Is there a package that will read and convert any CAD schematic and/or gerber file to its format

Skip to first unread message


Jun 6, 2006, 9:28:51 PM6/6/06
Hi everyone,
Can anyone suggest a software package that I can use to translate any
CAD file (well at least the popular ones) to its own format so that I
can use only that software to view and import files created in other
CAD programs? Somewhat you may call Universal CAD reader/importer.


Jun 7, 2006, 4:01:48 AM6/7/06

The Pulsonix software I use can import ASCII files from most other



Jun 7, 2006, 5:13:29 AM6/7/06

Joel Kolstad

Jun 7, 2006, 1:04:51 PM6/7/06
"Leon" <> wrote in message

> The Pulsonix software I use can import ASCII files from most other
> packages:

Pulsonix is good -- I'm a happy, registered user of it -- but beware that
there are limitations to what will import successfully. Where I work we also
use ORCAD, and although Pulsonix claims to be able to import and export ORCAD
schematics, the translation ends up somewhat flawed for anything but the
simplest of schematics. I fully expect this is the case for other CAD
packages as well.


Brad Velander

Jun 9, 2006, 9:23:31 PM6/9/06
You are looking for a magical tool that really just doesn't exist.

However there is one tool that I know of that comes sort of close, it is
called Autovue. As it's name suggests it is only a viewer, but it does do
slightly more because you can also use it to retrieve data from within the
files (i.e. part numbers, desciptions, nets/netlists or other items entered
as part field/parameter type data. See it's supported products list at:

The reason that your magical tool doesn't exist is that there are too
many variables between file formats which may or may not have equivalents in
the other packages. So there are usually a number of gotchas when
translating from one format to another. This even pops up with packages that
support importing only a few specific competitors formats so imagine the
possible issues trying to import every data format across the market.
i.e. Just as a simple example, package A supports polygon area cutouts,
package B doesn't, so how do you convert package A files correctly into
package B format. Or another example, in EDA program Pads it supports
non-round vias (square/rectangular), Protel doesn't so all translations to
Protel have the pads changed to round and then the sizing is usually an
issue. Another example I am familiar with is also a PADs - Protel
conversion issue, PADs readily supports special 'drawn' pad shapes, Protel
doesn't, at least not cleanly. Translations also usually take manual
intervention and clean-up at levels from minimal to extensive, for these
reasons and others.

Take that and throw in all the variables across all the differing
levels/types of packages available and you have a huge nightmare. Then throw
on top of that you have a huge expectation for a 100% clean conversion from
'most' users and you can see the train collison coming even before it

Even when you have a package that says it imports a bunch of competitive
formats, proceed with caution. In most cases there is a limited/restrictive
list of compatible versions for those formats. Don't trust a package that
advertises conversions to do so wholely and completely across all versions.
In some cases they are only supported once the file is saved/converted to an
ASCII version (or other intermediary format, not the normal file storage
format), i.e. Pulsonix. They are specifically targeted and intended for
users of the other system to be able to purchase the new CAD tool and
convert/import their old designs into the new tool. i.e. The customer has
the original program and can do the conversions to ASCII and/or save in the
previous supported version formats that are suitable for importing to the
new tool.

Brad Velander.

"Jaypee" <> wrote in message

Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages