Nested Symbols in Sketch 52

Nested Symbols Cover

Why should you create and reuse a symbol library?

  1. Ease of use – when you create a symbol that you can reuse and add to the team’s library it speeds up the workflow of the whole team, not just you.
  2. Speed – when it’s time to update some visuals on the UI, changing a button’s shape or colour will take seconds – and it will update on all instances that you have used in the file.
  3. Organization – naming and organizing everything into a common structure.

What are nested symbols?

Nested symbols are regular symbols that are made from other symbols that already exist in Sketch. Nested Symbols will open new possibilities to streamline your current workflow. Nested Overrides can override the Nested Symbols to other Symbols of the same size. This will let you create reusable components and stop reinventing the wheel each time when you design.

How to create nested symbols

You can place a Symbol inside another Symbol’s Artboard. Each nested symbol is different, in our case we will use an image and the new Data feature in Sketch 52, two text layers and a rating layer.

Nested Symbols Creation

When creating text layers symbols be sure to name them accordingly to what type of content this is. This way it will be much easier for you to recognize what kind of content needs to be filled in the overrides panel.


Giving symbols consistent names will make it easier for you to find it. Using the “/” in the name will help you organize the symbols in a menu.

Symbol Hierarchy

Making Symbols Recognizable

If you use emoji’s in front of the text layer you will be able to recognize everything more quickly. Start editing the layer name and hit Command + Control + Spacebar in order the Emoji panel to show up.

Naming with Emoji


The order in the layer panel will reflect in the Overrides panel. Make sure you organize it the way it represents hierarchy. Best way to do it from top to bottom.

Symbols Overrides

Nested Overrides

The components in a Nested Symbol can be easily overridden. With this power, you can change the Symbol with a different image, state, icon all in just one symbol.

You can also change the colour of the background, add and remove shadows, as long as it is a Symbol, anything is replaceable.

You can also hide text layers, all you need to do is hit Spacebar and then Return in the Overrides panel.

Hide text layers

You can also disable overrides. You can do that by locking the layer you want to hide from the layers panel, and it will be hidden in the Overrides panel. If you want to show it you can easily unlock it again and it will be visible.

Lock Sketch Symbol

You can also replace a symbol with another symbol, Sketch is smart enough to retain the overridden content. However, the downside is that you will have multiple Symbols that are similar. If changes are required you will spend more time updating the related Symbol.

Pro tips!

With the flexibility of Nested Symbols, you need to be aware and keep your Symbols organized and reusable. This way your design workflow will improve significantly.

Be sure to make the Text Layer in Symbol Fixed, it will make it align properly and retain it’s position when resizing.

Also, it will be hard to access the Symbols without the Symbol shortcut in the toolbar.