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OrCAD X PCB Documentation Capabilities with Live DOC

Key Takeaways

  • Live DOC automates the generation of PCB documentation like assembly drawings, significantly reducing manual effort.

  • The tool offers an intuitive editing experience with features like interactive editing and the ability to add custom fonts, colors, and text

  • Live DOC can be used for viewing copper, drill holes, measurements, and more. 

OrCAD X PCB Documentation example with the Live DOC editor window

OrCAD X PCB Documentation example with the Live DOC editor window

PCB documentation is essential in communicating design information to ultimately aid in the manufacturing of circuit boards from digital model to physical product. Accurate and comprehensive documentation is crucial, as it directly influences the efficiency of production lines, the ease of troubleshooting, and the overall quality of the final product. However, traditional methods of creating PCB documentation can be time-consuming and prone to errors, often requiring manual updates that may not keep pace with the rapid iterations of PCB designs.

Emphasizing the importance of PCB documentation, Cadence has introduced Live DOC integrated within OrCAD X Presto PCB Editor, which allows for live, exportable documents creation. By automating the generation of specific PCB design aspects (copper, drill holes, measurements) and leveraging real-time design data, Live DOC minimizes manual efforts and ensures that documentation is always accurate and up-to-date.

OrCAD X PCB Documentation Abilities with Live DOC

Live DOC is a PCB documentation-authoring tool integrated within OrCAD X Presto PCB Editor. Live DOC leverages real-time board design data to produce highly accurate and detailed documentation. With features like dynamic data propagation, interactive editing, and PDF export capabilities, Live DOC offers a streamlined, efficient approach to documenting PCB designs.

Live DOC Features List 



Automated Documentation Creation

Streamlines the generation of complex PCB documentation, including fabrication and assembly drawings.

Real-time Design Data Integration

Utilizes active board design data, ensuring that documentation is always up-to-date and accurate.

Dynamic Data Propagation

Automatically updates documentation with any changes made in the OrCAD X design environment, reducing manual updating efforts.

Interactive Editing Interface

Offers an intuitive documentation editor driven by Place, Properties, and Visibility panels for efficient drawing creation.

Customizable Templates

Supports the creation and use of customized templates for drawings, facilitating consistency across projects.

Comprehensive Drawing Elements

Automatically generates component assembly views, drill pattern views, details, charts, and more from the board design file.

PDF Export Capability

Allows for easy sharing and reviewing by exporting documentation to a smart PDF format that can be viewed in a web browser.

Enhanced Collaboration

Improves communication with manufacturing and assembly teams by providing clear, accurate, and easily accessible documentation.

Live DOC UI with Canvas in the center, Place Panel on the left, and properties on the right.

Live DOC UI with Canvas in the center, Place Panel on the left, and properties on the right.

Launching and Navigating Live DOC  

To start Live DOC:

  1. Begin by selecting a board design (.brd) file through the File → Open menu option in OrCAD X, which then loads the design in a new tab. 
  2. Following this, navigate to Manufacturing → LiveDoc → Create New From Template. 

Using Live DOC 

The Live DOC user interface is made to mirror the familiar layout of the OrCAD X environment, with integrated panels, menus, and toolbars. Live DOC is designed to display one page at a time.

  • At the center of this interface is the Live DOC canvas, serving as the staging area for placing PCB views.
  •  The Place Panel offers a curated selection of PCB views—including artwork, fabrication drawings, and stack-up charts—essential for creating comprehensive fabrication and assembly documents. Users can easily drag and drop these elements onto the canvas.
  • The Properties panel complements this functionality by providing detailed information and editable properties of the selected object.

Most importantly, when the Live DOC tab is closed, all data is preserved within the design database, ensuring that your Live DOC content remains accessible for future sessions.

Live DOC Examples 

Live DOC offers drawings and charts tailored to the specific needs of the design, including top, ground, and bottom layers. Additional features allow for the incorporation of drill charts with customizable primary units, hole sizes, and columns, alongside the ability to add pages beyond the default template scope. Users can personalize their documentation with custom fonts, colors, and additional text.

There is also drill information, including detailed stack-up tables for all layers, highlighting through holes from the top to the bottom layer. Users can also preview individual copper layers which will automatically update if modified.

Live DOC panel with view of top copper layer

Live DOC panel with view of top copper layer

Dimensions and Measuring in Live DOC 

Furthermore, Live DOC provides robust tools for adding dimensions, drawings, and notes to documents, supporting a range of dimension types and units. Users have the flexibility to customize properties such as size, color, and line width and can set formatting defaults to ensure consistency across all documentation allowing for better communication within engineering teams.

Live DOC editor with configuration of specific measurements.

Live DOC editor with configuration of specific measurements.

Ready to elevate your PCB design and documentation process? Discover the transformative power of Live DOC within OrCAD X for yourself. Sign up for a free trial of OrCAD X today and experience how seamless OrCAD X PCB documentation can be.

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