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PCB top list
Top-7-PCB-layout-design-software-for-beginners

PCB, also known as the printed circuit board, is an essential electronic component, and a carrier for the electrical interconnection of electronic components.

The design of the printed circuit board is based on the circuit schematic diagram to realize the functions required by the circuit designer. The PCB layout mainly refers to the layout design of the board and the external connections such as metal wiring and vias, electromagnetic protection, and heat dissipation. Excellent layout design can save production costs and gain good circuit performance and heat dissipation performance. Simple layout design can be made by hand, while complex layout design needs to be fulfilled with the help of computer-aided design (CAD).

Based on the number of circuit layers, PCB can be divided into single-layer PCB, double-layer PCB, and multi-layer PCB. In general, multi-layer PCBs are usually 4-layer PCB -6-layer PCB. Furthermore, it can also be classified into rigid PCB, flexible PCB and rigid-flex PCB.

Regarding PCB layout design software, some brands like Altium, Cadence, and Mentor are often mentioned and recommended.

Hardware engineers are inseparable from schematic design and PCB layout. After collecting information on reviewing platforms and making a comparison among similar PCB layout design software, we have summarized the top 7 PCB layout design software for beginners in this article.

Table of Contents

PCB layout design software

Altium Designer

altium-logo

altium-designer

  • Introduction

Altium Designer is an integrated electronic product development system launched by Altium, the original Protel software developer, mainly running on the Windows operating system. It offers a unified design environment, empowering engineers with a single view of every aspect of the PCB design process from schematic, to PCB layout, to design documentation. By accessing all design tools in one place, engineers can complete their entire design process within the same intuitive environment.

altium

  • Features
Stable release22.0.2 (29th Dec. 2021)
Operating softwareMicrosoft Windows
LanguageChinese, English
CostCharged, but provides a free trial.
Company websitewww.altium.com

altium-365

  • Introduction

Altium 365, the serial software of Altium, is the electronics product design platform that unites PCB design, MCAD, data management, and teamwork.

  • Features
Operating softwareMicrosoft Windows
LanguageChinese, English
CostCharged, but provides a free trial.
ServicesCAD, engineering, PCB design
Company websitewww.altium.com/altium-365

Fusion-360

  • Introduction

As one of the software from AUTODESK, Fusion 360 is the first and only integrated cloud CAD, CAM, CAE, and PCB product development solution for product designers, mechanical engineers, electronics engineers, and machinists. It allows you to connect your entire design to the manufacturing product development process to deliver high-quality products to market faster and positively impact your bottom line. It includes generative design, 2.5, 3, 4, & 5-axis machining, and advanced simulation and is available on PC and Mac.

fusion-360

  • Features
Stable release2.0.13162 (26th, May 2022)
Operating softwareWindows, macOS, Android, iOS
LanguageEnglish, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Japanese
CostCharged, but provides a free trial.
Company websitewww.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/

Allegro PCB Designer

allegro.

Allegro PCB Designer

  • Introduction

The Cadence Allegro PCB Designer quickly takes simple and complex designs from concept to production in a constraint-driven design system to ensure functionality and manufacturability. Scalable technology allows designers to cost-effectively match all current and future technological and methodological needs for teams, organizations, and projects of all sizes and complexities.

  • Features
Stable release17.2
Operating softwareWindows, Unix
LanguageEnglish, Chinese, Japanese
CostCharged
Company websitewww.cadence.com

easyeda

  • Introduction

An easier and more powerful online PCB design tool featuring parts and PCB services powered by LCSC. EasyEDA is an easier and more powerful online PCB design tool that allows electronics engineers, educators, students, makers, and enthusiasts to design and share their projects. This is a design tool integrated LCSC components catalog and JLCPCB PCB service that helps users to save time in making their ideas into real products.

easyeda

  • Features
Stable release6.4.25 (14th Sep. 2021)
Operating softwareWindows, Linux, macOS
Language13 languages
CostFree
Company websitewww.easyeda.com

kicad

  • Introduction

KiCad is an open-source software suite for Electronic Design Automation (EDA). The programs handle Schematic Capture and PCB Layout with Gerber output. The suite runs on Windows, Linux and macOS and is licensed under GNU GPL v3.

The open-source program boasts a powerful suite of features and functionality that meets the needs of beginners and experts alike. In addition to the usual circuit schematic design, PCB layout tools, and 3D visualization, KiCad integrates with circuit simulation (Ngspice), supports Git for version control, and links with FreeCAD for other physical designs.

  • Features
Stable release6.0.9 (31th, Oct. 2022)
Operating softwareWindows, Linux, macOS
LanguageChinese, English
CostFree
Company websitewww.kicad.org

Eagle

  • Introduction

EAGLE is electronic design automation (EDA) software that lets printed circuit board (PCB) designers seamlessly connect schematic diagrams, component placement, PCB routing, and comprehensive library content.

  • Features
Stable release9.6.2 (27th May, 2020)
Operating softwareWindows, Linux, macOS X
LanguageEnglish, German, Hungarian, Chinese, Russian
CostCharged
Company websitewww.autodesk.com/products/eagle/overview
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Conclusion

With consumer electronics gains traction nowadays, PCB is expected to cover a great market share.

Under the help of PCB design software, you enable to design your PCB easily and efficiently without wasting unnecessary time and resources. Moreover, it also help you check the performance of your PCB design and fix it at an early stage for sending high-quality designs to production.

Our IBE has a professional R&D team and also provides various PCB types with high-quality and PCB layout design services. Further information can be viewed on IBE website.

If you have your own favorite software and feel free to share them with us.

FAQ about PCB layout design software

PCB layout design software is a tool used by electrical engineers and designers to create the layout for printed circuit boards (PCBs). It helps in arranging electronic components, routing connections, and generating design files necessary for manufacturing PCBs.

Some popular tools include Altium Designer, Eagle by Autodesk, KiCad, OrCAD, Cadence Allegro, and Mentor Graphics PADS.

Commonly used file formats for exporting PCB designs include Gerber files (for manufacturing), Excellon drill files, ODB++ for assembly, and formats specific to the software, like .brd for Eagle or .pcb for Altium.

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