Artboards allow you to create fixed frames on Sketch’s infinite canvas, but they’re completely optional.
If you’re creating a responsive web design you may want to design for different screen sizes and you could turn each screen size into an Artboard. If you’re making icons you may want to limit yourself to any of the default icon sizes; you can create an Artboard for each.
Artboards are like a special kind of group. They’re always ‘open’; you never have to double-click to view their contents, and they don’t resize to fit the contents inside. If you give an Artboard a certain frame, it’ll keep that frame until you resize it again.
To create an Artboard, select Insert › Artboard from toolbar or menu. The inspector will show you some common Artboard sizes such a iOS-sized screens, common web design widths and icon sizes.
Click on a preset to insert it into the canvas, or click on the header of a group of Artboard presets to insert them all at once. You can also add your own presets at the bottom of the inspector.
If after you’ve inserted one Artboard, you want to insert more Artboards of that kind, you can immediately press ⌘ D (duplicate) until you have as many Artboards as you need.
Sketch will not let you select Artboards on canvas if they have content inside them. This behaviour makes it easier to drag-select multiple layers in them for example, but sometimes moving them is desirable.
You can always select an Artboard in the layer list and then you can drag it around on the canvas, or change its position or size in the inspector.
You can also click and drag on the name of the Artboard in the canvas and drag it around like that.
Grids and Rulers
Since Artboards act as their own canvas with the infinite canvas, each Artboard has its own rulers and optional grids, which is especially useful if you’re combining multiple sized Artboards in one canvas; one for breakpoint in a responsive web design for example.
A good example use of Artboards can be seen in the Templates we ship by default. Go to File › New From Template in the menu. If you pick the Mac App Icon template you’ll see we created an Artboard for each of the common sizes.