Ask DN: In Sketch, do you prefer using layer opacity or fill opacity?

over 4 years ago from , Founder at Bjango

In Sketch, do you prefer using layer opacity or fill opacity, and why?

Both can produce the same results.

Layer opacity pros:

  • Can use keyboard shortcuts (1, 2 … 0 etc) to quickly set layer opacity.
  • Can use the layer opacity slider to quickly set 0% or 100%.
  • It controls strokes as well.

Fill opacity pros:

  • Shared styles render more accurately in the popup menu.
  • Strokes and other fills can be different opacities.

Which do you prefer?


  • Eli SchiffEli Schiff, over 4 years ago

    Fill every time. More control.

    5 points
  • Alex PateAlex Pate, over 4 years ago (edited over 4 years ago )

    Depends on what I'm trying to achieve.

    Tend to think about it in terms of how I would code.

    • Fill opacity maps to rgba in css.
    • Whereas Layer opacity is just opacity.

    Although sometimes, if I want a transparent box with only a border, then I'll set the background of the box to match the page background. Otherwise it's kinda difficult to click/select it.

    4 points
  • Luis La TorreLuis La Torre, over 4 years ago

    Depends what you are doing. Checkout example fills-vs-layer

    2 points
  • Shawn LeslieShawn Leslie, over 4 years ago

    I'd like to be able to control the Fill property's alpha value with the same keystrokes as Layer Opacity, but add "Shift", much like how Photoshop handled it.

    1 point
  • Raphael LoderRaphael Loder, over 4 years ago

    Depends on the use case, definitely not a universal decision. You listed all the pros and cons for both.

    A little off-topic, but BC broke some handy features in the fill opacity controls in recent updates (be it by design or not).

    You could go to the dropdown, select a color you wanted and press 1. By doing so you would change the fill opacity to 10%. Now the color value is preselected after choosing a color, so any typing replaces the color value. And now you'd have to press Tab 4 times, then enter the value you want (10%) and additionally Enter to submit the change. Which is kind of a lot of input (7 key presses to 1).

    1 point
  • Spencer HoltawaySpencer Holtaway, over 4 years ago

    Why not both?

    0 points
    • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 4 years ago

      Are you saying you’d use either method, depending on the situation? I was mostly asking the question for the templates I just released.

      0 points
  • Daren P., over 4 years ago

    Fill. Much more control.

    0 points
  • iterati designiterati design, over 4 years ago (edited over 4 years ago )

    It depends, preferably Fill Opacity, but sometimes Layer Opacity is enough.

    The key here is that you can trigger Layer Opacity with shortcuts in Sketch (and as far as I remember in PS too) by hitting 0 to 9 for 10% increments.

    0 points
  • Ollie BarkerOllie Barker, over 4 years ago

    Depends what I'm trying to do. If it's purely as a fill only layer, I'll use layer opacity so I can use the keyboard shortcuts. Otherwise, fill opacity.

    0 points
  • Isaac WeinhausenIsaac Weinhausen, over 4 years ago

    Both! Like @alex-pate mentioned, I like to have the style scheme match the coding approach when possible. Also, like you mentioned, both have their pros, which I believe warrant having them.

    0 points
    • Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards, over 4 years ago

      Oh, I’m definitely all for keeping both. It’s more a question of which one do you grab first when the requirements don’t force you to use one or the other.

      0 points
  • Bruno MarinhoBruno Marinho, over 4 years ago

    If I'm trying to put something out of my head using the numbers to toggle layer opacity is definitely my go to solution. If I'm preparing something to send engineers/other designers fill opacity is my go to solution.

    0 points
  • Account deleted over 4 years ago

    Fill if I'm being precise and actually make a style.

    I use Layer only when trying stuff out (especially on groups) because of the quick hot keys.

    0 points
  • Matt BaxterMatt Baxter, over 4 years ago

    If its for the use case that you're showing here, I'll use the layer opacity.

    However, I often use fill opacity to blend multiple fills together on the same shape.

    0 points
  • Hector Carranza, over 4 years ago

    Each has its own use.

    I constantly use layer opacity with keyboard shortcuts because is fast in any escenario and I also use it with fonts (btw you can get specific opacity numbers like 37 or 68 using the keyboard)

    If I need different opacity for a fill and a stroke then I use their own setting)

    0 points
  • Denis RojcykDenis Rojcyk, over 4 years ago

    Updating your templates for sketch? Perfect! :]

    For the same reason Eli mentioned: fill.

    0 points