Digital Impact

Best Free Sketch Plugins For Everyday Tasks

As soon as Sketch launched, it was an instant favourite among designers and it’s easy to see why. It’s powerful with a nice interface. It’s a fraction of the price of adobe. But best of all, it’s open source, which means it comes with literally hundreds of free plugins designed to make your life easier!

As a self-confessed Sketch addict, I thought I would share my favourite free plugins and explain why I love them so much.

Before downloading any Sketch plugins, be sure to install Sketch Toolbox, which is a handy little tool for managing your plugins.

 

Plugin #1 — Social Artboards

image showing the sketch plugins social artboards
As the name suggests, this Sketch plugin adds preset social media sized artboards to the artboard list for all the main social platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Dribbble, Instagram and YouTube. No more Googling Facebook header image size. Hurray!

 

Why I Love Social Artboards

It’s a real time saver. Forgot the sizes of YouTube’s thumbnails? It’s all there for you, presaved and preloaded! You never have to check the platforms dimensions, just select an artboard and click go.

 

Where to get Social Artboards

Download Social Artboards from GitHub.

 

Plugin #2 — Find and replace

image showing the sketch plugins find and replace
Like in Excel or Word, Find and Replace lets you search for your copy and replace certain words, sentences or paragraphs with new text.

Perfect for when your client decides he or she wants to change their business name at the very last moment!

 

Why I Love Find and replace

When you’re updating the same piece of text on multiple pages, it means you won’t accidentally miss one due to human error and generally it saves loads of time.

 

Where to get Find and replace

Download Find and Replace on GitHub.

 

Plugin #3 — Sketch Distributor

image showing the sketch plugins distributor

Sketch Distributor helps align and distribute separate shapes both vertically and horizontally to the exact pixel.

 

Why We Love Sketch Distributor

It’s great for menus, navigation, list and patterns. Again, it’s a real time saver – just create the layer and the alignment job is done! No checking of spacing and never again have layers leapfrogging the pixel you want them on.

 

Where to get Sketch Distributor

Download Sketch Distributor on GitHub.

 

Plugin #4 — Dynamic Buttons


 

Sketch’s approach to symbols is great but it does have one downside. Buttons don’t respond to the length of the text inside them like a fully-developed CSS button would.

With CSS, if I made a button with text Read More and a 30px padding but then changed the text to Read More About Plugins the padding would be maintained in CSS. That’s essentially what this plugin does for you in Sketch.

 

Why We Love Dynamic Buttons

This plugin cuts down the time spent resizing buttons and also minimises errors, especially when there are changes to the wording.

 

Where to get Dynamic Buttons

Download Dynamic Buttons on GitHub.

 

Plugin #5 — Lorem Ipsum

image showing the sketch plugins lorem ipsum

For anyone working on design, I think this one is self-explanatory. It fills text layers with lorem ipsum so you don’t have to find and copy it from somewhere else.

 

Why We Love Lorem Ipsum

Simply put, it’s a time saver. No more lorem ipsum generator and no more copy and paste! Aaaaah.

 

Where to get Lorem Ipsum

Download Lorem Ipsum from GitHub.

 

Plugin #6 — Craft


 

The best way to describe Craft would be as the Chuck Norris of free Sketch plugins. If you have never added a plugin to Sketch and could only pick one from this list, this is the one for you!

So what does it do?

Well, I hope you’re sitting down because this is going to take a while!

 

image showing the sketch plugins craft - sync feature

It Syncs

You can sync the Sketch file with Invision directly, meaning no more exporting and uploading, just hit save and it does the rest.

 

image showing the sketch plugins craft - duplicate feature

It Duplicates

Whether you’re duplicating artboard elements or single layers, just choose how many you want along and in which direction they’re to go.

Imagine you’re designing a blog category page with the same format and need to show 10 blog posts. Rather than copy and paste each post to fill up the page, simply select the post, choose how many you want, how much space you want between them and you’re done.

 

It Inspects

If you sync your file with Invision via Craft, Invision now lets developers inspect the design and pull data out of it when coding. Things like colour, spacing, sizes, fonts, etc.

It even lets you export layers from the file via Invision. This means developers don’t need a copy of Sketch, which reduces the running costs for your company and also allows for cross machine use.

 

image showing the sketch plugins craft - data feature

It Fills with Data

Craft allows you to select layers and instantly fill it with content such as articles, names, addresses, heading and images.

You can even link it to Dropbox for live content.

On top of this, if an element that has been set up with data is duplicated, Craft will automatically fill it with new data meaning there is no repeated placeholder text.

While Craft is great for the design stage, I’d stick with Lorem Ipsum for wireframing.

 

image showing the sketch plugins craft - library feature

It Libraries (It’s a verb!)

I’ll be honest I have never used this feature. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great and I plan to but I simply haven’t got round to it yet.

It basically allows you to save elements to a library and then drag and drop them into your design. Along with this, it allows you to create CSS, making updates quick and simple.

 

image showing the sketch plugins craft - prototype feature

It will Prototype … Soon

I’m really looking forward to this feature coming out! Craft is withholding a full feature until it updates but I’m expecting it to work a bit like Invision in terms of mockups but with more transitions like Flinto.

 

Why We Love Craft

We love it because of everything above. I would honestly estimate it does about 20% of the work for our design team. It’s a huge time saver and helps us cut down on errors, which ultimately frees up our time to spend on being creative.

 

Where to get Craft

Download Craft from InvisionApp.

 

Conclusion

The common theme with these plugins is they all save you time, giving you more time to spend on the good stuff like research, brainstorming, design and iteration.

If there are any other Sketch plugins you love (and that we’ve  missed), let us know in the comments!

About The Author

Kevin is the seasoned creative behind the design team at Digital Impact. Since moving into his senior designer role, Kevin has helped Digital Impact define a clear visual style and identity.