Schematic editor

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A schematic editor is a tool for schematic capture of electrical circuits or electronic circuits.

Schematic editors replaced manual drawing of schematic diagrams, but they still retain the capability of outputting schematics on specially formatted sheets. At the same time modern schematic editors capture schematic data in a way suited for automatic processing by further stages of the design cycle.

Besides basic drawing and visualization capabilities, modern schematic editors typically provide the following capabilities:

  • Capture electrical properties and other attributes of components, wires, nets and pins.
  • Hierarchical way of design.
  • Generate netlists and other common representations of the designed circuit from schematic.
  • Generate documentation.
  • Generate Gerber files to CAM
  • Libraries of standard components.
  • Automatically detect and report errors in the schematic.
  • Input designs from various formats, such as VHDL, Verilog, EDIF.


There are many schematic editors available, including commercial, freeware, shareware, and open source applications.[1]

Name URL License Environment Reads Writes CAM Limits
AutoTRAX DEX Commercial Windows AutoTRAX XML AutoTRAX XML Gerber, Excellon unlimited layers, no PCB size limit.
BSch3V Freeware Windows
DesignSparkPCB Freeware Windows
EAGLE Professional, Standard, Hobbyist, Light Linux, Mac, Windows EAGLE, ACCEL (P-CAD, Altium, Protel), ULTIBOARD, Netlists, BMP EAGLE (XML), Netlists, Images, PDF, Custom (via ULPs) Gerber, Excellon, Sieb&Meyer, HPGL, PostScript, Custom 999 sheets, 255 layers, 16 layers for auto-router, 4 x 4 m (150 x 150 inches); freeware: 1 sheet; 2 layers, 100 x 80 mm (3.9 x 3.2 inches)
esCAD sch Freeware Windows XP/7/8.1 .EscSch, "package file" of Altera and Xilinx .EscSch, Netlists, Images, PDF max A0 sheet
FreePCB GNU Windows PADS-PCB Netlists PADS-PCB Netlists Gerber 16 layers, 60 x 60 inches
Fritzing GNU GPL v3 Linux, Mac, Windows SVG Gerber
gEDA GPL Linux Gerber
KiCad GPL Linux, Windows
Osmond PCB Freeware Trial Mac Gerber Lue, DXF, PDF DXF, PostScript (trial limited to 700 pins)
PCBWeb Freeware Windows No option for DXF Export
Pulsonix Commercial, Lite Windows Altium, CADSTAR, Eagle, P-CAD, PADS, ORCAD, Gerber, SXF, BMP, WMF, EDIF and more Custom, DXF, IDF, Images, Netlists, STEP, SPICE 3D, Excellon, Gerber, LPKF, ODB++, STEP Unlimited Layers, Unlimited Pin Limit.
TARGET 3001! Freeware, commercial, students, educational institutes Windows Eagle, Protel Eagle Gerber, Excellon, Sieb&Meyer, HPGL, DXF, STEP, PovRay Freeware: 250 Pins, 2 layers, schematic size and/or board size 1,2m x 1,2m, 100 schematic pages
TinyCAD Freeware Windows
ZenitPCB Layout Freeware Windows Gerber DXF, IDF, EAGLE DXF, IDF 800 pins

See also[edit]