Variable modes is completely unusable

It simply does not work as it is supposed to.

Figma loses track of which variable is the “latest” version across multiple files, Especially if you have your colors separated from your components in some way. And when that happens doesn’t allow you to switch modes, it is simply greyed out.

If there is a single variable in a page/section/frame/group/layer that isn’t the “latest”, Figma refuses to let you switch modes. There is no indication of which variable is outdated, you simply have to re-apply every variable manually. Hidden layers (like in booleans) also cause the issue, so you have to dig hard in the layers panel to find it in case there’s an old layer that someone hid at some point. This can be extremely frustrating and time consuming, and it is faster to simply switch out the colors manually.

Sometimes modes also appear to not work for no apparent reason. Here I have a sketch where “dark mode” works, but if I copy and paste the file into the source file of the variables themselves, it no longer wants to switch modes. There is no apparent reason as to why:

OMG that looks a nightmare, are you sure you have setup the variables correctly? Maybe the Adobe effect is happening here? Figma seems to be going down hill in performance for the past couple of months now, but no one seem to be talking about it?

Hey Isaac, thanks for reaching out!

This definitely doesn’t seem right. Is this happening in a specific file or in all files? Any difference in browser or using the desktop app? Are you able to share a link to your file(s), so we can take a closer look?

It’s happening across files and libraries. In the desktop app. There’s another discussion about it here which you may have seen: Unable to switch variable modes - #28 by Isaac_Fagerli

I can send you a link to a file.

The hidden layer is such a pain, there are so many manual work required to get the mode switching to work, it’s probably easier for me to set two set of color token to switch between light and dark mode. Is it possible for Figma to bypass hidden layer when doing mode switching. A lot of hidden layers are embedded in the nested component itself and it’s not easy to change them e.g. for icons

Thanks for the additional context!

Since variables is currently in open beta. We’ll continue to add more features and polish the experience during this time. To be completely transparent, for the time being, you may experience bugs and/or performance issues during this time, but we’re proactively looking for ways to improve current beta features and hope to positively evolve during this beta period.

The best way to help out the Variables team is by submitting a bug report directly to them:

Be sure to use your Figma account email, include a link to the affected file(s), and share it with, so they can take a closer look.