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Developing Your DSM Documentation

This article references the new DSM, released for Early Access on May 5, 2020. Built on feedback from DSM customers, the new DSM offers a completely redesigned experience. Learn more about why we made the new DSM.

The DSM documentation site is the centralized web view for your design systems. It’s a place where designers, developers, and stakeholders can contribute to your living design system.

Accessing your design system

To access your DSM documentation site, sign in to InVision and, at the top of the page, click DSM.

In the center of the page, you'll notice a list of all your available design systems. To open a particular system, click its tile.

The design system will open to a cover page where you can add a cover image, as well as some documentation.

This image shows an example of the design system cover page.

At the top of the design system, there three primary options:

  • Foundations
  • Components
  • Tokens (coming soon!)

Throughout this guide, we’ll cover each of these in more detail.

Foundations

The Foundations section of your design system is where you can add colors and text styles from your associated Sketch file. You can also create free form documentation categories.

If you haven't yet synced a Sketch file to your design system, you'll need to do that before adding any colors or text styles.  To learn more, read these instructions: Syncing a Sketch file to DSM 

Colors

Colors are derived from Sketch layer styles, so it’s important that any colors you want to add to your design system are saved as layer styles. To learn more, check out our Sketch best practices.

To add colors from your Sketch library to DSM:

  1. Open your design system and, at the top of the page, click Foundations.
  2. In the left-hand navigation, under the Colors category, create a new page or select an existing one.
  3. In page body, click the Add colors button.
  4. In the left-hand Libraries menu, select a library.
  5. Click the color swatches you want to add. Alternatively, at the bottom of the modal, you can click Select all.
  6. At the bottom right, click the Add assets button.
This GIF demonstrates the steps for adding colors to the design system.

The colors will appear on the page in a table format. Using the toolbar at the top of the table, you can sort rows, hide columns, or add more colors. To manually reorder, select a specific row. To the left of the row, click the reorder control (This image is the icon users click in the DSM interface to adjust the order of rows.) and drag the row to a different position. To delete a selected row, click the X on the row’s right-hand side.

Typography

To add text styles from your Sketch library to DSM:

  1. Open your design system and, at the top of the page, click Foundations.
  2. In the left-hand navigation, under the Typography category, create a new page or select an existing one.
  3. In the page body, click the Add typography button.
  4. In the left-hand Libraries menu, select a library.
  5. Click the text styles you want to add. Alternatively, at the bottom of the modal, you can click Select all.
  6. At the bottom right, click the Add assets button.
This GIF demonstrates the steps for adding text styles to DSM.

The text styles will appear on the page in a table format. Using the toolbar at the top of the table, you can sort rows, hide columns, or add more text styles. To manually reorder, select a specific row. To the left of the row, click the reorder control (This image is the icon users click in the DSM interface to adjust the order of rows.) and drag the row to a different position. To delete a selected row, click the X on the row’s right-hand side.

Documentation

One of the unique features of DSM is the ability to add freeform documentation. Create brand guidelines, an introduction, or any other number of resources to enhance your design system.

If you want to create a new page exclusively for documentation, you’ll need to add that page in a category other than Colors or Typography. While you can certainly add documentation to a color or typography page, they will still respectively show options for adding colors and text styles.

To create a new documentation page:

  1. Open your design system and, at the top of the page, click Foundations.
  2. In the left-hand navigation, select or create a new category.
  3. In the appropriate category, click Add Page.
  4. Type a page name and press Enter.
This GIF demonstrates the steps for creating a new documentation page in DSM.

Once you’ve created the page, click in the large white space to begin adding content. When you begin a new line, a small toolbar will give you the option to add images, lists, or text blocks. After you have added some content, highlight the text to reveal a more robust editor for adding headings, creating links, and applying formatting.

This GIF demonstrates the steps for formatting your documentation in DSM.

Components

Components are the interactive building blocks used to create our product interfaces. They can range in complexity from simple components like buttons to more complex components like multi-step processes or cards.

Before you can add a component to DSM, make sure it is saved as a symbol in your original Sketch library.

If you haven't yet synced a Sketch file to your design system, you'll need to do that before adding any components.  To learn more, read these instructions: Syncing a Sketch file to DSM 

To add components to DSM:

  1. Open your design system on the DSM documentation site.
  2. At the top of the page, click Components.
  3. If you prefer, create a new category or folder. Within your chosen folder, click Add Page.
  4. Type the name of your component and press Enter.
  5. On the Design tab of the component page, click the Add components button.
  6. Select your symbols to be added as components, and click Add assets.
This GIF demonstrates the steps for adding components to DSM.

DSM components allow for incredibly robust documentation. In addition to using the standard text editor available for every element in your design library, you can:

Tokens

At the top right of your design system, you’ll notice the Tokens tab. This feature is not yet available but will be soon.

Design tokens are platform-agnostic variables that represent the look-and-feel of your brand and product. They constitute the atomic building blocks of your design system and can be used to define colors, text styles, spacing, and other property types. They provide the foundation for theming and design process automation. To view an example of design tokens, visit Salesforce’s Lightning Design System Design Tokens page.

Customizing your theme

If you are a DSM Enterprise customer, then you can fully customize your design system to match your brand guidelines. Add a logo and custom colors for titles, navigation items, backgrounds, and more.

To access the theme customization panel:

  1. Open your design system documentation site.
  2. At the bottom right of the page, click the settings icon (This image is of the Settings icon that Enterprise users click to customize a DSM theme.).
  3. Click Customize theme.
  4. After you’ve finished making your adjustments, click Save changes.
This GIF demonstrates the steps for customizing a DSM theme.

Learn something new

Getting Started Guides