Is AutoCAD Good for PCB Design?

Is AutoCAD Good for PCB Design?

When it comes to designing printed circuit boards (PCBs), there are several software options available in the market. One of the most popular and widely used software for PCB design is AutoCAD. AutoCAD is a powerful computer-aided design (CAD) software that offers a range of features and functionalities specifically designed for PCB design.

The Benefits of Using AutoCAD for PCB Design

  • High Precision: AutoCAD provides precise tools and features that allow designers to create complex and accurate PCB layouts. The software offers grid snapping, measurement tools, and alignment features that ensure the components are placed accurately on the board.
  • Flexible Design: With AutoCAD, designers have the flexibility to create custom board shapes, define specific layers, and customize component footprints. This allows for greater creativity and customization in PCB design.
  • Advanced Routing Capabilities: AutoCAD offers advanced routing capabilities, including automatic routing algorithms and interactive routing tools. These features help designers efficiently route traces between components while considering factors like signal integrity and impedance matching.
  • Integration with Other Software: AutoCAD can seamlessly integrate with other software used in the PCB design workflow. This integration allows for easy transfer of schematic designs from electronic design automation (EDA) tools to AutoCAD for layout creation.

The Drawbacks of Using AutoCAD for PCB Design

  • Steep Learning Curve: AutoCAD is a professional CAD software that requires some level of expertise to use effectively. Beginners may find it challenging to learn all the features and functionalities offered by the software.
  • Cost: AutoCAD is a commercial software and comes with a price tag. The cost of licensing can be a barrier for individuals or small businesses with tight budgets.
  • Limited Built-in PCB Design Features: While AutoCAD is a versatile CAD software, it does not offer as many built-in features specifically tailored for PCB design compared to dedicated PCB design software such as Altium Designer or Eagle. However, this limitation can be overcome by utilizing additional plugins and libraries available in the market.


In conclusion, AutoCAD is a good option for PCB design, especially for those who are already familiar with the software or require advanced CAD capabilities in addition to PCB design. The software provides high precision, flexibility, and advanced routing capabilities that can greatly enhance the PCB design process. However, it is important to consider the learning curve and cost associated with AutoCAD, as well as the need for additional plugins and libraries to supplement its built-in features.