💡Feature Idea: Layers

Nikki ✭✭
edited December 2021 in Feature Ideas

It would be nice if there could be a layers feature (like in Procreate and Photoshop) for those who are building a mural as a polished and final presentation rather than as a brainstorming tool. It may also help with stopping objects from getting caught behind areas without any way to retrieve them. Maybe it could default to dropping to a lower layer instead.

33 votes

Open for voting · Last Updated

Would you like to see this? 👀 Up vote the idea, and share your use cases below to help us understand how you would use this idea. 💡


  • manuel
    manuel ✭✭✭✭

    Yes. I've also requested easier layer control some time ago. Currently there is just "to the front" and "to the background" as options in the context menu and I wished for a more sophisticated layer control for objects, too.

  • I am finding doing things in Mural time consuming without it. It is a much needed improvement in functionality!

  • manuel
    manuel ✭✭✭✭

    It would definitely make things easier at times. I additionally wished that there were layer control buttons in the toolbar of the objects (move to top, move to back, move up one layer, move down one layer) and maybe an indicatoro wich layer an object is currently.

    I would like to combine this with an easier way to select objects that are in the background of other objects and are hard to select and move to another layer, e.g. I can SHIFT/CTRL + Left mouse-button to select objects which are behind others, but when I right click to change their layer, they often are deselected which means I have to move other things around to "get through to the ones in the background". Or is there an easier way currently, e.g. keyboard shortcuts?

  • manuel
    manuel ✭✭✭✭

    @Tikiman How would layer control in a mural look like for you at best?

  • Layers would be hugely helpful for my work! We use Mural to create storyboards, and each discipline (for example, the audio team or the art team) uses a different color sticky to add notes. It would be awesome to have the sticky notes on a separate layer, so I could toggle them off and just see the storyboard at times.

  • manuel
    manuel ✭✭✭✭

    @stupidbucket Interesting how you use it :-)

    As a workaround: Would it help to use MURAL's "comment" feature? They can easily be viewed/opened only when you want to see them by clicking on them.

  • @stupidbucket

    Yes! Being able to group content on one layer and then hide and reveal as necessary would be amazing. You could focus on one team's work/progress with only one layer on, or you could compare feedback/progress of just two different teams if there are many different teams on a mural at one time. And @Manu I think being able to hide layers to retrieve a lost buried object would be great as well! Really hope they'll consider adding this!

  • manuel
    manuel ✭✭✭✭

    @Nikki Would be very nice to play around with visibility and layers, definitely. I can imagine some use cases for that :-)

    Probably you know this already: When it comes to whole "sections" on your mural, you can use "areas" and the "Outline" to create an area, add it to the Outline and then hide its content from the other people in the mural. Those areas won't be transparent, but still visible on the board as a grey area then which states that the content is hidden until you reveal it. I really love this feature for facilitating things step by step...

  • I'm also hopeful that Mural will introduce "Layers" in the same functionality that @Nikki mentioned.

    I'll be trying to build out quarterly roadmaps that have various initiatives organized by priority, with higher prio items at the top and lower prio at the bottom.

    Team A is working on initiatives 1, 3, and 9. Team B has 2, 4, 7, and 10. Team C has 5, 6, and 8. If I had the ability to put each team's initiative on it's own individual layer, I could have a view of my all up priority list, but also be able to hide layers for teams so that I am only looking at one specific team's book of work at a time.

    My example is relatively simplistic, real use case I'd have 50 or so initiatives spread across 7-8 teams.

  • Yes please!

    Current process: MURAL to brainstorm and build a thing of beauty, then back to PowerPoint to recreate and animate so I can walk people through the evolution.

  • I am a Product Manager and I would also like to have Layers functionality. I am using Mural to create workflow diagrams. I use these to align different teams around upcoming changes to the way our software works. While I want to present the same base workflow to each team, I need to highlight different details to different teams. For example, when collaborating with the marketing team, I might want to show at what points in the workflow notifications are triggers. When working with the engineering teams we really want to highlight the details of service boundaries, team ownership and API contracts between steps in the WF.

    Adding all those details to one view makes it too confusing for anyone to understand or contribute to. Making multiple separate docs means duplication and, inevitably, drift.

    Must have: Create layers, name layers, show/hide layers

    Nice to have: When sharing a link to a mural specify which layers to show/hide by default; Ability to set permissions for layers separately so that Eng team can edit their layer and Marketing team can edit theirs.

  • Just 2 layers to separate front from background, like "Master Slide" in .PPT

  • The layers functionality would be great, then you can develop a model and present it with increasing amount of detail and complexity.

  • I make map on mural (for optic fiber for exemple) and i would be a very important feature for me.

  • steve
    steve Mural Team mod
    edited November 2022

    Hello there, my name is Steve and I am Head of Ventures and Labs at MURAL.

    I should say straight away, whatever I may say or show you does not mean there will be a core feature commitment from the product team, so long as we set those expectations we should be able to have some fun with these ideas.

    That said, as a Labs team, I'm keen to share some tangible reactions to the types of features our customers are wanting, in order to stimulate the discussion, iterate on ideas, learn more about the problem and explore different solutions. The way we do this in Labs is using a plugin system for MURAL that we have developed for this purpose to build prototypes, PoC's and demo-able features.

    OK so, in this particular thread, we are talking about Layers and granular control over the widgets in your Mural.

    Presenting a demo / prototype of this in action.

    I'd love to hear your reactions -

    • does this solve the types of problems you have with managing widgets as if they are layers?
    • does it cover all the needs or are there still gaps?
    • would you like to BETA test this type of feature?

    Please let me know in the thread.

  • Thanks for sharing that video, @steve. As a UX Designer, I'm creating a user journey for a new product. Our user journey currently includes feelings, actions, etc. that the user will experience in our pilot phase (yellow stickies) and other feelings, actions, etc. that our user will experience in our MVP stage (purple stickies). It's a lot to view the stickies for each stage together, but at the same time, we still want a comprehensive view (which is why we're not dividing the journey into 2 separate journeys.) I would like a really quick and easy way to toggle on/off the stickies for each phase of our product development, so that we can see the either the a) user journey for just the pilot phase, b) user journey for just the MVP stage, or c) user journey for both stages.

    If I understand correctly, the video you shared would allow me to see my stickies in an object menu and toggle them off individually, or group the stickies of each color and toggle them on/off as a group. That would be helpful. I'd also like to be able to right-click on a sticky or a group individually and hide them without needing to go into the object menu.

    Presumably, once an object hidden, I'd need to go to the layers menu to find it and show it again. It might be helpful to have some sort of alert saying "2 hidden items" or "show all hidden items" somewhere so that people don't accidentally lose their items and not know how to get them back.

    Even if there's an object menu where I can show or hide individual objects or groups of objects, it's still a lot of clicks to do that. In an ideal world, I'd love to be able to name a layer/group of stickies and put a shortcut to it in my toolbar or menu, then click it to toggle the group on/off with just a single click (no need to open a side menu, scroll to find the layer, hide or or show it, etc.).

    Let me know if that makes sense!

  • This feature would also a great help for me.

    Just a short description (as some of the others already wrote above) of what would help me much ist the following:

    1) open a "layer" menu and set up some layers with name

    2) select some widgets and then right-click on them and select "send to layer".

    3) choose one of the layers created in 1)

    4) back to the layer-menu: each layer should have a "visible" button. when visible, all elements of a layer should be visible. If invisible, they should be invisble (also no grey area on the screen).

    seen and love this feature e.g. in diagrams.net

  • @steve This is great! I've left a comment on your LOOM video too. Has this progressed? I'd love to have a more effective way to handle layers in Mural. It's my biggest frustration in what is otherwise an awesome tool!

  • I'm also keen to know if this has been progressed!

  • @steve Seeing the loom video as a year old... Can you please release this extension, even if still in beta? This is exactly what is needed. Layers are still a nightmare to navigate when building boards.

  • steve
    steve Mural Team mod

    Hi all - thanks so much for your feedback here. It is amazing how much time passes, I definitely owe you all an update. We are working hard to open up plugins - the core new functionality that would enable this type of feature (and many more besides) to be available really, really quickly, and safely for you to try.

    I am going to assume you are all willing participants in an early alpha/beta test for this, but please give me a reaction on this message and I'll add you to our list for updates as soon as it is available. No concrete timings on it just yet, but I'm pushing!