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Using Balsamiq in Your Classroom

Balsamiq Wireframes is the industry-leading rapid wireframing software that combines the comfort and simplicity of paper sketching with the power of a digital tool.

We are proud to offer instructors a long-term, extended trial for Wireframes for Desktop or Wireframes for Google Drive for the duration of your course, free of charge.

If you haven't already, select which version you want to use below, and apply to the Balsamiq Software Donation Program.


  1. Select a version and apply
  2. Install the software
  3. Share key with students or add them as editors
  4. Review our lesson plan

Which version should I use?

Both versions use the same wireframing editor. The differences are mostly in how and where project files are stored. Read below for details or learn more about Balsamiq Wireframes.

Wireframes for Desktop

  • Native apps for macOS and Windows
  • Edit projects locally
  • No internet connection required (after registration)
  • Perfect for individual student use

Wireframes for Google Drive

  • Integrated with Google Drive and G Suite apps
  • Create, edit and share wireframes directly from Google Drive within a browser
  • Collaborate on wireframes in real time
  • Perfect for individual student or team use
  • Per our Privacy Policy students must be 16 years or older

What do I do after getting approved?

Once we review your application and you are approved for a free extended trial we will send you a key to share with your students (Desktop) or extend your free trial (Google Drive).

Start by installing the software yourself, this will help you be able to walk your students through the process.

Entering your key on the Desktop app
Adding students as editors in Wireframes for Google Drive

If you have any questions or need help, contact us.

Suggested Lesson Plan

User interface overview

The core of Balsamiq Wireframes is the editor, which is the same in all versions of our products. The editor interface is made up of five primary areas: the toolbar, the UI Library, the canvas, the navigator panel and the properties panel. Each is described below.

The five areas of the editor interface.

Navigator Panel
The navigator panel on the left shows the list of wireframes, assets or Symbols in your project. The currently selected object is highlighted.

The toolbar contains a series of icons for performing actions on other areas of the user interface.

UI Library
Consists of premade UI Controls that can be dragged onto the Canvas to create a user interface.

The area where UI Controls are placed and arranged.

Properties Panel
A configuration panel that contains common actions (e.g. alignment, layering) and properties that are specific to each UI Control.

Visit the Editor Overview documentation for more details.

Balsamiq essentials

  1. Application intro (Desktop | Google Drive)
  2. The Toolbar
  3. UI Library + Quick Add
  4. Working with Controls
  5. The Inspector
  6. Images and assets

For advanced use, check out the tutorials and keyboard shorcuts.

Introducing wireframes to your students

In-class activities

1. Create your first wireframe Instructor guide (PDF | Google Doc)  
2. Copy an existing UI to learn how it was designed Instructor guide (PDF | Google Doc) Balsamiq project file (.bmpr)
3. Add a feature to an existing app Instructor guide (PDF | Google Doc) Balsamiq project file (.bmpr)

Starter templates

We've selected pre-built templates from our Wireframes to Go library that might be useful for student projects.
Learn how to use Wireframes to Go.