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What if my Sketch file is too big for DSM?

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.

DSM design systems can be built within one or more Sketch libraries. In certain cases, large files may exceed the limitations of DSM. Every layer style, text style, and symbol in the file is referenceable in the design system documentation. Therefore, to help sustain performance, there’s a limit to the total objects per file.

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DSM will show an error message if the file’s sum total of these assets exceeds the maximum. This maximum is based on the complexity of each asset. (For example, a file with hundreds of symbols, dozens of layer styles, but thousands of text styles may exceed the limit.)

Splitting your design system by layer styles, text styles, and symbols will help you discover which group of assets is exceeding the limit. For more tips on structuring your Sketch file, check out our Sketch best practices.

Splitting a Sketch file

To split one Sketch file into multiple files, navigate to the Sketch menu bar and click File > Duplicate.

When duplicating, be sure to use the File > Duplicate option. This safely recreates document IDs so both Sketch and DSM recognize them as unique files. If you use another method for duplicating content—like copying and pasting—you could overwrite vital content in DSM.
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After creating the duplicate files, you can remove elements from each file until each asset is contained in only one file.

If you add these files as local Sketch libraries, you can link the libraries together by adding instances of styles and symbols from one file in another, creating a chain of linked libraries. In this way, the layer styles in one library can be used in a second library’s symbols.

Each of these files can then be uploaded to DSM.


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