Start Working In Abstract

Follow these 9 steps to start using Abstract with your team

1. Join an Organization.

Already invited to Abstract?
If you were invited to an existing Abstract organization, go to your invitation email and follow the prompts. Then, come back and continue to step 2.

Designers and stakeholders collaborate on projects inside of organizations. Your organization is your team's home for all design work.

By having all designers in one Abstract organization, you can:

  • Share libraries
  • Centralize billing management
  • Prevent double-paying for designers who sit on multiple teams / organizations

2. Download the macOS app.

To edit or create design files in Abstract, download the macOS desktop app. You can't edit or create design files on Abstract’s web app.

You can view design files, provide feedback, or handle billing payments directly from Abstract’s web app.

3. Decide how to organize your Projects.

In Abstract, you organize your Sketch files into Projects. Since your team shares projects, how you divide design files into projects and name those projects impacts your entire team.

We recommend organizing your projects in one of three ways:

  • By platform. This works well for teams that organize their work according to platform, e.g. iOS app, Android app, Web, etc.
  • By feature. This works well for teams that organize their work according to feature, e.g. Onboarding, Activation, Marketing, etc.
  • By client. If you work at an agency, consider organizing projects by client.

Organize projects based on the product you’re making, not based on how your design team is organized.

Read our blog or watch our Abstract 101 webinar to learn more about projects.

4. Create your first team project.

Create a team project to collaborate with other designers and stakeholders.

5. Add Sketch files to your Project.

Next, create the project’s main branch—this is the default branch that contains the finalized, approved designs. Your team can discuss and decide which designs are considered “final” for each project. Once aligned, your team can import existing Sketch files or create new ones.

Only import files that represent the most up-to-date version of your product. Duplicate and/or outdated files create confusion and clutter for your team.

We recommend importing files no larger than 250MB. Abstract performs best when individual Sketch files are smaller than 250MB or contain less than 2500 artboards.

6. Create a Branch.

Start new work in Abstract by creating a branch.

Think of a branch as a working copy of the main branch that only you can edit. A branch is where you can explore and edit designs in a project. You can share these designs with your team by committing your changes, as outlined in the next step.

Creating a branch does not affect the main branch. Instead, you request a design review before you merge any changes to the main branch.

7. Commit your changes.

Each time you arrive at a decision while designing, commit your changes.

A commit is like a bookmark: you’re marking a point you can return to if needed. If you change your mind about a decision, you can restore a project’s main branch back to any previous Commit and try again.

We recommend committing several times a day.

Committing your changes does not affect the main branch. Instead, you request a design review before you merge any changes to the main branch.

8. Merge a branch to the main branch.

Once your branch is reviewed and approved, you’re ready to merge your changes to the main branchMerging a branch makes those designs part of the main branch.

If you accidentally merge a branch to the main branch, you can restore the project's main branch to a previous commit.

9. Invite team members.

Invite a team member to your organization to try out the entire Abstract collaboration workflow: branch, commit, review, and merge.

Advanced setup

These articles may be helpful once you’ve got the basics down: