The 18 best wireframe tools

With more wireframe tools to choose from than ever, we select the pick of the bunch.

Wireframe tools make the process of knowing how to create an app or website fundamentally easier, by visually stripping the product down and allowing all involved to focus purely on functions and user interactivity.

Clients need to understand how your proposed app or website will work. But simply explaining to them verbally or textually leaves the vast majority of functions down to their imagination. Wireframe tools can be extremely helpful in squaring that circle.

There are more wireframe tools on the market than ever, each offering varying levels of functionality. Some software can be used purely for simple wireframes, while others will allow you to create a working prototype.

Being creative should come first over any part of the process. So taking advantage of trial downloads or free software and finding the one that fits in with the way you work is the only way of finding out which one is right for you. We've selected 18 of the best wireframe tools to get you started. Enjoy!

01. UXPin

Creating a fading navigation menu in UXPin
  • Platform: Web-based
  • Price: $19, $29 or $99 per month

You can put together wireframes in UXPin at top speed by dragging and dropping custom elements. There are regularly updated libraries for Bootstrap, Foundation, iOS and Android, and your wireframes can be quickly converted to high-fidelity mockups. From there you can create fully interactive and animated prototypes of your final product. 

02. Fluid UI

Each project generates a QR code you can scan to get the prototype working on your phone
  • Platform: Web-based
  • Price: $8.25, $19.08 or $41.58 per month

Fluid UI has 16 built-in libraries for iOS, Android, Windows, wearables and more, and pages are created by dragging in elements from these libraries. This app provides a great way for you to map out your projects visually by creating links to join screens, forming a diagram of how everything fits together. Hovering over a link gives you the option to change the kind of transition. 

03. Balsamiq Mockups

Wireframe tools - Balsamiq Mockups

Wireframing tool Balsamiq Mockups is a firm favourite among the web design community
  • Platform: Mac, Windows & web-based
  • Price: $89 for the installed application, $12 or $5 per month for browser-based plans

Balsamiq Mockups includes several drag-and-drop elements, from buttons to lists, each styled as a hand-drawing. The basic premise behind this wireframing tool is to keep the mock-ups "intentionally rough and low fidelity", to encourage as much feedback as possible.

04. Axure

Wireframe tools - Axure

Axure lets you create interactive HTML mock-ups for both websites and apps
  • Platform: Mac & Windows
  • Price: $495-$895 for one-off purchase, or $29-$99 per user per month

As well as creating mock-ups, Axure allows you to add functionality to your layout and create an interactive prototype. Features of this wireframing tool include sitemaps and various 'widgets' in the form of various UI elements. Interactive HTML mock-ups can be created for both websites and apps; you can even view your app design on your phone with a built-in share function.

05. Pidoco

Wireframe tools - Pidoco

Pidoco includes a handy library of drag-and-drop interface elements
  • Platform: Web-based
  • Price: $12-$175 per month

Pidoco is similar to Axure, in that it includes library of various drag-and-drop interface elements, as well as the ability to add multiple pages and layers. Your prototypes can be shared online with clients, and includes functions for collaborative feedback and discussion. Viewing your prototypes on your phone is as easy as downloading the Pidoco app.

06. Visio

Wireframe tools - Visio

Viseo's interface will be familiar if you're used to using Microsoft Word or Excel
  • Platform: Windows
  • Price: $8.10 or $9.70 per month

Viseo's real strength lies in technical diagrams rather than wireframing; however, for those already accustomed with other Microsoft apps such as Word or Excel, the interface will be very familiar. It is quite clunky, Viseo does offer add-on tools such as Swipr, which allows you to create and export a usable HTML prototype.

07. InDesign CC

Wireframe tools - InDesign

InDesign lets you use animations and videos in your wireframes
  • Platform: Mac, Windows
  • Price: $19.99/month as part of Adobe Creative Cloud

By including animations, video and object states, it’s very easy to create a mock-up of a website or app in the form of an interactive PDF with InDesign. The software also includes the ability to create libraries of page elements, so you can create collections of various reusable interface graphics.

08. Photoshop CC

Wireframe tools - Photoshop

Never thought of Photoshop as a wireframing tool? Think again!
  • Platform: Mac, Windows
  • Price: $19.99/month as part of Adobe Creative Cloud

Photoshop doesn’t offer libraries of interface elements, but for straight-forward, fast wireframing, it is a very easy choice for designers. Even for those not familiar with Adobe products, sketching out quick ideas, grouping various elements and layers affords a very quick process.

09. Protoshare

Wireframe tools - Protoshare

Protoshare puts emphasis on online collaboration
  • Platform: Web-based
  • Price: $29/$49/$59 per month

Protoshare is an online tool, with a focus on collaboration and sharing. It includes a library of drag-and-drop elements, a sitemap, and the ability to use custom css and insert your own elements. Due to the emphasis on online collaboration, unlike some other tools, it can't export as a PDF, however it is worth considering for its prototyping features.

10. Penultimate

Wireframing Wireframe tools - Penultimate

Wireframing for an iPad app? Then use an iPad tool!
  • Platform: iPad
  • Price: 69p

If you're working purely for iPad design, sketching out ideas directly within the device itself is the perfect way to ensure you’re working to the right ratio and with well-sized active areas. Sketches and ideas can be easily saved out and sent to clients for approval.

11. Pencil Project

Wireframe tools - Pencil Project

Pencil is free, open source and comes with a variety of templates
  • Platform: Windows, Linux, Mac
  • Price: Free

Pencil is a free, open source wireframing tool available for Windows, Linux and Mac. Features include multi-page documents, external object import, as well as aligning, z-ordering, scaling and rotation. Various templates are included as well as the ability to export to HTML, PNG, Openoffice.org document, Word document, and PDF.

12. OmniGraffle

Wireframe tools - Omnigraffle

OmniGraffle has made a seamless transition from Mac to iPad
  • Platform: Mac, iPad, iPhone
  • Price: $99.99 for Mac version, £39.99 for iOS

OmniGraffle is effectively an ideas tool that enables you to quickly bash together website wireframes, diagrams, process charts or page layouts. You select a document type, and OmniGraffle makes context-sensitive joins between separate elements, automatically linking lines in diagrams and aligning shapes and elements in wireframes or page layouts.

13. Gliffy

Wireframe tools - Gliffy

Gliffy: like Viseo, but cheaper
  • Platform: Web-based
  • Price: Free, $3.99, $4.99 or $7.99 per month

Gliffy pretty much pitches itself as a cheaper online version of Viseo. It includes drag and drop components, online collaboration, image export and version tracking. 

14. Mockflow

Wireframe tools - Mockflow

Mockflow is another great wireframe tool
  • Platform: Web-based
  • Price: Free, $14 or $29 per month

Mockflow allows you to create working prototypes, and like Protoshare has an emphasis on collaboration and sharing. It includes features such as a sitemap creator for pages and folders, version tracking, image and component collections, chat, and HTML5 export.

15. Framebox

Wireframe tools - Framebox

Framebox is a good free solution for building simple wireframes
  • Platform: Online
  • Price: Free

Framebox is a great, free online tool for very simple wireframing. It includes a few drag and drop elements and allows you to share the web page as a unique URL. You can also give your elements titles and descriptions to help explain their function.

16. FlairBuilder

Wireframe tools - FlairBuilder

Flairbuilder lets you choose between ‘high-fidelity’ and ‘low-fidelity’ style graphics
  • Platform: Mac, Windows
  • Price: $99

Flairbuilder works on the Adobe Air platform and features multi-page projects, site map and comments. Like the rest, components are placed using a drag-and-drop interface and a clickable prototypes can be exported as HTML or shared online. You can also choose between 'high-fidelity' and 'low-fidelity' style graphics.

17. Justinmind

Wireframe tools - Justinmind

Justinmind offers a library of UI elements and custom styling for use in your wireframes
  • Platform: Web-based
  • Price: $19-$29 per month

Web-based Justinmind includes a library of UI elements, from buttons and form, to generics shapes and a range of widgets for iOS, SAP, and Android. Custom styling is included, so you can add rounded corners, cropped images or colour gradients, or import graphics by dragging them into the browser. Prototypes can be exported as HTML.

18. HotGloo

Wireframe tools - HotGloo

Wireframing tool HotGloo offers a rich level of features
  • Platform: Web-based
  • Price: $13, $27 or $54 per month

HotGloo's prototyping alone offers a rich level of features, going far beyond simple clickable buttons, such as the ability to change displayed elements depending on whether or not a user is logged in. 

And don't forget... pen and paper

Wireframing tools

There's nothing quicker than grabbing a pen and paper

Yes. An actual pen. And some real made-from-wood paper. Okay, so these don’t allow you to make a prototype, and there’s no built-in elements. But, if you feel more comfortable using a more traditional approach, why not get your ideas down on paper first and refine them in software later?