Sketch Libraries & Abstract: Linked Libraries

Centralized Sketch Symbol Libraries, available across all your projects inside Abstract.

Tim Van Damme
November 07, 2017

A couple of weeks ago we released initial support for Sketch’s much-anticipated new feature called Libraries (the ability to use external Symbols in your Sketch file). It was the first of three phases, focused on supporting Libraries at the project level.

As promised, today we’re announcing phase II: Support for Linked Libraries. This allows you to use and share Symbols across different projects inside Abstract.

Linked Libraries are part of version 0.63.3 of Abstract, which also includes performance improvements and a revamped layer detail screen (more on that in a later blogpost). Check the update menu or download directly here.

A single source of truth for your design system

Using Linked Libraries, you can truly work with one single source of truth. Let’s say your product covers multiple platforms (iOS, Android, web…), and they all use the same set of icons. Now all those projects can all use the same set of icons. Update an icon and the changes will propagate throughout wherever they’re being used. And thanks to the way Abstract works, there’s a transparent paper trail of who made which changes and why, plus an easy way to revert changes if needed.

Two flexible ways to work with libraries

Now that we have two ways to work with Libraries (inside a project or across projects), it might be a good time for a quick refresher on which one to use when:

Per-project Libraries

Ideal for storing Symbols you want to use across multiple files in the same project. Works well if your team works on unrelated projects.

Linked Libraries

Want to use Symbols across more than one Project? Linked Libraries are the way to go. Single source of truth across your entire team. Perfect for your design system.

Or you can also use any combination of these approaches, depending on the needs of your team.

Setting up Linked Libraries

The process is very similar to using Library files:

  1. Make sure you have your Library file(s) set up (learn how)
  2. Go to the project you want to link this Library file to.
  3. On the “Files” tab, click “Add File” and select “Link Library…”
  4. In the window that appears, click on a project, select a Library file, and click “Link Library”.
Sketch fig01
Sketch fig02
Left: Select “Link Library…” in the “Add File” menu. Right: Select the Library files you want to link.

That’s it, Symbols inside these Linked Libraries will now be available to all your files in this project.

Phase III

Now that we’ve rolled out full support for Libraries, we’ll start focusing on some advanced features to make working with them more powerful and streamlined. As we said before, using Libraries can get complicated, and we’re here to help your team with that 😀

How does your team use Libraries? We’d love to hear about it in the comment section!

Categories: Announcements