"The number of symbols in your project may affect application performance"

Hello Balsamiq team,

First of all, I just want to say how much I love your product. I am using it for my first project and it has truly been game changing, especially when I realized how symbols can be used to reuse components.

However, I wanted to raise a concern about performance. We’re about halfway through building out the mockups for the application we’re developing and have started receiving the below warning:

“The number of symbols in your project may affect application performance. You may want to review your Symbol Libraries and remove unused ones.”

This is concerning to us because the application we’re building is not huge, and we don’t have what I would have considered a large number of symbols and wireframes. At the moment we’ve got 20 wireframes and 13 symbol libraries, with about 120 symbols total. I would expect us to have probably 2x that by the time we finish the project. I was getting really concerned when the web application started becoming noticeably slow, even when doing simple things like editing the the text of a component. However, I’m a little less concerned after redownloading desktop version 4.6.6 and finding that the performance is significantly better, probably 3-5x better. We still receive the warning about symbols, but at least the performance isn’t slowing us down for now.

So, I’m curious to know whether you would expect us to notice a performance slowdown given the size of our project, and if so whether improving performance with large projects is something being addressed. If you wouldn’t expect us to experience a slowdown, do you have any guidance on how we might be able to optimize our project? I’m wondering if there’s something fundamental we’re doing wrong that is causing us to hit this limit when we’re only halfway through the project.

This is a really good question, @cloud9 - let me see if I can help clarify some things.

This warning is based purely on the number of symbols in your project, not their effect on performance (as it turns out, there isn’t a good way to measure a symbol’s effect on performance without affecting performance :slight_smile: ). It doesn’t know if you’re having performance issues or not - it is just letting you know that if you are, it is likely because you have too many symbols.

We have seen projects with double the amount of symbols in your project, and they have run fine. If you do not see a performance issue, then I wouldn’t worry too much about the message.

Let me know if that makes sense.

Thanks @Brendan, that does help and makes sense. It’s worth clarifying that we’re not experiencing too much of a performance issue in the desktop version, but we are experiencing significant performance issues in the browser. I thought we could get away with just using the desktop version for now, but there’s a bug in the desktop version that is not present in the browser version, so we’re preferring to stick with the browser version if we can get to the bottom of these performance issues.

Here is a screen recording showing an example of a performance issue (and associated crash) we are experiencing. This screen recording was done using Chrome on macOS. I can provide more information about the project/computer/browser if necessary.

Hi @cloud9

Can you let us know what that is and we can see about getting you an update.

If you’re able, it would be helpful to see the project file in question. If you’re agreeable, just email us at support@balsamiq.com from the email address you use to log in to Cloud and let us know the project name so we can take a look. Thanks!

As shown in the image below, the symbol editor inspector shows a placeholder “Label” instead of the name of the wireframe/symbol that the selected symbol is used in.

We made a duplicate of the project and are scrubbing it of any potentially sensitive data first, but once we’re finished I’ll send it over to you guys.

Thanks for the quick response btw!


To provide another data point - our starting project template has 200+ symbols and we have produced projects with more than 100 wireframes that use these symbols.

I see the performance warning toast when I load these project files into the desktop app.

I haven’t used desktop 4.7.1 in the last few weeks so I can’t speak to any performance problems but I will update if I notice any.

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@alasdair , do you have an update as to whether a fix is in the works for the bug in the desktop app that I mentioned above?

Hey @cloud9 Andrew,

I dropped the ball a little here so apologies for that. This is a real good-news-bad-news situation…

The good news is that the issue is fixed in the 4.7.1 desktop release. The bad news is that’s the same release that removed Cloud connectivity.

With the Cloud decoupling process underway, one inevitable side-effect is that people who need Cloud connectivity for the time being, won’t be able to also take advantage of bug fixes and other improvements in Desktop releases.

It’s also in the most recent Cloud release if you’re editing directly online.

Sorry to not have a better answer here, Andrew. Any questions or issues, get back to us here or at support@balsamiq.com.