Fast GUI Prototyping With Pencil

Pencil is a Firefox plugin that allows you to draw diagram and prototype an applications Graphical User Interface (GUI). Pencil is similar to Eclipse WireframeSketcher. You can install the latest version of Pencil from the Mozilla addons site. Once the Firefox extension has been installed you can launch it by selecting Tools | Pencil Sketching from the Firefox menu. The Pencil plugin will open in a new Firefox window for you to draw you GUI. In the left hand side of the Pencil canvas, you will have a set of palettes of different shape collections, such as GTK Widgets, Windows XP Widgets, annotation, and common shapes. Just drag, drop, and draw the different widgets from the palette to the canvas to draw a UI prototype.

Pencil Canvas

With Pencil, you can create rapid screen mockups and UI prototypes, add your own custom shapes to new palettes, save your work as a Pencil document format, export your diagram or UI as a PNG file,

Contact Editor

I did have issues running the current version of Pencil on Mac OS X, but the Pencil project is Open Source software released under the GPLv2.

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  3. Extreme GUI Makeover: Lookin’ Better
  4. Extreme GUI Makeover 2007
  5. CommunityOne 2007: Swing GUI Building with Matisse: Chapter II
  6. Firefox Extension: ScreenGrab!


3 Responses to “Fast GUI Prototyping With Pencil”

  • Chris Says:

    This seems like an interesting and useful tool, but I’m a bit puzzled why this was developed as a Firefox plugin rather than a desktop application. Unlike most plugins, it has no interaction with web pages you have open in Firefox (unless I missed something) – it’s basically just an application built using Firefox as an application development platform, which seems a bit odd.

  • TechKnow Says:

    @Chris – I had that same question. I wonder if the author just thought this is the easiest way to deploy and install a firefox-based application.

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