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OrCAD X Free Viewer

Key Takeaways

  • A free viewer is helpful for those involved in the document review process who don’t have or need access to layout design software.

  • A simpler interface with stripped-down functionality ensures review remains straightforward, regardless of the level of experience with layout software.

  • However, viewers still offer some ability to meaningfully edit/interact with the design to determine various mechanical and electrical performance factors.

The OrCAD X Free Viewer allows design teams to highlight critical nets.

The OrCAD X Free Viewer allows design teams to highlight critical nets.

PCB design environments are rich tools chock full of functionality and features necessary for modern board design. However, some users’ concerns when interacting with PCB design are merely accessing the files or project documentation to offer feedback. Those evaluating board design without the need to perform design themselves don’t need a design tool but the ability to effortlessly step through an application that supports the same file formats and general interoperability.  The OrCAD X Free Viewer lets users focus on the project’s data without getting bogged down in unnecessary features to accelerate reviews and the greater production timeline.

Check out the OrCAD X Free Viewer

OrCAD X Free Viewer Capabilities

  • Capture CIS can open a project (.prj), schematic design (.dsn), or library (.olb) file.
  • PCB Editor can open a board (.brd), design partition (.dpf), module definition (.mdd), or schematic drawing (.dra) file.
  • Advanced Package Designer can open a package design (.mcm/.sip), module definition (.mdd), symbol drawing (.dra), or package partition (.dpm) file.

Viewer Capabilities by Version

OrCAD X Capture CIS

OrCAD X PCB Editor

Allegro X Advanced Package Designer

  • Open component libraries for package/pinout verification.

  • Cross-probe between associated schematic and layout.

  • Highlight/color critical nets for analysis and suppress visibility from other nets.

  • Measure distances.

  • Communicate using the review/markup feature.

  • Evaluate complex multi-die package design features like wire bonds, silicon bridges, interposers, flip chips, and HDI routing.

How the OrCAD X Free Viewer Simplifies Document Sharing

Diving into the world of ECAD can be an intimidating experience, even for designers with significant experience in electronics and circuit design. Many steps in the design for manufacturing (DFM) process require team members who may lack experience with PCB design tools and environments to view information. A viewer offers a readability-focused user interface for inter-department document inspection, ensuring DFM productions proceed with minimal defects and revisions.

Viewers should offer more than just the ability to open files. Powerful search tools can identify, highlight, and provide basic calculations for critical nets, components, and other essential layout features. Essentially, the viewer acts as a preview of the software: most design manipulation is unavailable, but supporting features allow for an in-depth assessment whereby users can evaluate the completed work and offer critique. Viewer software, at minimum, should cover the following file capabilities:

  • Component libraries - Designing new or editing existing components is the first step to importing the schematic information into the board environment. Representation of each schematic symbol requires a component association in the library output as part of the netlist. Users operating the library can quickly alter or create footprints to see how a change in packaging (spurred by cost, availability, performance, etc.) would affect the layout. 

  • Board files - As the board file is the most succinct encapsulation of the physical realization of the circuit (location and connections), it becomes the driving production “document” (in actuality, it’s the board file that outputs the formatting for CAM and other divisions). 

  • 3D viewer - At least for consumer devices, board design has to adapt to generally smaller form factors and denser assemblies associated with portables, wearables, etc. All system assemblies must ensure integration into the enclosure while observing tolerance, off-board connectors, thermal performance, and other MCAD characteristics. STEP model assignment also checks the most fundamental ECAD/MCAD handshake: a proper fit with component heights and off-board protrusions.

The new OrCAD X Free Viewer incorporates user feedback gleaned over years of first-hand experiences to drive product development more thoughtfully. The simplified UI makes it easier for those with little to no experience with Cadence design tools to quickly jump into review while remaining familiar to longtime users of earlier Cadence viewers. This focus on approachability reduces the learning curve commonly seen among PCB design tools and adjacent software; users get what they need (and nothing more) in an intuitive package.

Cadence OrCAD X Solutions Offer Convenience and Power

Need a way to view board files? The OrCAD X Free Viewer gives teams a simple organizational tool to evaluate project progress and documentation across the broad spectrum of expertise necessary for board design. Design teams that are satisfied with the Free Viewer but looking for greater collaboration opportunities between team members can share comments and markups within digital documents with the full version, unlocking even more efficient workflows. Cadence’s PCB Design and Analysis Software gives industry-leading tools to electronics design teams with an emphasis on usability. See for yourself our all-encompassing refinement of electronic design with the new OrCAD X platform

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