Balsamiq Community Discussion

Exporting to PDF with selectable text


When I export to PDF from Balsamiq cloud, the text in exported PDF is selectable. But, when I export from desktop - it is not. Our devs don’t want to retype my text! Can I export from desktop as PDF with selectable text?


Hi @TanyaG,

Thanks for your post and for the question.

The news here is not ideal - improved PDF export was an improvement when we launched Balsamiq Cloud based on our new, rewritten Balsamiq Wireframes engine. PDFs are higher quality generally, Images scale better and text is selectable.

Unfortunately, the export to PDF in Mockups 3 for Desktop app. are rendered as images so the text is, as you’ve found, not selectable. We are working on updated, native versions of both the Windows and Mac OS which will be based on Balsamiq Wireframes - they’ll be shipped later this year. The PDF improvements will be present in those updated apps.

It’s not an answer I want to give but I think it’s unlikely the PDF export in the current desktop apps. will be updated.

I know it’s a workaround at best but can you upload your desktop .BMPR files to Cloud when you need to export to PDF with selectable text? The two apps. use the same format of file so you can manage your project limit by uploading the .BMPR, exporting it and then deleting it.

Sorry to not have a better answer here, @TanyaG, but the issue will be addressed when the updated desktop apps. ship.

All the best,




What about for those of us who only have Mockups for Desktop but not Cloud?



Hi @lcsmith202,

As Alasdair mentioned, we’re already working on porting our new native editor to the Desktop version as well. We don’t have a firm date for it yet but we’re aiming for a release this year.

We can’t wait for all our apps to use this new editor and its added features but this requires a huge effort for our small team, which is why it takes some time. We’ll get there!

Let us know if we can do anything else for you.


I’m hungry for the new Desktop version :sunglasses:


Florian just got the first test build to play with (it’s been living on dev machines until now). There’s still more work to do, but we are getting closer :slight_smile:


That’s great. Thanks so much for the prompt response.

Really looking forward to the update!


I’m using Balsamiq cloud and the PDF exported text is not selectable.

If I’m reading the above post right, it should be selectable on Cloud, right?

Headings and Subheads are selectable, just not the text.


Hey Marcooos,

Yes, you are right the text should be selectable. Though there is an exception.
Some fonts do not support all text styles or all characters. For example Balsamiq Sans does not support any Chinese signs.

When we find a character in the text that cannot be rendered by the font you selected, we generate an image of the control and include it in the PDF.

We do this to prevent having unsupported character boxes in the PDF.

Some fonts that we include do not have an italic style. These are Roboto Slab, Caveat and Inconsolata. If you use one of them with italic style we fall back to the image generation.

We know this is not ideal. It is the best solution we came up with so far.


Hi Florian, No that’s absolutely fine. I think I was actually experiencing a bug. I just tried it again now and it’s working perfectly, thanks.


A designer asked me for the text content from mockups, and this task was a hell for me.

Option 1 :frowning_face:
I’ve copied and pasted all the texts into notepad, and it was long and dumb work.

Option 2 :frowning_face:
I’ve imported the BMPR into Balsamiq Cloud, but picking the text out of the mockups wasn’t too easy, too. I need to enter a group, then double-click on an element to copy the text. It’s almost the same, as Desktop version provides.

Option 3 :cowboy_hat_face:
A possible trick to get all the text values is:

  1. Install DB Browser for SQLite
  2. Open BMPR in the DB Browser
  3. Open the RESOURCES table and filter DATA column by containing “text:” substring
  4. Copy all the rows and paste into Notepad++
  5. Extract all the values from “text” attribute with regular expression

It was much faster, than manual copy-pasting.

If somebody needs detailed explanation of the process I did, please let me know.

I wish Balsamiq 4 would have a way to get texts from the mockups in a bit easier way :grinning:.