IT Management

8 Best Free Wireframe Tools

By | 10 min read | Published

Bring your ideas on screen, and design your website with wireframe software.

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Every web page of a website has a purpose and helps users achieve their goals. If a website lacks navigation, then customers will leave your page before reaching the destination.

As a designer wanting to build software and websites, you need to create a framework of the buyers’ journey and create pages for each stage to help customers reach their goals. 

Wireframe tools help bring your framework to life. Similar to a blueprint of building architecture, wireframe assists in creating blueprints of websites, mobile applications, and software. From a low-fidelity sketch to a high-fidelity prototype, these tools allow you to create a page structure containing functionalities, offerings, and content layout.

This article looks at the eight best free wireframe tools, listed alphabetically, that you can choose from without spending money on paid tools.

See the full list of wireframing software in Capterra’s software directory.
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Comparison chart of the eight best free wireframe software
1

Cacoo: Check versions of your diagrams to track changes

Cacoo gives you an option to share and edit a diagram together in real-time. You can track changes to review the versions of your design copy and choose the one that suits you better. Collaborate with your teammates through comment, in-app chat, and video chat to discuss diagrams.

Cacoo offers wireframe templates for websites, Android, and iOS. These templates allow you to design according to the size of the device. You can determine your layout through boxes, shapes, and images to visualize better. 

Each team has its own dedicated functionalities so that teams can give their inputs in their desired way. For example, the development team can use Unified Modeling Language (UML), and network diagrams; the marketing team can leverage marketing funnels, and SWOT analysis; and project managers can create GANT, and PERT charts.

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Key Features:

  • Brainstorming
  • Collaboration tools
  • Commenting/Notes
  • Data import/export
  • Data linking
  • Mobile interface
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Cost to upgrade:

$5 per month

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

<p>Wireframing in Cacoo</p>

Wireframing in Cacoo

2

Creately: Use a variety of templates for diagramming

Creately is an online diagramming and design tool that offers templates for different teams such as marketing, HR, product, engineering, etc. Its drag and drop functionality enables users to add templates, shapes, images, icons, and elements through Google search.

You can add emails of stakeholders to share your design copy with them or place a video call to show your design in real-time and collaborate with your teammates. Creately also allows you to download the design copy in PDF, PNG, JPG, and SVG format.

You can collaborate by adding comments on precise locations on the design copy to let designers know which part to alter. The free wireframe tool also allows threaded discussions for participants to grasp the overall conversation.

Most Affordable
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Key Features:

  • Desktop interface
  • Diagramming
  • Document management
  • Drag & drop
  • Feedback management
  • Mind maps
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Cost to upgrade:

$3.25 per month

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

<p>Flowchart in Creately</p>

Flowchart in Creately

3

InVision App: Design and develop on one platform

InVision App translates your design copies into detailed specs for easier development and allows developers to take measurements of each element from the design copy itself. The software solution shows developers the design elements that are already coded so that they can focus on elements that need to be built from scratch.

InVision App is also a mockup tool that can transform static prototypes into a realistic design by enabling users to move the screen in different directions, switch from one screen to another, and create overlays. Your team members and stakeholders can provide feedback through commenting directly on the prototype. 

The wireframe design tool can also integrate with multiple collaboration, and task management software to streamline your design and development process.

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Key Features:

  • Desktop interface
  • Digital canvas
  • Feedback management
  • Idea management
  • Interactive management
  • Mobile interface
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Cost to upgrade:

$7.95 per user, per month

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

<p>Freehand by InVision App</p>

Freehand by InVision App

4

Lucidchart: Create and edit in offline mode

Lucidchart equips designers with tools that help them communicate their complex ideas through design. You can assign stages to each file such as draft, complete, pending review, approved, rejected, and no status for effective collaboration.

The online wireframe tool gives an option to invite collaborators and the creator can edit, share, view, and comment access to collaborators. You can also embed design copy to your intranet or webpage.

With the tool’s cloud infrastructure, you can visualize how your new plan will affect your present infrastructure. You can leverage the conditional formatting option to set rules to change shapes, icons, and designs based on your rule criteria.

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Key Features:

  • Feedback management
  • Flowchart
  • Graphical workflow editor
  • Interactive elements
  • Access controls/Permissions
  • Diagramming
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Cost to upgrade:

$7.95 per month

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

<p>BPMN shape libraries in Lucidchart</p>

BPMN shape libraries in Lucidchart

5

Marvel: Receive user interaction insights

Marvel is a no-code prototyping tool that allows designing, testing, and developing on one platform. It provides all the functionalities required to create digital products. Apart from stock photos, and icons, Marvel provides a range of pre-made wireframing elements such as navigation bars, widgets, and buttons.

Marvel’s design handoff tool enables developers to get access to specs of each element added in the design copy. The tool generates CSS, Android XML, and Swift code for elements so that you can copy and expedite the development process.

The tool gives you an option to record how your users interact with your prototype. Get access to analytics that provide insights into how your users interact with your design in order to improve the overall prototype and experience.

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Key Features:

  • Collaboration tools
  • Customizable templates
  • Prototype creation
  • Usability testing
  • Software prototyping
  • Offline access
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Cost to upgrade:

$10 per month

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

<p>Prototyping in Marvel</p>

Prototyping in Marvel

6

Miro: Enables real-time and asynchronous collaboration

Miro offers a collaborative, online whiteboard platform that helps in brainstorming, design thinking, mapping, drawing, running team meetings, and more. The wireframe software allows users to build a roadmap starting from creating a buyer’s persona to designing web pages. 

With Miro, you can perform scenario mapping that allows for you to think through goals you want to achieve in each page. Accordingly, create a user flow, and how you want users to interact with your page to achieve the set goal. At each stage of creation, your teammates and account managers can give real-time suggestions on what you should start, stop, and continue doing.

The software solution offers templates for each stage of creation and designing such as mind maps, sitemaps, service pages, registration pages, customer journey maps, etc. Miro also works as a task management tool as you can check which team member is handling which task of the designing process.

Best Functionality
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Key Features:

  • Agile methodologies
  • Asset library
  • Backlog management
  • Calendar management
  • Change management
  • Action management
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Cost to upgrade:

$8 per user, per month

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

<p>Collaboration in Miro</p>

Collaboration in Miro

7

Storyboard That: Provides templates for digital storytelling

Storyboard That offers a specialized version for teachers that enables educators to create stories, plot lines, templates, infographics, and posters. Teachers can give assignments to students to create stories through the tool. There is a business and individual-specific version along with the free version.

The drag and drop whiteboard allows users to add icons, wireframes on different devices, hand gestures, and emoticons. The tool provides templates for different pages such as settings, login, features, sign up, product page, etc.

You can start designing without creating an account on the software. The software application also offers enterprise-class file encryption for business editions to ensure secure designs. Storyboard That allows collaboration with multi-user accounts to share designs.

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Key Features:

  • Mockup creation
  • Mobile interface
  • Revision history
  • Screen capture
  • Wireframe creation
  • Data linking
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Cost to upgrade:

$8.99 per month

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

<p>User flow creation in Storyboard That</p>

User flow creation in Storyboard That

8

Whimsical: Create custom color themes across boards

Whimsical allows creation through five formats: flowcharts, wireframes, mind maps, sticky notes, and docs. You can leverage community templates to create designs. The tool gives an option to use color themes to match your brand requirements.

Whimsical gives a pre-built design system to create wireframes. The design system prevents you from creating icons that can be easily found in the template. You can also use shortcuts for frequently used options.

The tool lets you focus on content and page layout without worrying about the high-fidelity design. That’s why most of the icons are in grey and white. Only actionable items such as buttons and links are colored to display navigation.

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Key Features:

  • Brainstorming
  • Project management
  • Real-time editing
  • Wireframe creation
  • Drag & drop editor
Trial/Free Version:
Free Trial
Free Version
Cost to upgrade:

$12 per editor, per month

Device Compatibility:

Screenshot:

<p>Workspace in Whimsical</p>

Workspace in Whimsical

How to choose the right free wireframing tool for your business

It can be challenging to choose one tool out of the best free wireframe tools. With your business goals in mind, you can select functionalities that you require from software. Check the list of some of the considerations to keep in mind before selecting a wireframe tool for your small business:

  • Select a tool that has a low-fidelity option: Low-fidelity wireframe tools are beneficial in the early stages of the design process. They allow designers to easily envision their idea with page layout and navigational structure. As these ideas can be easily created, designers can choose which design will best suit their purpose and move to a high-fidelity prototype of the digital product.
  • Choose a tool that integrates with collaboration applications: Since designing is a collaborative process, it becomes essential for designers to take input from stakeholders. If your tool does not integrate well with your communication tools, it becomes difficult for your teammates to contribute to a project. Integrated software allows synchronous and asynchronous collaboration for better product creation.
  • Pick a tool that aims to achieve scalability: Wireframing is not an isolated process. As you continue creating layouts, you have to keep up with the navigational structure too. Your online product will continue to expand, therefore, your wireframing tool should also consider how new layouts fit into the present structure.

Common questions to ask while selecting free wireframing tool

It is important to ask the right questions, to get the right solution. Here are some key questions to ask vendors before deciding on a wireframe tool:

What kind of limitations does the free software have?

Free wireframe tools can have several limitations that prevent you from achieving your goals. Some free tools limit the number of layouts, users, and sharing options. Before deciding on a tool, ensure that you receive the functionalities pertinent to your business.

Does the software offer an option to track changes?

Product designing involves multiple changes at every stage. Sometimes, you reach a dead-end by following a navigational path and you might have to take a few steps back. These changes can also be made by different collaborators. If your tool offers track changes mode then you can restore the previous versions of your design copy and continue creating.

Does the software offer customized templates?

Your designs should align with your brand style, color, and themes. If a software does not offer customized templates then you will be left with a sketch that does not include your branding details, and it will be difficult for you to visualize layouts.

How did we choose these products? We didn’t—you did.

To find your ideal software match, you need information you can trust—so you can save time, stay on budget, and focus more energy on growing your business. It’s why we vet and verify all our user reviews and recommend only the tools endorsed by people like you.

In other words, our product recommendations are never bought or sold, or based on the opinion of a single individual—they’re chosen by your peers, reflecting the views and experiences of our independent base of software reviewers.

To be considered for this list, products have to:

  1. Have at least 20 unique product reviews published on Capterra within the past two years, with an average rating of 3.0 or higher. We selected the 8 products with the highest ratings to feature in this article.
  2. Offer a free, standalone version of the software (not a trial version of the software where you must purchase a product after a limited amount of time).
  3. Meet our wireframe software market definition: “A wireframe software helps in laying barebones of design concept with the help of specific content, functions, connections between static pages. Users can create wireframe designs with the help of a drag and drop editor, present to colleagues, collaborate on wireframe designs, etc.”

Note: The content in this piece that provides opinions and points of view expressed by users does not represent the views of Capterra.

The “Best functionality” tool is identified using the highest user ratings for functionality that a vendor received based on publicly available reviews.

“Most affordable” tool is identified based on the lowest pricing a vendor offered on their website in terms of cost to upgrade on September 13, 2021.


Looking for wireframe software? Check out Capterra’s list of the best wireframe tools.

About the Author

Kritika Tyagi

Kritika Tyagi

Writer@Capterra with a focus on small business market trends, software requirements and all things tech. M.A. in English Literature from Jamia Millia Islamia. Love books and nice words. When I am not working, you can find me reading books while eating self baked cookies and drinking coffee.

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Comments

Comment by John Ankeny on

Kelsie, great read. Thank you for providing logical pros and cons about each platform. Most articles these days seem to skew towards advertising $ when they talk about tools.

Comment by Nazmul Siddiqui on

I tried using Lucidchart, even something as basic as grid is part of the paid version. . .it’s not free!

Comment by Red Baron on

I don’t think you know the definition of neither open source, nor free as different as these two terms can be when compared to each other directly.

Avatar

Comment by Tamas Torok on

We published a similar, updated version of this post, containing 20 mockup tools. Could be a great addition to this one 🙂

Link: http://codingsans.com/blog/mockup-tools

Comment by Yadin Habie on

I like MockFlow.. But what about Pingendo.. Its open source and free..

Comment by Laverne Schrock on

I’m sorry but LucidChart, Mockflow, and Wireframe.cc are not “free and open source”. If the source code is not available, then the software is NOT “open source”

Also see: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.en.html

Comment by Russell Bateman on

Cathy – thank you for providing this review of open-source wireframe tools. I am unashamedly new to the process but want to develop an application that allows others in my profession to benefit from the many years experience I’ve developed in my field of expertise.

I like the sound of Pencil, since it’s the tool I mostly use in the beginning to express and illustrate my ideas, so this will be my first choice. And if I find it wanting I would migrate to Lucidchart.

To anyone reading Cathy’s review who happens upon my comment, please feel free to share with me your experience with either of these tools.

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