This talk about common Sketch shortcuts was originally given on August 19, 2018 at SalesLoft. This article is an adaptation of my presentation.

As a designer, I would encourage you to become adept at the tools you use. Learn about them. You’re going to spend a ton of time with them. So you might as well become an expert.

Since 2014 Sketch has been my tool of choice. I found it lightyears better than Photoshop. Artboards reduced a lot of the overhead of managing layers and allowed me to explore more items on the same canvas.

Over the years I’ve learned a thing or two about Sketch. Specifically, a handful of high-leverage shortcuts that increase speed and efficiency. In this post I’ve attempted to compile as many as I can remember.

Now, this post does not contain every Sketch shortcut. If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of them, check out the Sketch Docs. This post does contain the ones that I find the most effective. Hopefully, these can help make your workflow more effective.

Is there a shortcut you can’t live without? If so, let me know in the comments!

General

Since every product designer draws squares, make sure you know the shortcut for rectangles!

New documentCmd + N
New artboardA
Draw a rectangleR
Select hovered layerCmd + Click

Text

There are a few shortcuts I commonly use for manipulating text. The alignment settings, in particular, are helpful.

Align text leftCmd + Shift + [
Align text rightCmd + Shift + ]
Align text centerCmd + Shift + \
Change fontCmd + T
Increase font sizeCmd + Option (+) +
Decrease font sizeCmd + Option (+) –
Paste as styled textCmd + Option + Shift + V

Interesting to note—pasting as styled text is the exact same command as pasting in plain text in any other application. This is because Sketch assumes you’re attempting to paste unstyled text.

Canvas

A few useful shortcuts for navigating the canvas. The pan canvas drag combined with zooming is the way I navigate most of my files. Centering and focus and centering selections are helpful when you’re working with a ton of artboards and get lost. Pixel view and pixel grid are helpful if your designing or working with icons in Sketch.

Pan canvasSpace + Drag
Zoom inCmd (+) +
Zoom outCmd (+) –
Center selectionCmd + 3
Focus (100%) and center selectionCmd + 2
Toggle pixel viewCmd + P
Toggle pixel gridCmd + X

Layers

Select specific layer might be the most important shortcut in all of sketch. If you’re a product designer like me. You probably have components that have groups within groups within groups. Normally you’d have to click 2, 3 or 4 times to get to the layer you want. By holding command, you can select any layer you see regardless of where it is in a group.

Select specific layerCmd + Click
Show distanceOption
Duplicate in placeCmd + D
Duplicate and moveOption + Click and Drag
Nudge sizeCmd + Shift + Arrow Direction
Group selectionCmd + G
Ungroup selectionCmd + Shift + G
Color picker (fill)Ctrl + C

Custom keyboard shortcuts

Ever need to align a set of shapes in Sketch? All the time, right? The bad news is that Sketch does not have native shortcuts for alignment. The good news is that it’s pretty easy to set up your own Mac shortcuts.

To do this go to your Mac’s System Preferences. Then go to keyboard shortcut settings. You should see a screen like the one below.

Sketch Custom Shortcuts

Hit the plus sign and fill out the menu path in Sketch. For example the menu path to align elements vertically is Arrange->Align->Vertically. Then enter the keys you’d like to use for the shortcut.

Align elements horizontallyCmd + ]
Align elements verticallyCmd + [
Align elements leftCmd + Left Arrow
Align elements rightCmd + Right Arrow
Align elements topCmd + Up Arrow
Align elements bottomCmd + Down Arrow

One thing to note about this mapping—it overwrites the native shortcut for increasing size by 1px. I don’t use it that often, so it’s not much of a loss for me. If you have a better suggestion that doesn’t overwrite an existing shortcut, let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear it!

Sketch Runner Plugin

There’s probably no plugin that makes me a more effective designer than Sketch Runner. Think of it as Alfred or Spotlight Search for Sketch. You can search, insert and replace elements with a couple of keyboard strokes.

It is especially helpful for designers working with large design systems. For example we have almost 200 hundred icons in SalesLoft’s design system. Instead of having to go through the folder tree—Symbols > Rhythm (our design system) > Icons > Email > Reply—I simply open Sketch Runner and type Reply.

The insert feature works for any component in your design library. If I want a dropdown I open runner and type dropdown. It’s a giant time saver. Also, If you want to replace an override within a symbol, you can Option + Click to open Sketch Runner and easily replace elements.

Sketch Runner is among the top plugins I recommend for new designers at Salesloft. The plugin costs $20, but the amount of time it saves in the long run is unbelievable.

References

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