Balsamiq Community Discussion

Feature Request: Rotate any shape by any degree

We definitely don’t want to leave rotation out for controls that make sense, @stevebauman.

Where would you like to see it? :slight_smile:

I would like to see it available on every element, just like paint. It is a mock up tool after all.

Thanks for the quick response.

The problem with putting rotation on everything is that it could make wireframing (as well as implementation) more difficult for you and your team. Since Mockups is a starter tool, we don’t want to add complication to the beginning of the design process, you know?

That being said, adding rotation to a control is one good discussion away from implementation. If you have a use case for a control that requires rotation, tell us about it! This is the type of stuff we love! :slight_smile:

Since Mockups is a starter tool, we don’t want to add complication to the beginning of the design process, you know?

Why would it add complication to the design process? If anything it’s hindering my design process. Rotation of objects is on a per user basis. If a user wants to rotate and object, why limit their design abilities and creativity?

What if my design includes certain rotated elements? At this point I either need to create an image and insert it manually, or use another product which supports rotation.

From the previous responses here, it seems like there’s always a 'bandaid ’ answer, but at this point I’m assuming the reasoning against the implemenation is one of the following:

  • The application just can’t support having other rotatable elements / objects


  • It’s too much work to code (probably due to rotational options needing to be coded on a per object type basis)

The whole feature request here is having a global rotation control for all object types. Not adding it in on a per object type basis. I’m sure you can agree this would be a nice feature to have.

I’m sorry if it’s coming off like a band-aid answer, Steve. That’s not how we want it to feel. The reason we keep repeating it is because it’s genuinely how we feel (it’s even in our documentation).

If there are places where you need rotation, we want to hear about them because we want to add them. We only push back against the idea of adding it to every control because we worry that it will cause more problems than it solves.

But we want to add it where it makes sense, and we will be the first to admit that there are almost certainly places it makes sense that we have missed. That’s where we need your help. Tell us what we missed, and we will get it fixed.

The implementation isn’t the hard part - the discussion is.

Edit: I feel like I should expound a bit on the problems it can cause. Rotated elements are not standard in UIs and really only used in special cases. Allowing folks to add them will make their apps harder to use (and may even be impossible to code).

As both a designer and coder I totally see this from both sides of the fence. But if we’re honest it’s often the designer who has the final word, so I’d err on the side of adding rotation globally and either prompt/warn the user that using this might make their creation “impossible” to code or leave it as an internal discussion.

Just as a bit of fun, Steve, the frustration you feel having to use Paint to rotate, save, and import an image into Balsamiq is pretty much the same as what a developer would feel when they see that rotated object in your specifications - they’d probably be doing the same thing (making an image) to get it into the app/website. :wink:

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I would request this especially for images, any graphic shapes (square, circle, triangle), and of course text. Not so much things like input boxes etc. But labels for sure.

The process of designing part of GUI in Mockups3 then go to PaintShopPro to do the rest is a pain.

If you think it’s complicating things too much for some users - make it options. You know, so users can be warned about graphic content :wink:


I think that rotation is not necessary for all elements, but I just had the use case that I wanted to put the location arrow on the map. The problem is to align it with the street direction to make it look realistic. There it would be great to have a free rotation angle to set the position correctly.

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Right NOW I would need rotation for a rectangle object:
There is a widget that is round and split up in four equal parts, but flipped 45° instead of being aligned vertically/horizontally (see image).
I need each of these segment to respond to a mouse click differently. So I would like to place an invisible object above each segment which receives the mouse click. But which object would do?
Using a triagle doesn’t work, as I cannot make its borders invisible.
Using a rectangle does not work out, as one cannot rotate it.

This is a request for both (often discussed) features:

  • being able to rotate objects (maybe not every object; but at least the ones that are combined under “shape”
  • being able to make invisible borders (or in general: everywhere a colour can be set, one option should be “none”)

The example above (circle, segment) MAY be coped with in any other way; but there are a lot of examples, and the thread shows that.

Please make that possible.


Your image didn’t come through, @Thom, but I think I understand the need here.

We are in the middle of a big native re-write of our desktop apps, but we plan to revisit features like this after that is complete.

I’ve let the dev team know this is something you’d like to see. We will talk about it soon. :slight_smile:

Hi, I read through the thread and understand the general feeling of the design aspects that you want Balsamiq to uphold, but I just wanted to share my thoughts to see if I could convince you a bit more to have a rotate function :D!..

I love balsamiq, and my main use for it is to make mockups for game designs. I usually have everything I need from the basic tools, but sometimes I need to show differences in movement or position for certain game elements (for example, a spaceship that moves from one side to another, or blocks that stack in angular fashion), and I have to use some other software to rotate the image and bring it into balsamiq again. It would help my workflow to be able to rotate it on the spot. I mean, for example, multiples of 45 degrees would already be perfect (in case you’re wondering about the odd cases of ALL degrees).

In any case, just my 2 cents, thanks for listening.


Vertical progress bar would be awesome! I’m working on a report and would like to visualize overall progress towards completion for each function of the team, but I only have a tiny portrait box of space to do this in - so a vertical progress bar would be real nice. I’m currently using V.Rule to represent this.

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Adding your vote for this feature request, thanks @Chris_Green!

Would absolutely love to have the ability to rotate shapes, rectangles, and images, at least by 45° increments, but even better would be free rotate. Icons would also benefit from adding 45° steps or free rotate.

You could also reduce the actual number of controls by re-implementing “horizontal” and “vertical” paired items as a single item with at least two discrete orientation options or completely free rotation.

Giving elements that accept text the option to either hold text horizontal or rotate it with the object would also be useful.

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Hi @Jenni_Merrifield,

Thanks for the post and the feedback. I have added your vote for this feature to our internal tracking.




I would also really like a rotation feature, at least for buttons. Putting a vertical button next to a vertical shape would be great!


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Still no rotation?
I’m using balsamiq for a large variety of tasks. Video surveillance design is among them. Rotating a triangle showing the area of sight for a specific camera would be really useful. Probably a custom shape tool would also do the work. Any plans for implementing rotation tool?

@SPR We still have no immediate plans for this but I’mm adding your vote there. In the meantime, importing an image of the desired state would be the best workaround.


Another use case for rotation.

I’m doing a controller for an interface which could either be placed on the bottom of the screen or to one of the side; a very typical case for bars of different types. First I drew the horizontal bar which consists of 20-something parts. To do the vertical bar, I need to re-draw every single element, which takes quite a bit of time. OR I could of course draw it in another programme and then rotate it there and import, but that feels like quite a lot of work for something natural to do in Balsamiq.

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Version 4 for desktop is relased, which surely a massive amount of work. Good job, it runs smoothly and does not have updates on flash every 5 minutes.

that being said, it’s still surprising to see a modern, vector-based editing program that misses two very useful and almost essential functions:

  • To rotate an object (at least by 90 degree intervals)
  • To set default appearance of objects, one way or another.

It feels old-fashioned that I have to draw several versions of the same thing when i could just apply a rotation. Even the most basic online-editing app has free rotation. Of course.

Could you please start putting this on the todo list ?

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