- If you have too many styles (over 1000), it may slow down loading data, but usually, it is not an issue.
If the naming convention of Styles is adjusted to the new panel, it may additionally speed up the workflow. This is why I update my Design System Kit soon to make most of the new features.
New Components Popover
Before we open the Popover, it is worth to notice that the Appearance Section in the Inspector panel was also updated. Now, there are several buttons visible with options dependent on the thing we selected:
Symbol Appearance Section Includes buttons:
- Detach — to make instance a regular object with layers
- Edit Master — that moves us to the Symbol’s Master
If the Symbol comes from the Library, the section includes options:
- Make Local — it moves Symbol from Library file and saves it in the Document
- Detach — to make instance a regular object with layers
- Edit in Library — opens the Library file and moves us to the Symbol’s Master
Layer Styles Appearance Section Includes:
- Create — makes a new style from existing
- Update — updates existing style
- Detach — layer stops using Shared Style
- More — includes “Edit Styles” and “Reset Style” options
Note: When you press “Edit Styles,” Sketch switches the tab on the left side of the window. I did not notice it at first, because the change is subtle without any additional visual clue. After a while, I got used to using it. Previous versions of Sketch opened a modal — it was very noticeable. ;)
The Components Popover itself is a really simple popup — it includes the search field at the top and the results list grouped in folders.
Here are a few things good to know while working with new Popover:
- The search is fast! If you know the name of Style or Symbol, you will find it much faster than in the previous version of Sketch
- The search mechanism could be better. It is also rather filtering. If you do not know a specific name of Symbol or Style, it may be hard sometimes to find it. Example: If your style name is “Border/White” and if you will type it into the popover — it will not appear.
- If your styles or Symbols have got long naming convention, the new Popover will not display their full names — it is to narrow. The only way to deal with that is to consider shortening names. I hope Sketch Team will find the solution for this case.
The change is huge and requires an update of our habits, but after hours spent with new panels and Popover, I see that my workflow starts to be even more efficient. So it sounds promising.
To get most of the new Components Panel and Popover, it is good to modify styles names a bit. I will show you soon how changing the naming convention for the new panel may really speed up the entire workflow now!
By the way…
If you plan to start a new project or you would like to organize your UI Library — do not waste your time creating everything from scratch. Feel free to use mentioned above Design System Kit called Prime. It is All-In-One UI Design Starter Kit for Sketch. See Prime in action.
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