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What is .PCB File ?

Technology keeps advancing as the world changes. So is the PCB industry. The sketching of traces and traditional methods of etching get obsolete in the PCB industry. The computer has changed a lot in the technology world. Almost all fields of technology have been impacted positively. However, computer technology makes the art of designing electronic boards that takes less space and houses some electronic components possible.

There are several software that can design a printed circuit board. CAD and Altium are a good example of such. A PCB file is very important for a PCB design. Without it, manufacturing can’t take place. A PCB file is important to design and build a satisfying board. This article discusses every important detail on a PCB file.

.PCB File – What is it?

A PCB file is a document that comprises necessary information on PCB layers. Also, it contains information related to a circuit board. In this document, you can find details of bottom and top silkscreens. A PCB file features several information needed for PCB design and manufacturing. Also, these files can be in a binary format.

PCB files help to design the layouts used for printing the physical board. These files help PCB manufacturers to design these layouts.  Engineers offer PCB files when placing a PCBA order. The Gerber file is one of the most accurate and common files. Also, the Eagle file and .PCBDOC are accurate files. These files are ideal for the manufacturing and testing of a circuit board.

How do you Open a .PCB file

A .PCB file is very easy to open if you follow the necessary steps. You will need a software such as Altium Designer to open a PCB file. If your file doesn’t open, long-press or right-click the file. Also, you need to launch the .PCB file on your computer. If you have the right file associations, your .PCB file will be opened.

Programs that can open and convert .PCB file

There are several programs that can open and convert your.PCB files. These programs include:


This is a Windows based desktop PCB design solution by Zuken. It is easily integrated in your design environment. A .PCB file features the layout for printing the circuit board.

Altium Designer

PCB files are also known as Altium Designer cads. This is because they are primarily designed or utilized by Altium limited.


This is a computer presentation program. Also, PowerPoint can display data in an eye-catching slide. This program was initially released for Mac OS machines. However, any modern operating system supports this program. Also, the .PCB file features the application settings data.


This is a PCB design software designed in the early 2000s. It is the first program for independent PCB design and manufacturing.  However, there is limited documentation as regards how the manufacturer uses the PCB file. Winboard is a CAD.


This is PCB design software that offers a personal automated design system. Also, this system meets the user’s needs to ensure effective and fast PCB design. PADS is a popular PCB design software. Also, it comprises the layout used for printing the physical board.

PCB Artist

PCB Artist is a PCB design file created by Advanced Circuits. It is one of the most efficient PCB layout software. However, this software is different from others. Also, it is entirely free. However, it can’t output a GRB file for general purposes. PCB Artist features the layout used for printing the circuit board.

Print Shop

This is user-friendly desktop publishing software by Broderbund Software. Print Shop features thousands of photos and many desktop publishing tools. Also, it comprises pre-designed project templates. This file format is specifically classified as Page Layout.

The Benefits of PCB Files to Gerber File

Some engineers try to convert .PCB files into Gerber files. However, the majority of electronic engineers won’t convert a .PCB file into Gerber file and drilling data before submitting it to the factory. They would rather export the PCB file from the software and send it to the PCB manufacturers directly.

You may not need the Gerber file your PCB manufacturer converted. This is because PCB engineers and electronic engineers understand PCB differently. Also, if the parameter of the components in the PCB file is defined during the design, you don’t want to see them on the PCB.

The Gerber file features two formats RD-274-X and RS-274-D. The RS-274-X is the extended Gerber format that comprises D code information. Also, the RD-274-D is the basic Gerber format accompanied by a D code file.

Why is a .PCB File Needed?

A .PCB file is a document crucial for the manufacturing and design of a circuit board.  A. PCB file helps to create the layout for printing a circuit board. Also, PCB manufacturing can’t be successful without a .PCB file. PCB files comprise installation of components. Also, they offer an illustration of the connected relationship of each part to design a board.

Files Needed for a PCB Assembly

Documentation is an important part of a PCB assembly. It helps to realize a high-quality board. Also, designers need to be careful of recording the right information. The design process might be complicated. Therefore, these files are necessary for PCB manufacturing.

PCB file

This is one of the most important files a PCB manufacturer needs to build their final product. It contains information like layers, dimensions, and drill guides.


Also, known as the Bill of Materials, BOM comprises standard default information. This information includes manufacturer part number and reference silkscreen. Without a detailed BOM, manufacturing can’t occur. This file helps to evaluate the accuracy of your final product.

Gerber file

This file is as important as your PCB board. It is a set of files that creates several layers of the PCB. Every layer requires a different Gerber image file.

NC Drill file

This functions as a secondary file you need to send to the PCB manufacturer alongside the Gerber file. The NC Drill file determines the size and position of the drill holes on the PCB.


The importance of the .PCB file can’t be underestimated in the PCB industry. Therefore, this article has provided the necessary information about the .PCB file.