Balsamiq Community Discussion

Alternates of symbols



I love the alternates feature. By the way there are some limitation regarding to symbols. It yould be perfect to extend alternates to symbols also.


I think I like this @Boviz

Reading your post the first time, I thought “Yeah, that makes sense.” But then I hit a wall: implementation.

Because symbols live in the UI Library (and can be added to your project via Quick Search), wouldn’t the alternates live there too? If so, wouldn’t it be easier to just duplicate the symbol in the symbol library, make your changes, and then save it as a new symbol?

If the symbol alternate lived within symbol itself (which I don’t think is something we could do - but let’s pretend we could) would that really be more convenient? You would still have to edit the symbol, add it to your canvas, and then select the alternate version you wanted to do. I’m not sure that’s an easier workflow than just duplicating and editing.

So I’m in this weird spot. My gut reaction to this was “yes, that would be cool” so I feel like I am just missing a use case. How do you envision this being implemented? Am I missing the obvious?

Let me know! :slight_smile:


Tossing in a +1 here, here’s the use case:

I’ve got a production web app that I’m doing some expansion and redesign on. My symbol covers the common left navigation, header, and footer. Each mockup starts with that symbol, and then I drop in the various elements for the new view, wire it up, and move on.

After a while I realize a way to rationalize the left side nav, but expansion and redesign are two separate efforts, and expansion is priority. So for the purposes of moving forward in the immediate, using the current design makes the most sense for presentation. BUT, it’d also be really handy to say “And here’s what it’d look like cleaner”, flip the symbol to alternate, and then run through the views again.


I came here to request this feature, but found this thread was here already.

Yes, you can create a duplicate of a symbol and make changes. But then, to see this applied within the context of a large project, you have to manually change each symbol instance to the new one. This could be for dozens of mockups. Then, if you want to go back to the previous version, you have to repeat that whole process. This would be time consuming, and prone to errors.

The use case for symbol alternates is (for me) basically identical to that for wireframe alternates - ie quickly comparing two different design options within a UI flow.

Actually I suppose another workaround would be to paste-replace the content you want into the symbol so that all the instances will update. Then you could paste the original back in if you want to revert to that version. You’d need to be careful about how you store the alternates, and would need to ensure the positioning lines up correctly, but it’d probably be easier than the other method.