What is a Gerber Viewer?
A Gerber Viewer is software used to view Gerber and Drill files that have been exported from PCB Layout software.
What is a Gerber Viewer Used For?
What is viewed inside the PCB layout software may not be the same as the final format of the exported design data. A Gerber viewer is used as a means to view data files in their final format. This format is what the PCB manufacturer will be using to fabricate the boards and allows designers to verify design data prior to the fabrication process.
What Gerber Viewers are Available?
There are several Gerber Viewers available but an example includes the cloud-based Reference Gerber Viewer from Ucamco.
What Are Some Common Features of a Gerber Viewer?
- Perform a DFM (Design For Manufacturability) check of the files
- Create PDF check plots for further review
- Many support import file types including Zip, ODB++ and more
- May support various export options for the data
Do I Absolutely Need a Gerber Viewer?
No, there are alternatives to using a Gerber Viewer that can be just as effective in verifying design data.
What Are Some Alternatives to Using a Gerber Viewer?
Since the primary reason for using a Gerber viewer is to check design data, Bay Area Circuits has developed a solution that is just as effective with verifying designs as traditional Gerber Viewers.
Our free, web-based InstantDFM tool will evaluate design data and provide a comprehensive DFM report that will flag potential manufacturing issues or other problem areas within a design.
A simple file upload begins the process and in a few moments the report will be displayed on the screen. Once displayed a visual check can be made of the board data including top and bottom views, drill information, layer stack up & more.
Check it out today! Click Here for InstantDFM
Gerber File Format
The Gerber file format is the de facto standard for printed circuit board (PCB) images including copper layers, soldermask, legend and more. PCB design software outputs Gerber files and PCB front-end engineering systems used by manufacturers, inputs them. Its widespread availability allows PCB professionals to exchange image, drill and route data securely and efficiently. A well-constructed Gerber file results in a reliable and productive transfer of PCB fabrication data from design to fabrication by precisely defining the PCB image and the function of the objects. In other words, Gerber files serve as the PCB manufacturer’s “blueprint”.
The current Gerber file formats are RS-274X or Extended Gerber X1 or X2. Standard Gerber or RS-274-D is obsolete. It is revoked and was superseded by RS-274X a long time ago. Do not use Standard Gerber any longer. Gerber X2 adds the ability to attach attributes to the Gerber files. The attributes provide additional information about the image which is also known as “meta-information”. Attributes do not impact what the image looks like, however, they do provide the PCB manufacturer with useful information to aid in building the PCB to the correct specifications.