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The 10 Best Sketch Plug-ins

My 10 best plug-ins for the Sketch design app.

I think one of the best features of Sketch is their vibrant plug-in community who continues to work to create new functionality and features that you can add to the application. But the problem is that when you go to the Sketch Extensions / Plug-ins page all you can do is search for a plug-in by name. So with no reviews or ability to even sort by downloads how are you supposed to know which ones are any good and how do you know if you are missing out on any really great plug-ins? I wanted to share a few of my favorites but also put the question to Twitter and with the help of Sketchapp TV and Sketch Hunt heard from a lot of other Sketch users on their favorites. So here are what I think are the 10 best Sketch plugins that I use and love every day.

craft

CRAFT

If you are only going to get one plug-in for Sketch make it Craft from Labs by InVision. I say that because Craft isn’t just a single plug-in but a suite of plugins that lets you design in a really elegant and seamless way using real data. For me the ability to use or dynamic data is really important since most of my designs are structures that will by populated with dynamic and ever-changing content once they go live. Craft includes Photos, Type, Duplicate, Styles, Craft Manage and Prototype.

Photos:  Photos lets you import photos from Dropbox, a private folder, Google or my favorite Unsplash which lets you choose a color or category it will randomly select a photo for you. It is a great way to easy import the photography you want or try out different colors and visual densities to be sure you design will hold up to dynamic photography.

Type: Type can also pull content from Google or you can use the Samples functionality which will create dynamic names, headlines, articles, dates, currency, email, countries, cities or addresses for you. So the days of having to Greek in the names of your entire family into a layout are over as you can select a page full of name fields and have the populated with dynamic content in just one click.

Duplicate: Maybe I am too old school but it I need to create and align a number of items in a design I copy and paste the item so I have the right number on the screen and then use the vertical and horizontal distribution and alignment tools to get them to line up the right way. Duplicate makes it much easier than that as you just select the item and then specify if you want vertical or horizontal, the item count and the gutter spacing to create all the items in just one click.

Styles: As someone who runs global design teams we always have to take our designs and create re-usable style guides for colors, type, text styles, etc. for other teams who we are collaborating with or who are going to base their own on what we have done. It is always a huge pain as someone needs to go through and create this document and keep it up to date. Styles will do all the work for you with a single click and put the results on a new page in your document. It makes the process incredibly easy and I even use it as a check to be sure my colors and typography are consistent throughout my entire document since anything that strays can easily be seen and fixed.

Craft Manager: Craft Manager is the plug-in manager that will let you activate, deactivate, and update all your plugins directly from your desktop.

Prototype: Coming soon and more detail is explained below.

It is available for Sketch and Photoshop but the Sketch version has the Styles which does not exist in the Photoshop version.

Price: Free
Get the plug-in here

SILVER (coming soon to Craft)

Shortly after I wrote my article called “Prototype Within Sketch with Silver” it was announced that Silver has been bought by InVision. This is why when you download Craft you will see it say “Prototype coming soon”. I have had access to the private beta since that article and it is a nice way to prototype but I didn’t find it as easy to use as Adobe XD or as powerful as Principle.

Price: Still in private Beta testing but coming soon to Craft
Learn more about the plug-in here


animatemate

ANIMATEMATE

AnimateMate is a plug-in that lets you produce and export simple animations straight out of Sketch. Animations are all done with keyframes that you can refine with easing, organize them in a text view, offset animation when you need to apply alterable or overlapping values to layer animations and even use random animation data. You can then export the animation as an animated GIF or PNG sequence. It isn’t a replacement for After Effects but it is a nice tool when you need to create simple animations to illustrate a concept.

Price: Free
Get the plug-in here


button

DYNAMIC BUTTONS

One big downside of current design applications is that none of them have responsive elements that will resize or adapt to the amount of text in a button or the column size of a design. The Dynamic Buttons plug-in looks to fix that problem by letting you create buttons that automatically adapt to keep the padding you defined in the properties without any extra effort. In simple terms buttons automatically expand based on the text they contain with a preset padding. It makes creating buttons really simple and is a much bigger time saver than you might think.

Price: Free on GitHub
Get the plug-in here


segment

SEGMENT CIRCLE

It doesn’t come up that often for me but when I need to create circles with a custom number of points/segments/lines it is a huge pain the butt. I have to get out a calculator, take the total radius, divide it by the number of segments I need and then sit there and rotate lines at the resulting angle until I get what I need. The Segment Circle plug-in makes that so much easier as it lets you simply put in the radius, number of segments and an optional thickness and you get the exact graphic you need.

Price: Free on GitHub
Get the plug-in here


FindReplace

FIND AND REPLACE

Everyone has had ‘find and replace’ functionality in every word processing program since the dawn of computers so it might not sound like much of a great plug-in – until you need it. As someone who has had a client change the name of a product, forget to add a trademark or any number of other text problems this simple feature can be a huge time saver when you need it. It finds text in selected layer(s) and all layers contained within – and replaces it with different text.=inlcuding the ability to do partial, case-sensitive and full-document matching.

Price: Free on GitHub
Get the plug-in here


sort

SORT ME

This is another one of those simple plug-ins that sounds so simple but can make things much easier if you work with really complex design documents. The Sort Me plug-in will sort artboards and layers by name which makes cleaning up and organizing large document so much easier.

Price: Free on GitHub
Get the plug-in here


palette

SKETCH PALETTES

As someone who works on well-defined brands one of the things thats always frustrating is having to keep a document open that has all of the brands colors available while I am designing so I am sure all the values are correct. I have fixed that problem by using the Sketch Palettes plug-in that lets you save and load colors into the color picker. This way I can keep those brand colors saved and easily pull them up when I start working on a new design.

Price: Free on GitHub
Get the plug-in here


measure

SKETCH MEASURE

Sketch Measure is a great plug-in to quickly measure the size of any object, measure the spacing between objects, create notes and get properties like fill or border color, object opacity and shadows. It is all done through keyboard shortcuts that you can customize so it works exactly the way you want it to.

Price: Free on GitHub
Get the plug-in here


notebook

NOTEBOOK

If you work in a studio with multiple designers or even designers in multiple locations then you know how important it is to be able to document and put notes into your designs. The problem is that this isn’t something that is easy to do within Sketch but the Notebook plug-in will help you fix that problem. It lets you add, order, realign, edit, delete, reset and update your comments through a customizable sidebar. This is only plug-in on this list that isn’t free though. It will cost you anywhere from $4 to $60 depending on the features and level of support you want.

Price: $4, $8 or $60 depending on features and support levels
Get the plug-in here

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Creative Director, Designer, Brand Builder, Speaker, Podcaster, Crazy One. As a designer, I have 20+ years experience creating the strategy, concepts, and designs for award-winning integrated global advertising campaigns, building multiple global Fortune 500 brands and creating innovative digital experiences. As a leader, I have 15+ years transforming agency and client-side teams using a mix of creativity, business strategy, process and political skill to create innovative, world-class work and cultures that change industries and companies. My clients have included American Airlines, W Hotels, Disney, Citi, ExxonMobil, Acura, Old Navy, Nationwide Insurance, Verizon, Subaru and many others. My work has received over 150 international awards, my app designs have been named as one of the World’s 100 Greatest Apps, Apple has featured my work in 9 keynotes, 4 TV commercials and more.

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