The Best Hidden Features In Sketch Part 2
This is a follow-up post to The Best Hidden Features In Sketch. After 5 months, I still find myself learning new design techniques in Sketch. It’s a very mature design tool now thanks to their constant updates. Some of their features are really useful, yet not obvious and probably underutilized. With this article, I’m hoping to reveal more of these hidden features and show how to use them.
Smart Guides and Dimensions
Smart guides are my favorite thing. Layers and Folders would snap and align beautifully to edges. Sketch made this feature even better by allowing you to see all the spacing and guides when you select a layer and hold Alt while moving your cursor to different areas. Like this, you can quickly see all the spacing between each design element. It’s a tool that normally needed xScope, but it’s completely built-in in Sketch.
Round to Nearest Pixel Edge
In my previous blog posts, I have been a strong advocate for rounding fractional numbers for Pixel Perfection results. Well, Dominik showed me this neat feature in Sketch that specifically helps you round the x and y positions. While selecting a layer that’s positioned in fractional numbers, you can go Edit / Round to Nearest Pixel Edge. I use this so frequently that I added to my Mac’s Keyboard Shortcuts.
Set Style as Default
One of my biggest complaints about any design application is how the default properties always need editing. In Photoshop, the default drop shadow and global angle are never ideal. In Sketch, you also have this default color and grey border that comes with every shape you create.
Thankfully, you can set a different default style. To do this, simply create that layer with the perfect style and go to Edit / Set Style As Default.
Add Slice For Selection
This is a feature very similar to New Layer Based Slice in Photoshop except you can select multiple layers and create slices based on their dimensions. Combined with Sketch’s powerful export options, this truly is an excellent tool to quickly create and export assets. I also added this option to my Keyboard Shortcuts.
Masking and Alpha Masking
Sketch has a very unique way to mask layers. Any layer can serve as a mask for all the same-level layers, folders and sub-folders. This is very powerful, so keep an eye on what you’re masking because you will be scratching your head as to why some elements are hidden. You must isolate masks in their own folders. Once you get comfortable, you may find it more efficient than adding a Layer Mask in Photoshop since you can easily edit the layer that’s masking.
Oh and you can also use an Alpha Mask. It’s tricky:
1) Create new rectangle layer.
2) Go to Edit / Use As Mask.
3) Go to Edit / Mask Mode / Alpha Mask.
4) On the layer’s Inspector, go to Fill, set Gradient and edit the alpha.
Download the .sketch file to see an example (Thanks to Sam | Sneek for his Wireframe):
Text on Path
I personally haven’t used this much, but I was impressed at how it worked. By simply creating a path or any shape and setting the subsequent text layer to Edit / Text on Path, the text will magically follow the shape of the path. It’s a bit tricky to use, so make sure to drag around your text layer to find the sweet spot. Download the .sketch file for example:
If you named your layers, you may find the Find Layer feature very useful. It’s somewhat hidden because you can’t access it through a visible UI. Instead, you have to use Command + F and the Page drop down menu will change into a search bar.
If you find useful features that are well hidden in Sketch, please feel free to share them in the comments or by sending me a Tweet. Happy Sketching!