When we post about new Sketch releases, we usually talk about the big new features — things like prototyping or performance upgrades. But sometimes, that means the smaller details can get overlooked.
Over the years, we’ve added all kinds of neat little tricks to the Mac app to make it easier and more intuitive to use. So now we thought it was time to pull out a few of the best. Whether you’re a newcomer or a seasoned pro, we hope there’s something in here that surprises you.
1. Drag to delete Styles
Let’s start with a quick, simple trick. If you want to remove a Style property (like a blur or a fill), you can simply drag and drop it out of the Inspector panel.
It’s not the most revolutionary thing in the world, but it’s a time-saver. Also, that little ‘whoosh’ is far more satisfying than just unchecking it and clicking the trash icon.
2. Resize layers with the arrow keys
When it comes to design, every pixel counts. And when you’re adjusting fine details in your project, clicking and dragging a layer with your mouse can be really disruptive — and imprecise — when you want to make only tiny changes.
So why not just resize the layer using a keyboard command?
⌘ arrow keys Expand or contract by 1px ⇧ ⌘ arrow keys Expand or contract by 10px
These commands are life-savers when you’re making final edits to a project and want to make sure every layer is perfectly sized.
3. Customize your preferences
So now we know that using Cmd and the arrow keys lets you resize layers. And of course, you can hit an arrow key on its own to move a layer 1px, or hold Shift to move it 10px. Simple.
But did you know that you can also customize these nudge distances by changing your nudging settings? Head to Sketch › Preferences, then choose the Canvas tab. There, you can adjust how far your layer moves when pressing the arrow key.
This can be particularly helpful if you’re working with a grid system, as you can set your distances to perfectly match your layout. No more constant nudging — just a single press and your layer is exactly where you need it to be.
Here’s another handy Preferences tip if you find yourself duplicating a lot of content. In the Layers tab, you can disable the option to offset duplicated layers (so they’ll appear directly over the original). You can also disable the automatic renaming of the layer — so your duplicate will be named the same as the original. This one won’t apply to everyone, but it’s handy to know.
4. Update opacity and gradients with the keyboard
We know that sometimes, you need more precision than you can get using your mouse. It can take a lot of fine movements to find exactly the setting you want for things like layer opacity. So we made it easier to be precise.
Rather than clicking and dragging (and undoubtably landing on some random percentage), you can simply select the layer, then type the percentage opacity you want. You don’t need to click anywhere — just type. Single numbers will set a rounded percentage value (e.g. type 5 to getContinue reading