I reccently came across a tool called PowerMockup, which takes an interesting and somewhat surprising (at least to me) approach to creating wireframes: It turns Microsoft PowerPoint into a wireframing app. I had never previously considered using PowerPoint for wireframes or mockups, but now that I have seen PowerMockup, it really does make sense:

  • No need to learn a new tool.You can apply your existing PowerPoint skills to quickly and easily collaborate with colleagues and clients who are also familiar with PowerPoint.
  • Rich set of drawing tools. You can draw vector shapes from scratch, color them, add text, create groups of shapes, or apply formatting effects such as shadow and 3-D rotation. PowerPoint also allows you to import and export from, and to, a variety of image formats.
  • Great for telling stories and presenting process flows. PowerPoint’s presentation features make it the perfect choice for demonstrating a storyboard of wireframes slide-by-slide. By adding hyperlinks you can even create simple click-through prototypes.

PowerMockup builds on these strengths by providing a library of wireframe templates. After running the PowerMockup installer, the tool appears on the right side of the PowerPoint window. From there you can drag and drop items onto a PowerPoint slide or use the search feature to filter the catalog.

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The catalog items are grouped into six categories:

  • Containers: Group box, panel, window, etc. (13 entries in total)
  • Graphics: Bar chart, line, profile picture, etc. (22)
  • Icons: Wireframe icons for any occasion (140)
  • Markup: Neon marker, sketchy arrow, sticky note, etc. (13)
  • Navigation: Button, checkbox, drop-down box, link, etc. (36)
  • Text: Label, text box, tooltip, etc. (16)

There’s also another important category: “Custom Shapes.” This is where you can add your own stencils. Simply select aPowerPoint shape on a slide, right-click, and then choose “Add to Stencil Library” from the menu.

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Custom stencils can also be exported and shared with others.

How to give PowerMockup a try

PowerMockup works with Microsoft PowerPoint 2007, 2010, and 2013 for Windows. You can download a free trial version from the PowerMockup website at www.powermockup.com. This version is fully functional, but does place a limit on the number of stencils you can use.

A single-user license for PowerMockup is available for $59.95 and comes with a money-back guarantee. There are also group discounts available for teams of five or more.

Conclusion

I really like PowerMockup. It’s intuitive to use and makes wireframing with PowerPoint a pleasant experience. I especially like the way PowerMockup allows me to add to the default library by creating templates of my own stencils. If you are searching for an easy-to-use wireframe tool, you should definitely give PowerMockup a try.