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10.4 Symbols

Symbols have been a much-loved feature in a few different graphics apps for some time, and in version 1.5 they came to Affinity Designer as well. In this lesson you’ll learn how to turn objects into symbols that can be reused throughout your designs, how to edit multiple instances at once in real time, and how to set certain properties of symbol instances independently.

10.4 Symbols

Hey welcome back to the bonus lessons infinity design and quick start. In this lesson we're gonna go through how you use this symbol system that was added into infinity design in version 1.5. The symbols are really really great tool for efficiency and they let you do a bunch of really cool useful stuff. And the basic process of working with symbols is you create an object that you know you're gonna wanna reuse throughout your document. You save it as a symbol, and then wherever you need to use that object you place instances of your symbol out onto your canvas. And then any time you make an edit to one of those instances, those changes are going to be reflected across all of the other instances as well. So let's go through how this works. We're just going to knock together something really quick. It's probably not going to look great because we're just trying to focus on the functionality here. So let's say we're working on a button. That's probably a little bit too big. Let's give it a gradient. Go with some red. Gonna grab the gradient tool and just change the angle of this gradient. And we are gonna give it, A little stroke. All right, so that's a rough, quick job. But that gives us something to work with so there is our little button and we wanna turn this into a symbol so that we can easily use it in multiple places across that document. So what we are gonna do is open up the symbols panel. So we go to view. Sorry, studio, and then we're gonna choose symbols, now what we want to do is convert this little object here into a symbol. So all we need to do is select it and then up here, we just press this create button. That has automatically turned our little button into a symbol. So now we can drag out as many copies of this as we want. If I decide that I wanna change something about this symbol, then all I have to do is first make sure that this sink setting here is switched on. So, that's depressed, meaning that it's switched on. And then, I can change my button here. So let's say I decide I actually don't want a red button, I want a blue button. So what I can do is open up the symbol. Inside, you'll find nested the shape that we originally turned into a symbol. Now, we can edit this one and it's gonna affect all the other instances as well. So if we change this fill color to blue, you can see that it's simultaneously affecting the other buttons as well. Another thing that you can do with symbols is you can actually detach certain attributes of a symbol from the original source so that you can have specific attributes different to the other instances of the symbol. The way that you do that is select one of your instances, and then you're gonna turn off sync while you work on this, so we'll go inside the symbol, select the shape. Now let's say I want only this symbol to have a ridiculously great big border. You'll notice that without Sync switched on, only this instance has the silly border. The others don't have the giant border they've just stayed as they were. Now I can turn Sync back on again if I change, The border property of this instance that we separated from the symbol it will change by itself. But for these other instances, if we change their borders, they are all still connected. So now just this one instance has it's own independent border settings. However, at the same time all of the other properties are still connected. So now if I jump into the gradient for this button and I start tweaking it, all of these instances are affected along with it. So with this approach you can decide exactly which attributes you do and don't want connected to the source symbol. Now let's say you don't want to have any attributes still connected to the original symbol. So for example you might want to just use this symbol as a template. So you might drag it out. And now if you notice here, this is a symbol that tells you that you are working with a symbol but if we hit detach it changes to regroup. So now, This button can be changed to anything we want and it doesn't affect any of the other instances of the symbol that are on the screen with it. So as you can imagine, that symbol system is super, super useful. You can use it to put icons all throughout a design and easily update the look of those icons. You can use it to give yourself a kind of template base to work off. So if you have general shape and style of certain UI elements and then you can detach them and edit them independently from there. Or you can fall somewhere in-between where you make only certain elements of a simple independent enabled to be altered separately to all the other instances. So it's a great time saver and it's a really powerful feature. All right so in the next lesson which is the last of our five bonus lessons we're going to go through how you can use the assets panel. And that is another addition that came into affinity designer in version 1.5. So what the assets panel allows you to do is to build up a library of objects that you've created while you've been working on various designs. And access that library from any project that you work on. So you can build yourself up a bunch of different form elements, and buttons, and icons, and anything else that you find yourself using often in your work. Not only can you create that for yourself to use, but you can also share these asset collections with other people if you would like. So in the next lesson, we're gonna go through, hey, you can use the asset management system in Affinity Designer. I'll see you there.

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