Can't access published variables for prototyping

I have a set of variables defined in my design system and also published. When setting up properties in a separate project file, I’m able to bind component properties to those design system variables, but when I go into the prototyping area to set a variable, I only have access to local variables. Am I missing something, or is this just how it works? Maybe it’s a necessary limitation since multiple projects interacting with the same set of master variables could do weird/undesired things, but I’ve not found any documentation to indicate that published variables are intentionally not available in prototyping.


Bumping for visibility, I have the exact same question.

I have the same question, is this a bug, known limitation of the beta or intentional behavior? Some sort of acknowlodegment would be appreciated so we can stop pulling our hair out over it. Currently I’m not getting the point/purpose to publish variables in the first place if they can’t be used in prototypes, I suppose they are still useful for styles & colors maybe.

I’ve even had it list the shared variables when setting up a conditional interaction but it just gives me the error shake when I try to select it. :person_shrugging:t4:

Screenshot 2023-10-30 at 5.39.39 PM

Makes me think it’s suppose to be available but not implemented for use yet. :thinking:

Has this been fixed yet? I am not seeing anyone else mentioning this topic.

Hi there, Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

I tried it out on my end and found a similar behavior. It might be a feature limitation, but I’ll double-check with our internal team just to be sure. As soon as I find out more, I’ll get back to you.

Here are the steps I followed to reproduce this:

  1. Added a library with variables to a design file
  2. Applied a variable from the added library to a frame in the design file
  3. Created a prototype interaction on the frame
  4. From the Actions dropdown menu, selected [Set variable]
  5. From the [Pick target] variable dropdown menu, I could only select local variables
  6. In the [Write expression] field, I could select both local variables and variables from available libraries

Thanks for your patience and understanding in this matter!

Hey there, Niko from Figma here!

We limited the ability to change subscribed variables, since — once published — we expected those variables to be part of a more static design system rather than showing up for every prototyping interaction.

Could you tell me more info on what the use case is you’re trying to achieve and why you’d need to change subscribed variables from a design system?

— Niko

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Hard to say for sure since it’s been almost a year, but I’d guess it was trying to prototype radio buttons. You can see the below thread on the topic, where I posted around the same time. It seems like there should be a way to simply define the interactions for a radio button group once as a component, then just pull in that component, rename the options, and have it all work in a prototype.