How to Convert Photoshop Files to Sketch (and Why You Shouldn’t)

Amanda Kimble-Evans

Director, Marketing Research

Moving to a new piece of design software demands a level of time and learning that most designers just don’t have. 

Problem is, Photoshop doesn’t prototype (or deploy quickly to the web). The answer, folks assume, is to convert Photoshop files to Sketch.

XD, a chief Sketch competitor, makes this process painless. Both XD and Photoshop are in Adobe Creative Cloud.

Sketch, though, is a bit tougher. In this post, I’ll break down how to convert .psd files to .sketch files. Then I’ll tell you why you … probably shouldn’t.

Convert Photoshop Files to Sketch

How to Convert Photoshop Files to Sketch

The most obvious Photoshop-Sketch conversion solution is as simple as it is painstaking:

You export images and text from Photoshop, then rebuild the design in Sketch.

Yes, newer versions of Photoshop automate some asset exports. But you’re still duplicating efforts. Never ideal.

Avocode offers a free solution that lets you convert Photoshop files to Sketch automatically. It couldn’t be easier (in theory):

  • Upload your PSD
  • Enter your email
  • Get a Sketch file back

You’re done! Congratulations!

But … wait.

Here’s where we started in Photoshop:

Pre-conversion Photoshop file

And here’s where we landed in Sketch:

Finished conversion in Sketch

That doesn’t look … good. 

Why You Shouldn’t Convert Photoshop Files to Sketch

  • Speed. The automated conversion is a surprisingly  quick process.
  • A good repository of assets. Even if the conversion isn’t up to snuff, it’s still a decent way to pull some assets into a Sketch file.
  • Not a “catch-all.” Even when conversions can get pretty close to the original PSD, there is still quite a bit of work that needs to be done to the converted file to get it right.
  • Prototyping & artboard issues. Even if you set the width of the Photoshop file to a standard Sketch artboard size (say 1440px wide), Sketch will read it as a custom size. So if the end-goal is using the comp as a starting point of a prototype, some work will need to be done. 
  • Text issues. If there is more than one typeface, weight or style in any text block, those multiple styles will not be honored in Sketch.
  • Layer issues. The conversion does its best to work with Photoshop layers, but it’s by no means perfect.

Conclusion: Photoshop -> Sketch

Amanda Kimble-Evans

Amanda heads the market research and audience insight efforts at Altitude where she uncovers the information clients and their account teams need to message, position and gain more market share. Her ultimate goals are to help clients answer the questions prospects have, stay one step ahead of competitors, keep abreast of relevant trends, and even take advantage of new opportunities in the marketplace.
Amanda graduated from Susquehanna University with a bachelor’s degree in English and double minors in Writing and Women’s Studies.