When you are trying to select a PCB design software to use, you will discover that there are many on the market for you to choose from. How do you know which is best for you and your project? Let’s take a look at some of the features we think your perfect PCB design software should have.
All the Capabilities You Need
Whether you are designing your first simple board or something with multiple layers and lots of components, your PCB design software should be able to handle it all. The right software will be able to do everything you currently can do but it will also be able to support you as you design more complicated affairs. Find something that will be able to support you both now and, in the future, and you will be onto a winner.
Easy to Use
While PCB design may not be easy, there are some things we expect to be easier than others. One such thing is the ease with which we can navigate the UI. All software needs a simple and intuitive UI if people are going to be able to learn from it and grow as designers. If you are struggling to figure things out when you are only handling simple designs, you are going to struggle when you move onto things which are more advanced.
A Component Library
Component libraries are invaluable to the PCB designer. Not only do you want a comprehensive component library which has plenty of options for you to use, but you also want the capability to add more to it. You may have to come up with your own custom components to fit a job and adding them to the library gives you the opportunity to use them again in the future.
A DRC Function
The DRC, or Design Rule Checking, is an extremely important feature and you should not download a software without it. It should be easy to find on the UI and is one of the most crucial parts of designing a PCB. You run the DRC when you have finished a design and you want to make sure that everything is working as it should. It will catch some of the major issues your design may throw out, allowing you to fix them before the design goes to manufacture.
When designing your PC, at some point you are going to have to view it in the Gerber format. This is a common vector format used to show the various points on your board and it is often not included as part of the design software. You need to find a software capable of viewing the Gerber files which is compatible with the design software you have chosen.
With these five features by your side, you should be well set for designing PCBs of all sizes and complexities. Have a look at what is on offer to you and take a dive into the world of PCBs today!