Balsamiq Community Discussion

Problem with selection and drag with overlapping objects


Often I have symbols that overlap. Take this circle and this mail envelope as an example:

That’s two separate objects. I’m aware of (And very grateful for!) the feature where I can right click over the both of them, and will be allowed to select from the pop-up menu which object I want to select.

If I select the envelope in this way, I get the following:

It’s a little hard to tell but there is now a selection box around the envelope symbol.

However, if I hover my mouse over this selected object and click to drag so I can move it, instead I start moving the circle.

I suspect this is because the circle symbol is actually in a layer above the envelope, but in this case I have intentionally selected the envelope. The only way I can move it is with the keyboard (The arrow keys), which is not ideal.

I feel that if the user has gone to the effort to select an object underneath another object (Something they can hardly do by accident!), then that selection should take precedence over layering if the user then drags to move.


This is a really good question, @ahobday.

We actually really like the idea, but we think it may be too risky to do because, under certain circumstances, the app will behave in a way that goes against what the user expects.

When the app respects the z-order, no questions, a user can correct an annoyance like this by sending the top control down a level using the layering properties.

Even though your suggestion makes a lot of sense, upsetting the expectation the control on the top will always be the one selected is risky.

It’s something we will talk more about though, and the conversation is really good, so thank you for that!

Always good to see your face around here, my friend. Keep the ideas coming!


Makes sense! I think I will have to get into the habit of sending the top object down a level.

Also, this was perhaps the easiest-to-swallow “We’re not going to do what you’re asking” I’ve ever received!


I appreciate that, dude. It was one of the hardest ones I’ve had to write because I really like the idea.

And I think if there was a great way to message that functionality to users, we would do it.