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Getting started with Symbols Browser

Pratik Shah edited this page Jun 4, 2019 · 1 revision

Why do you need Symbol Browser?

If you are getting frustrated with the default dropdowns way of Sketch to browse your Sketch Library then symbols browser is the plugin for you.


If you maintain a Design System or Sketch symbol library for your team and want to share more than just symbols you'd like to use the Symbol Browser which allows you to share stickers / UI Kit as a part of your Sketch Library. It's easy to get started.

You can check out the Example Sketch library or follow the instructions below:

Steps to get started

1. Install any Sketch Library

You can install your own Sketch Library or use this Example Sketch library. Learn more about Sketch Libraries here.

2. Browse your Symbols (The new way!)

Symbol Browser plugin will by default show all the symbols present in each installed library. To Browse simply hit cmd + shift + d or select 🔍View Design System from the plugin menu.

Under the hood symbol browser builds an index of thoese symbols when you run 🔍View Design System for the first time and after that the plugin will keep track of the modifications done in the Libraries.

3. Add custom stickers / UI kit

To add custom stickers Create text layer(s) anywhere in your library file with content in the following format to define "Sections" (categories, essentially):

3.1. Provide Library Name and Subtitle

title: My Frist Library                           # Optional
description: 'Some subtitle'                      # Optional

Custom icons

To add a custom library icon, add @@icon to the name of any square-size layer in your file, e.g. My custom icon @@icon.

3.2 Define Categories

The below image shows different levels of categories and how they appear in the "Symbol Browser". categories

Define parent category

!StickerSection @Section1                         # categoryId
title: First Section                              # Optional, if not provided uses categoryId
description: 'A description'                      # Optional, Supports basic HTML tags

Define sub category

!StickerSection @Section1.SubSection              
title: Sub Section                                # Optional
description: 'A description'                      # Optional

3.3 Turn any layer into a 'Sticker'

To do that append your layer with teh section ID. Section IDs look like @Section1 or @Section1.SubSection, and any layer can be a sticker, be it a symbol instance, or a group, or even an entire artboard. Refer the below image to see examples. add stickers

Syntax of text-layer metadata

The basic format for sticker metadata is:

!StickerSection @<Section ID>
Properies describing this section like "title, description, etc."

!StickerSection @<Section ID>.<Sub Section ID>
Properies describing this section like "title, description, etc."

Here are the currently supported sticker section properties (keys):

Property Type Description
sectionId string required Section IDs look like @Section1 or @Section1.SubSection.
Note that section IDs can only have letters and numbers, so avoid any special characters like semicolons, spaces, ampersands, etc.
title string optional The title of the section.
description string optional A longer description of the section. Only works for root-level sections (i.e. works for @Section but not for @Section.SubSection).
background string optional A CSS color like #fff. If present, gives the entire section some extra padding, a border, and the given background color. Only works for sub-sections (e.g. @Section.SubSection).
backgroundEach string optional Like background, but sets a background and pads stickers individually.
hideNames boolean optional Default false. If true, hides sticker names for stickers directly in this section.
links array optional An array of links to show below the section description, where each link is an object with a title and url. Only works for root sections (e.g. @Section).
layout string optional An optional layout type for this section. Available options are flow for root sections and row for sub-sections.
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