There’s no doubt Sketch is one of the best web design apps for the Mac. But while the interface is excellent, one area where it lacks completion is in its shortcuts. A majority of Sketch’s menu commands are accessible via the keyboard, but some of the more common features I use are still lacking easy keyboard access, like for object alignment and plugins.
Every Mac has the ability to create custom shortcuts for any application, overriding existing shortcuts or creating entirely new ones. Let’s walk through how to do this for Sketch.
Creating a Custom Shortcut
For this example we’ll be creating a shortcut to align a group of selected objects horizontally.
- First, open System Preferences and go to the Keyboard section:
- Next, go to the Shortcuts tab and click on App Shortcuts in the list to the left:
- Then click the ‘+’ button. This is where you’ll create the new shortcut.
- Select Sketch from the Application select menu and in the Menu Title field, type the name of the menu item exactly as it appears in the Sketch menu. For example, if you want to create a shortcut to convert the selected text to uppercase by way of the Uppercase menu item, you’ll type “Uppercase.” For menu items that appear more than once in the Sketch menu, like the “Horizontally” command we want to use for this scenario, you need to type in the entire path to the menu item. For our use case, we’ll type: “Arrange->Align Items->Horizontally”. Then in the Keyboard Shortcut field, type the sequence of keys you want to use for your shortcut. Like this:
- Finally, click the Add button. That’s it. If you jump back to Sketch you’ll see the new shortcut appear next to the menu item:
Super easy. Even better is that this technique can be used for any Mac application.
Example Sketch Shortcuts
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Update [21 July 2015]: Thanks to a comment from Ryan Belisle, we’ve discovered that including the “alt” key in your shortcut for aligning objects isn’t a great idea. You’ll see from this SketchTips article that using “alt” with the an align objects command aligns objects to the artboard rather than the objects themselves.