How to Use OrCAD PCB Designer in Your PCB Layout and Design

PCB design is an integral process of PCB manufacturing. To achieve a great design, PCB designers need good design software. Some PCB design software enhances productivity. OrCAD is an example of such PCB design software. This software helps the productivity of PCB designers to grow exponentially.

.OrCAD PCB designer requires experience. In this article, we will be sharing some tips on how to use OrCAD PCB designer for your PCB design.

What is OrCAD PCB Designer?

OrCAD is a software tool primarily designed for creating electronic schematics and electronic prints for PCB manufacturing. Also, it is a printed circuit board solution that features advanced place and route technology. OrCAD offers a scalable PCB design solution that provides highly integrated flows and advanced capabilities. Also, these integrated design technologies comprise librarian tools, schematic capture, PCB editing and routing.

Irrespective of the complex rules of your design, OrCAD provides the right solution. Also, this PCB designer has features that help to increase efficiency and productivity in PCB manufacturing. OrCAD is useful in applications where a Constraint Manager is managing design rules. Also, this PCB designer has gained popularity over the years.

Furthermore, OrCAD is complete software with PCB footprints, schematic symbols, and reference designs. The OrCAD PCB designer is ideal for creating a PCB layout. However, there are rules to preparing and setting up this PCB layout. The PCB designer will need to start with the schematic when using an OrCAD software. Also, the components in the schematic need to have PCB footprints before beginning with the layout. An OrCAD PCB designer professional can effectively use OrCAD for circuit board design.

OrCAD features several software for circuit board design and analysis. The OrCAD PSpice Designer is a complete circuit simulation for mixed-signal and analog circuits. Also, the OrCAD Capture belongs to the OrCAD PCB design suite. OrCAD Capture doesn’t include in-built simulation features. However, OrCAD Capture exports netlist data to the simulator.

Also, OrCAD Capture comprises a component information system that connects component package footprint data with the PCB symbol in the schematic. OrCAD Capture features a Tcl/Tk scripting functionality that enables users to write scripts. Therefore, this allows automation and customization. Also, the OrCAD PCB editor features highly integrated flows.

How to Prepare and Set up Your PCB Design for OrCAD Layout

You will need to open up the property editor and input the PCB footprint names for every component. Also, this will require the footprints available for the layout database. Otherwise, you will need to build and install them in the layout libraries.

Another alternative is to make use of the Search Provider tool in OrCAD Capture. This will help you to pull in footprints and datasheets from a third-party provider. After this, you perform netlisting. Netlisting is a process that involves transitioning the schematic connectivity data to the layout. Also, OrCAD provides several configurations and options to design the two databases to each other. You will find the netlist data files in the PCB layout. After this, you can open the layout in OrCAD PCB designer.

The first step to perform in the PCB editor is setting up the various design parameters. Also, OrCAD provides several options in the PCB editor.  This helps you customize the environment to certain needs. For example, you can set up OrCAD to reveal or not reveal the net names on design objects. Also, you can adjust parameters like grids, colors, and more. Creating the physical characteristics is the last step in setting up the layout design. Also, you will need to start with the board outline when creating the layout’s physical characteristics.

The graphical capabilities of OrCAD can help to create the board outline alongside any special features required. Also, you can specify the coordinates of the shape and allow the system create it or manually draw it. After this, you will create the board layer stackup using the Cross Section Editor. Also, you can define thicknesses and materials of the dielectric layers and conductor of the PCB.

How to Use OrCAD to Place Components in a PCB Design

You need to work with the parts not included in the netlist when placing components on a PCB. These parts include mounting holes and tooling. Also, it includes other mechanical parts not electrically connected. The placement tools help to indicate a mounting hole that can be located by the designer.

The next step is to place all electrical components on the printed circuit board. You can mirror or rotate the other side of the PCB as every component gets in. Also, the PCB designer comprises similar features available for editing components placed on the PCB. Another feature useful is to set up the layout with the schematic for cross-probing.

You will be able to choose the parts you need to place in the schematic. Once, you have placed all components on the PCB, you can now route the boards.

How to Use OrCAD to Connect Nets with PCB Trace Routing

OrCAD designer is the best design software to work with when connecting nets by routing traces. This is because this PCB designer offers you a wide range of capabilities to work with. Also, you can switch to the manual routing mode and get a net and route it. You can maneuver the trace around while routing it. Then, push and shove other traces out of the way.

Also, it is important to set up design constraints and rules as you work with several spacings and trace widths. OrCAD features several auto-routers for various routing scenarios. These routers are ideal for various routing scenarios. Also, the routers are useful for full batch auto-routing, via fanout routing, and individual net routing.

Furthermore, the design constraints and rules become useful as the routers work with various net classifications.

What are the Benefits of Using OrCAD PCB Designer?

OrCAD PCB designer delivers advanced capabilities. These capabilities are beneficial to PCB manufacturers. Also, OrCAD helps you import all this data so that you can leverage works in other systems.

Easy and intuitive

OrCAD designer offers the perfect combination of functionality and ease of use to support the requirements of your design. Also, you can easily create clear multi-page and schematics with ease. With this software, you can compare versions and generate bill of materials with just a touch of a button. Also, OrCAD helps advance level of PCB design.

Vast libraries

This PCB designer gives you access to millions of CAD footprints, symbols, and 3D models. Therefore, this makes users more productive. With OrCAD, you no longer have to worry about your libraries. Also, users can easily create libraries with nice part management.

Online support

OrCAD PCB designer offers online support such as documents and videos. Therefore, users can find it easy to use this software.

Ideal for capturing big schematics

With OrCAD PCB designer, it is much easier to capture big schematics. Also, simulation is good in this software. Also, you can edit the placement of components based on your desire.

Steps in Designing PCB with OrCAD

Orcad PCB designer is one of the most reliable software for PCB design. As an Orcad PCB designer professional, you should understand the basics of this software. However, the steps below are helpful for beginners.

  • Click File and Choose New and go to Project. Fill in new to create a project. After that, select mission type in the New Project window.
  • You can begin to draw your schematic design once the schematic page editor window displays. There is a Place Part window on the right. Here, you can select suitable Libraries and all parts will display in the Part list as your choice.
  • You can pull the right parts on your schematic editor window after selecting them. Then you can put the right parts anywhere you wish. Right click the part and its direction can change.
  • There are various editing tools on the vertical bars on the right. You will see editing tools like wires, GND, and more. You can select the right part to connect your circuit board. Also, you can edit each part.
  • You will notice a Selection Filter when you right click on the blank schematic editing window. Also, you can specify your selection objects and area by using the selection filter.
  • Also, you can copy, cut, and paste electronic parts by simply right clicking and selecting Cut, Copy, and Paste.
  • Select Edit, then click on properties from the menu bar. This displays the Properties spreadsheet. Here, you can type every name in the circuit board footprint field.
  • Also, it is essential you check the design rules before any circuit board layout.
  • Click on Place and Select Manually to arrange your components. Then you will see the graphic of component distribution.


OrCAD PCB designer offers schematic design solutions. Also, this software is widely used by electronic technicians and electronic design engineers. To become an OrCAD PCB designer professional, you need to understand the basics of OrCAD.

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