Wireframing & Prototyping Free Balsamiq Alternative - Pencil

Create website and application wireframes, prototypes and mock-ups with a simple and free software Balsamiq alternative
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Instructed by Amir Elion Design / User Experience
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  • Lectures 18
  • Length 1 hour
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 4/2016 English

Course Description

Wireframing and Prototyping Course - What Students say:

"I'm going to recommend this course to all product managers and team leaders in our company. It's not only about the Pencil tool - but also about some cool ideas and good practices for wireframing in general. I specifically like the lectures about creating wireframes for dashboards and for mobile devices."

Updated to Wireframing and Prototyping course April 2016:

New wireframing and prototyping for specific use cases section added with videos to show you how to create wireframes in Pencil for specific uses - such as Mobile device app prototyping or for planning Big Data Website Dashboard screen wireframes.


Are you planning or designing a website, a software product or an application? If you are then creating a great user interface is probably one of the most important factors to the success of the project.

There are many tools to design a software user interface. In this course I introduce you to an easy to use, freely downloadable tool called Pencil, and quickly show you how to create user interface wireframes and prototypes by yourself.

Within an hour, you will be able to create your user interface sketches and prototypes, and share them with clients, designers and developers.

No prior skills or experience is required to take this course. It takes you all the way from downloading and install the free Pencil tool, through creating wireframes and prototypes and working with all the Pencil tools, and onto saving and exporting your prototype designs.

You'll also find some extra Goodies on the course, such as icons and assets you can add to Pencil, and example wireframe designs to help you get started.

There are several paid wireframing tools out there - tools such as OmniGraffle, Blasamiq, Axure and Visio would cost you anywhere from $89 to $600 and more. Before using those, make sure you take this course to be able to try out wireframing by yourself for free. Even if you do plan of using one of the paid tools for wireframing, the skills you will learn and apply through this course will prove invaluable.

What are the requirements?

  • This course does not require you to download and install Pencil. However, if you do plan to apply the skills and methods I teach to create wireframes, I will show you how to download an install the free Pencil software for Windows, Linux or MACOSX

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Download and install the free Pencil wirefrmaing and prototyping Alternative to Balsamiq
  • Easily create wireframes of websites, apps and software products to show clients, designers and developers
  • Add user interface elements, icons, sketches and more to your wireframes
  • Export and share user interface wireframes in a variety of file formats

Who is the target audience?

  • Are you thinking of or planning a website, an app or a software product? You need to have a visual representation of it (a Wireframe) so designers, developers and clients understand how it's going to look and work
  • Project manager? Design student? User experience specialist? This Pencil tool you will learn in this course will save you lots of hours of work, misunderstandings by clients, designers and developers. The great thing is it does not require any programming skills at all. We'll show you how to use an intuitive, FREE software to make your life easier right now!
  • If you are not sure Wireframing is what you need and if you're wondering if you should spend hundreds of dollars on paid tools such as OmniGraffle, Balsamiq, Axure and Visio - take this course first to be able to try out wireframing quickly and for free. Then you can decide if you need another tool or can simply go on using Pencil

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Wireframing and Prototyping - Getting started

Before we get started with Pencil tool for wireframing, this brief lesson takes you through five reasons you should embrace this practice.


This lesson will show you how to download and install the Free Pencil program on your computer.


The Pencil user interface is what you will be using through the rest of this course, and of course whenever you use this software.

It's not a complicated interface, but still this quick lesson takes you through the major tools on the screen to get you quickly up to speed with the program.

Section 2: Creating a great wireframe or prototype with ease

In this lesson we will learn how you can rename pages, change the canvas size, choose a page background color, and add some space around the objects which you've placed on the canvas.


Adding and editing objects on the canvas is what you will be doing most of the time when using Pencil in order to create your wireframes.

This lessons shows you the basics of dragging objects onto the canvas and working with their properties to get them to look exactly as you would like.


This lesson shows you how to quickly add and edit the properties of objects on the Pencil canvas.


There are so many objects or assets you can have on the Pencil collections pane. Watch this lesson to learn how to quickly search and find exactly the one that you need to add to you wireframes and prototypes.


You can any number of pages in a Pencil project. This lesson shows you how to copy pages, reorder them on the pages tab, duplicate them or delete pages.

5 questions

Test you knowledge in this short quiz on the lesson in the Creating Wireframes section

Section 3: Tips for faster and more effective work with Pencil

Grouping and Ungrouping objects can make your life much easier in Pencil. Once grouped, it's easy to resize the objects, copy and paste them, and even edit their content.


Collections are Pencil's way to keep things organized. However, if you have too many of them, it may hinder your work. This lesson will show you how to hide any collections you are not using, as well as where you can find and how you can install new object collections.


Adding private collections and putting your favorite objects there, will help you work much faster - you'll be able to reuse complex groups of objects without having to recreate them.


Adding additional information for other team members such as designers or developer may prove invaluable. It can make them understand exactly what you are trying to achieve.

This lesson includes a best practice tip that will help you use sticky notes to make sure the information and ideas come across clearly.


Here are a number of assets you can install to use as collections in your Pencil projects - icons, flags and user interface elements.

Section 4: Saving, Publishing and Sharing wireframes

Naturally, you would want to export and share the wireframes you create with Pencil with designers, clients and developers. Learn how to do so in this short lesson.


See how you can export all or some of the project pages as PNG image files


Exporting as PDF allows you to choose the pages with Wireframes you created, and save them as PDF files so you can either send or print them for offline review.

Section 5: Wireframing with for specific uses

In this lesson I share with you how I use Pencil to create smartphone app wireframes for design and development teams.


See how you can easily add Dashboards, Counters, Charts and Progress Indicators to your wireframes - to present Big Data and support Decision-Making.

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Instructor Biography

Amir Elion, Innovation and Learning Author and Trainer

Creativity, Innovation, Products, Learning - these are my passions and areas of expertise. I have extensive experience as a Product Manager, an Innovation and Creativity expert and consultant in numerous organizations. I am also an experienced learning management and learning development manager. I worked internally in multinational companies such as Motorola and Teva Pharmaceuticals, and was also a senior consultant at ZOOZ Strategy, Innovation and Management consulting. In various roles, I consulted and facilitated countless processes and workshops on a multitude of innovation and creativity tools - Blue Ocean Strategy, Systematic Inventive Thinking, De Bono Lateral Thinking, SCAMPER, TRIZ Creative Problem Solving and more.

Today, I am Director of Product Innovation and Learning at the international learning solutions company Kineo. I am also very much involved in the Learning Community and served as the Israeli national annual learning conference chairperson in 2013.

I am the author of the successful "100 Creative Presentation Ideas" book, and based upon that I also created the creative ideas app of the same name and the Ideas Flux innovation mobile and tablet app.

I hold a Bachelors degree in Philosophy and General studies, and a Masters in Organizational Development. I am also Six Sigma Green Belt certified.

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