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Building a library of templates with Polotno

You can use Polotno tools and ability to customize side panel to make your own library of templates.

Templates image

In order to make a templates library you will need:

  1. Create a design in the Polotno Editor
  2. Use store.toJSON() to save the design state on computer as .json file
  3. (Optionally) Use store.saveAsImage() to save preview file of a design
  4. Repeat 1-4 as many times as you need in order to make a library of templates
  5. If you skipped step number 3 you can use polotno-node to generate previews automatically
  6. Make server side API to access list of templates
  7. Create a custom side panel to display list of templates from that API
  8. Use store.loadJSON()

(1-4) Making designs library#

These are manual steps with human creativity involved. You should use your own polotno-made editor. Or you can use if you want. You can use "Save" button to download .json file.

Now you need to create as many files as you need for your library.

(5) Generating previews#

We can use polotno-node API to quickly generate small previews the whole library. I will show you a quick NodeJS script that will read load directory and create previews for every json file in it. When script is finished we will have a folder where designs (json files) and previews (png files).

import fs from 'fs';
import path from 'path';
import { createInstance } from 'polotno-node';
// we will look for local directory for templates
const FOLDER_NAME = 'templates';
async function run() {
// create working instance
const instance = await createInstance({
// this is a demo key just for that project
// (!) please don't use it in your projects
// to create your own API key please go here:
key: 'nFA5H9elEytDyPyvKL7T',
// read all files in the directory
const files = fs.readdirSync(folder);
for (const file of files) {
// if it is not a json file - skip it
if (file.indexOf('.json') === -1) {
// load file
const data = fs.readFileSync(path.join(folder, file)).toString();
const json = JSON.parse(data);
// convert JSON into image preview
const imageBase64 = await (json) => {
await store.waitLoading();
// set width of previews
// we usually don't need original size there
const maxWidth = 200;
const scale = maxWidth / store.width;
return store.toDataURL({ pixelRatio: scale }).split('base64,')[1];
}, json);
// save images locally into the same folder
path.join(folder, file.split('.')[0] + '.png'),
console.log(`Finished ${folder} ${file}`);
// close instance

(6) Making backend API to load templates#

This step is out of polotno scope. You can use any backend stack you like. Most likely you will need API to get a list of available templates. For every design you will need to share public path to json file and png preview.

For the demo bellow I will just mock API with static json.

(7 and 8) Displaying templates on side panel#

As soon as you have backend API to get list of templates, you can use Side Panel Customization to display that list on the page.

The side panel may look like this:

import React from "react";
import { observer } from "mobx-react-lite";
import { useSWRInfinite } from "swr";
import { ImagesGrid } from "polotno/side-panel/images-grid";
export const TemplatesPanel = observer(({ store }) => {
// load data
const { data, error, mutate, size, setSize } = useSWRInfinite(
(index) => `templates/page${index + 1}.json`
// do some calculations from the hook above
const isLoadingInitialData = !data && !error;
const isLoading =
isLoadingInitialData ||
!!(size > 0 && data && typeof data[size - 1] === "undefined");
const isEmpty = data?.[0]?.length === 0;
const isReachingEnd = isEmpty || (data && data[0].total_pages === size);
const loadMore = () => {
if (!isReachingEnd) {
setSize(size + 1);
return (
<div style={{ height: "100%" }}>
images={data?.map((data) => data.items).flat()}
getPreview={(item) => `/templates/${item.preview}`}
onSelect={async (item) => {
// download selected json
const req = await fetch(`/templates/${item.json}`);
const json = await req.json();
// just inject it into store