Try Our Online Gerber Viewer

Render your Gerber files, inspect layers, and perform a thorough review before sending your design in for PCB fabrication.

If you're ready to place your board into production, make sure you work with the best design firm to help manage your project. We work with a group of local and overseas advanced manufacturers to help get you the best balance of lead time, capabilities, and cost. For ITAR, EAR, and dual-use products, we only work direct with ITAR-registered manufacturers. Come see what we can do for you.

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If you wish to begin an order using export controlled data, please use the contact form to reach us and make arrangements for secure file transfer.

Step 1: Upload Your Files

Upload your Gerber data in RS-247-X or X2 format. Once the upload completes, you can enable a realistic view or a photoplot view of your PCB layers using the options at the top of the tool area. Use the horizontal scroll bar at the bottom of the window to zoom, or left-click and drag your mouse to move the viewport. You can also toggle layer visibility using the toolbar on the left side of the layer view area.

Step 2: View Configuration

Our online Gerber viewer tool allows you to configure color schemes, assign common color schemes from manufacturers, modify rendering options, and link layers to specific files in your Gerber archive. The settings for each project are automatically saved on your local machine, and they can be modified if you return to your project later.

Step 3: Save and Access Your Projects

When you upload Gerber data to our online viewer, you're not compromising on usability. Projects are automatically saved and cached on your local machine, and you can return to your old projects at any time. No account creation is requried and you can re-download your archive as needed. To delete a project, select the settings option in the top-right corner of the Gerber view area, and select the delete option.

Our Guide to Gerber Files

What Are Gerber Files?

Developed initially by Gerber Scientific, a company founded by Joseph Gerber, Gerber files have now become the standard file format used to fabricate a bare PCB. Currently, the rights to the Gerber file format are owned by UCAMCO. Gerber files are the software files that PCB designers give to manufacturers for the production of a PCB. Once designers have created the PCB layout in their design application, the software converts the design into manufacturing data. The most common file format is Gerber files.

A Gerber file consists of all the crucial information, such as copper content, hole locations, assembly information, silkscreen, etc., required to fabricate a bare PCB. A Gerber file looks just like an image of a particular PCB layer; a Gerber file encodes this image of each layer as an open ASCII vector format, giving a 2D representation of each layer in a PCB. These 2D images are used to create stencils, fixtures, and any other tooling required to fabricate a bare PCB.

Gerber File Formats

The following are the three currently existing versions of Gerber file formats:

  • RS-274-D - This is the first and original version of the Gerber file format, and it has now been replaced by RS-274-X. These files contain only the XY coordinate locations and the draw & flash commands.

  • RS-274-X - This extended Gerber format is widely used by almost all design software programs for PCB production. This version combines apertures, configuration parameters, XY coordinates, and draw & flash commands into one single file.

  • Gerber X2 - This is the latest and most advanced version of the Gerber format that supports a wide range of additional data compared to RS-274-X. It includes important information, such as object functions like pad type, the layer function of the file, locations of impedance-controlled traces, and much more.

Once the design and layout are finalized for production, a designer will export the printed circuit design information in one of the above formats alongside other required production files. It's recommended that PCB design engineers review their generated Gerber files before sending the board to be produced. A spot check of a Gerber file can allow a designer to identify a problem that was not obvious when working in a PCB editor.

Other PCB Manufacturing Files

In addition to Gerber files, several other files are required to fabricate and assemble a PCB:

  • IPC-D-356A netlist extracted from schematics
  • A complete BOM with component sourcing information
  • NC drill data
  • PCB fabrication and assembly drawings, including notes listing requirements
  • Pick and place files with component locations for assembly
  • A report with testing information, such as test point data and test point locations

Gerbers continue to remain the most popular There are two other PCB manufacturing file formats that can provide additional information beyond the photoplot information in Gerber files.

  • ODB++ is an advanced CAD-to-CAM data exchange file format that provides almost everything that the classic Gerber format includes. However, ODB++ also includes additional data that is typically exported alongside the Gerber package. Developed originally for use in Valor, the ODB++ file format and Valor were later acquired by Siemens.

  • IPC-2518 is a CAD-to-CAM exchange format that is standardized by IPC International. It intends to be an open and neutral data exchange format that is accessible within any CAD program. The file format intends to include all data required for fabrication and production of a PCB in a single XML file. Many popular ECAD platforms have implemented the standard.

What to Examine in a Gerber Viewer

A Gerber viewer like the application on this page enables users to view the contents of a Gerber file. Typically, before placing a board into production, the elements in the file are expected for accuracy and potential for DFM problems. Designers are encouraged to examine their Gerber files before they pass their data package to a manufacturer for a full engineering and DFM review.

Designers don't need to have full knowledge of a manufacturer's processing capabilities, but there are some basic tasks that can be performed in a Gerber viewer. Primarily, the designer will need to verify that the Gerber files are a correct representation of the layers in their PCB design files. Designers tend to rely on the DRC engine in their CAD software to spot errors, but an error-free CAD document does not necessarily translate into a design that will pass DFM.

The list of design and DFM problems below is not an exhaustive list, but these are some examples of design choices that are electrically correct and will not trigger a basic electrical rule check violation. However, the points listed below can impact fabrication and assembly through reduced yield.

  • Incorrect solder mask opening on SMD pads - If there is no opening or too large of an opening, solder may flow and bridge leads on an SMD component.

  • Vias in SMD pads - This is often a mistake unless via-in-pad is used, and it is possible to miss this if the view configuration in your CAD tool is not set correctly.

  • Acid traps - Manufacturers will have their own corner angle requirements that are meant to prevent acid traps from occurring during etching.

  • Incorrectly sized vias - In multilayer boards, the vias might be too small for mechanical drilling, or their aspect ratio might be too large.

  • Drill hit clearances - Insufficient clearance between drill hits can result in overlapping drill hits, or drill hits overlapping legends or SMD pads.

online gerber viewer

After reviewing your Gerber file package, it's important to make changes to the design and re-export the file package before sending data to a manufacturer. Make sure you carefully inspect the points above with a manual Gerber viewer or an automated application. Some automated applications are available for Gerber analysis, but these may require a license fee and they are normally purchased by process engineers at a manufacturer.

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  • Manufacturing partners - We work with local and overseas CMs and EMS providers that are ISO-9001, AS9100, ISO-13485, IPC-A-610, NADCAP, and/or ITAR/JCP certified. We help you find the best option to produce prototypes and scale to volume production.

  • Supply chain management - We take a proactive approach on projects to ensure your design can be produced at the required volume. We'll manage procurement from major distributors or brokers throughout your project.

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