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6 Sketch Tricks For Boosting Your Productivity

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Read Time: 3 mins

Just as the title says; in this screencast I’m going to show you six Sketch tricks which will boost your productivity–so let’s dive right in!

Watch the Screencast

6 Tricks

Here are the tricks we’ve covered:

1. How to Create an Artboard Around a Selection

Artboards are great for keeping design documents organised, and they make it easier for us to design for certain screen sizes. Normally we’d create an artboard then draw onto it, but what happens if we first create a design and then later want to wrap it in an artboard?

Begin by selecting the elements in question, then hit A (which is the shortcut for Artboard). To the right of the interface you’ll see a whole load of preset sizes, including at the very top Around Selection.

Hit that, and it will create an artboard which precisely fits your elements.

Around Selection (showing the precise dimensions)

2. Moving Artboards Without the Layer Panel

The Layers panel shows you a full list of layers and groups, but it also shows you the artboards. You may think that clicking the artboard names here is the only way to select them, but it’s actually possible on the canvas too.

Hover over the name of the artboard, displayed at the top right of the artboard itself, and, when you see the outline of the board glow blue, click to select. Drag to move the artboard around your canvas, and even select multiple artboards by pressing Shift.

Click and select artboards

3. Drag and Drop Artboard Export

There are many options for exporting Sketch assets (we’ve covered a bunch of them here) but by directly dragging and dropping your layer, group, or artboard onto your desktop (or Finder) you’ll save a lot of time! Whatever options you’ve set in the Export dialog will be respected, and if nothing is set, the default PNG @1× will be used.

Drag to export

4. Moving Shapes Whilst You Draw Them

If you’ve moved over to Sketch from being an Adobe Illustrator user this trick might already be familiar to you. By selecting a shape tool, then clicking and dragging on the artboard, you can create an ellipse, a rectangle, or a square etc. You can then later reposition that shape by selecting and moving it.

But by holding down the Space bar whilst you’re mid-way through drawing the shape, you can reposition it, then release Space to continue drawing. Great time saver!

5. How to Resize Layers Properly

Resizing objects in Sketch is very intuitive; select the object (or objects), then drag an anchor in the corner to resize. However, this can have implications when resizing certain combinations of layers, such as groups including text.

Using the Scale tool will make sure that all layers which you resize do so in proportion to one another. Text will shrink in relation to its container, stroke widths will also scale, and the end result is far better.

scale tool in sketchscale tool in sketchscale tool in sketch
Using the Scale tool would have prevented the messy button text

6. How to Duplicate the Previous Transform

This final trick is about applying the same transformation over and over again, to the same object. To achieve this, select an object, perform a transformation (such as copying, moving, scaling, and so on). Then, with the same object selected, hit Command + D.

Ovals, everywhere


Getting properly acquainted with any graphics application will make you more productive. These six tricks have certainly helped me; I hope they take your Sketch workflow to the next level! Before we go, don’t forget to check out what’s hot in the Sketch templates category on Themeforest:

Sketch templates category on ThemeforestSketch templates category on ThemeforestSketch templates category on Themeforest
Choose from around 100 Sketch templates on Themeforest

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