The truth is, given enough time, most UX designers can come up with creative solutions and stunning designs. What truly differentiates seniors from juniors, however, is how fast they can do so.
Time is money. The faster you are able to deliver your design, the faster you are able to:
Thus, improving your day-to-day workflow might be one of the best ways to maximize the value you deliver to the business as a designer.
One of the ways to improve your speed is by mastering essential shortcuts. Although each shortcut alone saves a couple of seconds at best, over time, they add up to hours every month. In this article, I’ll cover a few of my favorite Figma shortcuts I use daily.
Below, you’ll find a list of fifteen shortcuts I use the most.
I didn’t include most of the basic element manipulation, such as inserting text, creating rectangles, and drawing lines as these are fundamental parts of Figma workflows, and most interns should already know how to do so.
Instead, I focus on shortcuts that are often neglected by people new to the tool.
There are many scenarios in which hiding UI might come in handy. It’s especially useful when you want to share concepts with stakeholders, get design critique, or just look at numerous screens at once.
The ability to combine copy (Ctrl + C) and paste (Ctrl + V) into one shortcut (Ctrl + D) might seem superficial at first. Yet, given the nature of design work, it is a true lifesaver.
While manually moving each layer up or down the hierarchy list works just fine on simple designs, it becomes troublesome when working on complex, multilayer components. Managing a hierarchy of layers with shortcuts is a instrumental in those moments.
Auto layout is unquestionably one of the most potent tools Figma offers. Once you discover it, you will find it difficult to design without using it. Luckily, all you need to do is to press Shift + A.
You’d be surprised how many designers click through settings to reach the color picker. If you are one of them — stop it. All you need to do is to press I.
Properly aligning elements is the first step towards pixel-perfect design. Just click Alt/⌥ and then press:
Complex styles often consist of a combination of shadows, blurs, gradients, and strokes. Copying them one by one would be an incredibly tedious job. Luckily, Figma allows us to copy whole sets of styles with a single shortcut.
Inconsistent spacing is visible at the very first glance. I sometimes even use the Shift + Alt + V/H shortcut on presumably aligned elements just to make sure they are pixel perfect.
When I started my UI design journey, I didn’t expect how often I’d want to flip elements. It’s especially true when it comes to using directional icons, such as arrows.
Speaking of arrows, whether they are part of the design or you’re using them to map out the user flow, Shift + L comes as a really handy shortcut.
Your default behavior whenever designing new elements should be removing the fill if it’s not needed. Don’t be one of those designers who leaves the white fill on a white background; it’ll bite you later.
With any element selected, you can manipulate its opacity by simply typing a number on the keyboard. Just type in 20 to set the opacity to 20 percent. For 100 percent, press 0, and for 0 percent, press 0 twice.
Search is probably the most universal shortcut out there. You can use it to call most of Figma’s functionalities, from inserting basic elements on the canvas to running installed plugins and widgets.
If you don’t want to remove a particular element forever, don’t delete it, hide it. It might save you some time frantically clicking Ctrl/Cmd + Z to bring deleted elements back to life down the road.
When working on complex designs, the ability to temporarily lock elements you don’t want to accidentally move is a lifesaver. Trust me, it’ll save you from a lot of frustration.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all Figma shortcuts. One would have to write a whole book to cover all possible variations.
Trying to memorize them all would be quite an overwhelming and likely counterproductive endeavor. Instead, I’d recommend learning one to three shortcuts at a time. You could even consider putting them on a sticky note. Once you start using these shortcuts unconsciously, pick a handful of new ones.
It might take months to become fluent in using Figma’s shortcuts, but that’s okay. Everyone starts at zero. Just focus on consistently incorporating new shortcuts, and over time, you will become a Figma pro.
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