The Design Specs feature is an early look at improving the communication between designers and developers. A designer can generate a public URL in XD for sharing with a developer. On accessing the link, a developer can inspect and comment on the flows, measurements, and design styles.
To view a design spec, you need the following:
- A link to the design spec (that you receive from the designer)
- Desktop browser and Internet connection. For more information on supported browser versions, see System requirements.
Note: Mobile browsers are not supported/recommended for viewing design specs.
Design Spec links are public and accessible to anyone with a link. To make accessing Design Specs more seamless, effective as of March 21, 2018, viewing a published Design Specs no longer requires a sign-in with an Adobe ID.
For more information, see Change to Design Specs for Adobe XD.
This view of all the screens in the Design Specs is useful. It allows the developer to understand:
- The number of screens that need to be developed (useful for planning the development work).
- The sequence and flows in the Design Specs (useful for understanding the end-user workflow).
- The date when the Design Specs were last updated.
In this view, you can perform the following actions:
- Search for a specific screen by name and view it. If the screen is within the viewport, the screen is highlighted. If the screen is not within the viewport, the design spec scrolls to the screen.
- Hover the mouse over individual screens to see how they are connected to each other.
- Zoom and pan to view specific details. In UX flow view, after all the screens in the Design Specs are displayed in the viewport, you cannot pan further.
Zoom keyboard shortcuts:
- CMD/Ctrl + Mousewheel
- CMD/Ctrl + +/- keys to zoom
- CMD+0 to reset zoom
Pan keyboard shortcuts:
Space + click and drag, or Shift + arrow key (for a faster pan).
- Other keyboard shortcuts you can use:
- Set the focus on a screen, and use left and right arrow keys to go through the screens in the UX flow view.
- Press Enter to go to Spec view. Press Esc to return to UX flow view.
- Click the artboard to see the detailed view of the artboard.
- Click View Comments to view user comments on the Design Specs screen.
In-app help is available to guide you while using the Design Specs. Notifications appear at the bottom of the screen providing hints on the pan and zoom, the click to copy, and the retaining connections features.
The default view shows the screen details, colors, character styles, and targets used on the screen. You can use the collapsible arrow to expand and collapse the individual sections.
You can also click the artboard to view the artboard dimensions.
In the Properties panel located to the right of the screen, you can see the screen details, unique colors and character styles used on that screen, and the target artboard it is linked to. You can expand or collapse the listed options in the Properties panel. When you hover the mouse over the colors or the character styles on the right, you can see the instances where they have been used on the screen.
You can click View comments to view comments related to the artboard.
To copy a color or character style, click it.
From XD 10.0 release onwards, Design Specs has the same commenting features as Prototypes. You can comment on design specs, use a commenting pin to pin the exact location of the comment, and move the pin if necessary. When navigating a link, the comment and their responses are retained in context. A commenting notification email sent to the author provides a direct contextual link to the artboard. Your responses are reflected when the developer refreshes their browser.
You can also pin or move your comments to indicate specific areas in the artboard. To pin a comment, click Place a pin, and then click a specific location on the artboard. Then type in your comment, and click Submit to submit the comment.
You can also switch from a regular comment to a pinned comment. A commenting notification email provides a direct link to the artboard where a comment is made, and not just the home artboard.
XD assigns a number to every pinned comment. The comments in the comments panel also reflect these numbers, allowing designers to easily identify the context of the comment.
The author can view the comments and mark them as resolved when done. You can check your resolved comments by clicking View Resolved Comments. If you think your comment has been wrongly marked as resolved, you can click Move to Unresolved to keep the comment open.
You can change the color formats. So, for example, if you prefer to work in HSLA, use the drop-down list to convert the color format into HSLA. This change is persistent across the entire session - the same color formats are used when you view other screens.
You can inspect the measurements of elements on the screen. Select an element on the screen, and view its height and width co-ordinates.
To find out the spacing between objects, select the element, then hover the mouse over other elements on the screen to see the relative distances.
You can also inspect the properties of text on the screen. Select a line of text, and see its character styles. You can also copy the character styles, color values, and the content from the Design Specs.
Adobe XD is unit-less and focuses on the relationships between elements. So, for example, if you design an iPhone 6/7 artboard at 375x667 units, and it uses type with a 10 unit font size - that relationship remains the same, no matter what physical size your design is scaled to.
However, the Design Specs appends the default units like px, pt, and dp as per the platform to the base unitless measurements, so that you better understand the measurements with the platform you are developing for. You can also change the unit of measurements from one unit to another in the Design Specs.
If the designer chose to use layout grids in the design, you can view and inspect it when viewing a screen in Design Specs.
The values listed are the values set by the designer. If you hover over property labels, they are highlighted on the displayed screen.
To view layout grids, move the layout grid slider to the right. This option turns on the layout grids for all the screens in the Design Specs. To switch off layout grids, move the slider to the left. You can also control the transparency of the layout grid by moving the Opacity slider.
Before you publish the Design Specs link, ensure to leave the layout grids enabled in the artboards where you want the developer to view it. By default, if you have not used layout grids in your design, they do not appear in the Design Specs link.
In the Design Specs view, developers can inspect the overlay connections in the UX flow screen and call the overlay on top of the source screen or artboard.
When you hover the mouse over the artboards or when you Shift+click an artboard or screen, a dotted line connection appears in the UX flow to indicate that overlays have been applied.
To inspect the applied overlays, navigate to the Overlays section in the Properties panel and click the thumbnail in the Overlays section, or press Shift and click the hotspot in the Design Specs.
You can inspect and infer screen details, styles, and target information for the specific overlay that has been applied:
- Viewport size: Displays the dimensions of the visible area, which changes based on the size of the device used to access the page.
- Design size: Displays the design dimensions of the screen.
- Overlay position: Displays the position of the overlay with reference to the source screen on the base artboard in px, pt, and dp formats.
- Colors: Displays the colors used in RGBA, Hex, and HSLA formats.
- Character Styles: Displays the character styles in px, pt, and dp sizes. The format of the overlay position changes based on the character style you set.
- Targets: Displays information about the target artboards.
Press Esc or Close Overlay to revert to the base artboard.
To inspect the fixed elements in a design, click the pin icon in the upper-left corner of the Design Specs. This icon indicates that design elements have been fixed on the artboard.
To inspect hotspots in Design Specs, click the displayed artifact in the Overlays or the Target sections, or press Shift-click the hotspot in the Design Specs.
In the UX flow view, you can see an overview of all the screens in the spec. From there you can click individual screens and navigate through them.
At the bottom of the screen, click the Home icon to go to the Home screen. You can click the left and right arrows to move from one screen to the other.
If you click linked objects on the screen, you can see the target screen on the right. To navigate it, click the target screen.
To get back to UX flow view from the Spec view, press Esc on the keyboard.