Key For Balsamiq Mockups Mac

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Balsamiq for Desktop Documentation

What is Balsamiq Wireframes?

Balsamiq Wireframes is a user interface design tool for creating wireframes (sometimes called mockups or low-fidelity prototypes).

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You can use it to generate digital sketches of your idea or concept for an application or website, to facilitate discussion and understanding before any code is written. The completed wireframes can be used for user testing, clarifying your vision, getting feedback from stakeholders, or getting approval to start development.

Here's a quick demonstration of how it works.

What's New in Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop?

This is a loaded question because, technically, everything is new. We have rebuilt the entire application, from the ground up, to run completely native. That means no more Adobe Flash/Air, and a bunch more native frameworks. The app should run faster and smoother than it ever has, all while working exactly how you remember.

So, to answer your question, everything is new, but it's going to be very familiar.

Let's talk about some of the new features.

Editing Balsamiq Cloud Projects

This is something people have asked for for years, and it's finally here. With Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop, you can log into Balsamiq Cloud, and access all your Cloud-based projects.

To do this, you first have to authorize the app to use your Balsamiq Cloud account. On macOS, the option to do this will be in the Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop menu. On Windows, it will be under the Help menu.

This will open your browser and access your Balsamiq Cloud account.

Confirm that the Cloud account is correct, and click Authorize. You will get a prompt asking if you want to open the link in Balsamiq Wireframes. Once you do that, Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop will have access to all your Balsamiq Cloud Spaces and projects.

Note: Balsamiq Wireframes must be running during the authorization process.

A New Full Screen Mode

We spent a lot of time modernizing the Full Screen Presentation Mode based on what we learned from the last version. The new version is more customizable, better for user testing, and just feels better to use.

You can read more about the new Full Screen Presentation mode here.

A Robust Review and Comment System

One of the biggest requests for our web apps finally makes it back to the desktop. Now, you can add comments and callouts to projects, and then have your collaborators respond directly to them.

Read more about comments and sharing here.

Integration with Wireframes to Go

Wireframes to Go is our community-driven, custom control site. If you ever find yourself in need of controls beyond what we include, there is a good chance you'll find it there!

With Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop, you can access and import those controls directly from the editor.

And More...

Listing out every difference would take a while. Things like a larger canvas or high-resolution SVG PDF exports were highly requested features, but they don't make for a great sizzle reel. There's a bunch of new in Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop, but you should feel right at home.

Installing Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop (Mac/Win)

Let's get you set up on Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop.

Installing on macOS

Point your browser to the download page and download the latest version of the app to your hard drive. This will save a .dmg file to your computer. Find where the .dmg file is saved, double click it, and then drag the smiley face into the Application folder.

It's that easy. Find the app in your Application Folder and launch it.

Installing on Windows

Again, you only need to point your browser to our download page and download the latest version of the app. Find the .exe installer on your computer, and run it. From there, everything should be like any other app installer you may have run. Once the installer finishes, you'll find a Balsamiq Wireframes shortcut on your Desktop. Double-click that and you're off to the races!

Updating to a New Version of Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop

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Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop allows you to enable an automatic check for updates.

You can manually check for an update any time via the menu:

If there is an update available, you'll see a screen letting you know the new version number, along with a summary of the changes included in that version.

To update to the new version, just click the 'Install' button.

If you're already using the latest version, you'll see a confirmation that you're up to date:

In both cases, you can check 'Automatically Check for Updates' and we'll alert you automatically in future that an update is available.

To see a full list of all changes, take a look at our Wireframes for Desktop Release Notes.

Registering Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop

After you download and install Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop, it will run in trial mode until you register a valid license key.

Note: An internet connection is required when registering your license key. The app needs to talk to our licensing servers in order to complete the registration.

This will bring up the registration dialog shown below where you can enter your License Information.

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You can copy and paste this information from the receipt email you received when you purchased the product. If you no longer have this email, don't fret, you can request a copy of your receipt here.

Unable to Verify or Register

If the Register button remains disabled when you enter the License Key, you will see a message indicating the reason why. Please make sure that you copy and paste directly from your email receipt instead of typing your License Information manually.

If the app is unable to talk to our servers after pasting a valid key, it is likely caused by a failed internet connection, or a firewall blocking the connection. To fix this, you may need to get your IT team involved and ask them to allow the following domain: *

If you’re still having trouble, please email our sales support team a screenshot of your registration dialog and include your License Information in the body of your email, so we can diagnose the issue and get you back to work.

Unregister From This Computer

If you ever need to transfer your license to someone else, you can simply unregister your computer and pass on the license information to the new user. You should also unregister if you will no longer be using that particular computer to avoid misuse of your license.


Once unregistered, you can still use the app to view local BMPR files but you won't be able to edit them or create new ones.

Transitioning from a Previous Version

Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop is compatible with all versions of our .bmpr project files. That means that it doesn't matter if you're coming from Mockups 3 for Desktop, Balsamiq Cloud, or one of our modern integrations - those projects will open in Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop.

What About BMML Files?

Unfortunately, Balsamiq Wireframes for Desktop is not compatible with our legacy .bmml file format. If you have .bmml files that you would like to use, send us an email with the files, and we will convert them to a .bmpr project for you.

However, if you have a copy of Mockups 3 for Desktop (our legacy Desktop tool) on your machine, you can also do this conversion yourself. More details on this page.

Next Steps

The rest of our documentation contains a top-to-bottom description of the features and use of Balsamiq Wireframes. A good starting point would be the Editor Overview, to learn about the user interface for navigating and creating your wireframes.


For troubleshooting, frequently-asked questions, and tutorials, head over to our support page. There, you can learn about pricing and payment information, contact us, watch tutorials, and connect with the user community.

Happy Wireframing from the Balsamiq team. :)

A Couple of Little Treats for You!

Built-in Background Music

For years we've been suggesting people use headphones when working on wireframes, to help get in the creative zone. So we asked ourselves: why not give our awesome users a built-in, get-in-the-zone-inducing track to listen to? And so we did!

Just go to the View menu, click 'Play Background Music', and get to work!

The track is called Ascension, by Dr. Christopher Lloyd Clarke B.Sc, Msc.D. Meditation music composer and founder of Royalty Free Meditation

We cut the track down to 25 minutes, added a Zen bell, then added 5 minutes of nature sounds recorded by our own Michael Angeles in his hikes around Marin County, CA. We then made the resulting 30-minute track loop 4 times.

Why the (25 + 5)*4, you ask? Because this way you can use the music to time your Pomodoros, of course!

What Should I Make for Dinner?

We know how it is. It's 5pm, and you've just had a glorious day of work, creating awesome wireframes for your next project.

And then it hits you: what should I make for dinner tonight?

That's where we come in.

Go to the Help menu and select 'What Should I Make for Dinner?'. You'll be taken to this page.

Lots and lots of easy, every-day recipes straight from the Balsamiq team's kitchens, in super-quick video format you can watch while you put your jacket on to leave the office.

Just browse through the list of videos, pick one that looks good, jot down the ingredients and run out the door.

Nothing fancy here, this is what we cook for ourselves when we don't know what to make.

Buon appetito! πŸ™‚

Balsamiq for Desktop Documentation

Below is a list of all the keyboard shortcuts and modifiers available in Balsamiq Wireframes.

Working with Controls


Edit the selected control's textENTER or F2
Add to selectionSHIFT+Click
Toggle selectionCTRL+Click
Select AllCTRL+A
Ignore control(s) under cursorHold ALT
Treat/do not treat selection as markupCTRL+SHIFT+K


Resize maintaining aspect ratioHold SHIFT while resizing with mouse
Move selection along horizontal or vertical axisHold SHIFT while dragging
Disable snapping during move or resizeHold CTRL
Grow/Increase text or icon sizeCTRL+]
Shrink/Decrease text or icon sizeCTRL+[
Nudge selection 1px↑↓←→
Nudge selection 10pxSHIFT+↑↓←→
Nudge-Resize selection 1pxCTRL+ALT+↑↓←→
Nudge-Resize selection 10pxCTRL+ALT+SHIFT+↑↓←→
Auto-Size selectionCTRL+ALT+0
Pan the canvas (Hand tool)SPACE BAR+Click and drag
Bring to frontCTRL+SHIFT+↑
Send to backCTRL+SHIFT+↓
Bring forwardCTRL+↑
Send backwardCTRL+↓
Duplicate selectionALT+drag


Undo last commandCTRL+Z
Redo last commandCTRL+Y or CTRL+SHIFT+Z
Cut the selected controlsCTRL+X or SHIFT+DELETE
Copy the selected controlsCTRL+C or CTRL+INSERT
Paste In PlaceCTRL+SHIFT+V
Delete the selected controlsDELETE or BACKSPACE
Duplicate the selected controlsCTRL+D
Lock the selected controlsCTRL+2
Unlock all locked controlsCTRL+3
Transform the selected controlsCTRL+ALT+T


Group the selected controlsCTRL+G
Ungroup the selected groupsCTRL+SHIFT+G


Align selected controls leftCTRL+ALT+1
Align selected controls centerCTRL+ALT+2
Align selected controls rightCTRL+ALT+3
Align selected controls topCTRL+ALT+4
Align selected controls middleCTRL+ALT+5
Align selected controls bottomCTRL+ALT+6

Working with Icons

Navigating the Suggestion List↑↓←→
Using the selected iconENTER
Closing the Icons LibraryESC
Closing the Suggestion ListESC
Grow/Increase icon sizeCTRL+]
Shrink/Decrease icon sizeCTRL+[

Working with Text

Start Editing text of the selected controlENTER or F2
Committing the current textENTER (single-line controls), CTRL+ENTER (multi-line controls) or click anywhere
Ignoring the current editESC
Grow/Increase Text SizeCTRL+]
Shrink/Decrease Text SizeCTRL+[

Text Formatting

italic_text in underscores_
link[text in brackets]
link with a target[text in brackets](wireframe_name) or
[text in brackets](website_url)
bold*text in asterisks*
disabled-text in hyphens-
strikethrough~text in tildes~
font point size{size:12}text{size}
color (hex value or color name){color:#ff0000}text{color} or
To type a literal *, , βˆ’ -, or [] in a control, escape it by prefixing it with a (backslash): *, , βˆ’-, , []

Special Text Macros

Lorem-Ipsum generatortype lorem in a Text or Text Area control.
Show the current wireframe nametype {mockup-name} in a Label, Text, Title or Subtitle control.

Quick Add

Sending focus to Quick Add/ (forward slash) or
+ (plus sign)
Navigating the Suggestion List↑↓
Closing the Suggestion ListESC
Sending focus back to the CanvasESC
Add control at cursor positionSHIFT+ENTER

Drawing Controls

Learn more about drawing controls here
Draw a rectangle on the canvasR+drag
Draw a block of text on the canvasT+drag
Draw a line of text on the canvasY+drag

Project Actions

New blank wireframeCTRL+SHIFT+N
Duplicate current wireframeCTRL+ALT+N
New projectCTRL+N
Open projectCTRL+O
Save as...CTRL+SHIFT+S
Rename wireframeF2 or CTRL+ALT+R
Close current projectCTRL+W or CTRL+F4
Export this wireframe's JSONCTRL+E
Import wireframe JSONCTRL+SHIFT+E
Export snapshot to clipboardCTRL+SHIFT+C
Export snapshot to PNGCTRL+R
Export all snapshots to PNGCTRL+SHIFT+R
Export to PDFCTRL+P
Quit the Balsamiq Wireframes editorCTRL+Q
Next wireframeCTRL+TAB (Windows)
⌘+PAGE DOWN or fn+⌘+↓ (Mac)
Previous wireframeCTRL+SHIFT+TAB (Windows)
⌘+PAGE UP or fn+⌘+↑ (Mac)
Top of wireframeHOME (Windows)
fn+SHIFT+↑ (Mac)
Bottom of wireframeEND (Windows)
fn+SHIFT+↓ (Mac)


Hide/Show the UI LibraryCTRL+L or CTRL+F1
Hide/Show the InspectorCTRL+; or ALT+ENTER
Hide/Show the Project InfoCTRL+,
Hide/Show the Navigator PanelCTRL+J
Show/Hide MarkupCTRL+K
Back to Wireframes (From Symbols/Assets/Trash)CTRL+SHIFT+M
Zoom InCTRL++ (plus sign) or CTRL+scroll mouse
Zoom OutCTRL+- (minus sign) or CTRL+scroll mouse
Zoom to Actual SizeCTRL+1
Zoom to FitCTRL+0


Enter Full Screen ViewCTRL+F or F5
Exit Full Screen ViewESC
Edit Current Wireframee
Hide/Show Settings Panels
Hide/Show Navigatorj
Hide/Show Notesn
Hide/Show Commentsc
Hide/Show Link Hintsl
Hide/Show Big Arrow Cursorb
Hide/Show Markupm
Pan CanvasClick+drag
Next WireframePage Down (Windows)
βŒ₯ Option+↓ (Mac)
Previous WireframePage Up (Windows)
βŒ₯ Option+↑ (Mac)

Zoom to Fit All on Windows 10

For users with Windows Vista and above, you may find that the Zoom to Fit All (CTRL+SHIFT+0) doesn't work. The reason for this is that Windows captures the input before it gets sent to Wireframes for Desktop, preventing the app from ever seeing it.

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Luckily, the fix is super easy.

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The option for changing the shortcut is in a different place in Windows 8 and Windows 10. In Windows 8 you will need to go to Control Panel > Language > Advanced Settings and then find the Change language bar hot keys button. In Windows 10 it's in Settings > Devices > Typing > Advanced keyboard settings.

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From there click Change Key Sequence... and then set Switch Keyboard Layout to Not Assigned.