Eagle to Altium Conversion: A Comprehensive Guide for PCB Designers

Eagle to Altium conversion is a process of converting the files created in Eagle PCB design software to Altium Designer software. The conversion process is important because it allows designers to use the advanced features of Altium Designer to create more complex and sophisticated designs.

Eagle is a popular PCB design software that has been used for many years by designers all over the world. However, as technology advances and designs become more complex, designers are looking for more advanced software that can handle their needs. Altium Designer is one such software that offers advanced features such as 3D visualization, simulation, and collaboration tools. Converting Eagle files to Altium Designer allows designers to take advantage of these features and create more complex designs.

The conversion process can be challenging, especially for those who are new to Altium Designer. However, with the right knowledge and tools, it can be done efficiently and effectively. In this article, we will explore the process of converting Eagle files to Altium Designer and provide tips and tricks to make the process smoother.

Eagle to Altium Conversion Process

Preparing the Eagle Schematic

Before you begin the conversion process, it is important to ensure that your Eagle schematic is properly prepared. This includes verifying that all components used in the schematic are available in the Eagle libraries, and that all connections are properly labeled and routed.

Importing the Eagle Schematic into Altium

Once your Eagle schematic is properly prepared, the next step is to import it into Altium. This can be done by opening Altium and selecting File > Import Wizard. From there, select the Eagle schematic file and follow the prompts to import it into Altium.

Converting Eagle Libraries to Altium Libraries

After importing the Eagle schematic into Altium, the next step is to convert the Eagle libraries to Altium libraries. This can be done by opening the Library Manager in Altium and selecting Tools > Convert Eagle Libraries. Follow the prompts to convert the libraries and save them in the Altium format.

Mapping Eagle Components to Altium Components

The final step in the Eagle to Altium conversion process is to map the Eagle components to Altium components. This involves identifying each component used in the Eagle schematic and selecting the corresponding component in the Altium library. This can be done using the Component Placement tool in Altium.

By following these steps, you can successfully convert an Eagle schematic to Altium format, allowing you to take advantage of the advanced features and functionality offered by Altium.

Altium Design Tools Overview

Altium Designer is a powerful software suite for designing electronic circuits and printed circuit boards (PCBs). It provides a comprehensive set of tools for schematic capture, PCB layout, and library management. Below is an overview of the three main components of Altium Designer.

Schematic Editor

The Schematic Editor is the starting point for any design in Altium Designer. It allows users to create and edit electronic schematics, which are graphical representations of a circuit’s components and their interconnections. The Schematic Editor provides a wide range of features, including:

  • Hierarchical design capabilities
  • Netlist generation and verification
  • Design rule checking (DRC)
  • Spice simulation integration
  • Cross-probing between schematic and PCB editors

PCB Editor

The PCB Editor is the tool used to create and edit the physical layout of a PCB. It allows users to place components, route traces, and define copper pours. The PCB Editor provides a wide range of features, including:

  • Interactive routing with push and shove capabilities
  • Differential pair routing
  • Design rule checking (DRC)
  • 3D visualization
  • Interactive 3D clearance checking

Library Editor

The Library Editor is used to create and manage component libraries. It allows users to create schematic symbols, PCB footprints, and 3D models. The Library Editor provides a wide range of features, including:

  • Wizards for creating new components
  • Import and export of library files
  • Batch editing of components
  • Design rule checking (DRC)
  • 3D model preview

Altium Designer is a powerful and flexible tool for designing electronic circuits and PCBs. Its intuitive user interface and comprehensive set of features make it a popular choice among engineers and designers.

Tips and Best Practices

Avoiding Common Conversion Errors

When converting an Eagle design to Altium, it’s important to be aware of potential errors that can occur during the conversion process. Here are some common errors to watch out for:

  • Incorrect net labels: Make sure all net labels are correct and match up with the schematic.
  • Missing footprints: Check that all footprints are included in the Altium design.
  • Incorrect layer mapping: Verify that all layers are mapped correctly during the conversion process.
  • Component errors: Double-check that all components are correctly placed and oriented in the Altium design.

Optimizing the Altium Design for Manufacturing

To ensure a successful manufacturing process, it’s important to optimize the Altium design accordingly. Here are some best practices to follow:

  • Design for manufacturability: Consider the manufacturing process when designing the PCB layout. This includes choosing the appropriate materials, minimizing the number of layers, and avoiding complex routing.
  • Use design rules: Establish design rules to ensure that the PCB layout meets manufacturing requirements. This includes rules for trace widths, spacing, and via sizes.
  • Minimize noise: To minimize noise in the design, use proper grounding techniques, keep signal traces short, and use decoupling capacitors.
  • Test the design: Before sending the design to manufacturing, test it thoroughly to ensure that it meets all requirements.

By following these tips and best practices, you can ensure a successful conversion from Eagle to Altium and optimize your design for manufacturing.


In conclusion, converting Eagle files to Altium is a straightforward process that can be accomplished using various methods. Whether you choose to use the built-in import tool or a third-party converter, the key is to ensure that the resulting design is accurate and error-free.

One important consideration when converting Eagle files to Altium is the potential loss of information. While the basic schematic and layout data can be transferred, some advanced features such as differential pairs, blind/buried vias, and custom pad shapes may not be fully supported. It is therefore important to review the converted design carefully and make any necessary adjustments.

Another factor to consider is the learning curve associated with Altium. While the software is powerful and versatile, it can be complex and intimidating for new users. It is recommended that you take the time to familiarize yourself with the software and its features before attempting a conversion.

Overall, converting Eagle files to Altium is a viable option for those looking to migrate their designs to a more advanced PCB design software. With the right tools and approach, you can achieve a seamless transition and take advantage of the many benefits that Altium has to offer.

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