You start on a document by adding elements on a page from the top toolbar or the insert menu or dragging images/photos from your Mac’s folders directly on the working area.

The following screenshot shows the main interface areas.

Page Outline Sidebar

The page outline will show all of the pages in your document, with the option of organizing pages in sections. From here you can add, rename, duplicate, delete and reorder pages and sections.

The outline thumbnails are a simplified representation of the page contents. For example they don’t show the content of very long pages, the different page alignments, menu drop downs or animations, but they’re useful for context.

Working Area

The page selected in the Page Outline is displayed in the Working Area, or canvas. Sparkle is a WYSIWYG application (“What You See Is What You Get”), you operate on the elements by selecting, moving and resizing them interactively as you do in most of modern visual applications.

When selecting an element the corresponding settings are displayed in the Inspector, when no element is selected the website settings are shown. Pressing the “Settings” toolbar button also shows the website settings in the Inspector.

The canvas on which elements are placed can be zoomed from 25% to 400% using the toolbar zoom menu, the most common (and default) zoom behavior is to automatically fit the document width, which allows for free document movement and resizing.

While scrolling around the page is easy enough, particularly with scrolling gestures on modern mice and trackpads, when the page is zoomed in a lot you risk overshooting the target location. An alternative, more precise way of navigating around the page, that works when you aren’t in an actively editing a text block, is to hold down the spacebar, grab the canvas and move it around.


When you select an element in the Working Area the Inspector shows its settings. Through the Inspector you can control the visual aspect and behavior of each element. When you change a parameter the element will be immediately updated in the Working Area so you can quickly adjust its appearance. Each kind of element has its own Inspector with specific settings, explained in other parts of this documentation.

Format bar 

The format bar contains quick access commands that are commonly used or useful to have near the canvas and canvas elements.

The first button from the left is equivalent to the “Show hidden elements” option in the View menu, and is related to multi-device websites.

The following buttons are enabled when two or more elements are selected, and are equivalent to menu items in the Arrange menu: 

  • align left
  • align center (horizontally)
  • align right
  • align top
  • align center (vertically)
  • align bottom
  • distribute horizontally
  • distribute vertically
  • same width
  • same height
  • send to back
  • bring to front
  • backward
  • forward

Page bottom

Finally the page bottom element, within the canvas, lets you make the page shorter or taller. While the page is generally clipped where content ends, the page bottom is useful in conjunction with elements that follow the page footer (see the Arrange inspector page).

Please report any shortcoming in this documentation and we’ll fix it as soon as possible!

Sparkle and the macOS document model

Sparkle adheres to the modern macOS document model, so documents are autosaved in the background and versioned by the system. Starting with macOS Sierra you can open multiple files as tabs of the same window.

Sharing Sparkle files

Sharing Sparkle website files is safe and secure, we have painstakingly engineered this aspect to ensure sharing flexibility and security. Specifically: 

  • your web publishing settings are saved in the system keychain, they can’t be extracted from the Sparkle file;
  • you can move a Sparkle file to a different Mac freely, if it’s your own Mac the keychain settings can be synchronized via iCloud keychain and it will work right away, if it’s someone else’s they can enter the publishing settings again (if needed) and both settings will be retained when moving the file back and forth;
  • likewise export to disk settings are only visible on the machine where the setup was made, but multiple disk setups are possible and preserved when moving the document back and forth between different Macs.

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