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The Pencil Project – brilliant free Firefox add-on turns the browser into a full blown sketching tool


pencilproject2 small The Pencil Project   brilliant free Firefox add on turns the browser into a full blown sketching tool

The Pencil Project is a brilliant example of just how powerful the Firefox platform has become in terms of adding high value applications to the web browser. This free Open Source add-on turns Firefox into a fully featured sketching and diagraming application which can be used for anything from prototyping and wireframing web designs to producing org charts and other business style stuff.

pencilproject3 thumb The Pencil Project   brilliant free Firefox add on turns the browser into a full blown sketching tool 

Once installed you just fire it up and you’re in the application, complete with common template elements to get started. You won’t find a huge selection of shapes and other elements included in the download right now, but for an early release it’s still very usable and no doubt as the community builds there will be more element packages added to the mix. One thing missing, which would be a useful addition, is a button for the Firefox navigation toolbar for easier start up (now you start up under Tools).

pencilproject4 thumb The Pencil Project   brilliant free Firefox add on turns the browser into a full blown sketching tool

It’s a super cool tool for designers or anyone who needs to create quick and easy charts, and definitely worth and install. OK, so right now it doesn’t have the power of something like Gliffy, but it’s definitely a very credible alternative and I added it to my toolbox immediately. By the way, there’s also a standalone version which will work on Linux as well as Windows. Great stuff!

  The Pencil Project’s unique mission is to build a free and opensource tool for making diagrams and GUI prototyping that everyone can use. Top features: * Built-in stencils for diagraming and prototyping * Multi-page document with background page * On-screen text editing with rich-text supports * PNG rasterizing * Undo/redo supports * Installing user-defined stencils * Standard drawing operations: aligning, z-ordering, scaling, rotating… * Cross-platforms * Adding external objects

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.



  • http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/bifurcated/rivets L

    Be aware that this doe snot support “sketching” in the sense of drawing. It uses the word in the sense only of “rough layout”

  • http://www.redferret.net Nigel

    Yes yes, good point, thanks for the pointer… :-)

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