Design + Sketch
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Design + Sketch

Using the new Data feature in Sketch 52

Sketch 52 comes with the ability to instantly populate multiple shapes with images all at once. The same feature can also set the content of multiple text elements. Sketch is preloaded with images of peoples faces and abstract tile patterns. For text, Sketch comes with peoples names and the names of cities from around the world.

Select any shape, then select the kind of images you want to use from the data dropdown.

Custom data

Images of random faces aren’t particularly useful for the kinds of websites I work on. However, this new feature is easily customisable with your own content — you can provide data to effortlessly reuse across artboards and projects. If you often create a particular type of websites with similar copy or imagery, this feature will be a massive time-saver, far quicker than manually copy-and-pasteing text or selecting images individually.

Here’s how it works:

Go to preferences and select the Data tab.

Click “Add Data”.

Using custom images is as easy as pointing Sketch at a folder containing the images you want to use. For custom text, create a plaintext file (a file with a .txt extension). The supplied text could be anything from single words to whole paragraphs, with entries separated by line breaks.

Using data with Symbols

This new feature works really well with symbols. When you create new instances, they will all have the same image and text. Clicking “Refresh Data from Master” will shuffle the data. You can use this command again if you don’t like any of the results .

I’m currently helping a friend with a doggy daycare website, so my custom data is all dog-related. 🐶


Unsplash is a library of hundreds of thousands of user-uploaded photographs.

The Unsplash license states:

All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and noncommercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit.

Sketch 52 makes it easy to search through and incorporate any images from Unsplash into your design:

The ability to insert data into designs is one of many exciting updates in Sketch 52.




A collection of articles, tips, tutorials, and stories on UI, UX and web design and prototyping with Sketch and beyond

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Oliver Williams

Oliver Williams

UI engineer at giffgaff. Ex Springer Nature

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