What are clippings?
A clipping is a saved group of components that can be pasted into a layout. For example, by combining a few Rich Text components and an Image component, you can create a clipping for a generic eCommerce category page that includes a product title, a product image, and a product description.
How do clippings work currently, pre-3.9?
Currently clippings are simply copies. When you paste a clipping, the clipping is copied and placed in the layout, and does not keep any connection to the original clipping. If you then change the source clipping, the pasted copy does not update.
How will clippings work in 3.9 and after?
With 3.9, pasted clippings are tied to their source. When the source is updated, the pasted instance of the clipping will also update. If you have several instances of that clipping, they will all update. This behavior is consistent with how templates currently work. And just like templates, you will have the option to detach a clipping from its source to make it static, non-updating.
What will happen to my existing clippings?
IMPORTANT: After the 3.9 update, all clippings in your Library will become “by reference” when pasted. Clippings you have pasted previous to the 3.9 update will not be “by reference” since they were actually duplicated and placed into the layout. No connection remains to the source clipping. If you want these legacy clippings to update with their source, you will need to re-paste them into your layout.
What do clippings look like in 3.9?
The screenshot below shows the Clippings tab in the Library. Note that selected clippings now show where they are being used.
The next screenshot shows a selected clipping in the Editor.
Clippings are treated like basic components such as Box or Image and appear in the Component Listing as a single component. You cannot manipulate the contents of a clipping in a layout. If you need to do so, either edit the source clipping or detach the clipping from the source. Detaching the clipping from the source will copy the individual components in the clipping into the Editor where you can edit them. On the Editor Canvas, clippings are differentiated from other components by the smaller selection block. The Properties pane clearly identifies the clipping and has options to edit the source or detach (and stop updating from the source). All component properties apply to clippings.
Clippings in the Palette
Another change for 3.9 is when you create a clipping, it will appear in the component palette in the editor. To add a clipping instance to a layout, simply drag and drop the desired clipping from the palette. This makes using clippings very easy. Clippings are created the same way they are now: by selecting a group of components and choosing File > Create Clipping from Selection, or by going to the Library page, Clipping tab and creating a new clipping directly.
Are you currently using clippings?
A good candidate for a clipping is any group of components that you need to be the same across pages, but needs to be in a different position on each page. For example, footers and sidebars are natural clippings. Since clippings can be imported from other projects, they can be useful in creating a company catalog of reusable components. Create a project called something like “Company Standards” and create any company-wide clipping there (you can put shared templates in the project, too). Now you have a way to jump-start new projects. Just remember that when you import clippings from another project, they are duplicated in your new project. Clippings do not remain linked between projects, only within a project.
ProtoShare 3.9 is coming in the first half of June. We have just started our formal testing phase and so far it is going smoothly. This “clippings by reference” feature is something we have been wanting to provide for a long time. We’re excited to get it to you. Let us know in the comments if and how you currently use clippings and whether this new capability will be helpful.