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Original author(s) Cadence Design Systems
Developer(s) Cadence Design Systems
Stable release 16.6
Written in C/C++
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Type Electronic design automation
License Proprietary
Website http://www.orcad.com

OrCAD is a proprietary software tool suite used primarily for electronic design automation. The software is used mainly by electronic design engineers and electronic technicians to create electronic schematics and electronic prints for manufacturing printed circuit boards.

The name OrCAD is a portmanteau, reflecting the company and its software's origins: Oregon + CAD.


Founded in 1985 by John Durbetaki, Ken and Keith Seymour as “OrCAD Systems Corporation” in Hillsboro, Oregon, the company became a supplier of desktop electronic design automation (EDA) software. In 1984 Durbetaki began designing an expansion chassis for the IBM PC. Durbetaki, who had left Intel Corp. after five years as an engineer and project manager, decided, along with brothers Keith and Ken Seymour, to start his own company to develop add-on instrumentation for the PC."[1] Durbetaki began creating his own schematic capture tool for his use in the PC expansion chassis project; but eventually shelved the hardware project entirely in favor of developing low-cost, PC-based CAD software. The company's first product was SDT (Schematic Design Tools), which shipped first late in 1985.

In 1986, OrCAD hired Peter LoCascio to develop sales and co-founder Ken Seymour left the company. The flagship SDT product was soon followed with a digital simulator, VST (Verification and Simulation Tools) and printed circuit board (PCB) layout tools.[2] Over time, OrCAD's product line broadened to include Windows-based software products to assist electronics designers in developing field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), including complex programmable logic devices (CPLDs). Durbetaki, then CEO and head of R&D, left the company in the 1990s. He was succeeded as CEO by Michael Bosworth.

In June 1995, OrCAD acquired Massteck Ltd.,[3][4] a small company that offered a printed circuit board layout tool and a sophisticated autorouter,[5] and Intelligent Systems Japan, KK, OrCAD's distributor in Japan. In 1996, OrCAD made a public offering.[6][7] In late 1997 and early 1998, OrCAD and Irvine, CA-based MicroSim Corp. (a supplier of PC-based analog and mixed-signal simulation software for designing printed circuit board systems) merged, a business combination that ultimately proved to be disappointing.[8][9] In 1999, the company and its products were acquired by one of its former competitors, Cadence Design Systems.[10][11]

Since 16 July 1999,[12] OrCAD's product line has been fully owned by Cadence Design Systems. OrCAD Layout has been discontinued. The latest iteration of OrCAD CIS schematic capture software has the ability to maintain a database of available integrated circuits. This database may be updated by the user by downloading packages from component manufacturers, such as Analog Devices and others. Another announcement was that ST Microelectronics will offer OrCAD PSpice models for all the power and logic semiconductors, since PSpice is the most used circuit simulator.[13] Intel offers reference PCBs designed with Cadence PCB Tools in the OrCAD Capture format for embedded and personal computers.



  1. ^ Oregon Business | 1 May 1989 | Paul Gerhards, "Designing software for "real" engineers: OrCAD Systems Corp.", accessed 2012-04-01
  2. ^ EDN, "Putting a new spin on an old approach: Software design project management at OrCAD Systems", accessed 2012-04-01
  3. ^ The Free Library, "ORCAD COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF MASSTECK; Company Marks Tenth Anniversary With an Expanded Design Desktop for Windows: OrCAD Capture, Layout, Layout Plus, and Simulate; OrCAD Home Page Now on Internet", accessed 2012-04-01
  4. ^ Highbeam Business, "Orcad absorbs Massteck. (Massteck's MacEDA circuit board design tool also acquired)", accessed 2012-04-01
  5. ^ EDN, "Improving on PCB design", accessed 2012-04-01
  6. ^ All Business, "OrCAD completes its initial public offering", accessed 2012-02-09
  7. ^ Blog, "Ethical Capitalism", accessed 2011-01-12
  8. ^ Electronic News, "OrCAD, MicroSim plan $26M merger", accessed 2012-04-01
  9. ^ Electronics Weekly, "OrCad/MicroSim finish dream merger", accessed 2012-04-01
  10. ^ Portland Business Journal, "OrCAD needed a suitor, found one in Cadence", accessed 2012-04-01
  11. ^ Electronic News, "Cadence Buys OrCAD for $121M", accessed 2012-02-09
  12. ^ Bloomberg Business Week, "Company Overview of OrCAD, Inc.", accessed 2012-04-01
  13. ^ EETimes, "ST licenses Cadence's OrCAD PSpice", accessed 2010-09-08

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