Learn how to use Linked Symbols across documents for enhanced productivity workflows.
Linked-Symbol-Concept

As design teams grow within organizations coupled with the ever-increasing design surfaces, designers need to collaborate to create consistent and scalable designs. With Linked Symbols, designers can share symbols across documents and ensure that they are always up to date.

Linked Symbols allow you to create and maintain a single source of truth for UI kits, sticker sheets or style guides, and use them in other Adobe XD documents. When you modify a Linked Symbol in the source document, XD notifies documents with instances of that Linked Symbol with those updates. From there, you can preview the changes and choose to accept or reject them.

Feature terminologies

 
Terminology Definition Visual indicator
Source document Original document with a Symbol created and saved. Regular Symbol
Destination document A secondary document which uses a Symbol from the source document. Linked Symbol
Local Symbol A Symbol that resides within the document. Each Symbol is self-represented with a green border around the object
Linked Symbol

A saved Symbol copied from the source document to the destination document.

Note: To paste a Linked Symbol, ensure that you have saved the Symbols in the source document.

On canvas - 
In the Assets panel - 
Linked Symbol update Notification that appears in the destination document when a Linked Symbol is updated in the source document. On canvas and in the Assets panel 
Broken link Symbol A Linked Symbol that is not saved in the source document or has broken or missing links. For more information, see Resolve and relink missing symbols. On canvas and in the Assets panel  

Create a linked symbol

Linked symbol copied from source document to the destination document
Linked symbol copied from source document to destination document

To create a Linked symbol:

  1. Copy an existing Symbol from the saved source XD document and paste it into the destination document.

    Create a Linked Symbol
    Create a Linked Symbol
  2. If a Symbol does not exist, perform any one of the following actions:

    • Right-click the object and select Make Symbol.
    • Select the object and press Command + K (on Mac), or Ctrl + K (on Windows).
    • Select the object and click + in the Symbols library in the Assets panel.
  3. The Symbol pasted in the destination document is a Linked Symbol indicated with an  icon on the canvas and   icon in the Assets panel.

Override a linked symbol

While you can edit the appearance properties for Linked Symbols in the source document, you can only modify the text and bitmap content for Linked Symbols instances in the destination document.

To push overrides to all instances of a Linked Symbol, right-click Linked Symbol, and select Push Overrides. The text and bitmap content of that Linked Symbol instance propagates to all other instances. You can also apply overrides to specific parts of a nested Linked Symbol.

If you want to push overrides to all documents with Linked Symbols, select the Symbol in the source document, and click Push Overrides. By doing so, the overrides of that symbol propagates to all other Linked Symbol instances in the destination documents.

Push-Override

Edit a linked symbol

You can edit Linked Symbols appearance properties from the source document. To edit a Linked Symbol in the source document:

  1. Right-click the Linked Symbol in the Assets panel or on canvas and select Edit in Source Document

  2. Modify the appearance properties in the source document. The saved appearance of the properties propagates to the destination document.

    Edit a linked symbol
    Edit a Linked Symbol in the Assets panel
    Edit_canvas
    Edit a Linked Symbol on canvas

Preview linked symbol updates

When a Linked Symbol is updated in the source document, the destination document receives an update notification indicated by a blue badge  icon in the Assets panel.

To preview the Linked Symbol updates, hover the mouse over the  icon in the Assets panel to preview the updates in the Assets panel and view the modified date and source document details.

Preview Linked Symbol updates
Preview Linked Symbol updates

Accept linked symbol updates

If you want to accept the updates for a Linked Symbol to be applied to all instance of that Linked Symbol in the designation document:

 

  1. Click the blue update  icon or right-click and select Update from the context menu.

  2. For multiple selective updates, select the Linked Symbols you want to update, right-click, and select Update.

  3. To accept all updates at once, click Update all in the Assets panel.

    Batch update all for Linked Symbols
    Batch update all for Linked Symbols

    A. Single update for Linked Symbols B. Batch update for Linked Symbols 

Convert a linked symbol to a local symbol

Convert a Linked Symbol to a local symbol if you want to experiment and change the properties for a Linked Symbol without impacting its instances in other documents.

If you want to edit the appearance properties of Linked Symbol without impacting other documents with that same Linked Symbol, convert the Linked Symbol to a local Symbol. You can edit or override the properties of a local Symbol and updates made to a local Symbol is confined to its own document.

To convert a Linked Symbol to a local Symbol, right-click the Linked Symbol in the Assets panel and select Make Local Symbol

Nota:

If you convert a Linked Symbol to a local Symbol, you no longer receive notifications to changes made to the Symbol in the source document. Other XD documents with the Linked Symbol continue to receive updates.

Convert Linked Symbol to a local Symbol
Convert Linked Symbol to a local Symbol

Unlink a linked symbol

To make style changes to a Linked Symbol instance without impacting other instances in the same document, right-click the Linked Symbol instance, and select Unlink Symbol. If changes are made to that Linked Symbol in the source document, Linked Symbol continues to receive update notifications.

To unlink a Linked Symbol instance, right-click the Linked Symbol instance, and select Unlink Symbol.

Unlink a Linked Symbol
Unlink a Linked Symbol

Delete a linked symbol

To delete instances of a Linked Symbol in the destination document, right-click the Symbol in the Assets panel, and select Delete.

Deleting a Linked Symbol
Deleting a Linked Symbol

Share a source document with linked symbols

To share the source document with other designers, store the source document on a file sharing service such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or a shared network drive. You can invite designers to edit or consume Symbols from the source documents and receive update notifications when those documents are updated.

Resolve and relink missing linked symbols

You can organize their source documents, rename, or move the existing Linked Symbol to another document. In such cases,  icon indicates a broken Linked Symbol.

A Linked Symbol is broken due any of these reasons:

  • The source XD document is moved.
  • A Linked Symbol in the original document is deleted.
  • The source XD document is deleted or renamed.
  • The original document is off the network.

To resolve Linked Symbols with a missing link, hover on the missing link icon to learn the reason behind the broken Symbol.

For information on how to fix broken links, see Troubleshooting linked symbols in Adobe XD.

To relink Linked Symbols, click the missing link  icon on the Symbol in the Assets panel. Right-click the Symbol and select Relink.

Relink missing Linked Symbols
Relink missing Linked Symbols

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