October 2018 was a really exciting month for creatives worldwide–Adobe hosted its annual MAX conference and announced all manner of updates to its product line, and Bohemian Coding released a new version of Sketch. Sketch 52 comes with some awesome new features, some great improvements, and in this rundown we’re going to take a look at the most interesting. Let’s dive in!

What We’ll be Covering

We’ll be looking at the following updates:

  • Sketch Data
  • Text and Layer Style Overrides
  • Improved Boolean Operations

Latest Sketch Updates

1. Sketch Data

Designing with real data is always better than using dummy content and placeholders. It’s better for you, as a designer, because it allows you to see how your design accommodates real information. And it’s better for the client if you’re presenting early mockups, because dummy content can often be a real hurdle for non-designers to get their heads around.

Since the release of Sketch 52 we can now add “real images” and “real text” with the click of a button.

Access the data features by clicking the data button to the top left of the menu bar:

sketch data button

You’ll immediately see resources from faces.ui, tiles, and from Unsplash. To apply, say, a face image to an element, select that element then click on the Faces option. It will automatically apply a random face as a background image to that element. Refresh using SHIFT + CMD + D until you find a face which works for you.

In the case of symbols, you’ll also find direct access to the data options from the Overrides properties panel:

Sketch data also works when multiple elements are selected. Lastly, you can set up your own sources of data (text files, for example) and have data populated from them.

2. Text and Layer Style Overrides

If you’ve worked with symbols in Sketch before you’ll understand the concept of overrides. Overrides give you the option to edit a symbol instance, overriding certain properties without altering the master symbol. Sketch 52 builds upon this functionality, adding some extra aspects (fantastic news!) so you can also now override text styles and layer styles. Here’s how that looks:

Text and Layer Style Overrides

Note that each text element within the symbol now has the option to change its text style.

3. Improved Boolean Operations

Beyond UI design Sketch is also a great tool for creating icons and illustrations. A huge part of the vector creation process is handled by the four boolean operations:

  1. Union
  2. Subtract
  3. Intersect
  4. Difference

Sketch 52 greatly improves these operations by allowing you to do some new things like using text layers and symbols.

For example, let’s say we want to use text and an image background to create a mask effect. By selecting both, then choosing Intersect, here’s what we get:

Improved Boolean Operations

Both elements are readily available for editing in the layers panel, under a new Combined shape:

Both elements are readily available for editing in the layers panel under a new Combined shape

You’ll see that I can select which boolean operator is used by clicking the icon on the IMAGE layer.

Sketch 52 also allows boolean operations to be performed on symbols, which is really powerful stuff.


Sketch 52 comes with a whole bunch of new features in addition to those we covered–you’ll have noticed the dark UI, there are also some redesigned aspects of the interface, significant performance gains–so overall there’s a lot to take in. Personally I think this is the most significant update we’ve seen to Sketch so far. Let us know what you think!

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