A few of Figma's handiest Shortcuts

Figma has so many excellent speed-of-workflow features. They do a great job of catering for all levels of users. I've found that using keyboard shortcuts has drastically improved the speed of my design workflow, ensured consistency in my designs & reduced frustration!

I'll talk through some of my favourite keyboard shortcuts, but a quick disclaimer - this isn't nearly an exhaustive list of the shortcuts I use. I'd describe it as a combination of basic & slightly more advanced shortcuts that I've found handy over the years.

Actions menu (⌘/)

Most people are probably familiar with it. It's an obvious one. It can be convenient if you've forgotten a shortcut & just want to search for a specific command. It's also useful as the launching point for plugins. Trying to navigate to your plugins through the Figma menu in the top left is painful. It's an easy shortcut to operate and is becoming a popular feature in modern software.

Down a layer (↵) / Up a layer (⌘↵)

This is super useful. Sure, 'double clicks' on the canvas or the manually navigating layer tree work. But start using this shortcut & your life will become so much easier. Sure, sometimes going down a level will select 5 layers when you're only looking for one, but it certainly has its perks.

If you're a fan of command-clicking like me, you'll often find you end up a layer (or more) too deep. Hit a quick ⌘↵ or two to navigate back up to your desired layer quickly.

Special shout out to one of the best shortcut combos in Figma > Up a layer level, down a layer level. Let's say you're adding a border-bottom to a specific (non-component) column in a table. Now, you want to add a right border to all table columns (shout out to Figma's new individual border properties). Sure, you could try to click all the columns one by one before doing it as a bulk action. That'd work. But instead, try ⌘↵ then ↵ to quickly select all the table columns and then bulk-add the border-right.

Big nudge (⇧) actions

Shift + any arrow key will execute your big nudge amount. Typically used for moving/resizing things on the canvas, but that's not all it's useful for. It can be used to modify many other values in the properties panel. Paddings, gaps, border-radius, stroke thickness, heights and widths, you name it. I find myself using it for everything that Figma will allow. It's a big time-saver!

Frame selection (⌘⌥G) / Unframe selection (⌘⇧G)

Quickly group your selection of layers into a new frame, or ungroup your frame to expose the individual layers. Handy, but the next shortcut is perhaps even handier...

Add (⇧A)& Remove auto-layout (⌥⇧A)

Quickly adding auto-layout to a frame, or throwing all your selected items into a new auto-layout frame is super handy. While the action differs slightly based on the time of selection (single or multiple layers etc.), its usefulness remains. Removing auto-layout (⌥⇧A) is also handy, but I'd find myself using it a little bit less often.

Detach Component! 😈 (⌘⌥B)

C'mon, everyone does it. Exploring new component styles or tailoring already-defined components to a new use case is a crucial part of the design process. Slap a quick ⌘⌥B, and don't tell anyone about it.

This is a particularly convenient keyboard shortcut as it's otherwise quite well hidden behind the right-click menu or Figma's actions menu (⌘/).

Paste to replace (⌘⇧⌥V) / Paste without styles (⌘⇧V)

Figma introduced a ton of new Copy & Paste features in 2021. One of the ones I find myself using frequently is Paste to replace. Click the link - Figma will do a better job at explaining the feature than I will! Anyways, it's a super helpful feature, and I use it a lot. I wish the shortcut was a little easier to operate - it required 2 hands to hit all 4 required keys - but that's okay!

Horizontally (⌥H) & Vertically Align (⌥V) For non-auto-layout frames, these shortcuts are handy. Be it one selected layer that you want to align within its parent, or 2 selected layers that you want to align with each other, these shortcuts are easy to remember and quick to operate.

Move a layer up (⌘]), down (⌘[) and to the top (⌘⌥]) or bottom ( ⌘⌥[)

Ever need to quickly reposition a layer's index within it's parent frame? These shortcuts are far quicker than trying to drag the layer to the right position in the layer panel. Particularly useful is bringing a layer all the way to the top (⌘⌥]). This shortcut also works within autolayout frames to reposition elements (though the arrow keys can be used in the same way).

Changing between fill & hug.

Sometimes you want to quickly change a layer's resizing behaviour (horizontally or vertically) within an auto layout frame:

  • Hug: Double-click on the edge/border of a frame.
  • Fill: Alt (⌥) double click on the edge/border of a frame.

Note: these shortcuts currently only work when you have a single layer selected. If you want to modify multiple layers at once, you have to do that in the properties panel. It's a bit of a pain - perhaps something that Figma will update at some stage!