Slow and Unresponsive When Working with Large Files

I’m experiencing significant performance issues with Sketch when working with large design files, and I’m seeking assistance to resolve it.

Background: I use Sketch for UI/UX design projects, and it has been an essential tool for my workflow. Recently, as my projects have grown in complexity and file size, I’ve noticed that Sketch becomes increasingly slow and unresponsive, making it challenging to work efficiently.

Issue: The main problem arises when I open or work on large design files in Sketch. The app becomes noticeably sluggish, with delayed responses to actions such as selecting elements, moving objects, and zooming in and out. In some cases, Sketch even freezes or crashes, causing me to lose progress on my work. This issue significantly hampers my productivity and disrupts my design process.

Troubleshooting: Here are the steps I’ve taken to troubleshoot the issue so far:

  1. Ensured that my Mac meets the system requirements for running Sketch and has sufficient resources (RAM, CPU).
  2. Closed other applications and processes to free up system resources and improve Sketch’s performance.
  3. Split large design files into smaller, more manageable files to see if it alleviates the performance issues.
  4. Cleared Sketch’s cache and preferences to rule out any potential corrupt files affecting performance.
  5. Updated Sketch to the latest version to ensure I have the most recent performance improvements and bug fixes.

Observations: Despite these efforts, the performance issues with Sketch persist when working with large design files. This problem is critical as it impacts my ability to deliver high-quality design work within tight deadlines.

Request for Assistance: If anyone has experience with optimizing Sketch for better performance or has encountered similar issues, I would greatly appreciate your insights and assistance. Specifically, I’m looking for advanced strategies or best practices to improve Sketch’s performance when handling large and complex design files.

Thank you for your help and support!

Hi @joeroot :wave:

Welcome to the Sketch community. We hope to be as helpful as possible.

Upon reading your post, I want to congratulate you on all the troubleshooting steps you performed. We can see there is a very good, clear knowledge of the steps we should perform in order to narrow down these performance issues.

All the steps you mentioned in your post are the recommended steps to troubleshoot large file performance. Since you did not see any improvements, I would like to investigate this matter a little bit further.

In our experience, performance issues tend to be unique and depend on a series of factors. So, to assist you further, please email us a copy of your document to productsupport@sketch.com. Once we receive it, we will test it to see if we can reproduce the same performance issues you are reporting and try to find the best solution to optimize its performance.

Rest assured that any data you share with us will be kept private and will only be used for the purpose of troubleshooting this issue.

We look forward to receiving your email.

Cheers :pray:

Thank you for your prompt response and your willingness to assist with this issue.

I appreciate the acknowledgment of the troubleshooting steps I’ve already taken. Given that these measures haven’t resolved the performance problems, I’m glad to hear that you’re open to further investigation.

I will prepare a copy of the problematic document and send it to the provided email address shortly. If there are any specific details or additional information you need about my setup or the document, please let me know, and I’ll be happy to provide it.

Thank you again for your support and for looking into this matter. I look forward to your findings and any potential solutions you can offer to improve Sketch’s performance with large files.

This is an old problem, and unfortunately Sketch Team has been unable to fix performance issues with large files for many years. You just have to live with it and get in the habit of organizing your designs into separate pages and restarting the application if it starts to slow down.

It’d be helpful to get more relevant details, like system specs, and a breakdown of what constitutes a large file.

That said, I just used a macbook pro m1 pro 16gb (base model) to do a quick stress test with sketch and figma. I created a grid of 100x100 (10,000) 100px grey squares with 100pxs between them. I then tested performance of creating and manipulating new layers, selecting and modifying large portions of the 100x100 grid (move them around, change color, etc), and sadly Figma very significantly out-performed Sketch every step of the way. Figma lagged a bit with some actions, but ultimately was very useable. Sketch lagged more and paused at times, with certain actions have heavy delays (e.g. changing ~5000 of the squares’ background colors). Still useable, but comparatively very noticeably worse.

I recall a similar issue several years ago, when I was created an interior design layout, and used lots of squares to create a grid that I then encoded via background color to represent different features. I began in Sketch, and moved to Figma when the file became frustratingly slow to continue working with. I successfully completed the work in Figma with no performance issues. I believe this was a good 5 years ago.