If you’re like us, when you switched from (the oh-so-expensive) Adobe programs to Sketch, you probably noticed some… “changes”. The keyboard shortcuts were different, tools were missing, and all of that Adobe muscle memory you had? Forget about it. Despite all of those annoyances, Sketch has changed the way we make digital products and websites for the better.
We’ve been digging around to see just how far we can push it—discovering a whole world of apps, plugins, and add-ons in the process. It turns out, Sketch can do some pretty incredible things and even replace the lost functionality of your old programs.
Here are seven of our favorite tools for getting started in Sketch.
1. UX Powertools
When we were new to Sketch, this resource really came in handy! UX Powertools’ kick-ass templates taught us about nested symbols and how they were so important to Sketch. Thanks to this tool, we can design our interfaces in a fraction of the time by using a huge set of buttons, typefaces, colors, icons, etc. that we easily created for our project. UX Powertools might not be free, but trust us, it’s well worth it.
InVision and Sketch are like peanut butter and jelly, you can’t have one without the other. InVision is a great tool for prototyping designs and collaborating with clients. We, for example, love using it to upload our Sketch files, create prototyped screens, and then have clients review them and leave feedback directly.
A plugin created by the fine folks at InVision, Craft is a tool that’s made our lives easier by letting us insert filler copy and placeholder images into our designs. It also makes integrating with InVision seamless. From real-time collaboration using the ‘freehand’ function to linking buttons using ‘prototype’ to syncing it all back to InVision to share with the client, Craft is the bread that holds that InVision and Sketch sandwich together.
4. Auto-Layout by Anima
If you’re a pro Sketch user, you want to make your workflow faster. With Auto-layout, we set up symbols—such as buttons, pop-ups, and other components—to automatically change depending on what’s around them. In the example above, we have a text box that is exactly 50 px above a button. Instead of moving the button each time we change the text, Auto-Layout will do it all for us.
5. Style Drop
Ah, the eyedropper tool. In Adobe, copying object styles is so easy with the eyedropper. But in Sketch, it doesn’t exist. That’s where the Style Drop plugin comes in. Just select your object, Style Drop, and click the object whose style you want to copy. Ah, the eyedropper tool. In Adobe, copying object styles is so easy with the eyedropper. But in Sketch, it doesn’t exist. That’s where the Style Drop plugin comes in. Just select your object, Style Drop, and click the object whose style you want to copy.
6. Spell Check Whole Page
Sketch is great for many things, but spellcheck is not one of them. If you’re a stickler for spelling like so many of us are, this plugin will save you plenty of headaches (and Tylenol). Just select Spell Check Whole Page from the plugins menu, and let it take care of the rest.
While we haven’t spent much time with this tool (yet), we thought it was so cool, we just couldn’t leave it out of the list. We found this awesome little gem while scrolling through Medium one day. This plugin takes our design from Sketch and re-creates it in After Effects for the ultimate animating pleasure.
There are even more plugins out there!
We could talk about sketch tools and plugins all day long. From exporting your Sketch file to a PDF, to creating custom keyboard shortcuts, there’s a whole world of Sketch goodness to explore. If you want to explore them for yourself, check out Sketchpacks or the Sketch Plugin Website to get started.