My Sketch Cheatsheet

I’ve used Sketch for a few years, having followed the lead of my designer colleagues who switched from Photoshop. As a web developer primarily inspecting and grabbing things from other folks’ designs, my level has been pretty basic. However I’ve decided to level up and get more creative. As I learn the ropes, here’s a list of useful (Mac-based) Sketch tips for my reference and yours.

Create an Artboard #

The initial canvas is infinite so we need a fixed frame (representing a device screen) on which to work.

  1. Add an artboard: at top-left, choose Insert > Artboard.
  2. Set its size: at top-right choose preset dimensions or create custom.
  3. Rename your layer (at top-left) to something appropriate for the overall task (e.g. News Article, or whatever).

Zooming and centring #

For manual zoom, pinch trackpad.

Centre screen on element we’re working on: Command+2.

Zoom in on current object to 100% screen size: Command+0.

Zoom out, centred on artboard: Escape then Command+2 then Command+0.

Adding Text #

Insert text element: T.

Then control it on the right:

  • Change typeface
  • Adjust text size using the size field.
  • Adjust text size by decimal increments: press and hold Option while adjusting the size.

Adding Shapes #

Insert shape: at top-left, choose Insert > Shape > ….

Insert a rectangle (shortcut): R.

Round a rectangle’s corners: select it, then on the right change its border radius, e.g. to 3.

For a perfect circle: insert an oval with O then press and hold while clicking and dragging.

Change shape dimensions: Press and hold Command and the up or down arrow key. Press and hold Option to do so in decimal increments.

Change background: edit fill on the right, selecting a solid colour or a gradient fill.

Create a custom shape like a tick:

  • at top-left, Insert > Vector
  • draw lines using a series of points
  • Use the tools on the right to tweak thickness, roundedness etc.

Layers #

Lock a layer to make it unselectable and unmovable: Command++L.

See space between sibling layers: press and hold Option and select layer.

Move layer up or down by 10px: press and hold Shift and up/down arrow key while layer is selected.

Make layer see-through: change its opacity by typing (e.g.) 5 for 50% or by controls on right-hand-side.

Use a blend mode to mix a layer’s background colour with it’s parent’s background colour:

  • select your layer
  • select the Colour Fill box on the right
  • Select a blend mode such as overlay or soft light.

Duplicate a layer #

Press and hold Option then select and drag element.

Additionally press and hold to ensure alignment.

Keyboard shortcut: Command+D

Combine layers #

We group layers together in order to be able to select and move them as one.

Select layers, then Option+Command+U (for Union).

Right-click and group selection.

Use Rulers #

Toggle ruler visibility: Control+R

Create gutters/margins (e.g. 32px) by dragging markers.

Alignment #

Select a layer or layers and use the Alignment tools at the top-right.

Share your work #

  • Select artboard
  • On right panel, Make Exportable.
  • Use 1x and .png.
  • Click Export Selected.

Miscellaneous #

Add dummy data: select one or more layers then from top-right select Data and insert names, cities or images.

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