Top PCB Applications

To create and edit printed circuit boards and microchips, specialized applications are used, the main format of which is read and read is a .PCB file. Modern developers are less likely to use it in their applications, but popular and proven programs continue to support the discovery of the format. How to open a pcb, read on.

Ways to open a file with the PCB extension.

What is a pcb extension

The file format contains the data of microcircuits created using specialized utilities. In most cases, for an ordinary user, the use of such software is of no interest, however, for professionals or amateurs of radio electronics, this can be a real find, since all the necessary information is stored here.

How to open pcb

To work with the pcb extension, you must download and install the appropriate software, which is available for both paid and free licenses. More details about the most popular applications for Windows and other operating systems can be further.


ExpressPCB is a free Windows schema design application that helps you open a pcb file. The software is the second module of the EDA software package in parallel with the ExpressSCH schema creation tool. The application offers import of .ASC, .NET, .TXT, saving to Pads PCB, Pads 2000, multiwire formats and the function to load the list directly from the associated ExpressSCH .SCH scheme. The program provides the ability to print and export charts in Bitmap BMP, Windows .EMF and Vector AutoCAD .DXF raster format.

Main functions:

  • designing and working with menus or toolbars (drawing the toolbar and controlling the visibility of layers, the editing toolbar of viewing tools and access to the database of printed circuit board components);
  • contains a database of ready-made ExpressPCB Components (easy viewing of analog and digital elements, searching for “Find ...” characters and grouping favorites, a simple way to create your own characters, insert and create mounting holes);
  • store data in ExpressPCB .PCB format;
  • combining the list of files ExpressSCH .SCH and PCB (select the mode of plug-in contacts);
  • import of the list in the formats PADS PCB / 2000, Multiwire, ExpressPCB (text format Netlist, ASC / .NET / .TXT);
  • export PCB layers to an AutoCAD .DXF file;
  • saving the working window in raster format (bitmap image .BMP or enhanced Windows metafile .EMF);
  • changing the properties of components and mounting holes (moving joints, tools for turning and reflecting, or changing the layer of gaskets and tracks);
  • access to the tools editing menu, multi-level “Undo” and “Repeat”, support for the clipboard function (cut, copy, paste), search mode;
  • direct printing of all or selected layers.


  • open, save - .PCB;
  • import - .NET, .ASC, .TXT;
  • export - .BMP, .DXF.

ExpressPCB is an application that opens up new technological capabilities, offering a package of improvements that will make your work even more efficient. The latest version was written by a group of engineers who for the first time combined a friendly user interface and reliability in operation. ExpressPCB - is confidence in the stability and compatibility of applications on all system platforms, so that software has gained such popularity among users. The current technical progress has forced the latest version of the utility to meet user expectations both visually and technically.

Other options

There are many different applications and programs for viewing pcb files on the Internet. Select the appropriate software will help our review of some of the most popular tools.


Eagle is an interesting program for designing electrical circuits of the German company CadSoft. It contains a built-in schematic and printed circuit editor. This is very interesting software based on a closed source license. The Eagle program has gained popularity among users because of the simplicity and the possibility of using one of the versions of the program for free. Available for operating systems: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X. The free version of Eagle Light is not intended for commercial use.

It also has other limitations, such as the size of the plates (the maximum size of a printed circuit board is 100x80mm), the use of only two layers on a printed circuit board, editing and saving only one circuit. To use Eagle Light for commercial purposes, you must purchase a license. There are also unlimited versions - Eagle Standard and Eagle Professional. The cost of the license in this case is higher. It should be noted that even in the free version it is a very interesting, extensive and functional program for any design needs.


McCAD is an interactive analog simulator based on the latest version of Berkeley, available for Windows and Mac OS X (above 10.3). The application is available in a standard stand-alone configuration or is fully integrated with McCAD Schematic Plus, offering the loading of the network of connections created by the diagrams, simulation and graphical generation of signals in a single environment. Main functions:

  • stand-alone or integrated with Schematic Plus;
  • works on Windows and Mac OS X platforms;
  • based on the core of the Berkeley SPICE 3F5 modeling engine;
  • built-in network text editor;
  • component model library;
  • window for displaying logs and error messages;
  • panel informing about the current state of the simulator;
  • available analysis directives (DC / AC analysis, transient analysis);
  • control panel parameters;
  • window curves as a function of time and frequency;
  • combining graphical modeling;
  • the possibility of using operators and mathematical functions;
  • changing the parameters of the coordinate system;
  • reading values ​​and differences between variables;
  • reading and writing .CIR network list files and .SPI analysis files;
  • IBIS generation;
  • preview and print function.

PCB Creator

PCB Creator is a modular Windows software package for creating electronic diagrams and routing printed circuits. Easy-to-use, uniform and intuitive graphical user interface provides maximum convenience for creating a scheme. The program includes integrated libraries with more than 110, 000 components from different manufacturers, as well as modular tools for their modification and expansion. The application offers the ability to simulate circuits thanks to the export function in the SPICE Netlist .CIR format, includes tools for importing layouts, diagrams and libraries from DipTrace, P-CAD, PADS, Eagle, AutoCAD, and using the Accel, Allegro, Mentor, OrCAD, Protel and Tango

PCB Creator contains an active Verification ERC / DRC verification tool that informs about errors and allows you to correct them in real time. The application contains an effective Autorouter and the implementation of export and import, allows you to use advanced external auto-routers. The program also offers tools for previewing virtual fragments in three-dimensional space and exporting the model being viewed in VRML 2.0 format.

Unfortunately, most developers of new software for radio amateurs are less likely to introduce pcb format support into their applications, but large modular packages and development components continue to use it.