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What Are DSM Managed Libraries?

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.

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.

To 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 this article: 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. In the DSM Sketch plugin panel above the left-hand layers list, click the upload icon (This image is the Upload icon that users click, in the DSM Sketch plugin panel, to begin uploading a Sketch file to DSM on the web.).
    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 (This image is the Upload icon that users click, in the DSM window, to upload a specific design system.). If it's the first document added, you can alternatively click the Upload Sketch document button.
  4. Click the upload button (This image is the Upload button that users click to confirm that the Sketch file should be uploaded to DSM.).
This GIF demonstrates the steps for uploading a Sketch file to DSM.

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.

In 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 (dsm-plugin-panel-upload-icon.png).
  2. Beneath the preferred design system, click Add all to Sketch.
This image shows the button, labeled Add All to Sketch, that users click to add a managed DSM library to Sketch.
Once 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 then appear as Sketch libraries with (DSM) appended to the end of the library name.

This image shows how DSM libraries will look in Sketch.

To show or hide these libraries, navigate to Sketch > Preferences and click the Libraries tab.

Updating managed libraries

When a new design system version is released by editors, the DSM Sketch plugin notifies users. They can then quickly update to the latest design system version and its managed libraries.

This GIF demonstrates the steps for updating to the newest version of a design system.

Users can also see if their working document is out of date with the latest design system assets via the native Sketch notification. They will be able to selectively apply changes to each of the documents.

This GIF demonstrates how to use the in-app notification, within Sketch, to check the latest design system assets that are available.

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

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