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OrCAD Logo.svg
OrCAD Schematic Capture Program
OrCAD Schematic Capture Program
Original author(s) Cadence Design Systems
Developer(s) Cadence Design Systems
Stable release
Written in C/C++
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Type Electronic design automation
License Proprietary
Website www.orcad.com

OrCAD is a proprietary software tool suite used primarily for electronic design automation (EDA). 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.


OrCAD is a suite of products for PCB Design and analysis that includes a schematic editor (Capture), an analog/mixed-signal circuit simulator (PSpice) and a PCB board Layout solution (PCB Designer Professional).

OrCAD Capture[edit]

OrCAD Capture is a schematic capture application, and part of the OrCAD circuit design suite.[1]

Unlike NI Multisim, Capture does not contain in-built simulation features, but exports netlist data to the simulator, OrCAD EE. Capture can also export a hardware description of the circuit schematic to Verilog or VHDL, and netlists to circuit board designers such as OrCAD Layout, Allegro, and others.[2]

Capture includes a component information system (CIS), that links component package footprint data or simulation behavior data, with the circuit symbol in the schematic.[2]

Capture includes a TCL/TK scripting functionality that allows users to write scripts, that allow customization and automation. Any task performed via the GUI may be automated by scripts.[2]

The OrCAD Capture Marketplace enables customers to share and sell add-ons and design resources. Such add-ons can customize the design environment and add features and capabilities.[2]

Capture can interface with any database which complies with Microsoft's ODBC standard etc. Data in an MRP, ERP, or PDM system can be directly accessed for use during component decision-making process.

OrCAD EE PSpice[edit]

OrCAD EE PSpice is a SPICE circuit simulator application for simulation and verification of analog and mixed-signal circuits.[3] PSpice is an acronym for Personal Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis.

OrCAD EE typically runs simulations for circuits defined in OrCAD Capture, and can optionally integrate with MATLAB/Simulink, using the Simulink to PSpice Interface (SLPS).[4] OrCAD Capture and PSpice Designer[5] together provide a complete circuit simuation and verification solution with schematic entry, native analog, mixed signal, and analysis engines.

PSpice was a modified version of the academically developed SPICE, and was commercialized by MicroSim in 1984. MicroSim was purchased by OrCAD a decade later in 1998.

OrCAD PSpice Designer is available in two options: PSpice Designer and PSpice Designer Plus.

OrCAD PSpice Designer includes OrCAD Capture and OrCAD PSpice solution. An upgrade option to PSpice Designer Plus provides the PSpice Advanced Analysis[6] simulation engine for functional simulation and improvement in design yield and reliability.

The PSpice Advanced Analysis simulation capabilities covers various analyses- Sensitivity, Monte Carlo, Smoke (Stress), Optimizer, and Parametric Plotter providing in depth understanding of circuit performance beyond basic validation.

The OrCAD PSpice Simulink- PSpice Integration(SLPS)[7] provides co-simulation and helps verify system level behavior.

A circuit to be analyzed using PSpice is described by a circuit description file, which is processed by PSpice and executed as a simulation. PSpice creates an output file to store the simulation results, and such results are also graphically displayed within the OrCAD EE interface.

OrCAD EE is an upgraded version of the PSpice simulator, and includes automatic circuit optimization and support for waveform recording, viewing, analysis, curve-fitting, and post-processing.[3][8] OrCAD EE contains an extensive library of models for physical components, including around 33,000 analog and mixed-signal devices and mathematical functions.[3] OrCAD EE also includes a model editor, support for parameterized models, auto-convergence and checkpoint restart, several internal solvers and a magnetic part editor.


SPICE was first developed at the University of California, Berkeley, in the early 1970s. Subsequently an improved version SPICE 2 was available in the mid-1970s especially to support computer aided design.

PSpice was released in January 1984, and was the first version of UC Berkeley SPICE available on an IBM Personal Computer. PSpice later included a waveform viewer and analyser program called Probe. Subsequent versions improved on performance and moved to DEC/VAX minicomputers, Sun workstations, Apple Macintosh, and Microsoft Windows. Version 3.06 was released in 1988, and had a "Student Version" available which would allow a maximum of up to ten transistors to be inserted. PSpice (even the student version) increases the students’ abilities to understand the behavior of electronic components and circuits.[9][10]


The type of simulation performed by PSpice depends on the source specifications and control statements. PSpice supports the following types of analyses:

  • DC Analysis - for circuits with time–invariant sources (e.g. steady-state DC sources). It calculates all nodal voltages and branch currents over a range of values. Supported types include Linear sweep, Logarithmic sweep, and Sweep over List of values.
  • Transient Analysis - for circuits with time variant sources (e.g., sinusoidal sources/switched DC sources). It calculates all nodal voltages and branch currents over a time interval and their instantaneous values are the outputs.
  • AC Analysis - for small signal analysis of circuits with sources of varying frequencies. It calculates the magnitudes and phase angles of all nodal voltages and branch currents over a range of frequencies.

The operating temperature of an analysis can be set to any desired value, and nodal parameters are assumed to be measured at a nominal temperature, by default 27 °C.

PSpice User Community

PSpice.com is a PSpice User Community, an open platform dedicated to PSpice Spice circuit simulation discussions. It is a web portal with access to resources for all things related to PSpice circuit simulator. Users can find datasheets, application notes, tutorials, videos, and also information about regional PSpice training events and webinars. PSpice web portal provides extensive model library of more than 33,000 PSpice models which are also easily available with the PSpice Lite Download.

PSpice Lite version, which can be used by students comes with full functionality of the software, limited only by size and complexity.

OrCAD PCB Designer[edit]

OrCAD PCB Designer is a printed circuit board designer application, and part of the OrCAD circuit design suite.[11] PCB Designer includes various automation features for PCB design, board-level analysis and design rule checks (DRC).

The PCB design may be accomplished by manually tracing PCB tracks, or using the Auto-Router provided. Such designs may include curved PCB tracks, geometric shapes, and ground planes.[12]

PCB Designer integrates with OrCAD Capture, using the component information system (CIS) to store information about a certain circuit symbol and its matching PCB footprint.[2][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ OrCAD Capture, OrCAD Website
  2. ^ a b c d e OrCAD Features, OrCAD Website
  3. ^ a b c OrCAD EE PSpice Designer, OrCAD Website
  4. ^ PSpice Matlab Simulink Integration - Overview, OrCAD Website
  5. ^ PSpice Designer
  6. ^ PSpice Advanced Analysis
  7. ^ OrCAD PSpice Simulink- PSpice Integration(SLPS)
  8. ^ OrCAD EE Features, OrCAD Website
  9. ^ Iqbal, Sajid; Sher, Hadeed; Qureshi, Suhail Aftab (2007). "Pspice in undergraduate and graduate electrical engineering courses". 57. IEEEP Journal. 
  10. ^ Azemi, Asad; Yaz , Edwin E. (1994). PSpice and MATLAB in undergraduate and graduate electrical engineering courses. Frontiers in Education Conference, 1994. IEEE Conference Proceedings. 
  11. ^ a b OrCAD PCB Designer, OrCAD Website
  12. ^ OrCAD PCB Designer Features, OrCAD Website

External links[edit]