8 critical shortcuts in Sketch

4 min read
Joseph Angelo Todaro
  •  Jun 30, 2017
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Want to work smarter and faster than everyone else? You’re in luck, because I’m going to show you how to master the 8 most important Sketch shortcuts. Improve your entire workflow — and your end results.

Update: June 2017 — you can now check out the shortcuts one by one in the text below.

Sketch shortcut: Panning, zooming, positioning

Navigational shortcuts save you from wasting time panning and zooming, so it’s worth learning as many as you can. This is technically 3 Sketch shortcuts that’ll reduce how much manual positioning you do, but they all deserve to be featured. Personally, I can’t go 5 minutes without using these more than 10 times.

As shown, Command + 1 will automatically scale and position your view to show absolutely everything on the page. This is especially handy for seeking an artboard instead of scrolling through layers. When you find what you’re looking for, click to select it. Then, hit Command + 2 to zoom in — a useful way to go to something you’ve selected from the layers list. Afterward, if you want to quickly reset your view, use Command + 0.

Sketch shortcut: Cycle through boards

This cool Sketch trick came in the 39 update. With it, we can cycle through boards by holding the Function key and pressing the left and right arrows. Sketch thought this shortcut through too, since zoom level and board position don’t change at all — giving you pixel-perfect feedback on the subtleties between two artboards.

Sketch shortcut: Layering

“Bring to front” and “send to back” work a little differently than they do in Photoshop or Illustrator. The Sketch shortcut for this is Control + Option + Command, along with the up or down arrows. The up arrow brings your selection to the front, down sends it to the back.

If you want to move forward or backward one layer at a time, drop the Control key from that shortcut. And note that if you’re moving a grouped object, this shortcut won’t break it from the cluster. The group has its own ceiling and floor, so to speak, so you may have to grab layers and drag them out at times.

Sketch shortcut: Duplicate visual properties

If you’ve got a number of objects that all need to share the same visual style, you can instantly take visual properties from one layer and apply them to another. Just select the source layer and press Option + Command + C.

Then, select the destination layer and press Option + Command + V. This Sketch shortcut is like copy and paste, but you’re holding the Option key too. Another sweet thing about this is that it picks up shared style — so you can make things consistent and keep them that way moving forward.

Sketch shortcut: Pixel by pixel size adjustments

Everyone uses arrow keys to nudge objects over by a few pixels at a time, but what if you need to adjust size in tiny increments too? This Sketch shortcut fine tunes the size of a layer—rather than its position. To get sizing just right, hold Command while you nudge the arrow keys.

If that’s a little too precise, hold Shift + Command for 10-pixel increments. The top left corner of the layer remains anchored, so height and width change on the right and bottom sides. With that said, you’ll have to reposition after you scale.

Sketch shortcut: Move selected layers

This is a big one for Photoshop users—or anyone else accustomed to the freedom of selecting a layer and using the Move tool without accidentally picking up something else. Luckily, this shortcut eliminates the pain point of precise dragging.

With any object selected—even one from the Layers list—press Option + Command while dragging anywhere on the canvas to move your selection.

Sketch shortcut: Precise selection

Regional selection is challenging. In the illustrated example, I need to select the circles to fix the vertical alignment within the squares—but I can’t select them without grabbing other things along the way.

To solve this problem, hold Option while making your selection. The result is more like a lasso — only scooping up objects entirely contained in the selected area.

Sketch shortcut: Share layers or groups for mockups

This last trick has a good number of uses. Any layer or group on the layers list can actually be pulled from the Layers list to the canvas to create a rasterized copy. If you’re trying to mock up movement with motion blur and need to apply that to a complex group of objects, this shortcut is especially useful.

Best of all, you can actually drag layers out of Sketch to save or share them. For example, I can drag a group from the Layers list directly into Apple Mail to compose a message with the group attached as a PNG.

Another thing to note is that this trick respects the choices you make in the exportable area (bottom right corner of Sketch), so you have control over size and file type.

Together, these 8 Sketch shortcuts have the power to supercharge your workflow and maybe even ease the frustration of doing everything with a cursor. Did I leave your favorite keyboard combo out? Shoot it to us on Twitter @invisionapp.

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