Sketch Tutorials

“I didn’t know Sketch could do that!”

Here are some tricks for enhancing your Sketch workflow and impressing your designer friends at the coffee shop

If I type too much up here, you’ll just end up skipping to the GIFs anyway, but in case you did read this, add a comment to this article saying “Jon, you had me all wrong! My interest hangs on your every word.” Enjoy! 😄


1. Drag-and-Drop to Replace a Shape Fill

The fastest way to replace a photo fill in a shape with a photo of R2D2:

“Beep bop boop beep beep beep.” — R2D2

How-To: Select the shape you want to fill, open the fill palette, and drag a photo into the image window next to where it says “Choose Image…” 🤖


2. Drag-and-Drop to Override a Symbol Photo

The fastest way to replace a photo fill in a symbol with a trendy picture of a MacBook in a overly-clean home office:

This one is particularly handy for swapping photos in a list of users. Check out http://www.diverseui.com for user photos.

How-To: Select the symbol you want to override and drag a photo into image window next to where it says “Choose Image…” 🖥


3. Resizable Photo Captions

The fastest way to create resizable photo captions that maintain their spacing because the client definitely doesn’t want the photo that big:

I had to look at my MacBook to see if I had to capitalize the “B” in MacBook.

How-To: Add an image, add some text underneath that’s the same width as the image. Group them. Set them both to “Resize”. Your caption will wrap properly, and maintain its distance from the bottom of the photo 🏆


4. Drag-and-Drop Designs to Slack

The fastest way to get a second opinion on Slack from that guy who is overly critical about everything*:

Definitely don’t read our chat.

*(jk, he’s really great)

How-To: Drag a layer, Group, or Artboard from Sketch directly into Slack. Hold shift to bypass the upload dialog and upload immediately. 🍇


5. Use a Photo as a Text Fill

This one is easier with the Craft plugin for Sketch by InVision, because it allows you to quickly source photos online.

The fastest way to fill text with a photo of some tasty dessert, without actually having to outline the text and use it as a mask:

I discovered this completely by accident, just like when I discovered the milk had gone bad in the fridge.

How-To: Select the text layer you want to fill. Open the “Data” tab from the Craft plugin strip. Find a photo in Custom/Web/JSON and click it to fill your text with the photo. 🍰

** EDIT: You can also do this by just adding an image fill on text itself. Admittedly, I always forget that text has both text color and text fill. A bit superfluous if you ask me, but it is what it is :) Thanks to Ryan J over on Designer News for pointing this [very obvious thing] out to me!


6. Snap Text to a Path

The fastest way to simultaneously snap text on a path and get a classic Disney song stuck in someone’s head:

Saved you a Google search: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DE5a80I8EU

How-To: Draw a path with the pen tool (shortcut: V) or by deleting vector points of a shape (like I did for the half-circle above). Give it a border so it’s easier to see. Select the text you want on the path. Choose “Text on Path” from the Type menu. Drag your text toward the intended path. Your text will automatically snap to it. Snappy! 🚣🏼


7. Super Custom Typography

The fastest way to customize type ligatures, contextual alternates, and other settings you don’t fully understand:

This is actually quite handy for setting those quick stat numbers on your dashboard to be monospaced for easier reading.

How-To: Select some text and highlight it (this is the only way to apply these custom settings…it won’t work if you just select the text layer). Select View→Show Fonts, then select Typography from the settings dropdown in the upper left of the Fonts dialog. The resulting dialog will contain all available advanced settings for the selected font. ⌨️


8. Perfect Card Grids

The fastest way to create a grid of cards and appease your design manager who is a total nitpixeler about things like even card spacing 🙄

Jk, I’m totally that guy.

But seriously, Playfair Display is a gorgeous typeface.

How-To: Select the element you want to make a grid. Select Make Grid from the toolbar, or from Arrange→Make Grid. Choose how many rows and columns you want, and set the gutter you want between each element. 🂡



When I’m not writing, I’m working on Sketch design tools like UX Power Tools to make you a better, more efficient designer. All the best Sketch designers are using it, and I think you might like it, too. Check it out on Marvel!

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