Learn how to create repeating elements in Adobe XD using Repeat Grid.

While designing for web or mobile apps, there is often a need to define repeating elements or content lists. However, it can be time consuming to create these elements or update when there are design changes.

The Repeat Grid feature changes a group of elements to a repeating element. You can simply pull the element in any direction and the grid repeats. When you modify any style of an element, the change is replicated in all the elements of the grid. For example, if you change the image size in one of the elements, all images in the grid are resized automatically.

If you have a text element in the grid, only the style of the text element is replicated and not the content. So, you can style text elements quickly while keeping the content different in the grid elements.

You can replace placeholder text in a repeat grid by dragging a text file onto the grid.

Create a repeat grid

At its core, a Repeat Grid is a special type of group. You can create a Repeat Grid by selecting an object or a group of objects and convert them to a Repeat Grid.

  1. Design the base element that you want to repeat - for example, a combination of image thumbnails and text.

  2. Select the elements you want to repeat.

  3. Convert the selection to a Repeat Grid by clicking the button in the Property Inspector or by using the keyboard shortcut Cmd + R (Mac), or Ctrl + R (Windows).

    Large handles appear on the boundary of the element.

    Handles for repeating an element or a group of elements
    Handles for repeating an element or a group of elements
  4. To repeat the element in a vertical grid, drag the handle at the bottom of the element. To repeat the element in a horizontal grid, drag the handle at the right of the element.

    Horizontal grid with repeating element
    Horizontal grid with repeating element
    Vertical grid with repeating elements
    Vertical grid with repeating elements
  5. To select elements in a grid to edit, double-click the grid.

To ungroup the grid elements and work on them separately, select the grid and click Ungroup Grid in the Property Inspector.

You can access the Repeat Grid’s component elements by double clicking inside the group.

After you make your changes, exit the edit context by pressing the Escape key.

Note:

You can also access the component elements by drilling down into the element in the Layer panel or by directly selecting it.

Adjust the padding between two elements in a repeat grid

To adjust the padding between two elements in the grid, hover over the gap between the elements. When the cursor changes to double arrows, drag to increase or decrease the padding.

Vertical grid with repeating elements
Vertical grid with repeating elements

Work with text in a repeat grid

You can use text in multiple ways in a Repeat Grid. You can either update each individual instance of a text object in a Repeat Grid, or you can choose to drag a pre-filled .txt document to a Repeat Grid and have the contents of the text file automatically populate the text objects in a Repeat Grid. 

Update individual text elements in a Repeat Grid

  1. Cmd + Click (Mac) or Ctrl + Click (Windows) a text object in your Repeat Grid to select it. 

  2. To edit the text element, double-click it and change the text.

Note:

Changes to the content are not applied to other text objects in a Repeat Grid. However, any style applied to the text object applies to all text objects.

Drag a return-separated text file to your text object in a Repeat Grid

You can replace the placeholder text in a repeat grid by dragging a text file onto the grid.

  1. Create a text file with the extension .txt. You can create this using Mac’s TextEdit or Windows’ Notepad (save as .txt), or any other text editor. Separate each line of data with a return.

  2. Drag the text file on to the repeat grid.

    Dragging a text file over an object in a Repeat Grid
    Dragging a text file over an object in a Repeat Grid

    The repeat grid is populated in the same sequence of the text as in the text file. If there are more grids than the lines of text in the file, the sequence repeats.

Work with images in a repeat grid

With images, you can build repeated patterns of objects, where the image fill of an object is repeated in a pattern that you define.

You can choose to create an image fill pattern by dragging images one-by-one into an object, or select multiple images and then drag them to an object on the repeat grid.

Dragging image files over an object in a Repeat Grid
Dragging image files over an object in a Repeat Grid

Replace images in a repeat grid

To replace the images in the grid, open Finder or File Explorer, and navigate to the location where you have stored the images for your project. Select all the images that you want to appear in the grid, and drag-and-drop them onto the target object within the repeat grid.

The older images are replaced with the new images, which are resized automatically.

Create interactions from a repeat grid

Wire the entire Repeat Grid for a single interaction

  1. In Design mode, create a second artboard in your file using the Artboard tool (A).

  2. Switch to Prototype mode by clicking the Prototype tab or by using the Ctrl + Tab keyboard shortcut.

  3. Select the Repeat Grid in your first artboard. A connector with an arrow appears on the right side of the object at its midpoint.

  4. Drag the connector to the next artboard. Select your transition options in the pop-up, then press Escape or click outside the pop-up to dismiss it.

  5. Preview by either pressing the Play button in the upper right corner of the application frame or by using the keyboard shortcut Cmd + Enter (Mac) or Ctrl + Enter (Windows). Click anywhere over the Repeat Grid to play the interaction.

Wire a single element of a Repeat Grid for an interaction

  1. Select an object within the Repeat Grid.

  2. Drag the connector on the right of the rectangle and drag it to the artboard you want to link. Select your transition options in the pop-up, then press Escape, or click outside the pop-up to dismiss it.

  3. Preview by either pressing the Play button in the upper right corner of the application frame or by using the keyboard shortcut Cmd + Enter (on Mac) or Ctrl + Enter (on Windows). Click the object to verify the interaction.

Create a group of elements within the Repeat Grid and create an interaction from the group

You can also create a group of objects within your Repeat Grid, and then create interactions from that group.

  1. Select an object in your Repeat Grid and then Shift-click other objects to add it to your selection.

  2. After selecting the objects, right-click, and select Group from the context menu. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Cmd + G (Mac) or Ctrl + G (Windows) to group the objects.

  3. Switch to Prototype mode. Drag the connector from the group to the artboard you want to link.

  4. Preview by either pressing the Play button in the upper right corner of the application frame or by using the keyboard shortcut Cmd + Enter (on Mac) or Ctrl + Enter (on Windows). Click the group to verify the interaction.

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