In October of 2020, the XD team replaced linked assets with Creative Cloud Libraries as the preferred method for building and interacting with a design system. With libraries, you and your team can share not only components, but colors and character styles. They also offer enhanced permissions and interoperability between Adobe applications. In this video, I'll show you some simple steps that you can take to migrate your own existing content to this new workflow. It should only take you a few minutes, but before you try it out yourself, be sure to let everyone on your team that has access to your linked library know that they should hold off on making any changes to either the source document or any consuming documents until you finish with the migration.
For this example, I'll be working with this Altura design. My Altura brand kit is a cloud document, and it includes all of the components, colors, and character styles that I use with our client.
I have a second document — my consuming document — and that's the Altura spring promotion which includes desktop web pages that I designed using the linked assets in my brand kit. Notice in the Components area of this panel, here on the left, that I can see all of the components that I've linked to the brand kit, Cloud document and on the right are the individual artboards, where I've applied those components. With that all set, I'll go ahead and switch back over to my brand kit cloud document, and let's get started.
Let's begin with "Step 1: Save your source document as a cloud document". If the source document for your linked assets is a local file, you need to save it out as a cloud document. In my case, I've already saved out the brand kit as a cloud doc. I can tell by the cloud icon to the left of the title.
Which brings us to "Step 2: Prepare your document to publish a library". In this step, I need to make sure that my cloud document doesn't include any components from another local or cloud document. I can tell when I open up the Libraries panel, and then look in the document assets area at my components. If any of the components have a gray, blue, or red link icon, that means that they're linked to another document. I can always delete them if I no longer need them; or select them, and then in the right menu, select "Make Local". Now they're only associated with this cloud document. This is also a great time to take advantage of the fact that the Creative Cloud Libraries can include colors and character styles in addition to components. I have two artboards here with colors and character styles that I've used for the brand. Selecting each of them, and then adding them to either the Color or Character Style area here in the panel will allow me to include them as part of the content that I share.
"Step 3: Access the Libraries Manager". I'm now ready to publish these assets out as a library, and for that, I need to bring up the Libraries Manager. I'll go ahead and click on the icon here in the upper right-hand corner of the panel. In the current file area, I see my cloud document name, Altura_Brand_Kit. Below, I can see any of the libraries that I've published in the past or that have been shared with me.
I'm now ready for "Step 4: Publish your library". I'll go ahead and click on the Publish button. XD begins to upload the design content into a library. Once that's all done, I'm ready for "Step 5: Invite others to use and contribute to the library". I can now add each of my team members with their Adobe ID. I can also decide if I want them to have Edit permissions or just View permissions to use the library without making any changes to my source here.
"Step 6: Accept library invitation" In this step, everyone I've just invited to the library will be notified by way of the Creative Cloud desktop app, or email, about the changes.
Here's an example of a notification my colleague Ike was sent in the notification area of the Creative Cloud desktop app. Once he accepts the invitation, he'll be able to access the new library, and any previously linked assets in his consuming documents will now automatically point to the right content. If he doesn't accept access, the work he's done in the past using the linked libraries will show broken links in the Document Assets panel, which can be quite confusing. So, it's important that he does accept the invitation before he starts working on those files again.
This brings me to the final step, "Step 7: Test your design system ". To confirm my work, I'll go ahead and close out the Libraries Manager, and I'll switch back over to the Spring promotion document; my consuming document. I want to check that my links are still working. Notice here in the Libraries panel on the left, I'm in the Document Assets view. In order to see the Altura brand kit library that I've just linked to, I need to move up a level in the panel.
I'll do that by clicking here on this left arrow, which takes me up a level to see all of the libraries I have available. Here's my Document Assets library, and below that I have the Altura brand kit. When I click on it, I can see that I now have access to all of those colors, character styles, and components that I just published and linked to. Now, a great way to quickly confirm that the links are actually working will be to switch back over to the brand kit, and make a couple changes to some of the assets. To make an obvious change, I'll go ahead and redefine this orange color here in the Swatches panel to something pretty dramatically different — let's say this shade of bright green. When I switch back over to my consuming document, here in the Components area, I see an indication that a number of the components that had that orange color in them have been updated with that green color. I can go ahead and accept those changes, but in essence, I've gone in and confirmed that my link is still intact. Well terrific, I'm all set.
I can now take advantage of some of the amazing capabilities that come with Creative Cloud libraries, with additional content types, like colors, character styles, and audio files. And I can access that content more easily with other applications like Photoshop and Illustrator. If you need any additional support for transitioning your content, or want to learn more about library features in XD, be sure to check out the XD User Guide, and online video content in the XD Learn center.
Manage and share the elements of your design systems with Creative Cloud libraries. If you’ve been using linked assets to share common design elements with your team, see how fast and easy it is to save out all of the components, colors, and character styles used in a design as a cloud document. In this tutorial, you’ll learn the steps to seamlessly transition your team from using linked assets to working with Creative Cloud libraries. Discover how working with Creative Cloud libraries can help maintain consistency across your designs.