Whenever you are handling multiple screens and pages or prototyping using numerous symbols and effects, you know how hard it can be to manage your elements all at once. If you aren't well organised and don't want the objects to miss out on updated effects, you have to edit them manually one by one to reflect those changes.

This is where the Appearance feature in Sketch comes in handy. The Appearance feature of Sketch is a very powerful mac-dedicated tool that is useful in making global changes in UI/UX designing and prototyping.

Like how Symbols – a subject I covered in a previous blog – are used to organise global objects and assets in Sketch, Appearance helps organise colours, effects, shadows, or any other properties in Sketch. Your workflow will be much easier when you plan out your Appearances first and create the hierarchy accordingly.

Creating Appearances

First, create a shape or object in Sketch. You can now add/edit the desired colours, shadows, and effects to the shape from the right panel.

Click Create (+) from the right panel to create a new Appearance when you are done.

You can create text appearances too, which helps you apply and edit text effects to multiple textboxes globally. The creation process is the same for text: Insert the text, add/edit its style from the right panel, and click Create Appearance.

When creating Appearances, you are asked to edit the Appearance name. You can simply name the Appearance and finish editing or add pathnames to the name to organise and stack the set of Appearances. Like how Sketch symbols are organised by creating folder paths with a slash(/), Appearances can also be organised in the same manner.

Applying Appearances

To apply an Appearance to an object, select the desired object and click Apply Appearance after selecting an Appearance from the right object property panel. This will apply the style to the selected shape or object.

Appearances cannot be applied to raster graphics or grouped objects. It can only be applied to embedded or inserted SVGs (scalable vector graphics) or native vector shapes created in Sketch.

Editing Appearances

You can update, reset, duplicate, delete, and rename any of your Appearances in Sketch. You can do the following steps visually from the Appearance page or from the artboard screen itself.


Select the object with the Appearance, and edit the properties you want to update from the right panel. When editing, the asterisk (*) symbol appears next to the Appearance title and the text style changes to italics. This change notifies that the default Appearance has undergone some changes in the properties panel.

Now, click the Update button from the Appearance panel to update the appearances globally.


Select the object with the Appearance you want to detach, and click on Detach from the Appearance panel. This will leave the style and effect to the object but detach it from the global Appearance.


If you accidentally edit the prescribed appearances in Sketch and see that the Appearance title has turned italic and has an asterisk symbol, there is no need to worry. Click on the More drop-down menu from the right property panel and select Reset Style. This will immediately reset the layer style to the default prescribed Appearance.


Select the object with the Appearances applied and click the Create (+) button again to duplicate the Appearance. You can rename the duplicated Appearance at the same time.


Select the object with the Appearance that you want to rename. From the right panel under the Appearance panel, select More in the drop-down menu and click Rename Style to rename the Appearance.


Go to the Appearance section from the top left toolbar panel, select the Appearance you want to remove, then right-click and select Delete or press delete on your keyboard to delete your Appearance.

Hope you like these tips on how to use the Appearance feature in Sketch.