Diagrams, Wireframing, Prototyping Tools -- Adobe XD, Balsamic, Miro, More

Recommended List of Tools -- Try These 1st!

If you need flowcharts or UML or other diagramming tools similar to Microsoft Visio (especially if you are on a Mac), or a collaborative whiteboard tool, some of these tools may work great for you.

There is also:

ERD or Entity Relationship Diagram Options

See ABOVE section's Diagrams.net for ERD's.

Or Miro.com in above section for ERD's.

For Miro.com, also see this free ERD template.

Zoom Whiteboard but Above Options Likely Better

Optional, but Zoom does have its whiteboard feature, and we'll link to info about that below.

ALSO, optional, but also note: you can also use the ABOVE tools while screen sharing if you need to collaborate

Or without screen share, and just use Zoom to talk or chat with one another in real time, if wanted.


In addition to this list of designing software applications...
Balsamiq's Wireframe for Desktop ...
is great because you are able to open local (.bmpr) files saved on your computer and cloud projects from their own integrated cloud.

The only downside (in comparison to other free software) is that there is only a 30-day trial, then you will need to buy a license to edit your work.

Although, viewing the extension file (BMPR) remains free regardless.

License is a one-time purchase, which is something to note if you would like the benefit of having a dedicated cloud.

Adobe XD Starter

It took me a while to fully test this, as it's crazy busy, and I didn't want to say it worked before I confirmed I could still use Adobe XD on the starter plan after the 7-day free trial.

But it the Adobe XD Starter plan does work after the 7-day free trial. And this actually what Adobe says to do for students and teachers trying to teach Adobe XD.

  1. Go to the following link & click Download XD:
  2. Run the installer. It will install Adobe Creative Cloud.
    If you do not have an Adobe account, you'll need to make one.
    I'd recommend using your Drexel userid@drexel.edu email address,
    but NOT your Drexel password.
  3. Do NOT sign up for a paid plan.
    Do NOT click buttons for any paid plans.
    You ONLY want to do the Free Trial.
  4. After Adobe XD installs, close Creative Cloud. You cannot uninstall Creative Cloud and still use Adobe XD, but you probably don't want to open Creative Cloud again (unless you use it for other purposes you know of). The Creative Cloud icon (looks like sideways 8 or infinity sign) may hang out near the date/time, but just let it. Close Creative Cloud if you accidentally open it, as best you can.
  5. Going forward...
    Always open Adobe XD from your Start or Windows menu (Windows 10/11).
    Or open Adobe XD from Applications in Finder, Spotlight Search, Launchpad (Mac).
  6. Every time you open the Adobe XD, you'll be asked to sign up for a plan. Do NOT sign up for a plan. Just click the X. If you accidentally click something else, just close whatever opens, or close Adobe XD and start again.

Notes for Adobe XD Starter

  • After 7 days, it will say your free trial has ended, but you can still just close that pop-up window, and use Adobe XD .
  • Do not try to uninstall or reinstall Adobe XD after the free trial period had ended. We have no idea if it will work still.
  • If you accidentally open from Adobe Creative Cloud, you may see a message that this is the last time you can open Adobe XD. It's not. But avoid opening Adobe XD from Adobe Creative Cloud.
  • Do not uninstall either Adobe XD or Adobe Creative Cloud.
  • It's on you if you accidentally or on-purpose sign up for the paid plan. You'll need to contact Adobe to work out cancellations and refunds. If you want someone to verify you are on the free trial and not a paid plan, send us a screenshot of what you see when you first open up Adobe XD.