Documentation makes sure the people using your design system have the right information and context. It can help guide proper application, variant and state usage, and accessibility and contrast requirements.
Documentation is not just for designers, it’s also important to consider other people who will be using your design system. This includes the developers who will be implementing your designs.
At the moment, there are a few ways to incorporate design system documentation in your Figma libraries:
- Give styles, components, and variables meaningful names
- Add short descriptions to styles, components, and variables
- Add links to external documentation to components
- Add descriptions to any library updates
You can attach a short description and a link to your components. This allows you to better communicate a component’s intended use.
Figma will look at component descriptions when returning search results. So you can use descriptions to tag components with relevant keywords. It won’t be possible to capture every detail in this description field, so have a think about what information will be most important.
If you have design system documentation in an external tool, you can add a link to that documentation. This appears as a View documentation button. Figma shows a custom button if your link is from any of these domains:
- Github → View in Github
- Notion → View in Notion
- Storybook → View in Storybook
- Zeroheight → View in Zeroheight
- Confluence → View in Confluence
- Dropbox Paper → View in Paper
Note: If you combine existing components as a component set, Figma will apply any existing links and descriptions to the individual variants. You can view and edit this description when you have the variant selected.
Add descriptions and links
Add a description and any links to your main components. You’ll need edit access to the library file to add or update descriptions. You can add descriptions and links to:
- Main components, including those with component properties
- Entire component sets and individual variants in a component set
- Open the file where your component library lives. If you have an instance selected, you can select Go to main component in library to view the component in the library file.
- Select main component, component set or a specific variant within the component set.
- Click to open the Documentation details:
- Fill in one or both fields:
- How to use this component: Add a description to this field. Figma will look at this description when searching for components, so you can use this field to tag relevant keywords.
- Link to documentation: Add a link to external documentation or a file with further explanations or guidance.
- Click or anywhere outside the modal to apply changes.
Figma will show descriptions and links in common style and component locations in files. View component descriptions and links ↓
There are a few tools you can use to help guide people toward the right styles for their designs.
You can use the slash or dash naming process to organize your styles into groups. We recommend giving your styles names that are relevant to their use case.
You can also add descriptions to styles. Descriptions allow you to show extra information about a style’s intended usage. You can view a style’s description when you hover over the style in the style picker.
Add style descriptions
Add a description to the style definition in the library file. You need to create a style before you can add a description to it.
- Click an empty spot in the canvas.
- In the Design panel, view any style definitions in the file.
- Hover over the style and click when it appears:
- In the Edit style menu add a Description using the field.
- Click outside the menu or use the to close the menu.
Tip! You can find and open the style definition from any layer that uses that style:
- Select a layer that supports that style.
- Click to open the style picker.
- Hover over the style and click when it appears.
- In the View style menu, click Go to style definition to edit:
You can use the slash naming process to organize your variables into groups. We recommend giving your variables names that are relevant to their use case.
You can also add descriptions to variables. Descriptions allow you to show extra information about a variable's intended usage.
- From the file where the variable lives, click an empty spot on the canvas to deselect any objects.
- Click [icon] Open variables.
- Find the variable from the Variables modal.
- Hover over the variable row, right-click, and select Edit variable.
- Enter your description into the description box.
You can also add descriptions when publishing updates to your library. These descriptions show in both the library modal and in the file’s version history and are great for communicating high-level changes to your library.
We recommend using these descriptions in addition to component and style descriptions. Style and component descriptions are visible to anyone who interacts with the style or description. Library descriptions are only available at a file and library level, so have much less visibility.
Figma will show a notification in any files with styles and components from that library. You can view a list of updated styles and components and the description (if included). Review and accept library updates →
View descriptions and documentation
You can view descriptions and links when interacting with styles and components in these places:
Anyone with can view or can edit access can access component details in the Inspect panel.
- View the name of the component or instance.
- View the description. If the component or instance is a variant, you’ll see descriptions for both the component set and the variant.
- Click the link or button to view further documentation.
- If the component lives in another file, you’ll also see a Go to main component in library icon to view the component in the library file.
Instance menu in right sidebar
View component details in the instance section of the Design panel in the right sidebar. You need edit access to the file to access the Design panel.
- Figma shows a preview of the description underneath the component / instance name.
- Click Show more to view the full description and link in the documentation window. Click outside of the modal or use the button to close.
- Collaborators can also click to view the original library file. This is great if you have additional guidance for how to use components.
You can view component names and descriptions in the Assets panel. Figma will also use component descriptions when you search for a component.
Hover over the component in the Assets panel of the left sidebar to view the component’s details. You can see both the component name and description from list or grid view.
You need to have can edit access to a file to open the Assets panel. You’ll only need view access to the library to use components from that library.
View the style name and description from the style picker.
- Click to open the style picker.
- Hover over a style to view the style description in a tooltip: