Over the past few years, Figma has grown rapidly in popularity, and it's no wonder. The free cloud-based software is easily accessible on all devices and requires no installments or downloads. From designing mobile app interfaces to crafting social media posts, with Figma you can experiment with all kinds of graphic design features and grow your skills.
For even more consistency in your designs, you can consider using components in your work. Components are user interface (UI) elements that can be used in multiple files on Figma. These can often be a great addition to your designs and improve their overall quality.
Whether you're new to Figma or you've been using it for a while and aren't sure how to use the components successfully, we're here to help.
In this article, we'll explore how to use Figma components and how it can help elevate your work.
If you want to know more, keep reading.
Mastering the use of components can help you with organization and consistency in working with Figma. These UI elements can be used over and over again on various design projects you might be working on. A component can consist of an icon, a button, etc., depending on your project.
The benefit of introducing components to your Figma experience is that it saves you a lot of time. Any changes you might make to one component are automatically updated on the others. This can be especially useful if you have a tight deadline or are collaborating with other designers and want to speed up your workflow.
To start, you'll notice that there are two sidebars on either side of the main canvas you're using. You can use the tools in any of these sidebars to make changes to your project.
The sidebar on the right side gives you access to all prototype settings and allows you to adjust or change the properties of your components. However, the left sidebar shows you the layers, assets, and pages used in your project. This is called the “Layers Panel”.
Components should be introduced into your work early on. They help you keep your designs consistent and allow you to speed up the speed at which you make changes to your projects. There are two key elements of a component:
- The main (or principal) component (quadruple diamond icon)
- An instance component (single diamond icon)
Before anything else, you must first create the main component. To do this, follow these steps:
- Right-click your layer, group, or frame.
- Select “Create component”.
- On the left side of the screen, you'll see a drop-down menu that says "Component." Click on it.
- From here you will notice a menu where you can make changes to your component styles and redesign all projects.
Another way to create a Master Component is to use shortcuts:
- Options + Command + K for Mac
- Ctrl + Alt + K for Windows
Of course, this method only works if you're using Figma on a PC.
An instant component is a copy of your main component. When the main component is modified in any way, the instance is automatically updated to match the changes made. If you are creating a website, this tool can be especially useful and save you a lot of time. For example, there would be no time to manually go into all your components to repeat the same changes. Instead, Figma changes them all for you.
There may be times when you have created multiple instances and want to return to your main component so that you can quickly edit all of your components. To access your main component, follow these steps:
- Right-click any instance.
- Click "Go to main component".
- The main component will appear in the sidebar on the left side.
While doing components one at a time is relatively straightforward; you can speed things up by doing them in bulk. To do so, follow these steps:
- In your "Layers Panel", choose the layers in which you want to create components.
- Click the down arrow icon next to the main component icon in the "Layers Panel".
- Select "Create multiple components" from the available options.
- From there, Figma will create a component for each raster layer.
There may be times when you want to make changes to the properties of a particular instance without changing all the others. You can make variations of different components. In Figma, this is called "overshoot".
Once you replace an instance, changes to the main component will not affect it. To do this, see the steps below:
1. Click on your instance component.
2. In the Properties panel on the right side of your screen, select “Component”.
3. From the drop-down menu that appears, choose “Detach Instance”.
If you want to clear an override, select the component, then choose "Reset Instance" from the top center bar of your screen.
When you spend all day editing content, sometimes you can accidentally drag and delete something important, like your main component. Fear not, for restoration, it's as easy as 1-2-3. Just follow these basic steps to recover that missing core component:
1. Navigate to one of the component Instances.
2. In the Properties panel on the right side of the screen, select "Restore Master Component".
3. The main component will appear immediately.
When creating your components, adding a description and documentation link to each can help you better navigate your project. It's also handy for any collaborators you work with to have access to additional notes. To add a description, navigate to the Properties panel on the right side of the page and select "Add Description".
Once you've done this, all outside viewers can access this information by going to the "Inspection Panel" in the right sidebar.
You can import all kinds of files into a Figma component. The easiest way to do this is from your desktop. Just follow these steps:
1. In Figma, open the page where you want to upload a file.
2. From your files, select the specific file you want to use.
3. Drag and drop the selected file into your Figma page.
4. When finished, click "Done".
Figma is a great tool to use whether you're new to designing or you've been in the game for years. The software offers a beginner-friendly editing system where designers can create content from scratch or use the help of a template if needed.
Understanding how to use components successfully on Figma can save you a lot of time when conducting a design project. By learning how to create a high-quality component system, you can grow as a designer. Not only that, but it can also help you maintain a consistent workflow throughout your creative journey and make it easy for all future collaborators to find your work.
Have you tried using Figma for your creative projects? How did you find the use of components? Let us know more about your experience in the comments section below.