There’s a part of the skill learning curve that’s deeply satisfying to me, which is when a tool becomes so familiar that I can work without actively thinking about the interface. I’d like to share some Figma tips that have helped me get faster and work with less resistance, with videos!
Selecting layers is one of the main interactions in Figma. When you’re starting out, you’ll spend a lot of time managing your selections, which can be tedious. Here are a few pointers that make selections easier and faster:
|macOS||CMD + Left Click|
|Windows||CTRL + Left Click|
This combo selects the inner-most nested layer under the cursor.
Sometimes there are too many layers to get a precise selection this way. That’s where the next combo really shines.
Select Layer Menu
|macOS||CMD + Right Click|
|Windows||CTRL + Right Click|
This combo reveals a menu to select the exact layer you want from all the layers under the cursor.
Select Children, Select Parent
|Select parent||Shift + Enter|
These combos are useful for quickly getting to the right layer depth within a complex component or frame before further refining your selection. They even work when you’ve selected multiple layers with different parents.
|macOS||CMD + A|
|Windows||CTRL + A|
This will select all layers at the same depth and within the same parent layer of the current selection. This is useful for selecting all siblings within a frame. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work if you have selected multiple layers with different parents.
You can also use Tab and Shift + Tab to select the next and previous sibling.
For more complex selections, the Select Layers plugin by Yuan Qing Lim is a great addition to your tool belt. This plugin has a suite of selection tools, such as selecting layers based on partial name matching, or selecting layers with similar properties like fill color or dimensions.
Nudging pixels is annoying and time-consuming. These combos will help you quickly align your layers without the frustration of finicky guide snapping:
|macOS||OPTION + W or A or S or D|
|Windows||ALT + W or A or S or D|
This will align the edges of the selected layers to the topmost, leftmost, bottommost, or rightmost layer in the selection. The keys are easy to remember because they represent the same shape as the arrow keys on a QWERTY keyboard. If you’re a PC gamer, you’re probably already familiar with this mapping!
|macOS||OPTION + V or H|
|Windows||ALT + V or H|
This combo will align the centers of your selected layers vertically or horizontally.
I use auto layout to help speed up my process (nudging pixels is the worst, remember?), but unfortunately there are no keyboard shortcuts for it, and Figma doesn’t have configurable shortcuts yet. However, there is a workaround.
Using a separate tool, it’s possible to map key combinations to menu items within an application. MacOS has this feature this natively, and Auto Hot Key offers a similar function for Windows.
By creating a plugin to add a few items to the menu, we can assign shortcuts to any action in the plugin. I recently published a plugin that adds several auto layout actions to the menu, so check it out!
That’s all the tips I have for now. Have fun getting speedy!