Artboards allow you to create fixed frames on Sketch’s infinite Canvas, but they’re completely optional.
If you’re creating a responsive web design you may want to design for different screen sizes, and each size could be contained within an Artboard. Or perhaps you’re designing multiple views of a mobile app. Artboards can serve as a handy container.
Artboards behave like a special kind of group. The main differences are that they are represented on the Canvas, you never have to double-click to view their contents, and they don’t resize to fit the contents inside.
To create an Artboard, choose Insert › Artboard from the toolbar or menu (or press A). The Inspector will reveal presets of common device, and icon sizes, as well as the ability to add your own.
Click on a preset to insert it into the Canvas, or click on the header of a group of Artboard presets to insert them all at once. With a layer selected, you also have the ability to create an Artboard to fit around the selection at the top of the preset list.
After you’ve inserted one Artboard, you want to insert more Artboards of that kind, you can immediately press Command-D (duplicate) until you have as many Artboards as you need.
To add a custom preset, click the add button at the bottom-right of the Inspector, and enter a name and dimensions. Click OK to confirm.
You can only click-and-drag an Artboard to move it, if it doesn’t contain any content. The reason for this is so you can select and move content, without accidentally moving your Artboard too.
To move your Artboard, and all the layers it contains, click on the Artboard title in the Canvas, and drag. Alternatively, if you click the Artboard’s name in the Layer List, you can then drag inside the Artboard to reposition it. With the Artboard selected, you can also use the position values in the Inspector to move it, or use the arrow keys to incrementally nudge it in a certain direction.
Artboards can be automatically resized to fit the height and width of the layers which sit inside it. Simply select your Artboard, and in the Inspector click the Resize to Fit button to resize it in a single action. Perfect for when you’re designing views on mobile that need extra height to scroll.
You can quickly jump between Artboards in your document by simply pressing Function-Left Arrow to move left or Function-Right Arrow to go right.
If you want to remove an Artboard, deleting by pressing Backspace will also delete the content within. If you just want to delete the Artboard only, choose Ungroup from the toolbar (or press Shift-Command-G).
Grids and Rulers
As each Artboard behaves as its own canvas, within Sketch’s infinite Canvas, they contain their own grids and rulers, which can be applied via the View pop-up menu in the toolbar. These will be independent to the Canvas’ rulers and grids.
To see a good example of multiple Artboards being used in action, check out the default templates we ship with Sketch. Choose File › New From Template in the menu. If you select the iOS App Icon template you’ll see Artboards for each of the common sizes.