Balsamiq Community Discussion

Balsamiq Guidelines?

Hi friends - where are the guidelines in Balsamiq 3? I want guidelines that appear in the application only and don’t export to the PDF. I’ve hacked this using Vertical Rules, but this forces me to remove them when I want to export.

Hi @Doug,

Thanks for the post!

In Mockups 3, there are Smart Guides which should appear automatically - to suggest alignment relative to other objects on the canvas - any time you are dragging controls around. Like this:


If you’re not seeing those Smart Guides when dragging controls, let me know and we can dig into that.

We also have background graph paper which offers a rough guide:


If you are not seeing the graph paper, it may have inadvertently been switched off. You can toggle it back on via the menu: View > Graph Paper

As you note, the graph paper squares appear on the canvas but are omitted when you export to PDF.

Perhaps I should have been clearer.

I am after guidelines that I drag on to the screen (from a ruler for example)

I’ve got the graph paper on, but I’m going cross eyed counting squares.

Hey @Doug,

We don’t have a guideline/ruler feature built into the app. Given the focus on low-fidelity wireframing, more pixel-accurate features tend to be found in higher-fidelity tools.

That said there are some user-contributed layout templates at e.g.

But I’m not sure that’s exactly what you’re looking for?

No, it’s fine thanks.

Hack after hack to make this tool work. It’s frustrating.

I want a guideline so I can line up elements across different mockups.

Hey @Doug,

I worry that we’re not quite the right tool you need and I totally understand that having to find workarounds for things you’re trying to do, and shoehorn some features, can get annoying.

We want you to be delighted to use Balsamiq - not frustrated. If you think another tool would meet your needs better - and we’re comfortable with the idea that we’re not going to be the right tool for everybody - please reach out to us at and we’ll be happy to refund your purchase if you decide that our little tool is not for you and you’d like to to move on.

Completely agree.

I’ll be a couple of months get switched over to another piece of software as I am in a large organization.

Thank you for your offer.

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