Art Imitates Life

More Art than you should ever need.

I began using Bohemian Coding’s Sketch almost exclusively for web design a few years ago. It’s lighter and faster than Photoshop, has a stripped-down set of features that meet my needs, and has a workflow that allows me to get work done faster. And at $99, it’s quite affordable (and I do like that I pay once, rather than every month).

Sketch has a very active community of plugin developers, building things as simple as a random date generator, to more advanced tools, like GitHub integration and Invision’s Craft. As with Photoshop, the plugins take a great tool and supercharge it.

I have one source of irritation, though. I run Sketch on my work machine and my home machine (which is permitted by the EULA, of course). I ran into an issue of plugin parity between the two machines. I would find a useful plugin at work, start to depend on it, and then come home and reach for it on a project only to realize that I hadn’t installed it at home yet. I did a bit of checking online, and saw that no one had published a method for sharing Sketch plugins between machines. So I adapted the method I use to keep Sublime Text settings synched using Dropbox and gave it a shot. It works like a charm. I’ll walk you through it.

Initial set up

First, shut down Sketch. I don’t want to be responsible for wormhole implosions or the like.

Now, open terminal. Not a terminal user? It’s not too scary, and can be quite useful for some things.

When you copy the code below, don’t include the $. I included it to remind you that it’s a terminal command.

You can do this wherever you like in your Dropbox folder. I use <dropbox location of your choice> below as a placeholder for the folder you decide to use. You’re free to put it in the Dropbox root directory. You can do whatever you like. This is 2016.

  1. At the prompt in terminal, Create the sync directory in Dropbox (I called mine sketch3)
    $ mkdir ~/Dropbox/<dropbox location of your choice>/sketch3/
  2. Move your Sketch Plugins directory to Dropbox with these two terminal commands
    $ cd ~/Library/Application\ Support/com.bohemiancoding.sketch3
    $ mv Plugins/ ~/Dropbox/<dropbox location of your choice>/sketch3/
  3. Now, create a symbolic link, or symlink your Dropbox directory locally (What’s a symlink?)
    $ ln -s ~/Dropbox/<dropbox location of your choice>/sketch3/Plugins

All your Plugins folder are belong to Dropbox.

Synching other computers

As before, shut down Sketch.

  1. Remove the existing Plugins directory with these two terminal commands
    $ cd ~/Library/Application\ Support/com.bohemiancoding.sketch3
    $ rm -rf Plugins
  2. Symlink your Dropbox directory locally
    $ ln -s ~/Dropbox/<dropbox location of your choice>/sketch3/Plugins

Now, when you pop open your Sketch directory (located here), you’ll see the symlinked Plugins folder

Try installing a plugin on one of your machines (give Checkpoints or Runner a try). You should see that it’s available on both machines now.

Now go get some work done!

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