Balsamiq Community Discussion

[Feature requests] Organizing Symbols in the Symbol View


Hi everyone,

I have few features suggestions for the symbols library in the symbol view. I’m working with symbols a lot, and now have more than 30 libraries, some with over 10 symbols. Unfortunately in the symbol view they look a bit messy. Maybe I just don’t understand the logic behind, but when I create a new symbol or a new symbol library, they appear just randomly in the list, and I don’t see a way to order them alphabetically or as I wish. That would be really cool if the libraries could
be at least alphabetically ordered.

Another thing is, when I have already created a symbol in a library and later would like to have it in another library, it would be very useful to just drag and drop to do that. At least according to my experience, when I start working on a project, it’s not completely clear what symbols there will be and how they shall be grouped into libraries, but later it’s not already possible to make those changes, and that’s very sad :frowning:

The third thing, which probably would not be too useful for the majority of the Balsamiq users but extremely useful for me, is the search function in the symbols view. As I’ve mentioned, I have plenty of symbols, and when I want to edit one of them, it’s extremely time-consuming to find it in a non-ordered list of symbols. So I was thinking if there is a search box (something like Quick Add that you already have), that could help me a lot.

And my fourth issue is that sometimes symbol libraries are expanded (most of the time) and sometimes they are collapsed, and I don’t see any chance to collapse all of them at the same time (except collapsing them manually one after another). To have a button “Collapse everything” and being able to open just one particular library keeping others collapsed would really help to navigate within the libraries and work with them.

So those are my little “pains” which make the usage of symbols slightly harder. Maybe someone has already mentioned those issues, but I haven’t found a topic to discuss them.


Hi, Liubi.

  1. Ordering Bug
    Sorry about that randomness. This is already prioritized for the next release. We’re working on having new Symbols sorted alphabetically in the Symbols navigator.

  2. Drag & Drop Symbol between libraries
    I’ll add a feature request for this. Currently you can do it this way:

  • Select the parent Library with the symbol you want to move from the navigator sidebar on the left.
  • Select the symbol from the canvas and copy (CTRL+C) or cut it (CTRL+X)
  • Select the parent library where you want to copy or move the symbol to
  • Paste it (CTRL+V)
  1. Searching Symbols
    I’ll add a feature request for search or type ahead. Currently if you click to select a symbol in the left panel and then type a letter, the navigator should jump to the next symbol in that list. This should work better when we have them alphabetized.

  2. Collapse/Expand Libraries
    I’ll add a feature request for us to explore methods for collapsing all libraries.

Thanks for the list of pains! This really helps us get an understanding of what is getting in your way. If others would like to see any of these features, please let us know to help us prioritize this request.


Another suggestion, when in Mockup View, and you select “Symbols” from the list of options (All, Assets, Big, Buttons etc), if first you just see the Symbol Libraries, and then you could double click to open that library to view the Symbols list under it, which would maybe make it easier to find the Symbol that you want. Is that possible?


Hi. Try Right-Clicking on the symbol in the UI Library. You’ll see an “Edit Symbol Source” context menu, which will bring you directly to editing that Symbol. From there you can move up to the library, or return to where you left off.


I was thinking more like if you had 10 different Symbol Libraries, and each library contained 10 symbols (so 100 symbols in total), then when you are on your mock-up and trying to add a symbol to it, rather than scrolling through the 100 of them to find the one you want, if you initially were able to select one of the 10 libraries, which would then open up the 10 options in that library so you only need to scroll through 10 items instead of 100. Would encourage the use of libraries.

Included a (bad!) example


Thanks for clarifying your idea. Currently we don’t provide any hierarchy within the UI Library’s ribbon menu. It’s not optimized for many libraries, but we do have under consideration ways of filtering those symbols in the future.

If others would like to see a feature for filtering many symbols libraries in the UI, please let us know (or add your Like/Heart vote above) to help us prioritize this request.


Actually I was also thinking about somehow having symbol libraries in the mockup view as well. In my case when I make the templates with 100+ symbols for other users, it could be probably useful.

My idea is that right now it’s much faster and more comfortable to use “Quick Add” to find and insert the symbols I’ve created. However, one of my colleagues was asking if he could see all the symbol libraries while mocking up. Even though I’m using only the “official” names of the widgets defined in our project guidelines/style guides/widget overview, I guess not all of my colleagues are sure about those names, and this causes some difficulties.

But on another hand, some people could say that having this “hierarchy within the UI Library’s ribbon menu” could cause too many additional clicks. So I’m not 100% sure if that could be a perfect solution, but I can imagine the situations when
it’s useful for my work.

So voted up.


I have found one more interesting thing in the symbols view. When I import a symbol library, edit it AND rename it, and later decide to import the initial library again as it is needed again, my new library with the new name is replaced with the old one, keeping the new name.

Strange or? :open_mouth:


Hi @Liubi, we’re working on fixing this, sorry for the hassle.


I have thought about one more thing for the Symbols.
Could it be possible to make tags for the symbols I’ve created? There are automatic tags for the controls, for example, Ruler = Line = Separator or Window = Dialog. If I’m able to add such tags to my symbols, it would really help my users (as I’m working on templates) when they are not too familiar with the widget names from Styleguids and Specifications.


That’s not possible right now. The workaround is to include all names in the symbol name…they’ll be a little long, but at least QuickAdd will find them.


hi @peldi,
that’s exactly what I’m doing right now, but then some symbols have reeeaaaaaly long names, up to 10 words. But that’s not a big issue, just an idea that I had.
And thanks for your reply :innocent:


I’d really like to +1 the feature request about dragging and dropping symbols to other libraries.

Should I start a new topic for that?

Right now it’s really time consuming to reorder your libraries. Especially if you decide to move a symbol that has been used a lot in several mockups. With the copy paste work around I need to redo all the implementations of that symbol, including their overrides.

It would really save me a lot of time and frustration.

PS a logical follow up for this feature would be to be able to select the library to which to save a new symbol to (convert to symbol). This way, I can create a symbol in its original context (the mockup) and save it directly to the correct library


Hi everyone,

We just released our latest version (3.1.9) including the ability to drag and drop single symbols from one library to another, and even from a project to another without having to drag the whole library with it! :smile:

You can get the new version (3.1.9) here:

And the complete release notes are here:


Hi all,

Multiple selection in symbols is ready for testing at for those of you who are feeling brave. :smile:

Just a reminder that this is a pre-release version, so do not use it on mission-critical work. :wink:


Great guys!

I’m testing it right now. Good stuf.

Thanx for all the hard work. Btw, when would this be coming to Balsamiq for drive?


Hi @WeeDz,

This feature will be included in our Google Drive version with the next official release, no ETA yet as we just release 3.1.9 few days ago but stay tuned! :wink:


Is the drive version still at 3.1.3? That’s what is says in the store. Are those versions equal? If not than where can I find the diffences?


The Google Drive version is updated with every Mockups for desktop release so it is now running 3.1.9.
That is why you will get this feature shortly after the next official desktop release in the Google Drive version.

Thanks for reporting the wrong version displayed in the store, we’ll look into it. :wink:



Concerning the feature request about levels of hierarchy within the Ui library, I’d like to +1 this idea and give some insights about the use cases that would need this feature.

Filtering / searching is nice but requires that the users knows what he’s searching. We are currently working with many designers on a large set of symbols, which is divided in mutually exclusive subsets (technical constraint here). For beginners, it is hard to memorize all the symbol names and where each subset begins and ends. That is why the possibility to organize the Ui library on at least one level of hierarchy (as in the mockup of @duncliffe) would be a tremendous improvement.

  • Ideal situation : Users would see first our custom categories (e.g. Metro, Material, OSX, etc.) then the symbols of the category. A category can match a symbol library but not necessarily, a category can group symbols coming from different libraries.
  • OK situation : Users are presented with a level of hierarchy matching the libraries. This is the exact use case demonstrated by @duncliffe mockup.

Would it be possible?