Practice Abstract workflow

We've created a short exercise with sample Sketch files for contributors to learn about how to use the core functionalities in Abstract projects. 

This exercise walks you through:

  • Creating projects
  • Importing and linking library files
  • Creating branches and committing changes
  • Creating collections and annotating where you need feedback
  • Inspecting your artboards
  • Merging your branches 
  • Restoring to a previous commit
  • Deleting projects

Let's get started

You receive this design request from someone on your team. Follow the exercise below to learn how to complete this ticket as if you're starting with Abstract for the first time.

Create a test project

First, create a project to practice working in. If you want to keep the project visible to the rest of your organization, you can skip step 4.

  1. After you've created your Abstract organization, toggle to your company’s organization in either the desktop app or web app.
  2. Select New Project in the top right corner.
  3. Name your project Practice: Website.
  4. Check the box next to Make project private. This keeps your test drive invisible to everyone else in your organization.
  5. Click Create Project.

Learn more about creating projects.

Download files and import import them into your project

We’ve created a few Sketch files (3 working files and 6 library files) for you to add to your practice project.

  1. Download this .zip file.
  2. Open the .zip file from your Downloads.
  3. In the main canvas of your Practice: Website project, click Import Sketch File
  4. Find the .zip file you just downloaded and opened.
  5. Select all files from the Import to Website project folder and select Import.
  6. In the Abstract window, click Import 3 files.

Learn more about importing files.

Create a second project for your design system

We strongly recommend making a separate project for your design system, so all library files are consolidated in one central location. 

You can read about our libraries best practices to help you get your libraries set up efficiently for your team.

  1. In Abstract, select Projects from the left side pane.
  2. Select New Project in the top right corner.
  3. Name your project Practice: Design System.
  4. Check the box next to Make project private if you want this test project invisible to everyone else in your organization.
  5. Click Create Project.

Import the library files

After creating a project for your design system, import your library files.

  1. In the main canvas of your Practice: Design System project in Abstract, click Import Sketch File.
  2. Find the .zip file you just downloaded and opened.
  3. Select the Buttons.sketch file from the Import to Design System project folder and click Import.
  4. Select the Use as library box next to the file name.
  5. Click Import 1 file.
  6. To add additional library files, click Add File.
  7. Select Import File…
  8. Select the rest of the library files, excluding the one you already imported. 
  9. Select the Use as library box next to each file.
  10. Click Import 5 files.

Link your library files

Now that you've imported your library files into your organization, link your libraries to your Practice: Website project.

  1. In the Abstract top menu bar, select the Home icon on the left.
  2. Select the Practice: Website project.
  3. Click Main in the left side bar.
  4. Go to the Files tab.
  5. Click Add File.
  6. Select Link Library…
  7. Select Practice: Design System.
  8. Select the Buttons.sketch file, hold Shift, and select the Typography.sketch file. This selects all the library files at once.
  9. Click Link 6 Libraries. Your libraries are listed under the Linked Libraries section.

Learn more about linking libraries.

Create a branch

New work starts by creating a branch. Branches are the working copy of your main branch where you can explore and edit designs in a project before sharing them with your team through committing and merging to the main branch.

Once the files and libraries are all in place, let's work on the ticket you were assigned and make the requested edits.

  1. Under the Files tab, select the Homepage.sketch file.
  2. Click Edit in Sketch on the right.
  3. Select Create a Branch.
  4. Name your branch Homepage CTA.
  5. Select Create branch. The Homepage.sketch file opens in Sketch.

Read more about branching and our branching best practices.

Add a CTA button to the Homepage

With the Homepage file open in Sketch from Abstract, you can now make the edit that was requested.

  1. In Sketch, click Insert and go down to Symbols
  2. Hover over Buttons > Button/Primary > and select Long.
  3. Place the button where you’d like. 
  4. Override the text with Only $39/month.

Commit your changes

Committing saves your edits to Abstract and creates a log of commits that allows you to view the changes that have happened on every commit that has ever been made in any branch, including the main branch. 

  1. Click File > Save in Sketch.
  2. In the Abstract overlay, click Commit Changes.
  3. Replace Summarize your changes... with Added CTA button to homepage.
  4. Click Commit changes.
  5. Exit Sketch.
  6. Check out your commit in the Branches Commits tab.

You may see a Pending label next to the commit while the branch is syncing with the project. 

Learn more about committing and read our committing best practices.

Create a Collection

Collections help you present your work during design reviews and presentations. Share your edits to the Homepage file and ask for feedback using a collection.

  1. In your Practice: Website project in Abstract, click the Homepage CTA Branch under Branches.
  2. Choose where you’d like to create a collection: on the main branch or on any other branch you own.
  3. Click New Collection...
  4. Select which artboard(s) you’d like to include in your collection.
  5. Click Add 1 item.
  6. Fill in a name and description for the collection.
  7. Close the window. 

Collections remain available under the Collections tab for each project.

To share your collection, you would click the Share button to copy the link.

When you create a collection on a branch that is then merged to the main branch, the collection is archived with the branch. You can add to the collection, but the artboards in it no longer update when artboards change. Create the collection on the main branch if you want the collection to continue to update throughout the project.

Learn more about collections.

Annotate where you need feedback

When you send your designs out for review, it can be helpful to point out exactly where you need feedback and annotations are an easy way to highlight these areas.

  1. In your Practice: Website project in Abstract, click the Homepage CTA Branch under Branches.
  2. Open the Homepage artboard in presentation mode by clicking on the artboard.
  3. Click the Annotate icon in the comment box in the right side panel.
  4. Click or draw a rectangle over the area you’d like to annotate. A number appears on your rectangle. This number is attached to the comment you leave regarding that specific annotation. You can also resize the annotation if needed.
  5. In the comment box in the right panel, enter @Mika what do you think about black for this button?. Markdown is supported in the comment box.
  6. Click the Comment button to submit your comment.
  7. Just for fun, react to your own comment: click the reaction tool and choose an emoji. 

Learn more about annotations and comments.

Check out the Inspect tab

The Inspect tab gives you access to each design’s specs, styles, and code. Stakeholders and developers can access Inspect for any designs you’ve shared with them.

  1. Click on the artboard to open the layer detail.
  2. Click the Inspect tab.
  3. Hover over different parts of the artboard to see code-ready measurements for your designs.

Additionally, a developer can download assets right from this tab. Just make the assets exportable in Sketch first.

Merge your branch

Once your branch is reviewed and approved, you’re ready to merge to the main branch. Merging saves your edits and make those designs part of the main branch. Any contributor can merge any branch to the main branch.

  1. In Abstract, select Projects from the left side pane.
  2. Open your Practice: Website project.
  3. Select your Homepage CTA Branch from the left sidebar. 
  4. Click Merge branch... in the top right corner.
  5. In the note field of the Confirm merge dialog, enter Added a CTA button in black to the homepage.
  6. Click Merge and Archive.

Your update request is now complete and your ticket is ready to be closed out.

Read more about merging and our merging best practices.

Restore the main branch to previous commit

You can revert a project’s main branch, or any of your own branches, to any previous commit which returns the main branch or a branch you own to exactly how it looked at that point in time, while keeping the history of changes. 

At the last minute, you get feedback that Stem Society is no longer offering a subscription model. You need to rollback your merged changes to the homepage ASAP. 

  1. In the Practice: Website project, click Main in the left side bar.
  2. Click the Commits tab.
  3. Select the Commit called Started using 6 files as libraries.
  4. Click the Restore commit icon.
  5. In the pop up window, you can Add a note (optional) to add additional content for the commit restore.
  6. For this request, enter Received feedback that we’re no longer doing a subscription model. Rolling back until we can explore other designs.
  7. Click Restore Commit.

The main branch is now restored to the designs right before you merged the homepage CTA design. 

Every time you commit in Abstract, you’re creating these bookmarks that you can roll back to. Commit early and often.

Learn more about restoring the main branch to previous commits.

Delete your test drive projects

Feel free to practice branching, editing the Sketch files, committing your changes, and creating Collections until you have the hang of it.

Whenever you’re finished trying things out, delete both test drive projects.

  1. In Abstract, select Projects from the left side pane.
  2. Click the three dots … on the “Practice: Website” project card.
  3. Select Delete Project…
  5. Click I’m Sure, Delete the Project.
  6. Repeat steps 1-5 for Practice: Design System.

Deleting projects is a permanent action. You cannot recover deleted projects. If you want to declutter you workspace without deleting projects, you can archive your projects. To prevent data loss, we recommend you archive your working projects when you no longer need them.

Create your first working project

When you’re ready to set up your working projects, you can use the same steps listed here.