5 Free PCB Design Software Tools
Many free, easy-to-learn PCB design and schematic editor software tools are available. Here are five of them. These are better suited to small, simple designs. These do not offer a 3D viewer or circuit simulation. For more complex designs, read our article on Which PCB Design Software is the Best?.
- TinyCAD is an open-source program for drawing circuit diagrams that runs under Windows. TinyCAD is now over 20 years old. Over the years, it has been developed by several authors. If you wish, you too can contribute to the TinyCAD project by updating the documentation, supplying help to other users, uploading library symbols, and contributing new source code.
- Design-Build-Manufacture, all in one tool. ExpressPCB has been a free PCB layout and design software for over 20 years, used by engineers, electronic designers, students, and hobbyists. ExpressPCB has helped create designs to explore the bottom of the ocean, outer space, and everywhere in between. ExpressPCB is US-based for both technical support and manufacturing.
- gEDA is an interactive printed circuit board editor for Unix, Linux, Windows, and Mac systems. gEDA includes a rats nest feature and schematic/netlist import, design rule checking, and can provide industry-standard RS-274X (Gerber), NC drill, and centroid data (X-Y data) output for use in the board fabrication and assembly process, as well as photorealistic and design review images. gEDA offers high-end features such as an autorouter and trace optimizer, which can tremendously reduce layout time. For custom requirements, gEDA offers a plug-in API for inserting new functionality and using that functionality from within the GUI and in scripts.
- Fritzing makes electronics accessible as a creative material for anyone. We offer a software tool, a community website, and services in the spirit of fostering an innovative ecosystem that allows users to teach electronics in a classroom and layout and manufacture professional PCBs.
- EasyEDA is an online-based PCB design tool. It allows you to design your schematics and PCB without downloading and installing any software on your computer. You get to work on your designs online using a web browser. If you had previously used a PC-based PCB design tool and enjoyed its vast features, you may wonder if a web-based design tool matches it. Well, surprisingly enough, it does. There are many things about EasyEDA that make it the perfect tool for your PCB design needs.
Please read our article about PCB Designer Uncertainties with New PCB Design Tools.