Grabbing lost design elements from the past in Sketch



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Updated 8/31/2017: For those who prefer reading to watching, we’ve added a step-by-step guide with GIFs in addition to the embedded video. Enjoy!

Sketch provides a sprawling canvas to lay out many artboards and design elements. But with that kind of freedom comes great responsibility.

Every now and then, something may accidentally get changed, moved, or even deleted entirely. In a perfect world, a pristine copy of our document would be available to refer back to—but in all likelihood, we’re headed for some good ol’ fashioned Command + Z.

Here’s the thing. There’s a pretty amazing tool hidden in Sketch.

Read on for a quick Sketch tutorial to recover design elements from an old version.

Every time you hit Save, your document is secretly stored as a separate version. This is what you could revert back to in a pinch.

Learn Sketch

Say you’re working on design comps and discover you need an icon from an artboard you previously deleted, perhaps even days ago. Undo isn’t an option, so browse the version history of this document by choosing File > Revert To > Browse All Versions.

Sketch tutorial

This navigates to the Mac OS time machine interface. Use the timeline on the right hand side of the screen to browse all older versions. Once you find it (hop back a few versions), you’ll have the option to Restore. You don’t actually want to select this, because it will revert the entire document back to this version—any progress made since then would be gone.

Instead, click on the past version of the document on the right hand side to bring it forward. Then, navigate around to find which element you need—in this example, it’s an icon.

Sketch tutorial

Press Command + C to copy it, then click the current version of the document on the left to bring it forward. Select this as the destination artboard for the copied icon and hit Command + V to paste it there.

Sketch tutorial

Sketch is even kind enough to pop it into exactly the same position since the artboards were the same size. Click Done and that’s it—you’ve successfully brought an individual design element back from the past without having to revert the entire document to a previous version.

Grab the UI kit shown in this example for free here!

Learn Sketch

What are you designing with Sketch? Chat with others about it in Community.

Looking for more Sketch tutorials?

A quick tip for keeping shared styles consistent in Sketch
How to override colors in Sketch
Creating infinitely scalable connection arrows in Sketch


Joseph Angelo Todaro
Video Producer at InVision, former UI/UX designer of international in-flight entertainment, and avid automotive enthusiast.

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