What are DSM-managed libraries?
  • 03 Feb 2023
  • 3 Minutes to read
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What are DSM-managed libraries?

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Article Summary

This guide references the new DSM. Built on customer feedback, the new DSM offers a completely redesigned experience. Learn more about why we made the new DSM.

With DSM, design system admins and editors can upload Sketch files to a design system. Once uploaded, these files become DSM-managed libraries.

With managed libraries, you can:

  • Distribute reusable assets to designers at scale by using DSM roles and permissions
  • Create design system documentation using dynamic content (symbols, text styles, colors) from any managed library
  • Connect design assets to coded assets and surface them in Inspect for developers

This article focuses on the power of distributing reusable assets to designers at scale, using DSM’s roles and permissions.

Uploading a Sketch file

To begin developing your design system, you’ll need to upload one or more Sketch files that contain all your assets.

TipTo get the most out of your DSM experience, we recommend applying a certain structure to your Sketch file. For more information on how to best structure a Sketch file for uploading to DSM, check out our best practices for using Sketch with DSM.

To upload a Sketch file:

  1. Open the Sketch file you want to use as the basis for your design system.
  2. Above the left-hand layers list, click the DSM plugin.
    Note: Depending on whether or not you've previously uploaded a document, the plugin panel will show either Upload document or Push changes.
  3. In the DSM window, next to your preferred design system, click the upload icon (). If it's the first document added, you can alternatively click the Upload Sketch document button.
  4. Click the upload button ().
Adding a file as a DSM managed library in Sketch

Editors can continue to work on their original Sketch files even after they’ve been uploaded to a design system. Every time the DSM plugin detects that the working file has changed, it will prompt editors to push these new changes to DSM.

NoteIn the future, editors will have the ability to review these changes before pushing them.

Adding managed libraries to Sketch

Once a Sketch document is uploaded to a design system, DSM users will be able to add them to Sketch as libraries using the DSM plugin.

To add managed libraries to Sketch:

  1. In the DSM Sketch plugin panel above the left-hand layers list, click the upload icon ().
  2. Beneath the preferred design system, click Add all to Sketch.
NoteOnce you add one managed library to Sketch, any subsequent libraries uploaded by you (or other admins and editors) will be added automatically. If you remove and re-upload a library, it will also be automatically added to Sketch.

These managed libraries will appear as Sketch libraries with (DSM) appended to the end of the name. They can be used just as you would any other linked Sketch library. DSM will keep your managed libraries up to date, ensuring you have the most accurate assets.

Using versions in Sketch

At any time, you can check which version of a design system you’re using via the DSM plugin. When a new design system version is released by editors, the DSM Sketch plugin will notify you. You can then quickly update to the latest design system version and its managed libraries.

Updating to the most recent version of a DSM library

You can also check if your working document is out of date with the latest design system assets via the native Sketch notification. You’ll be able to selectively apply changes to each of the documents.

Native Sketch notification to update a DSM library component

To manually switch design system versions:

  1. Above the left-hand layers list, open the DSM plugin.
  2. To the right of your design system, click the version drop-down.
  3. Next to the preferred version, click Switch.

When you switch to a different version of the design system, all managed libraries will be replaced in Sketch. This could also trigger Sketch’s notification for available library updates.

Switching library versions in the new DSM tool in Sketch

Removing managed libraries from DSM

To remove a managed library from DSM:

  1. Open the DSM tool in Sketch.
  2. Locate the design system you'd like to update, and ensure you have the Draft version selected.
  3. Click Managed libraries.
  4. Next to the name of the library you'd like to remove, click the More icon and select Remove from Draft.
  5. In the confirmation panel, click Remove.

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