Install Balsamiq Mockups in Debian/Ubuntu

Balsamiq Mockups

Balsamiq is one of the best tools for quick wireframes creation. It allows you to efficiently and quickly create mockups that give you an idea of how design elements fit in the page.

Some years ago there was a package available for the most popular Linux distributions, but since Adobe dropped support for Linux and Balsamiq is built on top of Adobe Air, nowadays they don’t support Linux neither.

As you can see from the downloads page of Balsamiq, though, it luckily works well with wine.

Install Balsamiq with WINE

First things first: install wine.

sudo apt-get install wine

Now, let’s proceed with an easy step-by-step guide.

  1. Download the Balsamiq Bundle that includes Adobe Air (if the link does not work, head on to Balsamic Downloads and download the version With Adobe Air bundled)
  2. Open a terminal, unzip the bundle and move it to /opt (change the Downloads directory name according to your setup)
    cd Downloads
    unzip Balsamiq*
    sudo mv Balsamiq* /opt
  3. To make life easier, rename the .exe to simply balsamiq.exe
    cd /opt/Balsamiq_Mockups_3/
    mv Balsamiq\ Mockups\ 3.exe balsamiq.exe
  4. Now you can run Balsamiq Mockups by running it with wine
    wine /opt/Balsamiq_Mockups_3/balsamiq.exe

Add Balsamiq as an application

The last optional step can save you a lot of time in launching Balsamiq, because it saves you the hassle of writing the command in point 4 above every time you want to launch it (and remembering the Balsamiq executable location). This simply consists in creating a new desktop entry for Balsamiq, which will add it to the applications list of your operating system.

Create the file ~/.local/share/applications/Balsamiq.desktop with the following content:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Balsamiq Mockups
Exec=wine /opt/Balsamiq_Mockups_3/balsamiq.exe

If you are on Ubuntu with Unity, you can add the following lines too:


Now, just save and have a look at your Dash or Activity Panel to see if it works.

Install Balsamiq Mockups with Play on Linux

Eric suggests the use of Play on Linux for an easier installation process and reports that for him Balsamiq Mockups 3 works like a charm in that environment. Worth a try!

CC BY-SA 4.0 Install Balsamiq Mockups in Debian/Ubuntu by Mattia Migliorini is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Web Designer freelance, Ubuntu Member, Linux evangelist. Loves working on clear and minimal designs and wants to create beautiful things for different devices.

deshack wrote 83 posts

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  • elan

    How to configure wine to get normal rendering with balsamiq?
    It looks like a GUI created with ms-paint, fonts are terrible and click focus is wrong.
    However it seems a better alternative exist: evolus pencil.
    It’s based on electron (still better than adobe air), so it’s not very lite.
    But it’s open source and easily extendable.

  • alex lecco

    Thanks buddy. I love this tool.

  • Fedor


    One thing that played for me: I couldn’t create application shortcut with ~/.local/share/applications/Balsamiq.desktop file (Ubuntu 16.10) – but have created it with /usr/share/applications/Balsamiq.desktop file with the same contents.

    BTW, I’ve created a zsh alias – it is handy for starting the app from a terminal window: alias bals="wine /opt/Balsamiq_Mockups_3/balsamiq.exe"

  • marisid

    Brilliant – thanks so much deshack!

  • Juan Carlos

    Thank you very much.

  • deshack

    Download link updated. Current stable version is 3.5.6.

  • Jjemba Kenneth

    Thanks alot, it works. I can now start to sketch my interfaces in linux.
    Thanks for the good information.

  • deshack

    Download link updated. Current stable version is 3.5.5.

  • khalid

    Works great.

    Thanks @deshack

  • khalid

    Hi, looks great but unfortunately the link to Balsamiq Bundle does not seem to work. Would be much appreciated if you could update it.

    Thanks for the trouble.

    • deshack

      Sorry, they change it too frequently 🙂
      I’ve updated the link, it should work now.

  • Lucas

    Thank you very much. It was really helpful.

  • Ana

    Thanks for that useful post! 🙂

  • Edward Selby

    Brilliant guide, worked straight off the bat.

  • Eric

    I highly recommend Play on Linux for using Wine. It simplifies everything, and even lets you use switch between multiple versions of Wine (apparently some apps work better on different versions of Wine).

    Balsamiq Mockups 3 works perfectly for me on LMDE (basically Debian “betsy”) with Play on Linux!

    • deshack

      Thanks for your contribution!

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