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I am trying to understand how I can create a Symbol A, that allows differing header sizes.

[header 1 or header 2 with variable height]  
[body copy]

I can create a nested symbol if the two header sizes have the same artboard size, but not otherwise.

I can use the auto layouts plugin to stack the header element to the body copy, such that it supports variable heights above the body copy, but I would like to be able to swap out one header style for another from the same symbol.

Is it a given that any symbol with differing nested symbol heights need a completely separate symbol?

In the screenshot below, I'd like to swap Header - Small with Header - Large in the Text Lockup - Left symbol.

enter image description here

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Yes you need separate Symbols. But you can group your Symbols in Sketch’s insert and tool UI.

To do that simply name your Symbols Header/Small and Header/Large, and respectively Small Header/Default and Small Header/Black.

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