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Symbols turn any element and its children into a reusable component. Any changes made to an instance of a symbol will update all instances of that symbol across your project. This is especially useful for recurring elements like navbars, footers, or signup sections—instead of updating every instance of these elements individually, a symbol allows you to make one change that will affect all instances at once.
This article covers three aspects of Symbols:
Want to follow along with this lesson? Fortunately, we created a zip file which contains all the assets used in the project, and we've included that linkright here
Symbols turn any element (including its children) into a reusable component.
Any time you change one instance of a Symbol, the other instances will update, too.
This is a big deal for recurring elements like navigation, or footers, or signup sections where adding and configuring all 47 of your project pages would take over an hour.
Of course, after you complete that, the email comes in from your client. Turns out she wants to rename each of these.
A Symbol turns 47 pages of work into a single action.
In this video lesson, we're going to cover creating a Symbol, reusing a Symbol, editing a Symbol, and finally unlinking from a Symbol so changes won't affect other instances.
Creating a Symbol is straightforward. You can create a Symbol out of anything.
With this navbar selected, we can go to Add Elements, and visit our Symbols Panel. All we have to do is press Create new Symbol.
We can give it a name — we can name it anything we want, and then press Create Symbol.
And once we've created this Symbol, we can reuse it anywhere.
Here's a different page. And we know it's different because this one has flowers.
And if we go back and visit our Symbols Panel, it's right there. We can drag and drop it onto the Canvas, or of course we can drop it in the Navigator.
And when we select this instance of the Symbol, we'll notice the selection color is now green and we'll see the instance count — how many times it's been used in the project — off to the right here.
That's reusing a Symbol. Here comes the fun part.
Let's double-click to edit our Symbol. And we can see content outside the Symbol has faded out, so we know we're focusing on this Symbol specifically.
And all we're going to do is doubleclick to change About to Learn More.
And once we're done editing our Symbol, we can press the X on the top-left, or simply click out or even press escape on the keyboard.
If we go back to our other page where we created the Symbol, we can see that it's been updated perfectly. It says Learn More.
Let's make another change on this page. Double click to edit, let's change our text from Contact to Contact Us. We'll click out since we're done editing.
And what happens if we go back to the other page again? We can see the change has been made there, too.
You can edit a Symbol from any instance.
Let's go back to our Symbols Panel for a moment, because down the road, we might find it necessary to rename or delete a Symbol.
And if we want, we can just click the pencil icon to rename or delete. Keep in mind we can only delete a Symbol that's not currently being used in our project.
That's editing a Symbol.
Finally, let's briefly cover unlinking from a Symbol. If we've decided to unlink an instance, that means changes to this content won't affect the Symbol anymore.
It makes this instance of the content once again independent, but it doesn't delete or in any way affect the Symbol we created.
If it's an element we can select on the Canvas, we can unlink by right clicking on the label and choosing Unlink from Symbol.
Of course, if it's one of those tricky-to-select elements, we can select the element from the Navigator and do the same: right click the label on the Canvas.
If we go back to our other page, we can see that this instance is still linked to our Symbol. And if we double-click to edit, and change Contact Us to Free Donuts with Purchase, it won't affect our unlinked instance.
Let's verify that.
We'll go back to the other page. And as we might expect, this content is completely unplugged from our Symbol. We can do anything we want with this content, and it will no longer affect our Symbol. (Unless, of course, you're making a style change on a class that's also affecting this element).
So, let's review. We can create a Symbol to turn any element (and any of its children) into a reusable component.
We reuse Symbols anywhere we want throughout our project.
We can edit one instance and all other instances will update, too.
And finally, we can unlink any instance from the Symbol we created so it can function independently of other instances.
And that's...a Symbol.
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