Balsamiq Mockups for Desktop

Balsamiq Mockups 3 Transition Guide

Thank you for trying out our latest version of Balsamiq Mockups! We think that you’ll really like all of the improvements and find it easier to use. To learn more about the new features you can read the Introduction to Balsamiq Mockups 3 or dive into our complete documentation.

This article is intended to answer some questions you might have about switching to Balsamiq Mockups 3 from a previous version.

Is It a Free Update?

Yes! And it uses the same license as the old version, so you won’t even have to re-register. You will be eligible for any 3.x updates for as long as your subscription or license is valid.

Note: Mockups 3 for Desktop licenses will cover all 3.x updates

My BMMLs Won’t Open, What Gives?

If you are transitioning from version 2 to version 3 of Balsamiq Mockups the most important thing to know is that Balsamiq Mockups 3 uses a new file format. We made this change to greatly simplify organizing your mockups into projects and to make it much easier to share files.


In previous versions each mockup was a separate file and images and Symbols needed to be stored in a specific subfolder in order to be recognized. This made it very confusing when working with lots of mockups, many images or multiple projects.

No longer. Our new file format, BMPR (or, “bumper”), contains all the mockups from one project in a single file, as well as all its images and Symbols. Everything stays together in one place, even if you move the file around. This also means the same project file can be opened in any Mockups 3 product.

For our existing customers this means that you will need to import your existing files to Balsamiq Mockups 3 for them to work. Don’t worry, we made it very easy.

There are several options for importing, from bringing in entire projects to importing individual mockups or Symbol Libraries. Just go to the Project > Import menu, as shown below.

import menu

See this page for more detailed instructions.

We have two recommendations if you want to switch to Balsamiq Mockups 3 but have active projects in BMML format:

  1. Use versions 2.2 and 3 side-by-side. The application names are different so you can run both versions together. For continuity you might want to finish any existing projects in version 2 and start new projects in version 3.
  2. Switch fully to version 3. Import all of your active projects to new Balsamiq Mockups 3 projects and stop using version 2 completely. Going back and forth is going to be a pain since you’ll be exporting and importing frequently.

Imported mockups should look the same as they did in your previous version, except that our old icons have been replaced with Font Awesome icons (which you might like better anyway).

What about Your Other Products - myBalsamiq and Atlassian Server Add-Ons?

Our new file format and user interface is coming to all of our products soon. In the meantime, you can import and export ZIP files or individual BMMLs, but you might just want to wait until BMPR comes to your other Balsamiq product. Everything will all work seamlessly soon - thanks for your patience.

How Do I Use Symbols from Mockups to Go in Balsamiq Mockups 3?

There is an option in the Import menu for importing Symbol Libraries. See here for details.

Where Are the Old Icons? Can I Still Use Them?

We replaced them with the Font Awesome icon set, which has more icons and is more current.

Nostalgic for the old ones? You can download them here:

See these instructions for adding them as custom icons.

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