Work with Creative Cloud Libraries in XD

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Looking for information on using Creative Cloud Libraries to create and share design systems in XD? You're in the right place!

Creative Cloud Libraries help your team to centrally manage and distribute design and brand systems assets at scale.

Start by curating your sticker sheet with a set of components and styles that constitute design and brand system in an XD cloud document. When ready to share those reusable assets with your broader team, publish your sticker sheet cloud document as a library and invite your teams, with the right set of permissions.

Once your team accept the library invitations, they can reuse assets from that library and be in sync with any future library updates.

Why use Creative Cloud Libraries?

Meet Natalia, owner of a design library


"As the owner of a design library, I want to publish my design assets and components to a library and invite others to consume the design system library."

Meet Pedro, consumer of a design library


"As the consumer of a design library, I want to seamlessly reuse the shared assets from the library and be notified when Natalia modifies them."

Sounds familiar? If you want to publish all assets and components to a library and invite others to consume your design systems from XD, look no further! 

Before you proceed

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Be familiar with these concepts in XD:

Publish and share linked libraries

To build and distribute a design system through libraries, start by curating your design system assets (colors, character styles, and components) in the Document Assets panel of your source cloud document.

Once you define your design system assets, publish those assets as a library linked to your source document. Share them with your team to reuse them consistently across all your XD projects and other Creative Cloud apps.

Publish a linked library

Publish a linked library
Publish a linked library

To publish a linked library, follow these steps:

  1. Click Libraries in the toolbar and open the Document Assets panel view. 
  2. Click Publish as a library   to open the Libraries manager.
  3. In the Libraries manager, click Publish. Alternatively, click Create new and then click Publish linked library.

The published library contains all the assets in the Document Assets panel of your source document.

 You can add assets to a linked library only from its source document but can consume the assets in any Creative Cloud apps. If you choose Create new Create empty library, you get a regular Creative Cloud library not linked to the cloud document. You can add assets to a regular Creative Cloud library from any Creative Cloud app.

Create a linked or empty library
Create a linked or empty library

Share a library

Share a library
Share a library from the Libraries manager

  • Click Share and add the team members with whom you want to share the library.
  • Set Can Edit to allow your team members to modify the library content. Set Can View to provide them a read-only version of the library. 

Once you invite your team members, they are prompted to accept the library invitation through an email or their Creative Cloud desktop app.

Best practices

  • If you want your library collaborators to have access to the published source cloud document, ensure to invite them to the cloud document. 

  • If you have multiple team members responsible to maintain and update the published library, ensure to invite them to your cloud document and to the published library with Can Edit permissions.

Things to watch out for

  • There can only be one linked library for a source cloud document. When you publish a linked library, your document coeditors don't get any notifications. So, if you don't invite them to your linked library, a coeditor might end up publishing another linked library from the source document. Publishing another linked library will delink your library from the document. See Relink libraries.
  • When you publish a library for the first time, depending on its size, might take a few minutes to publish. You can track the progress of the library publishing from the progress indicator in the libraries manager. 
  • When you first accept the library invitation, it might take few minutes to sync the library. Click the cloud icon in your Creative Cloud desktop app to check the library sync status. Once the library is fully synced, you can access it from XD and other Creative Cloud apps.

Consume libraries

If you have accepted the library invite, you can start using assets from the library in XD and in other Creative Cloud apps. To use assets from the library in XD, follow the steps below:

Find your shared library

Browse your shared library

In the Libraries panel view, find your shared library.

 You can choose to show some libraries in the Libraries panel view, and hide others.

Consume assets from the shared library

Click your library

Click the library you want to consume assets from.

Apply colors or character styles

Apply color and character styles

You can apply colors or character styles to objects or components on canvas, and drag components to canvas that become linked assets.

 View linked assets in your document

Switch to the Document Assets panel view to see all the local and linked assets

Switch to the Document Assets panel view that shows all the local and linked assets used from one or multiple libraries.

Show or hide libraries in the Libraries panel

You can choose to show some libraries in the Libraries panel view and hide others:

  1. Open the Libraries manager:
    • Document Assets panel view: Click Publish as a library   at the top of the panel.
    •  Libraries panel view: Click or Manage libraries.
  2. Use the toggles to show or hide the libraries.
  3. Close the Libraries manager.
Show or hide libraries in the Libraries panel view
Show or hide libraries in the Libraries panel view

Update published libraries

Once you publish a library from an XD cloud document and then modify the assets in your source cloud document, XD notifies you about changes made since you last published the library in the following ways:

  • An in-app message after you make changes to a published library to ease the process of updating the library. 
  • Blue badge on Publish as a library   next in the Document Assets panel indicates that an update is ready to be published.

When you are ready to publish updates to your library, use any of these options:

Update from the in-app message

Update your library from the in-app message

Click Update now in the in-app message that notifies you that an update is ready to be published.

Update from the Libraries manager

Update your library from the Libraries manager

Click Publish as a library   in the Document Assets panel view to open the Libraries manager. Click Update to push the latest updates to your team.

Preview and accept library updates

What happens when you update and publish libraries? Your fellow designers using those updated linked assets in their design projects receive the following notifications:

  • Document Assets panel view: A blue badge  on the linked assets that are pending updates, as well as the Update all button at the bottom of the panel.
  • Libraries panel view: A blue badge  next to Document Assets indicating the number of updates that are pending in your document.

Preview updates from the Document Assets panel view or the design canvas

Preview updates from the Document Assets panel

Hover over the blue update icon  on linked colors, character styles, and components.

 Update all linked colors, character styles, and components within the document

Update your document's linked assets

Click the blue update icon or click Update at the bottom of the Document Assets panel view. 

Search and filter assets

As your document assets and libraries grow in size, you can use search and filter features.

In the Document Assets panel view, enter the search term to search for assets in your document. In the Libraries panel view, search for assets across all your active libraries.

XD provides these three filtering mechanisms to narrow down the assets that you would like to use in your project:

  • Asset type: filter by assets types (colors, character styles, or components) that you would like to see. Filter results show both local and linked assets.
  • Local assets: If you want to use only the local document assets, select the local assets filter.
  • Linked assets source: If you have linked assets from multiple cloud documents or libraries and you want to use assets from a specific source,  select the desired library or linked source document from the filter.
Search and filter assets
Search and filter assets

Convert linked assets to local assets

To experiment and change certain styles or properties for a linked asset without impacting others who are using it in their documents, you can convert your linked asset to a local asset.

  1. In the Document Assets panel view, select the linked asset.
  2. Right-click the asset and select Make local.

Things to watch out for

  • If you convert a linked asset to a local asset, you no longer receive notifications to changes made to that linked asset in the library. Other XD documents with that linked asset will continue to receive updates.

  • Make local works when you use an asset from a library, or copy/paste a linked component across documents, or when you have a broken linked asset.

Convert linked assets to local assets
Convert linked assets to local assets

Relink previously published libraries

Your linked library gets delinked from the source document when a coeditor lacking permissions to the library publishes another linked library from that document.

Once delinked, your library will no longer receive any updates from the source document. As a result, any consuming documents that use linked assets from your library won't receive any updates.

To check if your library is delinked from the source document, open the Libraries manager in the source document. If you get the Publish button instead of the Up to date status, it is delinked.

 When you publish a linked library, ensure that you invite all your document coeditors to the library as viewers or editors.

Relink library with the source document

To relink your library with the source document:

  1. Click the three dots next to Publish and click Relink. Alternatively, click Publish, and then in the You don't have access to the existing library dialog, click Relink.
  2. In the Select library to relink dialog, you see all the libraries with edit permissions previously linked from that document. Choose the library you want to relink to, and then click Relink.
  3. Click Continue.

The library you chose is now relinked and in sync with the source document. As a result, all the consuming documents linked with the library start receiving any future library updates.

Click Relink to link the source document to a previously published linked library
Click Relink if you want to link to a previously published library

Select a library to relink
Select a library to relink

Unpublish libraries

If you decided that you no longer need a library, you can unpublish it from the Libraries manager. To unpublish a library:

  1. Open the Libraries manager from the source document of the library.
  2. Click the three dots next to Share, and then click Unpublish.

When unpublished, any linked assets that were previously taken from this library will become broken links indicated by a red badge. You can either delete those broken assets or convert them to local assets.

Things to watch out for

  • If you unpublish a library and later republish it, broken linked assets will not relink to that library.

Consume assets from libraries created in Creative Cloud apps

XD makes it easy for you and your teams to use assets created in different Creative Cloud apps like Photoshop and Illustrator. Whether you created an inspirational library with a collection of graphics, or Adobe Stock images, or a library with a collection of reusable colors and character styles that are not linked to a source document, you can reuse those assets in XD.

Consume assets from a regular Creative Cloud Library created from XD

Consume assets from a regular Creative Cloud Library created from other Creative Cloud apps

When you drag graphics from libraries to your designs, they become linked graphics indicated by the badge. Any modifications made to that linked graphic in Photoshop or Illustrator will automatically update all linked graphic instances in your design. To unlink a linked graphic, click the link badge or use the context menu to unlink it. 

To create a similar library in XD with a collection of colors, character styles, or graphics that are not linked to your document, in the Libraries manager, choose Create new > Create empty library.

Things to watch out for

  • You can only add components to libraries by publishing your document as a library.
  •  You cannot edit colors or character styles in your libraries.
  • When adding 3D transform graphics to a library, the 3D transformation is lost.

Best practices

  • For more control on pushing library asset updates, allowing your team to preview and accept those updates, and ensuring your team is in sync with the latest changes, we recommend publishing a linked library from a document as outlined in this article.

Learn more

Watch this video to learn how to work with libraries in XD.

Viewing time: 6 minutes.

What's next?

We've got you started on how to publish and share libraries, take a step forward and learn how to share design specs with your developers so that they can inspect your designs.

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