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Adobe XD Release May 2019: Design systems, components, and so much more

8 days ago from , Adobe XD

Hey everyone,

We’re incredibly excited to announce the biggest update to Adobe XD yet with our May 2019 release. This version of XD is jam-packed with new capabilities unique to XD, as well as some of the top requested features from our community.

With this release, we’re helping you create and maintain design systems in XD, create reusable design elements with components and override specific instances, prototype using keyboards and gamepad devices (with support for Xbox One and DualShock 4 controllers), use additional precision design features including artboard guides and a polygon drawing tool, and much more!

Download XD or update to the latest version to check out what’s new: https://www.adobe.com/products/xd.html

You can also tune into Adobe Live to learn more: https://behance.net/live/adobelive. We’re streaming from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM PDT Tuesday, May 14 through Thursday, May 16. You can also catch the replays at the link above.

Were you hoping for something that didn’t make it into this release? Submit or upvote a feature request for XD on UserVoice: https://adobexd.uservoice.com/

We’d love to hear what you think about this update! Please, leave questions, comments, or suggestions below.

Thank you,

Mike from the XD Team

31 comments

  • Ryan Hicks, 7 days ago

    Certainly some great features in this release. Starting to really be a competitor to sketch and figma. The gamepad and keyboard triggers are pretty cool as well as the component overrides.

    10 points
  • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, 7 days ago

    We’d love to hear what you think about this update!

    I don’t want to be consistently negative about XD updates, but I honestly don’t know how you’re proud of this work. Let’s take a look at the new guides feature. There are many missed opportunities. Here’s some situations XD’s guides don’t cater for (please feel free to correct me if I’ve made any mistakes):

    • Can’t create guides when you can’t see the artboard left or top edge.
    • Can’t position to anything other than whole pixel increments (no guides at 10.5px, for example).
    • No way to create or edit guides by typing in values.
    • No way to see or use guides in prototyping mode.
    • No way to create guides on many artboards at once.
    • No way to copy guides between artboards (this seems like it’s there, but not implemented yet?).
    • No way to copy guides between documents (this seems like it’s there, but not implemented yet?).
    • No way to clear guides (seems like it’s there, but not implemented yet?).
    • No way to change guide colour. Good luck if you’re designing something that’s close to light blue. They’re pretty hard to see on white, too.
    • No way to create lots of guides at once, like GuideGuide or Photoshop’s New Guide Layout.
    • Guides are drawn offset by 0.5pt left and up, which means they don’t accurately show where the guide is placed (example of a rectangle with guides snapped to the edges).
    • No way to know a guide’s position without moving it, which… moves it.

    I just don’t know how this feature could make it into production without catering for most of those use cases. Adobe’s other products already have good solutions for many of those items. I have plenty of other thoughts, but that’s enough negativity for now.

    9 points
    • , 7 days ago

      Thanks for the feedback. The XD team pushes for rapid time to market but we also release monthly and expect many of these features to be iterative.

      I've passed this to the team that just released guides and we can start including some of these use cases in our roadmap.

      5 points
      • Scott SavarieScott Savarie, 4 days ago

        I hope you left out the part about them not being proud of their work. They should be proud, shipping software ain't easy! Great work.

        9 points
        • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, 4 days ago

          There’s no prizes given for shipping something inadequate.

          1 point
          • Scott SavarieScott Savarie, 4 days ago

            Nor are there for not shipping at all.

            9 points
            • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, 4 days ago

              Very true.

              Given the choice, and given there’s only one opportunity to make a first impression, I’m all for taking the time to get things right.

              2 points
      • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, 6 days ago

        Thanks for passing on the feedback.

        1 point
    • Andrei GANCI, 5 hours ago

      Hi Marc, thanks for the candid feedback.

      I agree that there are sensible improvements we can make in the guides feature. We are confident though, that even with some of the use-cases you mentioned not being covered, it still adds value to designers workflows as is. We don't want to keep this functionality unreleased for an extra 2-3 months while still working on those kinks when designers can derive sensible value from the feature today!

      With regards to copy pasting guides between artboards/documents and clear guides - that functionality does exist and is implemented (via the View>Guides Menu).

      We are actively working on addressing some of your feedback soon, namely guide creation when zoomed in and showing the guide position (without moving it).

      I'm curious what are your use-cases for guides being positioned at fractional values (10.5px) - what are the scenarios where those would be helpful for you?

      And the last thought ... I actually believe that us not shying away to do things differently (guides without rulers, in this example) and then having this sort of constructive conversations will result in better tools for designers in the long term.

      Andrei Ganci (Product Manager - Adobe XD)

      0 points
      • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, 1 hour ago

        Thanks for the reply, Andrei.

        We don't want to keep this functionality unreleased for an extra 2-3 months while still working on those kinks when designers can derive sensible value from the feature today!

        I understand. But, at the same time I feel like XD’s releases tend to always include features that don’t cover the required uses cases. It makes me question if those use cases were even known or understood. Symbols were released without support for resizing instances. That has been fixed with components, but I think it should have been clear from the outset that instance resizing was essential, even as part of an initial release of the feature. Customer feedback shouldn’t be required to know that.

        From the point of view of a customer, these releases build excitement with the announcement, only to be let down when I realise I can’t actually use the feature as is.

        With regards to copy pasting guides between artboards/documents and clear guides - that functionality does exist and is implemented (via the View>Guides Menu).

        I was seeing disabled menu items, but now realise that the artboard needs to be selected for those items to work. My apologies.

        We are actively working on addressing some of your feedback soon, namely guide creation when zoomed in and showing the guide position (without moving it).

        Great, thanks.

        I'm curious what are your use-cases for guides being positioned at fractional values (10.5px) - what are the scenarios where those would be helpful for you?

        I think there’s many use cases. If you’re designing an iPhone app, using an iPhone X as the base size, the device width is 375pt. The center of that is 187.5pt. XD does have automatic center snapping, but because it’s rounded, that actually snaps to 188pt on the artboard. So, anything with an uneven width or height that requires center snapping needs fractional guide placement.

        I understand why it may be desirable for the center snapping to round up, but without being able to place fractional guides and turn off center snapping, objects can not be correctly centered.

        On a 29×29pt icon (spotlight and settings for iOS), a 0.5pt centering error is huge.

        I actually believe that us not shying away to do things differently (guides without rulers, in this example) and then having this sort of constructive conversations will result in better tools for designers in the long term.

        I agree. I don‘t think XD’s guides landed on the mark though.

        1 point
    • Alex Curtis, 1 day ago

      Some of these requested features just seem strange to me, and I would actually suggest that Adobe XD creators not even waste their time on them.

      Can’t position to anything other than whole pixel increments (no guides at 10.5px, for example).

      Adobe XD is a design/layout tool for screens. That is what makes it different from something like Photoshop or Illustrator. Screens are limited by pixels, so why would you need to create something (especially for positioning or alignment, which is the purpose of guides) that lives in a magical realm of half a pixel? A pixel cannot light up "half-way". It isn't possible. So why would this even exist in the first place? I believe you can do this in Illustrator because this is a vector program, so it is not pixel-based, it is mathematical based and has infinite scalability.

      No way to see or use guides in prototyping mode.

      Why would you want guides in prototyping mode? This is the presentation mode, when you aren't aligning or moving anything around. Why would guides exist in this space? You are prototyping a product, and guides are not part of a product, they are just a tool used to create a product. So it actually makes sense to have guides removed from Prototyping mode.

      Some of these features would be nice to have, like adding guides by typing in a value (this one is important, i would agree), adding guides while zoomed in, copying guides between artboards, etc.. It appears like all these legitemate gripes are in the works.

      Other features you mentioned seemed very niche to me like copying guides between documents. While I could see a few use cases for this, each document is going to be somewhat unique, so I don't really know how this would be implemented in real life. I think the best way to handle this use-case is to duplicate a document and remove the parts you don't want. This would maintain the guides and artboards and would probably make the most sense.

      Most other features mentioned here would be cool to have, but I think it is a far cry from them being considered "crucial" or "unusable" without them. Yes, multiple color guides would be cool, but then again Photoshop doesn't even have that and that program is 25+ years old. Illustrator does have that and it is nice. But I could still easily use Illustrator even if it only had 1 color of guides available.

      I guess the point is, you might be blowing your frustration a bit out of proportion. As someone who uses Adobe XD frequently, very few of these complaints felt justified. And since they all focus around guides, I think there is a lot more to unpack in this program than just the guides. In all my use of Adobe XD, I have only really been bother by the lack of 1 of these features (the ability to create a guide by typing in a value). The other features would be great quality of life improvements to the app (like creating guides while zoomed in), but they don't ruin the app for me. Adobe XD is more than a guide simulator. It has many other redeeming qualities.

      Just because this program doesn't meet your very specific guide-focused expectations doesn't mean that the creators shouldn't be proud of their work. This is a good program, that is continously adding new features and I think they are doing a great job.

      1 point
      • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, 1 day ago

        Some of these requested features just seem strange to me, and I would actually suggest that Adobe XD creators not even waste their time on them.

        It’s their product, so I’m all for it being up to them. (They can choose to ignore me, if they’d like.)

        Screens are limited by pixels, so why would you need to create something (especially for positioning or alignment, which is the purpose of guides) that lives in a magical realm of half a pixel? A pixel cannot light up "half-way".

        Screen designers typically work in iOS points, or Android dp, or CSS px, and all the templates in XD are set up this way. Given high DPI displays, one unit in XD typically relates to 2 or 3 screen pixels when running on the device. Positioning something at 0.5 in XD would mean lighting up a full pixel when actually shown on a 2× device (iPhone XR etc).

        For icon design, sub-pixel placement is valuable anyway, but it’s worth noting that one unit in XD typically doesn’t map directly to a single screen pixel — they’re often multiples.

        I believe you can do this in Illustrator because this is a vector program, so it is not pixel-based, it is mathematical based and has infinite scalability.

        In a general sense, vector shapes in Illustrator, Photoshop, XD, Sketch etc are all infinitely scalable. Of all those tools, XD is actually the only one that doesn’t have a canvas pixel preview. All the others do.

        Why would you want guides in prototyping mode? This is the presentation mode, when you aren't aligning or moving anything around. Why would guides exist in this space?

        You can move objects around in prototyping mode. When you move objects in prototyping mode, the other snapping positions work as they do in design mode — there’s center and canvas edge snapping. Given all that…

        Other features you mentioned seemed very niche to me like copying guides between documents.

        That’s possible now, via the guide copy and paste feature. My apologies for missing it in my initial post (I could see the feature, but it was disabled until I selected an artboard).

        Copying guides between documents is pretty handy if you’ve split a project into separate documents, or have a design system, or for many other reasons.

        Yes, multiple color guides would be cool, but then again Photoshop doesn't even have that and that program is 25+ years old.

        You can set the guide colour under Preferences › Guides, Grid and Slices though. Double clicking a guide in Photoshop jumps to the preferences to change the colour. Please note that I just asked for a way to change guide colour, not for a way to have individual guide colours.

        As someone who uses Adobe XD frequently, very few of these complaints felt justified.

        My biggest complaint by far is the lack of colour management. Everything you draw in XD is objectively the wrong colour, and way too vibrant on wide gamut displays.

        And since they all focus around guides, I think there is a lot more to unpack in this program than just the guides.

        I chose to offer feedback only on guides. I find a lot of the choices made in XD’s other features equally frustrating.

        We can talk about them, if you’d like.

        0 points
  • Matt KMatt K, 7 days ago

    Used XD for the first time in depth recently, and there's a number of things which make it absolutely maddening to use.

    Why have different sharing links for review/development etc? It's confusing. Why not just stick the handoff features in a tab and have one link for everything?

    The share for review option scales the designs to fit the window with no option to view at 100%. Why? This is utterly baffling. It's not possible to see actually how big something is. Why would I ever want to see the design scaled? Surely the point of review is to see the design 1:1 in a browser. Until I realised what was happening, most of the design feedback from clients was about sizing.

    Event the developer review link is set to fit by default. It's possible to change it to a custom zoom level, but it's not obvious. This is insane: developers need to see how big things are!

    Frankly XD is amateur hour.

    The team seem so focused on adding features like voice or gamepad support, they're ignoring the fundamentals of actually delivering solid design software.

    5 points
    • , 7 days ago

      Thanks for the feedback, Matt. We're spending a lot of time looking into our sharing features and exploring different ways to support the needs of designers, developers, product managers, exec stakeholders, etc., etc.

      Support for things like gamepad or voice doesn't necessarily come at the expense of other features. The team always maintains that we want to do some things (i.e., voice) first and take our time with things we want to do best. Sharing is a big focus for our 2H roadmap this year.

      3 points
    • , 6 days ago

      Hey Matt,

      I wanted to follow up on some of the items you point out.

      First, we're working on a complete redesign to the Share experience in XD. This will include a unified link for review, development, presentation, etc. For the viewing, this is something we're including in the redesign of the Share experience and are looking into right now!

      Mike

      2 points
  • Paul Bunyar, 7 days ago

    Cloud, cloud, cloud. Disappointed that the only way to share / load assets is from a cloud document. Why can't I simply load assets / colors / styles / etc. from a base document on my desktop or server? Just like as I do in InDesign. Believe it or not, the world doesn't live in the cloud.

    2 points
    • , 7 days ago

      Hey Paul - you can load up a local file and add Assets (colors, type, components) from the document. You can also save files locally and share them as you wish.

      Are you referring to something else?

      5 points
      • Paul Bunyar, 7 days ago

        Oh, okay. What I have read so far only mentions sharing via the cloud. If I can do local sharing — especially to myself for new documents — than I am good. Thanks.

        1 point
        • , 7 days ago

          You got it. We leverage cloud to enable linked assets between documents (i.e., allowing a designer to use components that another designer is maintaining) and it will be the basis for some future features, but at the core you can still design offline and using local documents.

          2 points
    • Justin WJustin W, 6 days ago

      I may be reading this wrong, but it still seems like the only way to link a file and have it update within your document if you make any changes to it (like InDesign links) is through the cloud. That's definitely a feature I'd like to see as a local option, the libraries can still be a bit clunky.

      However, updating a master component works well enough, that's definitely an improvement.

      3 points
      • , 5 days ago

        Thanks, Justin. We leverage the cloud for our whole sharing model and don't expect that to change now. In your scenario, would you be editing a design system/component library in one file, saving locally, and then hoping to see those changes in another local document?

        0 points
        • Justin WJustin W, 1 day ago

          Yeah I get the cloud sharing stuff is the way this is going. For the scenario, generally yes - was looking to just embed/place something, update it elsewhere and have the changes reflected within XD. I'll explore the update with the components though and work something out - thanks!

          0 points
          • Jonathan Pimento, 1 day ago

            Justin, if you decide to work with a local document, you can copy paste components between documents. When you make changes to the source document, the consuming document will notify you about available updates.

            The only difference in functionality while using components from a local and cloud doc is how you access them. If the source document is a cloud doc then you can easily add it to any/new doc via the Assets Panel. If the source document is local, then you need to manually copy paste your components from it.

            Jonathan Pimento (Product Manager - Adobe XD)

            0 points
  • Andrei Rac, 4 days ago

    Well...it is an improvement, and I appreciate it...but at the same time:

    • Still no dark mode (in backlog since July 2016).One of the most upvoted requests.
    • Still no way to export an artboard only in a desired size (e.g. export only 2x version), like Sketch (In review since March 2016).

    But now...we have support for Xbox One controllers. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    0 points
    • John Williams, 3 days ago

      Yeah, I don't understand the product direction by the XD team. The 99% of users just want feature parity with Sketch/Figma. Why are they adding a feature for game designers? Just focus on the fundamentals and you'll get more users because of the Adobe family. We just moved away from XD to Figma because their design system support is much more mature.

      0 points
      • , 3 days ago

        We're shipping monthly and itching away at our competitors little by little. We want to do some things the same and some things differently and, in either case, do it right. We have a lot more coming this year to reach parity but features like voice and gamepad help us expand the category to support emerging experience types.

        For gamepad, Adobe works with a lot of game companies and this was a heavily requested feature from some of our customers. The body of work to support this isn't dissimilar to supporting keyboard inputs (necessary for web design, desktop app design, and some accessibility design).

        2 points
    • , 3 days ago

      Thanks, Andrei.

      Regarding artboard export, we have some of this available in our Export, and there's also a plugin called Print Artboard that lets you export to common artboard sizes.

      1 point
  • Jady MulqueeneyJady Mulqueeney, 5 minutes ago

    Hi, thanks for a great update to XD. What an amazing tool, getting better every month...

    I'm confused by the new component functionality however. When I edit a master component, e.g. a tile component with background shape, text and images, I can change the dimensions of the rectangle I use as the tile background but the component itself remains at the original size, cropping out any enlargement to the background.

    Any adjustment I make to the master component's height or width is responsive, but I simply want to change the outer dimensions, not the layout of its contents.

    Responsive Resize is useful in some instances, but manual resize is equally important.

    And I can't seem to find a "Push Overrides" button anywhere. Nor a "reset to master component" button.

    0 points
  • Doug Hamlin, 2 hours ago

    Ran into some major bugs within minutes of opening. Had to downgrade.

    0 points