Balsamiq Community Discussion

Can I create a symbol from an existing Vertical Tab Container?


I created a very elaborate Mock-up with over 30 individual MP’s and used the Vertical Tab container on a group that belonged to a Maintenance category. Then I discovered that I should have created a symbol first to use on each MP so when it can time to change it, like now, it would be easy rather then difficult. So, this brings me to my question: can I create a symbol from this existing Vertical Tab container and then perform maintenance?



Hi @Michael_Paparo,

Thanks for reaching out to us.

You can indeed change the group you have created to make it a symbol so your edits will be reflected on all mockups pages. The only step to perform once the symbol is created will be to delete the group and replace it with the newly created symbol on each page.

You can find more informations on working with symbols here if needed:

Please let us know if you need any further information, we’re always here to help! :wink:


So since the grouping would be the container (V.Tab) that contains all my other controls, I would need to rebuild all the pages that I would need to replace the group on? Back to square one it seems.

I should have read everything and watched all he tutorials before stating this project but I was eager to get started.

I guess I’ll have to live with it, this time.



We’d be happy to help you replace the old V-Tabs with the new container, @Michael_Paparo.

If you can email your project to, and let us know what needs to be replaced with what, we’d love to assist with the heavy lifting.

Let us know! :smiley:


To familiarize myself with the application, I would like to try it myself, which I did. I cloned a MP, removed all the ‘other’ controls from it and made it a symbol. Then I copied and pasted the control from the original MP to the new tab of the symbol.

Am I on the right path?

Since you offered to do it all fro me, I began to wonder if it’s more complicated than it seems.

My intent is to have the Vertical Tab container, with the existing tabs, become the symbol to be used on each of the MP pages, replacing the existing non-symbol VTc.


I think you are on the right path, @Michael_Paparo, but maybe are jumping through a couple more hoops than you need to.

If I had a project with a bunch of mockups, and wanted to replace a Vtab in each of those mockups, here is how I would do it:

  1. Here is the project with a couple mockups and vertical tab controls.

  2. I would start by editing one of the vertical tab control (it doesn’t matter which) and making it look like how I eventually want them all to look

  3. Once I had the control how I wanted, I would start the process of turning it into a symbol. The first step is to group it (in this case, you just want to group it with itself - but you could group it with any other control you wanted to include in the symbol.)

  4. Once grouped, we can finally turn it into a Symbol. In the Inspector (the panel on the right) name the group and click “Convert to Symbol.”

  5. Now we have a Symbol based on our V.Tab control. It lives in the Symbol Library which you can view by either choosing it in the Hamburger menu (yes, that’s really what it’s called…) or using the View menu.

  6. Now I can go through and replace the Vertical tabs in the other mockups with the symbol. I just have to delete the old control, search for my symbol in the quick add field, and drop it into place

What’s great about symbols (as you probably already know) is that you can make a change at the symbol source (editing it in the symbol library of the project) and that change will propagate to all instances of the symbol. You can also edit the individual instances of the symbol (overriding them) to change things like selection. That change will stay with only that instance of the symbol.

I hope that makes sense, Michael. I know it’s a ton of information! If you would like, I’d be happy to set up a phone or Skype call to walk you through it that way as well. Whatever is most comfortable for you.

And, as always, don’t hesitate to ask any other questions. We want you to be a Mockups expert, and are happy to help you with that however we can :smiley:


Ok, I understand the process of creating a symbol and have made a few since stumbling across them but, correct me if I’m wrong; when I delete the existing control (which was copied and pasted to each MU after creating the final) that has had other controls added to it to create the MU, they will be lost, right?



Ok, no need to explain any further…
I followed your steps and then discovered that when I delete the old Vtab, the controls that were added it after the fact remained. SO, now I see that I can just group what remains, send to front, then add the new symbol, send it to the back and viola, my MU is back to the way it was but with a symbol instead.

Fantastic product!
I will be a lifetime user for sure.