The Best Hidden Features In Sketch
It’s hard to learn a new design application. And especially when you’ve already invested many years in Photoshop, Illustrator or Fireworks. Luckily, Sketch isn’t hard to learn as explained in my previous articles Sketch VS Photoshop. But I’ve failed to explain all the intricate features that make this gem a lot more than meets the eyes. Simplicity can be deceiving. It is my aim with this article to show you that behind the curtains lies indispensable and brilliant features unique to Sketch that make this application a real beast.
When you design a bunch of elements and want to make the spacing evenly between them, you no longer have to do it manually. Sketch will do it for you. You can either distribute those elements on the fly or by setting the spacing, number of rows and columns.
Sketch doesn’t have a Master pages feature like Illustrator has but while some of us wait for that feature, you may find the ability to create linked styles for text pretty useful. After you link a style to a text, any future change to that style will automatically apply to all the texts that also share that style. Sketch obviously need to apply the same to their Pages feature so we can have a shared header or footer, and to all other design elements such as shapes.
Drag And Drop Export
Exporting anything on any application usually require a massive amount of clicks. Not anymore. Just click Export, select the slice and drag and drop the thumbnail. It’s super useful once you start using it.
Rounded Corners Control
If you remember years ago in Photoshop, one of the most common actions was to create a rounded rectangle. It was tough because we didn’t have the rounded rectangle preset. Thankfully, we now have the rounded rectangle as a shape, but what happens if you want just 2 of the corners to be rounded? Well, in Photoshop, you’d have to go to the Convert Point Tool, then select one of the point, place it correctly and delete the extra point. Repeat for the other corners. In Sketch, all you have to do is click Edit, select the points you want to be pointy and click the pointy icon. As simple as that.
This may not a well-polished feature, and the codes will be messy as you’d expect from any application that promises a design-to-CSS conversion, but at least, it gets the gradients and color codes right should you need them. Honestly, especially for gradients, it’s a bit of a pain to code the positions, rgba and HEX codes manually. That’s when the Copy CSS feature comes in handy. In Sketch 2.2.1, you can get the CSS from texts as well. I already made suggestions to the team at Sketch that they shouldn’t duplicate the multiple box-shadow properties and have them separated by commas. Also, they should forget about adding additional codes for multiple browsers and have options for LESS/SASS. It would make the codes a lot cleaner.
New From Template
Not having to set the size of your canvas when you start a new document is so liberating. I could go on forever about how amazing the infinite canvas and Artboard features are but they’re also commonly available elsewhere. However, the New From Template feature is pretty unique. You can set any document you design as a Template for future uses. Think of the possibilities.
This article only covers the hidden, unique features of Sketch. You should read my previous articles for more common features such as 100% vector, 2x export, SVG support, etc. Have fun designing! Oh and don’t forget to try Sketch.