Add overlays

Learn how to add overlay to simulate interactive slide effects.

Adobe XD allows you to stack content on top of another artboard, rather than duplicate it on multiple artboards, to simulate effects such as drop-down lists, slide-up keyboards, and more. 

Keyboard appears as overlay on artboard
Keyboard appears as overlay on artboard

  1. In Design mode, select a source artboard and the other artboard to overlay it. You can reuse an overlay artboard multiple times. 

  2. In Prototype mode, drag-and-drop the connector from the source artboard to the artboard with the overlay content. Click the connector to view the Interaction panel that appears in Property Inspector and set the following options:

    • Trigger: Select an option.
    • Action: Select Overlay. If you want to assign two actions in a single trigger such as Tap, set the first Action + button in the Property Inspector to Overlay , and set the second Action + button to a non-transitional action such as Audio playback or Speech playback.
    • Animation: Select the animation type. If you select Slide Up or Slide Down, XD automatically positions the overlay to the edge of the source artboard.
    • Easing: Select an option to simulate easing effects.
    • Duration: Enter the time duration. The maximum duration you can set between two transitioning artboards is five seconds. 
    Adding keyboard as overlay on source artboard
    Adding keyboard as overlay on source artboard

  3. To adjust the position of an overlay on the source artboard, click, drag, and drop the green position knob (+).

  4. To preview your overlays in supported browsers, cllck 

Nested overlays

Adobe XD does not support nested overlays where you apply an overlay over another overlay. In such scenarios, when you connect the first overlay artboard to another artboard, the first overlay is transitioned out before transitioning in the second overlay. 

Examples and sample files

Want to create interactive overlays using background blur effects? 

  1. Choose a source artboard and an overlay artboard with a background blur. For information on how to add background blur, see Work with blur effects in XD
  2. Switch to Prototype mode to wire the source artboard to the overlay artboard.
  3. Choose the following options from the Property Inspector: 
    • Trigger: Select Tap.  
    • Action: Select Overlay.
    • Animation: Select Dissolve. 
    • Easing: Select Ease Out.
    • Duration: Enter 0.2s.
  4. Wire as many different source artboards to the overlay artboard. 
  5. Use Desktop Preview to preview the effect.

For a detailed tutorial and downloadable sample files, see Create an interactive overlay.

Want to learn how to use overlays to create a slide-in drop-down list effect? Watch the tutorial at the end of this example and follow these steps:

  1. Choose a source artboard and an overlay artboard that has a drop-down list of items.  
  2. Switch to Prototype mode to wire the source artboard to the overlay artboard. 
  3. Choose the following options from the Property Inspector: 
    • Trigger: Select Tap.  
    • Action: Select Overlay.
    • Animation: Select Slide Right.
    • Easing: Select Ease Out effect.
    • Duration: Enter 0.3s.
  4. Wire as many different source artboards to the overlay artboard. 
  5. Use Desktop Preview to preview the effect.

Learn more

To learn more about overlays in XD, watch this video.
Viewing time: 10 minutes

You can also check out the XD community for more such tutorials and sample files.

Best practices

"Overlay is a very powerful feature that has many uses. The tasks that users are trying to perform are becoming increasingly complex, and overlays can really help to take off the pressure". Says Oliver Lindberg. Check out his blog on best practices for designing overlays.

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