Global live library sharing

After discussing the subject at length with the support, here’s a summary of what Figma allows and doesn’t allow in terms of library sharing (hint: it’s not that simple), and how it could be streamlined:

Currently, as a component library creator, here are the options you have in order to share your library (I will not include the options for a Starter plan, they are legitimately limited)

As a Pro user:

  1. Publish it and share it within your Team (to users you - or your admin - pays for) using the Team library feature. They can access the component anywhere inside the Team’s files, and get realtime updates. Links are preserved throughout even with multiple files.
  2. Share it on Community (to users outside your Team): they can duplicate the file to their respective spaces, without live updates. Links won’t be preserved if the library includes multiple files.
  3. Share it via link (view-only) to selected users: they can either duplicate it (although not as easy as a Community file), or use it as a shared library (it appears in the “Team library” modal) with live update and link preservation ONLY if they are Starter or Pro users (Org users won’t be able to).
  4. Share it as .fig file to anyone: users won’t get live updates or even see if there’s an update. Links will be broken if the library is composed of several files.

As an Org member:
All of the above except the second part of 3. > Designers within an Org cannot use this share “feature”. And that’s the whole issue.

After clarification with the support, it appears the 3. method of sharing, that resembles how Sketch allows library sharing (across spaces and licences), is more or less accidental. Which is a shame because it’s the most horizontal and powerful.

So, it would be nice to have a supported way of sharing a component library (comprised of one or several linked files):

  • As long as you pay for Figma (Pro and Org users)
  • To any user (paid, and if possible, free)
  • Keeping realtime updates

One way to do it would be allowing live updates on Community files, rather than Duplicate (or both). I love Figma way more than Sketch but the best way to describe it is “Sketch-like”.

Any comment is welcome!

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Same problem here.

As of a few days ago, it seems that Figma removed the possibility to share live libraries as described above (3) - for new users at least.

We have now no means to share live libraries accross spaces…

I am having the same problem related to case no. 3.
A colleague and I both have access to a third-party shared library (we both have “can view” permission on that file). However, while she can enable the library in our team’s files, I can not, and I still see it as “missing library” after she had enabled the library in the file (even if I can still see the components in the asset panels).
We both have “can view” access in this library, and are both Admins in our team.
She just had accessed the file a week or two before I had. Also, our other colleagues who tried these days are facing the same problem.

So yeah, I can confirm what @Antoine was saying: apparently, it looks nowadays impossible to share a library and/or import a third-party shared library, while in the past “can view” access was just like anything you’d need.

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I removed a 3rd party library I was using (Ant Design Open Source) and need to add it back again, but it didn’t show in my library panel after I visited the view only original file.

I can see my name in the share list. But my library panel is empty.

I copy a button instance to a new Figma file, now here’s a missing library in my panel but I can’t use it.

I try another published library I am using which made by my colleagues, I mean remove then add back again. Well, my library panel is still empty.

I uninstall all plugins and try again, it doesn’t work.

Clear the app and browser cache, still doesn’t work.

Finally I published a test team library, then create a free account, I share the library file link to the free account. I can see the free account’s username in the library share list, but the library doesn’t show in the free account’s library panel.

System: Big Sur 11.6
Browser: Chrome 98.0.4736.0
Figma App: 107.0

Hi Kino,

The ability to add third-party libraries has been quietly disabled by the Figma team.
I created a feature request a while ago to have it back, but it did not gain enough traction and is now closed. It looks like not many people need that sort of thing, sadly.

As a workaround you have to duplicate the Ant Design file and publish it in your team.

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Thanks for the reply.
If can’t add 3rd party library, then publish a library is BROKEN as well.
I published a team library and found it can’t share to my friends(not in my team but also a pro account)…

I also find a way to add third-party library back yesterday.
Only works when you know the author of the library :frowning:

  1. Visit original file make sure your name is in the share list
  2. Click [Ask to edit] button to get the edit permission
  3. The library will show in your library panel and everything is ok
  4. Author change your permission from edit to view only, the library still works

I thinks it’s a bug?

when I copy a Open-source library file in community to my team and publish it, can I get update alert when the original file changed?
Can the library author know which component used mostly if lot’s of users choose to copy but link to the original library?

I think the problem above is very similar to what this topic is about so I moved this into here. One note: it would be nice to improve the topic title, not everyone knows what Sketch library sharing looks like. Maybe something like “global live library sharing”?

Or maybe [view-only access can’t enable a third-party library]?
I also contact Figma support team for this problem, and they said [you should only need view-only access to enable a library], so the function may not disabled since support team didn’t know it?

I also found some comments in community about this bug.
Since I can’t post link here, please check the latest [Ant Design Mobile] and [Ant Design Open Source] comment in their community page.

Here is the link and screenshot just in case:

Live libraries are now “siloed” to the space they are published in, in both ways, you can’t “subscribe” or share.

Thanks for reporting the workaround, it is likely a bug, and not very practical for large user bases.

The workaround I described earlier doesn’t in fact give you live updates or use analytics. You need to republish the original file every time there’s an update, and restore links using “swap libraries”.

@Gleb good call, I changed the topic.

I had a confirmation from support that the “feature” was accidental and now disabled.

This seems to have changed recently (in the past two months, maybe?) and has now broken our process for sharing our team library. Until recently, anyone could add our component library to their drafts. Now it seems the only way for someone to add our library is if we give them edit access to the library, which of course is not what we want to do, since the consumers of the library are not supposed to be able to edit it.

This seems like a major limitation to the way Figma can be used and definitely makes it a less useful platform for a design system.

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Lates feedback from Figma support team, I guess the support team didn’t know this new feature:

we’ve made a change with how library sharing works. In order for a user to use a library, they’ll either need Edit access to the library, or they’ll need to be explicitly invited to the library as a viewer (they cannot be added to the library as a viewer via link — it must be an explicit invitation)

I guess send invitation means type the user’s email then click the [send invite] button in the share window, I asked the support team if there’s other way to send an invitation and let’s waiting for the reply.

It would be crazy if free & open source library author have to invite every user need to use their library.

If Figma really want to change the way of library share, they should add a new way but not disable the old one. And the author can choose the way they need.

  1. Free to public: anyone can add library when visit the original file
  2. Invite only: users have to send request to add the library or author can invite users to add the library, visit original file doesn’t work anymore.
  3. Collaboration: get edit access and build the library together even not in the same team.

If library author choose invite only, users can see another button next to [ask for edit], maybe an [ask to link] button, then system send a message to author and they can just approve it.

I really don’t like this new [change] since there’s no [official announcement ] about it and it’s really not good for the community.

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Update from Figma support team

Only users with explicit access to a library can actually invite others explicitly

So we can ask friends who already added the library to invite us…

I tried invite myself btw( input my email in the share window) and sometime works sometime failed :stuck_out_tongue: When I failed(I guess it’s because the library is not free open-source) there is a new guest account appear in my account dropdown menu and I’m trying to remove it :sweat_smile:…(update: leave the team option is in the setting menu)

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This is such a dumb restriction. I wish Figma focused on creating important features instead of taking away the existing useful ones.

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You are right antonine.
We should all use global live library sharing because it is very helpful. For live example you can check out boardersguide an online library for paddle boards.

Need this!

  1. Currently, when a file is shared to Figma community, one of the two buttons above file preview is “Duplicate”, which acts similar to GitHub’s “Fork” and creates a copy of the file for the individual user. For a design system, “Duplicate” is a problematic call-to-action. We want to prevent duplication, which disconnect users from the system, and instead encourage using or installing the system’s original file. Can we disable “Duplicate” button, or replace with “Start using” or “Install”?

  2. See the blue “Duplicate” button on top right of the page, next to “Like”

  3. I’m curious if:
    a: Other design system maintainers have the same concern?
    b: Is Figma going to consider allowing alternative call-to-action button for Design System files?

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