5 Sketch Keyboard Shortcuts to Speed Up Your Workflow

By February 17, 2015Design

Here are 5 advanced Sketch keyboard shortcuts that will massively help you speed up your UI design process.  If you’re not already using these shortcuts, you definitely should get in the habit of it.  Once I converted to Sketch from Photoshop for all my high-fidelity design concepting, there was absolutely no looking back.  Sketch rocks!  You probably already know that and that’s why you’re reading this post. [insert fist-bump here]

If your experience has been anything like mine, Sketch app itself has already helped speed up the design process.  That said, I’ve continued to look for ways within sketch to become faster and faster.  Anything I can do in order to keep my hands on the keyboard and off the trackpad (or mouse even though I don’t use one), the better.  Give these 5 keyboard shortcuts a try next time you’re whipping out a mock-up-masterpiece.

 

1) Hiding the Layers Menu & Inspector

Sketch keyboard shortcuts to hide menus
I love this shortcut especially when I’m only working on my laptop without an external monitor plugged in.  Often times I’ll be working on a flow with multiple steps and love being able to get the layer menu and inspector out of the way quickly when I’m not using it. I especially like this shortcut because I don’t have to contort my hands like I’m having a seizure to use it.

 

2) Quick View of Spacing Between Elements

sketch-keyboard-shortcuts-show-spacing-info
Moving fast in Sketch without sacrificing pixel perfect design is the name of the game.  The Position and Size indicators in the inspector on the left can be somewhat helpful but only as far as knowing the X and Y access of an element in relation to your artboard. Using this keyboard shortcut will allow you to quickly see the spacing between your element and other elements on the page. Just click on the one element, hold down Option + Command, then hover over any other elements on the page.  Killer, right?

 

3) Increase or Decrease the Width & Height of an Element

sketch-keyboard-shortcuts-resize-width-height
Sometimes you need to eyeball the size of an element to get it to just right.  I found this keyboard shortcut super helpful.  While you have an element selected, hold down COMMAND and use the arrow keys to increment the width and height of the element.  Obviously the right and left arrows control the width and the up and down arrows control the height.  This will increment by one pixel with each keystroke.  By holding down SHIFT + COMMAND + (ARROW KEY) you increment the size by 10 pixels.

 

4) Increase or Decrease the Font Size of Text.

sketch-keyboard-shortcuts-increase-font-size
Getting your font sizes proportional and correct is always an important part of a design.  For the same reason that I love using the keyboard shortcut to easily control the width and height, being able to easily control the font size of text comes in as a close second.

 

5) Arranging Layers Forward and Backward.

Sketch keyboard shortcut for rearranging layers
I always get a bit frustrated when copying a layer from one artboard to another and the layer gets placed below or above the intended layer it was supposed to.  The ability to avoid dragging and dropping that layer where it is supposed to go is always my first go-to and is typically much quicker. Next time you’re tempted to drag and drop that layer yourself, give this a try.

 

Wrap up

There are a ton of other basic keyboard shortcuts below that I  use very commonly.  The ones I mentioned above are ones that I’ve had to train myself a bit to use on a regular basis. As a result of forcing myself to use them it’s made a dramatic improvement to the speed of my workflow when using Sketch.

 

Insert

  • New Artboard

    A

  • Slice

    S

  • Rectangle

    R

  • Rounded Rectangle

    U

  • Oval

    O

  • Line

    L

  • Vector Point

    V

  • Pencil

    P

  • Text

    T

 

Type

  • Bold

    Cmd + B

  • Italic

    Cmd + I

  • Underline

    Cmd + U

  • Increase Font Size

    Alt + Cmd (+) +

  • Decrease Font Size

    Alt + Cmd (+) –

  • Increase Character Spacing

    Alt + Control + L

  • Decrease Character Spacing

    Alt + Control + T

  • Change Font

    Cmd + T

  • Convert Text to Outlines

    Shift + Cmd + O

  • Align Left

    Cmd + Shift + {

  • Align Center

    Cmd + Shift + |

  • Align Right

    Cmd + Shift + }

  • Special Characters

    Control + Cmd + Space

Canvas View

  • Zoom In

    Cmd (+) +

  • Zoom Out

    Cmd (+) –

  • Actual Size

    Cmd + 0

  • Center Canvas

    Cmd + 1

  • Zoom Selection

    Cmd + 2

  • Center Selection

    Cmd + 3

  • Temporary Zoom to Actual Size

    §

  • Focus on First Input Field

    Alt + Tab

  • Toggle Rulers

    Control + R

  • Toggle Grid

    Control + G

  • Toggle Layer Guides

    Control + L

  • Toggle Pixels

    Control + P

  • Toggle Selection Handles

    Control + H

  • Toggle Pixel Grid

    Control + X

Window

  • Toggle between Documents

    Cmd + ~

  • Toggle Layers List

    Alt + Cmd + 1

  • Toggle Inspector

    Alt + Cmd + 2

  • Toggle Layers, Inspector

    Alt + Cmd + 3

  • Toggle Toolbar

    Alt + Cmd + T

  • Presentation Mode

    Cmd + .

  • Enter Fullscreen

    Control + Cmd + F

Editing Shapes

  • Keep Current Selection

    Cmd + Alt

  • Use as Mask span (Works for Layers & Groups)

    Control + Cmd + M

  • Union

    Alt + Cmd + U

  • Substract

    Alt + Cmd + S

  • Intersect

    Alt + Cmd + I

  • Difference

    Alt + Cmd + X

  • Change Object Size

    Cmd + Arrows

  • Change Units by 10

    Shift + Cmd + Arrows

  • Change Vector Point Style

    1, 2, 3, 4

Editing Layers

  • Show Distance to other Layers

    Alt

  • Show Distance to other Layers inside Group

    Alt + Cmd

  • Duplicate (Repeat with ⌘D)

    Alt + Drag

  • Copy Style

    Alt + Cmd + C

  • Paste Style

    Alt + Cmd + V

  • Color Picker

    Control + C

  • Transform

    Cmd + T

  • Rotate

    Shift + Cmd + R

  • Toggle Fill

    F

  • Toggle Border

    B

Arranging Layers, Groups and Artboards

  • Bring Forward

    Alt + Cmd + ↑

  • Bring to Front

    Control + Alt + Cmd + ↑

  • Send Backward

    Alt + Cmd + ↓

  • Sent to Back

    Control + Alt + Cmd + ↓

  • Hide

    Shift + Cmd + H

  • Lock

    Shift + Cmd + L

  • Rename

    Cmd + R

  • Group Layers

    Cmd + G

  • Ungroup Layers

    Shift + Cmd + G

  • Select Above Layer

    Shift + Tab

  • Select Layer Below

    Tab

  • Select Parent Artboard

    Esc

  • Find Layer by Name

    Cmd + F

  • Select Above Page

    Fn + ↑

  • Select Page Below

    Fn + ↓

What are some of your favorite keyboard shortcuts when using Sketch?  I’d love to hear about them.

Find the post useful? I’m sure other designers would too.  Help a brotha/sista out and share the design love.

 

  • Jason Frank

    Hi Kevin. Thanks for the article. I like your presentation of the shortcuts via the screenshots.

    I have a question. Do you know how to resize a group of layers that includes text layers such that the text layers move when you resize the group (because their position needs to change due to the new size) but have the font size NOT change?

    Also, on a different note, I like the design of this site. Are you using WordPress? If so, would you mind sharing which theme you use? Thanks!

    • Kevin Fremon

      Hey Jason. I’m glad you found value from the article.

      I’ve come across this issue myself when working with grouped objects that contain text. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for you. As a work around I continue to ungroup objects with text that I want to resize without affecting the font-size.

      As for your other question… Yes, my website is build on WordPress. I’m using the “Salient” theme which can be found on the envato marketplace. I’ve used the theme on a couple other sites as well and really like it. Super customizable.

      Have a great day!

      • Jason Frank

        Regarding the resizing question, seeing how the makers of Sketch release a new version about every other day, I bet its just a matter a time before they offer this capability. 🙂

        Thanks for the tip about the WordPress theme!