Streaming live at 10am (PST)

Nested symbols bug

Copying this to a Bug category since I can’t figure out how to change a category type on a post. Still posted as Feedback as well since it looks like even OP can’t delete posts…

Hmm… I don’t know how I did this, but I actually have some nested symbols. My best guess is that I probably created a div, added a couple of symbols to it, then for some reason wasn’t prevented from making the div into a symbol. But I can’t do that by manipulating in the Navigator.

I’d really like to keep using the nested symbols I’ve got because I’ve built up a bit of work around them but now am a bit insecure about how stable they are going to be, esp. regarding insights applied to objects down inside the nesting.

Hi @ramatsu , your post about nested symbols is still active in the feedback category, as this is a good place for that, as nested symbols is not a production feature yet, so not a “bug” in so much as it has not been implemented yet.

Interesting you were able to get a symbol inside of another symbol by doing some tricks with a div. I will have to do some testing when I have some free time.

I would agree with you, that trying to do too much trickery with the symbols, outside of the way they currently are designed to function, may affect other layouts on your page, depending on the symbols you are trying to work with, so it may be best to not try to use nested symbols until this functionality is expanded on in Webflow in future updates.

@cyberdave - Yeah, I’ll try to avoid creating more in the future, but I guess I’m a captive tester on this one because it would be almost unfeasible to extract them from my current project. (Avoiding creating them will be interesting since I don’t know exactly how I created these in the first place, although it almost certainly was similar to some habit-based workflow from Illustrator.)

@cyberdave, Ok, it’s hit the fan. I have only spent a few minutes testing, but I’m not able to save html changes to one of the symbols that has nested symbols inside. That is, I can make the changes, save them and proceed, but all my changes end up lost the next time I open the site in Design view.

I’m probably going to lose a week going back and rebuilding a bunch of stuff to root out all the nested symbols and replace them with less manageable (but supported) alternatives. But would you be interested in accessing it for research/troubleshooting purposes for the nested symbols effort?

The only catch is, there’s way too much stuff in there to anonymize, and my client would require an NDA from Webflow to expose the site to your dev team via a sharing link.

Let me know if you’re interested in taking a look, and if the NDA thing would make that a nonstarter.


Continuing to contribute to this bug thread, because being able to create an illegal object through normal editing processes is mos def a bug. And though I’m lucky enough to be the first, I’m probably not going to be the last to run into it.

So, for the day you work on nested symbols as a feature, here are some interesting aspects of what happens when you create some inadvertently and end up with an uneditable object as I have. I’ll continue to add things as they come up.

  • For clarity, I’m going to refer to the top-level symbol that contains other symbols inside of it as a “complex symbol” to distinguish it from the symbols inside of it, which would be the “nested symbols.”
  • The complex symbol that’s not holding HTML changes actually contains at least 2 levels of symbols nested inside it.
  • While editing the top level of the complex symbol, the Save progress/status indicator says changes are being saved, AND publishing them is successful. So wherever the code lives that gets published, the html changes are making it that far, and continue to appear to work just fine until the editor is closed and reopened. At this point the editor shows an older state than the published view.
  • CSS changes made during the editing of the complex symbol survive the close/reopen process, but the HTML code does not.
  • I have been working with this complex nested symbol for quite a while without running into the issue where HTML saved during a session is lost the next time you open the editor. I suspect that this state was triggered when I inadvertently ended up with two editor windows for the same page open (As if the older version saved over the newer one, and apparently overwrote version history from the newer one at the same time.)
  • That said, all other windows are closed now, and the problem persists. If the multiple open editors was involved, it created a glitch with the nested symbol that is now permanent.
  • There seem to be instances of symbols in the symbol count that are ghosts and don’t actually exist on the site. I had seen this before and not made the connection with the complex symbol situation, but since it’s happening with the one I can’t get HTML saves to stick for, it seems likely that it might be related. (Verified that they are ghosts by exporting the site and doing a directory-wide search for instances and coming up one shy of the number shown in the Symbols list.)

That seems like a bit to work with; let me know if you are interested in more discovery on this or not. I’m jamming to make up for lost time so won’t mind not logging issues if you’re unlikely to need them at this time.

Thanks for the updates, we’ll go through this comprehensive list and once there is an info update, we will post here. Thanks !


I do have nested symbols as well - it’s actually pretty easy to create them as webflow does not seem to restrict this. What made me search the forums about this though was an error message webflow gave me when editing the content inside the outer symbol, saying “symbols can not nested”.

In my case I have 2 variations of the header with different height/backgrounds (both symbols). They use the same navigation nested inside them (a symbol as well).

So, I guess it’s better not to do it? From reading what @ramatsu wrote, I asume I better not.

@cyberdave and @Tom,

It’s great to see advanced features continue to be added to Webflow, but I have to put in a strong vote for a couple of rounds of QC cleanup on the product. This bug is so embedded in months and months of work that I have done that trying to re-create the pages without it is a practical impossibility. I have had the luxury of being able to turn away from that project for a while, and hoped that this would get fixed in the interim, but apparently not.

I am experiencing a number of buggy behaviors now in Webflow that are really impinging on my ability to get work done in it. I haven’t taken the time to document and report them yet for two reasons:

  1. As long as I’m working in sites that include this nested symbol bug, it seems like all bets are off - anything I see could have that at its root.
  2. It really does feel like the Webflow team has elected to prioritize adding features vs. product stability.

For the many people who are using Webflow for relatively simple pages and sites, these things are probably not an issue, so perhaps I’m an outlier, and it doesn’t make sense to fix issues that not many people are encountering – yet.
I would hate it if that were the case, because the Webflow UX is far and away the best of all the wysiwyg html editors I’ve checked out, and I want to rely on it as my main tool.

Nested symbols are second nature to many Illustrator and Photoshop users, and provide a level of control and power that is indispensable once you get used to it. I really hope that you get this bug prioritized, and that you go the extra mile to make the fix support for nested symbols as opposed to the alternative, protecting the user from inadvertently creating them. But until one or the other happens, it’s a serious bug that really does threaten to bring my Webflow days to a close if I’m forced to put in weeks of effort to rebuild the projects from scratch.

I’m not sure if this is really the case. Some stuff takes time and of course they need to balance between both worlds.

I appreciate that the webflow team communicates in the forum. What I’m missing though - and I’ve seen that recently mentioned here from somebody else - is a roadmap.

They should at least show that bugs/problems we mentioned (and they agreed on fixing) are on their list. Otherwise, after months without another reply, you get the feeling they forgot the issue (which I’m sure they didn’t).

I feel your pain. I’d like to see some other stuff get fixed as well.

@Tom, Yeah, I’ve admired the Webflow team’s amazing chops at everything they’ve undertaken, including balancing a lot of stuff.

But per your query about a roadmap, the team has expressed that the explosion of creativity that is the Webflow product was formed much more by direct response to user input and feedback than any kind of planned roadmap. That’s been hugely successful so far, but in a sense makes me feel like I have a responsibility to play an active role and let them know which course is going to help me and which ones will make Webflow less useful to me. (And yes, they might be starting to feel the need to roadmap now as the project gets more complex.)

I admit that my current situation – basically kind of hung out here on this project with no good answer in sight – makes me highly sensitized to the whole topic. But with Webflow users filling the role of sort of ad hoc collaborators in the design, I feel a responsibility to advocate for what I think is a pretty important strategic choice. Based on the severity of this bug for me, plus the amount of dev effort I know has to go into features a major as they’ve been working on, I think some re-balancing is in order for a while.

I disagree pretty strongly with @cyberdave’s view that this isn’t a bug, as it’s bitten me hard, and just want to try to draw attention to the impact on me as a user in the interests of visibility. Having been on the other side of the relationship many times, I know the most frustrating issues are the ones where users leave without telling you why and giving you a chance to satisfy them. I hope that @callmevlad gives a little consideration to redirecting resources on new features to some housekeeping on stability.

Hi @ramatsu thanks so much for your comments :slight_smile: I just wanted to point out, I did not say it was not a bug, but an issue with something that is not supported yet. So yes, it can be a bug of course, it is always possible. Since that is not the intended behavior of that functionality, then it is something that needs to be investigated so that we can find out how to support the nested symbols properly.

Your information provided, helps us to do that, so thank you !

Cheers, Dave