Balsamiq Community Discussion

Symbol issues and enhancements


It’s apparent that in this forum Many issues and suggestions have been documented about symbols. I’m adding my voice to the crowd that Symbols are important, there are bugs, and enhancements would be very welcome. Here are examples of my priorities:

  • Support for symbols within symbols.

  • Ability to quickly reference MY symbols. Right now I’m using an awkward naming convention of prefixing symbols with MyInitials so that MY stuff shows at the beginning of the huge list of symbols I’ve imported. Other conventions have been used by those contributing symbol control libraries.

  • Ability to group/filter/sort symbols by tag/category.

  • Better access to symbols from the mockup view. The need to completely switch to the symbol library, and away from the current mockup, disrupts the workflow.

  • Annoying issue: Changing a symbol doesn’t set the primary properties shared by all instances. Some instances are left unmodified requiring them to be deleted and the symbol to be re-added and then customized for the instance. Mockup-specific customizations are sometimes lost when a symbol is modifed. I have frequent issues with an accordion control standardized for an application, where each mockup shows focus on a different item.

  • Copy/Paste of a symbol faithfully duplicates the object but it looks like (per above) root symbol changes then may not update the copies. A pasted symbol should be no different than another customized symbol instance.

New Enhancement Suggestions

  • Notify us when a symbol change breaks mockup-specific instance customizations in the current project. With the accordion example above, if the Selected item no longer exists, obviously the code knows about it so we should too. This should also apply when we open a new Project and the symbol instances are now in some way broken by the base.

  • Ability to export sets of symbols into type-specific libraries which can then be quickly imported into a new project. This is another benefit of tag/categories.

  • Related - Shared symbols, where a single set of symbols is used by multiple projects, and a change to that one definition affects all projects with instances. Some projects may of course not want to use the shared version, they will want to use their own base symbol.

  • Related - Ability to auto-update all instances of a symbol in a project that’s opened after the symbol has been modified in another project.

  • Related - Ability to change shared base symbol properties which are then customized as project-specific instances, which can then be customized at the mockup/instance level.

Thanks for your time.


Hi @TonyG and thanks for taking the time to share your suggestions today!

I’ve added your votes and requests to our internal tracker but here are a few questions for you:

  • Are you trying to find one of your symbols or modify a symbol source? Would you like to modify a symbol source from the mockups view?
  • It sounds like your symbol has some overridden properties. Those have still priority if you modify the symbol source. If that’s not the case, please share the related project to and we’ll dig deeper. Btw implementing the ability to nest symbols should greatly help with this.

Thanks again for taking the time to share your needs today. :slight_smile:


Thank YOU.

The issue is with finding symbols. We can do a Quick Add = Search but we need to know what a symbol is called, which is difficult when we have hundreds of symbols imported from community contributions. What comes to mind is a hotkey to temporarily remove the right notes/properties sidebar, and replace it with the Symbols list bar and a view of the symbols. Then, continuing to dream here, with this we should be able to shuffle through the symbols and copy whatever we need into the current mockup. If the side-by-side navigation scrolls independently, allow a change of both mockups and symbols and scrolling through both as required. This is especially desirable for those of us who have more screen real-estate to use. OR, consider a two-window option, where the symbols window is open (on a separate monitor), we can scroll through each separately, and copy/paste or drag/drop between them. Copy/paste shouldn’t be tough because the code just needs to monitor the system-wide copy buffer for recognized data, and thus, paste should be fairly easy as well. (So he says…)

Rather than asking me for my mockups, the specific issue mentioned is extremely easy to reproduce. I would instead request that someone there just spend some time with the default accordion as a component of a symbol with a couple attached labels. Put that on a several mockups and change the selection in each. Duplicate a couple. Copy/paste a couple. Change the base symbol from the mockup and see what happens in other mockups. Go to the symbol page and add/remove selections that have and have not been selected in mockups. Just play with it for a while and see what happens. If something breaks, is it specific to that component or have you found something more general? If you really beat the hell out of that (called QA on my side of town) and it doesn’t break, I’ll take some time to try to reproduce the issues here - although you’re getting paid for your time to do that, I’m not. So please be thoughtful of whatever work you kick back to me. :slight_smile: Thanks.


Thanks for sharing the details about your difficulties to find symbols from the Mockups view. I’ve added your suggestion and we’ll talk about it more with the team.

Sorry for not sharing more details about your issue with the Accordion control selection. I’ve actually managed to reproduce it from your first post and passed it to the dev team so they can have a closer look. I was more asking for the file to make sure that the Accordion issue was the only one causing the trouble on this project. :slight_smile:

Thanks again!


Understood. Thanks. Specifically about the accordion, if you remove or add text lines, instances of the symbol don’t adjust their Selected value. More specifically, the Selection seems to be based on Index, not Value. So with items in the list like AA, BB, CC, DD, set an instance to select CC. Remove BB. Instances will now probably show DD. This could be related to nested values or removing some specific index, no clue. I wish I could take some time to verify that for you but I have a project full of mockups that I just botched with this bug in a live demo, and any time I have tonight will be spent fixing them first. I suggest checking any list-type control that might be based on index rather than value.

Accordion as symbol changes selected item if new entries inserted