"Bring to front" - Not always available

I get the feeling that since one of your redesigns the “Bring top top” functionality is not always enabled and I don’t understand why. I used to be able to bring any object to top at any time. Why now I can’t?

Hi @TanyaG

Without seeing your actual wireframe, my best guess is that the control you are trying to Bring to Front is already at the front. In this image, the blue Rectangle control is already at the front which is confirmed as the Bring to Front and Bring Forward buttons in the Property Inspector are greyed out.

And, if we right-click the blue Rectangle control, the only context menu options for layering are Send Backwards and Send to Back:

Which is likely what you are seeing? Is that the issue? For the control you are selecting are the buttons in the Inspector greyed out?

If this continues to be an issue, drop us a line at support@balsamiq.com and attach your project and we’ll take a closer look.

Hmm, It’s odd. Now the “bring to front” is enabled again! I feel like there is a bug but I don’t know how to reproduce it. I’ll keep an eye on it and see if I figure out what’s happening. Thanks,


@alasdair I think I know what it is. See video: Dropbox - bring-to.mov - Simplify your life

Basically if objects don’t intersect, it doesn’t let me move to front. I swear it used to allow me to bring to front whether or not objects where intersecting - that is the ideal for me.

Hi @TanyaG

Aha! You are correct. We made this change as it allowed us to drop a whole bunch of calculations that we used to have to make when objects were overlapping - in some complex spreadsheets, it allowed us to reduce the number of calculations by literally thousands which, in turn, has a significant effect on performance, particularly in the browser environment.

Can you help us understand why the layering options are relevant when controls - in your example, the “Log InButton - have no other controls in front of or behind them?

Hopefully the change isn’t a huge dealbreaker and you can just adjust your layering when controls overlap. And, fingers crossed, as your wireframes increase in complexity, you notice the benefit of the improved performance.

Ohhhhhhhh… I’ll tell you:
It’s important because a lot of times I can’t select a half-overlapped object - there is just not enough of a clickable area for me to do it. With the way you have it I need to act with a lot of precision in order to grab a thing that is half blocked (accessibility sos), so that I don’t select the wrong thing. I liked being able to “spread” problematic objects apart and happily change stacking order without bending over the screen and squinting my eyes like I have to do it now WHILE they are overlapping.

And how do I select a thing that is totally covered? You might say, just select the object in the front and bring that down. But sometimes I have 4-5 things stacked… so it starts to get complicated.

Please bring back the old way of doing it! It’s painful, very painful.

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We hear you @TanyaG but can’t make any promises. Thanks for the considered feedback.

If you have more than one item layered, right-clicking will allow you to select the obscured object:

These are the same two rectangles from my previous example but the blue rectangle is completely obscured as it’s behind the larger, red rectangle.

Same idea will work for multiple overlapping controls:

Thanks. I’d be curious to hear from other Designers on this issue too. Is it just me?
It’s hard to select blocked objects, because I see a lot of “Select Rectangle” or “Select Text”, but I don’t know which object it is. It’s easier when they are colored, but I rarely use colors here…


It is definitely not just you. I struggle with this constantly. The amount of time I waste with “oh, right - I have to make it overlap something first to present those options” is ridiculous.

Can you help us understand why the layering options are relevant
If you need practical use cases, I have plenty. Often I have objects that I need to distribute in multiples on top of lower layers. If I drew the first instance of the object before those on the other layers, it now initially resides “beneath”. If I forget and replicate that object, I want to rubber-band select them all (while they are not overlapping anything) and bring them all to the top, so I can then place them where I want, without the every-so-often-random one disappearing underneath another object.
Bottom line: it is a significant time-sink for me.

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