Introducing Cloud Documents in XD: A Faster Way to Create and Share Designs
by Andrew Shorten
posted on 12-17-2018
From the outset, XD has leveraged the cloud to publish and share designs and prototypes either for review or for development, enabling easy collaboration with stakeholders and developers.
In this month’s release of XD, we’re now introducing cloud documents as an alternative to saving your documents to your local file system or to synced storage, such as Creative Cloud Files or Dropbox. With cloud documents, we’re looking to simplify how you access all your XD documents (both those you create and those shared with you), as well as enable easy collaboration with other designers.
Just like all features in XD, we start with a scope that is considered a minimum viable product, but with a high bar for quality and performance, and cloud documents are no different.
As of this first release of XD with cloud documents, you can take advantage of the following new capabilities:
- Auto-save – the latest version of your document will automatically be saved to the cloud, so there is no need to manually save or worry about data loss from a OS or application crash.
- Everything in one place – you’ll find your cloud documents and those shared with you right within the XD welcome screen.
- Fast and easy sharing – you can invite other designers to your document using the built-in share workflow. If you’ve already used the share for review or development workflow for prototypes and design specs, it’ll feel very similar.
- Work anywhere – your document is available wherever you choose to work, on both Mac or Windows. Just sign-in using your Creative Cloud account to see all your documents in XD on desktop and mobile.
- Linked assets – copy symbols from one document and use them in another to automatically link them. When changes are made to the original, you can choose to update linked symbols in documents that use them. Learn more about XD’s digital asset management for designers.
Cloud documents are now the default way of working in XD, meaning that every time you make a new document it’s automatically stored in the cloud – there’s no need to save the document manually any more, as all changes will be automatically saved. If you go offline, you can continue working on your document, and changes will be synced back to the cloud when you reconnect.
We designed cloud documents to be fast, easy to use and to overcome the challenges that come from working with local or synced files. We’re continuing to work on improvements to cloud documents, taking into account your feedback and feature requests, which will be delivered through the ongoing monthly updates to XD. As always, we’re collecting feedback via UserVoice and we want to hear from you.
With the introduction of cloud documents, we’ve also revamped the sharing controls in XD – you’ll now find options to “Share Document”, “Share for Review” and “Share for Development” all under the Share button in XD. Share for Review allows you to share a design or prototype with stakeholders, whereas Share for Development produces a design specification that you can share with developers.
Future updates to Cloud Documents in XD
If you’re like us, you’ll have high expectations and want your cloud documents to do a lot more than just represent the source of truth. Our teams are hard at work on a number of major additions to XD that will only be available when using cloud documents, including:
- Faster sharing – rather than have to generate and upload prototypes and design specs to cloud storage, cloud documents will enable near-instant creation of designs and prototypes for review or development.
- Live collaboration – instead of having one person in a document at a time, and needing to agree who is making changes when, the introduction of live collaboration capabilities will enable you to work alongside other designers in your cloud document.
- Versioning – no longer will you need to manually save out versions of documents, with cloud documents, you’ll get easy ways to make a milestone version that you can quickly access right within XD.
- Design systems – with cloud documents and Creative Cloud Libraries, you’ll have everything you need to create and manage robust design systems for use with your team or organization.
Now is a great time to start using cloud documents in XD, so that you’re ready to take advantage of the additional capabilities that we’ll start layering in over the course of 2019. More information on cloud documents, how to use them, and the differences compared to Creative Cloud Files is included in our help documentation.
Our goal is to provide you and your design team with a fully collaborative design platform, one that leverages the cloud, but that also gives you robust, high performance desktop tools for Mac and Windows. With the introduction of cloud documents, we’re excited to take this major step on that journey.
More new features and improvements
Also in this release, a couple of new features that make working in XD even more productive, along with a host of improvements to existing features based on your feedback.
Object Flip makes it quick and easy to flip any element on the canvas either horizontally or vertically – it’s been frequently requested and is here in this month’s release. Also new is the ability to search and filter within the Layer panel, making it easier to find the elements you are looking for in larger documents. Improvements to symbols mean you can now see an on-canvas preview when there is a change to a linked symbol, allowing you to see it in context before accepting the change.
In addition to opening Photoshop and Illustrator documents in XD, you can now also copy and paste from Illustrator to XD with the same fidelity, as well as import Photoshop and Illustrator documents into an existing XD document. There are also improvements to SVG export, providing more control over what’s included in the exported SVG.
If you use a device with a touchscreen or you use a Wacom tablet, you’ll find improved support for manipulating objects on the canvas using touch.
For stakeholders reviewing your shared designs or prototypes on mobile devices, we’ve improved the experience, making it easier for them to navigate through your screens. We’re actively working on the ability for stakeholders to comment on mobile, so that will be available in a future update.
XD’s last release introduced third-party plugins, allowing developers to extend XD with exciting new capabilities like designing with real data, automating workflows, quickly applying perspective transforms, and more. With over 80 plugins available for XD already and more launching every week, the XD ecosystem is off to a strong start! But we’re constantly improving the developer platform, and with each new release of XD we aim to offer new capabilities to plugin developers. This month’s XD release enables plugins to store custom data, pan and zoom, create text content, and more. We’re looking forward to seeing what the developer community will create next. Learn more about available plugins.
We’d love to continue the dialogue! Help us shape the future of Adobe XD by submitting feature requests or file bugs. You can follow our handle @AdobeXD for updates or reach the team on Twitter using #AdobeXD. You can also talk to us using Facebook, where we share videos and updates as well as answer questions during live sessions.
While sharing your prototypes on Behance, don’t forget to tag them with #MadeWithAdobeXD and select Adobe XD under “Tools Used” for the opportunity to be featured in the Adobe XD newsletter.
Topics: Creativity, Design
Products: Photoshop, Creative Cloud, XD