Work with layers

Access layers

Layers in Adobe XD is an adaptation of the layers in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop that you know and depend on, but are reimagined for UX designers. Only the layers that are associated with the artboard you are working on are highlighted, so your panel stays clean and uncluttered. You can view all the artboards in your document and immediately pan and zoom to a specific artboard from the Layers panel. Double-clicking an artboard icon contextually displays only the layers for that artboard. Reorder, rename, show/hide, and lock/unlock layers quickly and easily.

Access layers using the shortcut Cmd + Y (on Mac), or Ctrl + Y (on Windows), or click the  icon in the toolbar.

View Layers

Search within layers

You can search the Layers panel by layer names, or filter layers by text, shapes, and image categories. Search experience is optimized to show only relevant layers and artboards containing the keyword, without the layers structure (example-expanded groups) in the context of using Auto-Animate. Recent search keywords are temporarily saved in the filter dropdown for easy access, like in the Assets panel.

Search in Layers panel
Search in Layers panel
Filter Search by type
Filter Search by type

By default, each object in your project resides on its own layer. For example, when you draw a rectangle, a new layer for this rectangle is created. When you draw another rectangle, a separate layer, with the default name ‘Rectangle 2’ is created. 

When you group objects on the artboard, the layers corresponding to the grouped objects are also grouped in the Layers panel. When you combine objects using Boolean operations, the layers of objects are replaced with a single layer, with the name of the Boolean operation.

You can manage layers, for example, group, rename, duplicate, or export layers, using the Layers panel:

  • To group layers, multiselect layers, right-click, and pick Group from the context menu.
  • To rename a layer, double-click the name of the layer and type a new name. To continue editing the next layer or artboard name, press Tab.
  • To duplicate a layer, right-click the layer and select Duplicate.
  • To hide a layer, hover your mouse over the layer, and click . To show the layer, click . Hidden layers are not visible on the artboard.
  • To lock a layer, hover your mouse over the layer, and click . To unlock the layer, click the . Locked layers are excluded from all the editing operations that you perform in the artboard.
  • To export layers, select the layers, right-click, and select Export. Choose the export options in the dialog box that is displayed. 
  • To create a component using a layer or a group of layers, right-click the layer and select Make Component. For more information, see Work with components.
  • To delete a layer, right-click the layer and select Delete.

Note: You can manage artboards easily using the Layers panel. For example, if you are working with layers, press Esc, and the Layers panel switches to the artboard view. You can also right-click the artboard names in the Layers panel to copy, paste, duplicate, rename, delete, or export artboards.

Objects that are not on any artboard and are placed on pasteboard, are grouped under ‘Pasteboard’ in the Layers panel.

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