Title pretty much says it all, but the problem is simple. Say I have a logo imported from illustrator or whatever. I make it a symbol, and then I use it in one place in my design. Looks great.

But there's trouble - I also want a smaller version of that logo somewhere else in the design.

So, I Insert > Symbol > My Crummy Logo and drag it where I want it to go, and then I scale it down, and blammo, the other instance(s) of the logo has just been shrunk too.

Am I doing something incorrectly? Or is this just completely and totally stupid behavior? Or is this logical behavior and I'm just not grokking it?

  • This is how it works, I think. You'll notice that colors are persistent across symbols as well. I find I end up just copying and pasting groups instead.
    – nonphoto
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 2:21
  • You might want to look at this plugin: github.com/tisho/sketch-plugins/tree/master/Symbols . It's a bit of a hack but it looks like it could do what you're doing in a slightly more automated way. If you can code you can also modify it to only sync what you want. Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 12:58
  • 5
    Is this still the case?? I hope this behavior can be agreed to be a bug/glitch right? It totally defeats the purpose of a symbol if instances cannot be modified externally.
    – Jikku Jose
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 6:04
  • You can put the symbol into a layer and transform the layer afterwards. Still a weird workaround, though. Commented May 15, 2015 at 7:17
  • 2
    ANSWER: UPDATE SKETCH TO v39+. This is no longer the case. I am currently running Sketch Version 39 (31667) and when I create a symbol, I can scale this symbol in any artboard without it changing size in the other artboards or instances in the same artboard. -- I just registered, not enough points to actually add an answer so I added this comment...
    – Ronaldt
    Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 12:22

2 Answers 2


After you insert a new symbol you can right click on the layer and "Detach from symbol"

Now scaling it will only effect that one instance.

  • 18
    This is what I ultimately went with, but it completely defeats the purpose of Symbols. In Photoshop, for example, I will often treat a Smart Object as a symbol, and I can rescale and otherwise transform instances of the same SmartObject without affecting the others. Then, if I double-click to edit that SmartObject, all instances are updated. This is how I expected Symbols in Sketch to work. Commented Jul 24, 2014 at 15:14
  • 5
    Completely agree, this defeat the point of symbols. If say an icons needs to be modified, one would have to manually update all the different sizes of this icon across the site. Painful. I wish there was a nested symbols feature also, like in Flash. Apart from a few glitches like this, sketch3 rocks.
    – user33064
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 13:30
  • 3
    This completely defeats the purpose of symbols. Argh.
    – Scotty
    Commented Jun 13, 2015 at 12:23

I've tried to follow the steps you described and for the version 50.2 it's working perfectly. I mean, adding a vector, creating a symbol with it, using it in multiples places, inserting a new instance and then scaling it (cmd +k) DOES NOT change the size of the other instances of the symbol.

Just update your sketch app and see the magic happening.

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