Comparison of EDA software

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Comparison of electronic design automation (EDA) software

Electronic design automation (EDA), also referred to as electronic computer-aided design (ECAD), is a category of software tools for designing electronic systems such as integrated circuits and printed circuit boards. The tools work together in a design flow that chip designers use to design and analyze entire semiconductor chips. Since a modern semiconductor chip can have billions of components, EDA tools are essential for their design.


Comparison of EDA packages

Application and developerLatest version/release + date Schematic? Simulation? PCB editing?Runs on POSIX style systems?Runs on Windows?Other platforms?Open
User Interface Language(s)ImportsExportsScripting support
Advanced Design System by Keysight EEsof EDA2019
15 November 2018
(10 months ago)
YesYesYesYes [2] Yes [2] SuSE, RHEL [2] No en HSPICE, SPICE, Spectre netlists; Gerber, Excellon, ODB++, artwork; moreHSPICE, SPICE, Spectre netlists; Gerber, Excellon, ODB++, artwork; morePython, Application Extension Language (proprietary; "AEL")
Active-HDL by Aldec 10.3
16 March 2016
(3 years ago)
YesYesNoNoYesNoNo en EDIF, Viewlogic, morePDF, HTML, Verilog, VHDL, EDIF, Zuken, more
Altium Designer (former Protel) by Altium 19.0.15
18 April 2019
(4 months ago)
YesYesYesNoYes Wine NoMultilingualOrCAD, Allegro, PADS Logic, PADS PCB, Expedition, DxDesigner, EAGLE, Gerber, STEP, Solidworks, IDF, more3D PDF, Gerber, Gerber X2, Excellon, ODB++, DXF, STEP, OrCAD, EAGLE, moreDelphi, JS, VB
CADSTAR, Board Designer, and Visula by Zuken 18
30 June 2017
(2 years ago)
YesYes, SpiceYesNoYesNoNo en PADS, OrCAD, P-CAD, Protel, DXF, IDFPDF, Gerber, Excellon, ODB++, DXF, IDF more
CircuitLogix by Logic Design Inc.Release 9.1
January 2013
(6 years ago)
YesYesYesNoYesNoNo en SPICE, Gerber, DXFSPICE, PDF, Gerber, DXF
CircuitMaker by Altium
August 2016
(3 years ago)
YesNoYesNoYes Wine No en AD09, AD10, AD12, PADS, P-CAD, OrCAD, Protel, EAGLE, DXFGerber, Excellon, DXF, STEP, more
CircuitStudio by Altium
25 May 2018
(15 months ago)
YesYesYesNoYes Wine No en AD09, AD10, AD12, PADS, P-CAD, OrCAD, Protel, EAGLE, DXFGerber, Excellon, SPICE, DXF, STEP, more
CR-5000 by Zuken 13
17 May 2011
(8 years ago)
YesYes, SI & PIYesYesYes Unix, Linux No en, jp EDIF, DXF, IGES, IDF, BSDL, STEP, ACIS, Gerber, Excellon, morePDF, Gerber, Excellon, ODB++ (must request [3] ), DXF, STEP, IPC D-356, IPC-2581, EPS, ACIS
DipTrace by Novarm
29 November 2018
(9 months ago)
(Spice netlist export)
YesYesYes Mac, Wine No21 languagesEAGLE, Altium, P-CAD, PADS, OrCAD, Gerber, N/C Drill, DXF, BSDL Pinlist, NetlistsGerber, Gerber X2, Excellon, ODB++, DXF, P-CAD, PADS, OrCAD, IPC-D-356, STEP, VRML, Pick and Place, CSV, BOM
DesignSpark PCB from RS Components 8
16 June 2016
(3 years ago)
YesYes, SpiceYesNoYesNoNoVariousEAGLE, DXF, EDIFGerber, Excellon, ODB++, DXF, IDF, PDF, LPKF
EAGLE by Autodesk/CadSoft Computer 9.3.2
21 March 2019
(5 months ago)
Yes Ngspice YesYesYes Linux, Mac No de, en, zh, hu, ru EAGLE (XML), ACCEL (P-CAD, Altium, Protel), ULTIBOARD, Netlists, BMP, CustomEAGLE (XML), Protel, Netlists, Images, Gerber, Gerber X2, Excellon, Sieb & Meyer, HPGL, PostScript/EPS, PDF, Images, HyperLynx, IDF, CustomProprietary User Language Programming (ULP)
EasyEDA 5.4.12
7 May 2018
(16 months ago)
Yes Ngspice YesYesYes Linux, Mac, and Chrome OS as a Web application No en, fr, de, pl, jp, ru, es, se, ua, zh ...Altium, EAGLE, KiCad libraries, LTspice .asc/.asy files, JSON, SpicePDF, PNG, SVG, JSON, Gerber, Excellon, Pick and Place CSV file, CSV-formatted drill chart, Bill of Materials CSV file, Altium netlist, FreePCB netlist, PADS Layout Netlist, Spice netlist.JSON
Fritzing 0.9.3b [4]
3 June 2016
(3 years ago)
Yes, + breadboardNoYesYesYes Linux, Mac Yes en, de, nl, es, it, fr, pt, ru, zh, jp, ...gEDA symbols, KiCad symbols, SVGGerber, DIY etching, BOM, SVG, PDF, EPS
gEDA 1.8.2 [5]
25 September 2013
(5 years ago)
YesYesYesYesYes Linux, Mac Yes en gschem netlists, image as backgroundGerber, Excellon, SVG, PDF, EPS, PNG, GIF, JPEG, Specctra, XYRSyes
KiCad 5.1.4 [6]

14 August 2019
(33 days ago)

SPICE netlist export
YesYesYes Linux, Mac Yes zh_CN, de, en, es, fr, it, pt, ru, ja, pl, cz TinyCAD net lists, OrCAD EDIF, EAGLE (XML)PDF, Gerber, Gerber X2, Excellon, netlist, VRML2, STEP, IDFv3Python
OrCAD 17.2
October 2016
(2 years ago)
YesYesYesNoYesNoNo en EAGLE, PADS, Altium, STEP, DXF, IDF, IDX, OrCAD SDT, OrCAD Layout,OrCADPDF, Gerber, Gerber X2, Excellon drill/route, netlist, ODB++, DXF, IDF, IDX, STEP,3D PDF, IPC2581Tcl/TK, SKILL (Lisp)
pcb-rnd 2.0.0 [7]
6 June 2018
(15 months ago)
NoNoYesYesNo Linux, Mac Yes en gschem netlists, Protel Autotrax, KiCad (legacy & s-expr layouts), EAGLE (XML & v3,4,5 binary layouts), eeschema netlists, mentor netlists, TinyCad netlists, LT-Spice, MUCS, Specctra, Mentor Graphics Hyperlynx, BMP, JPG, GIF, HPGL, image as background Gerber/[Excellon format|drill],SVG, PDF, EPS, PNG, GIF, JPEG, Specctra, Protel Autotrax, KiCad (legacy & s-expr), DXF, FidocadJ, Mentor Graphics Hyperlynx, template configurable XYRS/BOMMultiple languages
10 May 2019
(4 months ago)
YesNoYesYesYes Web application No en Altium, OrCad, PDF, OpenJSON, EAGLEPDF, Gerber, Excellon, netlist, PADS Layout Netlist, Tempo Automation, Pick and Place CSV, High-Res PNG, STL, CSV-formatted drill chart, CSV-formatted list of all parts
Micro-Cap by Spectrum Software
3 September 2016
(3 years ago)
YesYesNoNoYes Wine No en, jp HSPICE, PSPICE, SPICE3, netlists, Images, IBIS, TouchstoneSPICE text file, netlist, BOM, Protel, Accel, OrCad, PADS netlists, Schematic and Analysis Plots Images, Numeric Output Text, Excel
Pulsonix by WestDev Ltd10.0
1 October 2018
(11 months ago)
YesYesYesNoYes Wine No en Allegro, Altium, CadStar, EAGLE, OrCAD, PADS, P-CAD, Protel, Gerber, STEP, DXF, IDF, moreGerber, Gerber X2, Excellon, ODB++, IPC-2581, PDF, DXF, STEP, IDF, BOM, moreProprietary language, ActiveX
TARGET 3001!
29 April 2019
(4 months ago)
YesYesYesNoYesNoNo en, de, fr EAGLE, DXF, Gerber, XGerber, Excellon, BMP, CXF, STEP 3DXGerber, Excellon, EAGLE, HPGL, G-Code (Milling), CXF, STEP 3D, Excel BOMs, Pick&Place, GenCAD, FABmaster, IPC D-356, Test points, Netlists, OBJ, POV-Ray, PDF
NI Ultiboard and Multisim by National Instruments 14.1
1 March 2017
(2 years ago)
YesYesYesNoYes Web application [9] No en MS*, MP*, EWB, Spice, OrCAD, UltiCap, Protel, Gerber, DXF, Ultiboard 4&5, CalayBOM, Gerber, Excellon, IGES (3D), DXF (2D & 3D), SVG
123D Circuits by Autodesk N/AYes, + breadboardYesYesYesYes Web application No en EAGLEGerber
Application and developerLatest version/release + date Schematic? Simulation? PCB editing?Runs on POSIX style systems?Runs on Windows?Other platforms?Open
User Interface Language(s)ImportsExportsScripting support

Note: ODB++ support is drawn partly from lists by Artwork Conversion Software [3] and Mentor Graphics [10]

Mentor, a Siemens Business is a US-based electronic design automation (EDA) multinational corporation for electrical engineering and electronics.

Free software

NameArchitectureLicense Autorouter Comment
Electric *BSD, Java GPLYes VLSI circuit design tool with connectivity at all levels. Can also be used for schematic entry and PCB design.
FreePCB w32 GPLYesA printed circuit board design program for Microsoft Windows. FreePCB allows for up to 16 copper layers, both metric and US customary units, and export of designs in Gerber format. Boards can be partially or fully autorouted with the FreeRouting [11] autorouter by using the FpcROUTE Specctra DSN design file translator.
Fritzing Windows, Mac, Linux GPLYesProtoboard view, schematic view, PCB view, Code (firmware) view. Includes customizable design rule checker. Includes common shaped boards like Arduino and Raspberry Pi shields. Allows spline curve traces. Only two layers (top and bottom). Outputs gerbers.
gEDA *BSD, Linux, Mac GPLYesschematic, simulation, PCB editor, gerber view
Gnucap any (C++98) GPL3 Mixed-signal circuit simulator
Icarus Verilog *BSD, Linux, Mac GPL Verilog simulator
KiCad Linux, Mac, Windows GNU GPL Built-in, or FreeRoutingFull package for schematic and board design, etc. Design rule checking. User-defined symbols and footprints. Gerber/ drill file creation. Graphic interface. Active user community.
KTechLab Linux GPLn/aKTechLab is a schematic capture and simulator. It is specifically geared toward mixed signal simulation of analog components and small digital processors.
Magic LinuxBSD licensenoA popular very-large-scale integration layout tool
Ngspice Linux, Solaris, Mac, NetBSD, FreeBSD, w32 BSD SPICE + XSPICE + Cider
Oregano GPLnoSchematic capture + spice simulation
Quite Universal Circuit Simulator (QUCS) Linux, Solaris, Mac, NetBSD, FreeBSD, w32 GPL Schematic capture + Verilog + VHDL + simulation
pcb-rnd *BSD, Linux, Mac GPLyesCircuit layout program with extended file format support, DRC, parametric footprints, query language, and GUI and command line operation for batch processing and automation
Verilator PosixGPLVerilator is the fastest free Verilog HDL simulator. It compiles synthesizable Verilog into cycle accurate C++ or SystemC code following 2-state synthesis (zero delay) semantics. Benchmarks reported on its website suggest it is several times faster than commercial event driven simulators such as ModelSim, NC-Verilog and VCS, while not quite as fast as commercial cycle accurate modeling tools such as Carbon ModelStudio and ARC VTOC.
XCircuit Unix GPLUsed to produce netlists and publish high-quality drawings.

See also

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

SPICE is a general-purpose, open-source analog electronic circuit simulator. It is a program used in integrated circuit and board-level design to check the integrity of circuit designs and to predict circuit behavior.

Electronic circuit simulation circuit behavior replication; uses mathematical models to replicate the behavior of an actual electronic device or circuit

Electronic circuit simulation uses mathematical models to replicate the behavior of an actual electronic device or circuit. Simulation software allows for modeling of circuit operation and is an invaluable analysis tool. Due to its highly accurate modeling capability, many colleges and universities use this type of software for the teaching of electronics technician and electronics engineering programs. Electronics simulation software engages the user by integrating him or her into the learning experience. These kinds of interactions actively engage learners to analyze, synthesize, organize, and evaluate content and result in learners constructing their own knowledge.

Related Research Articles

Gerber format file format

The Gerber format is an open ASCII vector format for printed circuit board (PCB) designs. It is the de facto standard used by PCB industry software to describe the printed circuit board images: copper layers, solder mask, legend, drill data, etc.

EAGLE (program) program

EAGLE is a scriptable electronic design automation (EDA) application with schematic capture, printed circuit board (PCB) layout, auto-router and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) features. EAGLE stands for Easily Applicable Graphical Layout Editor and is developed by CadSoft Computer GmbH. The company was acquired by Autodesk Inc. in 2016.


CADSTAR is a Windows-based electronic design automation (EDA) software tool for designing and creating schematic diagrams and printed circuit boards (PCBs). It provides engineers with a tool for designing simple or complex, multilayer PCBs. CADSTAR spans schematic capture, variant management, placement, automatic and high-speed routing, signal integrity, power integrity, EMC analysis, design rule checks and production of manufacturing data.

OrCAD electronic design automation software

OrCAD Systems Corporation was a software company that made OrCAD, 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, perform mixed-signal simulation and electronic prints for manufacturing printed circuit boards. OrCAD was taken over by Cadence Design Systems in 1999 and was integrated with Cadence Allegro since 2005.

gEDA electronic design automation software

The term gEDA refers to two things:

  1. A set of software applications used for electronic design released under the GPL. As such, gEDA is an ECAD or EDA application suite. gEDA is mostly oriented towards printed circuit board design. The gEDA applications are often referred to collectively as "the gEDA Suite".
  2. The collaboration of free software/open-source developers who work to develop and maintain the gEDA toolkit. The developers communicate via gEDA mailing lists, and have participated in the annual "Google Summer of Code" event as a single project. This collaboration is often referred to as "the gEDA Project".

Zuken Inc. is a Japanese multinational corporation, specializing in software and consulting services for end-to-end electrical and electronic engineering. Zuken came into existence as a pioneer in the development of CAD systems in Japan to contribute to electronics manufacturing. The literal translation of Zuken is "graphics laboratory." Established in 1976 in Yokohama, Japan, it is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange; net sales amounted to US$216 million for the year 2011.


FreePCB is a printed circuit board design program for Microsoft Windows, written by Allan Wright.

NI Multisim electronic schematic capture and simulation program

NI Multisim is an electronic schematic capture and simulation program which is part of a suite of circuit design programs, along with NI Ultiboard. Multisim is one of the few circuit design programs to employ the original Berkeley SPICE based software simulation. Multisim was originally created by a company named Electronics Workbench, which is now a division of National Instruments. Multisim includes microcontroller simulation, as well as integrated import and export features to the printed circuit board layout software in the suite, NI Ultiboard.

NI Ultiboard

NI Ultiboard or formerly ULTIboard is an electronic Printed Circuit Board Layout program which is part of a suite of circuit design programs, along with NI Multisim. One of its major features is the Real Time Design Rule Check, a feature that was only offered on expensive work stations in the days when it was introduced. ULTIboard was originally created by a company named Ultimate Technology, which is now a subsidiary of National Instruments. Ultiboard includes a 3D PCB viewing mode, as well as integrated import and export features to the Schematic Capture and Simulation software in the suite, Multisim.

KiCad free software suite for electronic design automation (EDA)

KiCad is a free software suite for electronic design automation (EDA). It facilitates the design of schematics for electronic circuits and their conversion to PCB designs. KiCad was originally developed by Jean-Pierre Charras. It features an integrated environment for schematic capture and PCB layout design. Tools exist within the package to create a bill of materials, artwork, Gerber files, and 3D views of the PCB and its components.

Altium Limited is an American, Australian-domiciled owned public software company that provides PC-based electronics design software for engineers who design printed circuit boards. Founded as Protel Systems Pty Ltd in Tasmania, Australia in 1985, Altium now has regional headquarters in the United States, Australia, China, Europe, and Japan, with resellers in all other major markets.

Cadence Design Systems American electronic design automation (EDA) software and engineering services company

Cadence Design Systems, Inc. is an American multinational electronic design automation (EDA) software and engineering services company, founded in 1988 by the merger of SDA Systems and ECAD, Inc. The company produces software, hardware and silicon structures for designing integrated circuits, systems on chips (SoCs) and printed circuit boards.

Fritzing free software

Fritzing is an open-source initiative to develop amateur or hobby CAD software for the design of electronics hardware, to support designers and artists ready to move from experimenting with a prototype to building a more permanent circuit. It was developed at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam.

TopoR is an EDA program developed and maintained by the Russian company Eremex. It is dedicated to laying out a printed circuit board (PCB). The current version is 6.3.17875 as of 2017-09-20.

Altium Designer electronic design automation software

Altium Designer is a PCB and electronic design automation software package for printed circuit boards. It is developed by Australian software company Altium Limited.

PCB (software) free and open-source software suite for electronic design automation

PCB is a free and open-source software suite for electronic design automation (EDA) - for printed circuit boards (PCB) layout. It uses GTK+ for its GUI widgets.


ODB++ is a proprietary CAD-to-CAM data exchange format used in the design and manufacture of electronic devices. Its purpose is to exchange printed circuit board design information between design and manufacturing and between design tools from different EDA/ECAD vendors. It was originally developed by Valor Computerized Systems, Ltd. as the job description format for their CAM system.

Pulsonix Software für Schaltplan Erstellung und Leiterplatten Design

Pulsonix is an electronic design automation (EDA) software suite for schematic capture and PCB design. It is produced by WestDev, which is headquartered in Gloucestershire, England, with additional sales and distribution offices overseas. It was first released in 2001, and runs on Windows.


  1. Advanced Design System – ADS Software - Current Version
  2. 1 2 3 "ADS Supported Platforms". Archived from the original on 2017-10-15. Retrieved 2015-03-20.
  3. 1 2 "PCB tools supporting ODB++". Artwork Conversion Software Inc. Retrieved 2011-09-25.
  6. "KiCad 5.1.4 Release". KiCad 5.1.4 Release.
  8. "Latest Multisim Release".
  9. "Multisim Web App". Archived from the original on 2017-04-19. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  10. "ODB++ Data Exchange". Mentor Graphics. Archived from the original on 2012-10-06. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
  11. Wirtz, Alfons (2014-03-08) [2004]. "FreeRouting - Printed Circuit Board Routing Software from". Archived from the original on 2017-09-24. Retrieved 2017-09-24.