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Introduction to OrCAD X, Our Next-Generation PCB Layout Solution FAQ

Here are some comprehensive answers to all the questions that were asked in our recent webinar. 

OrCAD X Presto | Live DOC | Design Review/Markup | Free Viewer | 3D | Software Version Compatibility | ECAD/MCAD | OrCAD X Capture | General

OrCAD X Presto

Can I turn on/off the boundaries of shapes? Without turning off the shape itself?

Within OrCAD X Presto, there currently isn't a way to control the visibility of a shape boundary independent of the shape.

Does OrCAD X Presto use the same .brd file format as PCB editor? For instance, can I open an existing Allegro .brd file in Presto, change it, save it, and then open it back in Allegro PCB Editor without file conversions?

Yes, OrCAD X Presto, OrCAD X PCB Editor, and Allegro X PCB Editor all use the same .brd file format and Constraint Manager technology file format. Database version rules apply.

Can you still use XY commands in the footprint editor for complex shapes?

Yes, OrCAD X Presto supports the XY commands in the footprint editor.

I'm not able to set the built padstack editor to millimeter units, am I missing an option?

In the OrCAD X 23.1.1 hotfix shipping in February, the padstack editor will use/follow the design units in the property panel.

Is there a built-in Gerber viewer and ODB++ viewer?

There is currently not a built-in manufacturing output (Gerber, ODB++, IPC-2581) viewer. There are numerous free viewers that are offered by several software providers.

Is it possible to route several tracks at the same time?

Yes, multi-track/bus routing is fully supported in either OrCAD X Presto and OrCAD X PCB Editor.

Can all the panels be enabled in the layout tool be tiled/moved around/etc., the same as Allegro 23.1?

Yes, the environment is completely customizable. Panels can be arranged on all four axis of the application interface as well as detached to place on a secondary monitor.

I have OrCAD X 23.1 installed. How do I view the Presto environment?

There are two different PCB layout environments in OrCAD X - OrCAD PCB Editor, which most users are familiar with, and the New OrCAD X Presto. If you go under Cadence PCB 2023, you will see a new Presto icon to start this interface.

Are there features and commands that are available in Presto but not on regular Allegro X?

No, the use models are simpler in OrCAD X Presto - Allegro will have features that are not yet available in Presto. Presto focuses on the novice designer, electrical engineer, and layout designers focused on quick turn PCB. OrCAD X PCB Editor focuses on the advanced layout designer.

Can you have BGAs in the design of the layout?

Yes, BGA's are allowed in OrCAD X

I get an error "OrCAD X Layout cannot be launched because the license server '...our server here...' cannot be reached. Ensure the 'CDS_LIC_FILE' is set to a valid server that is accessible." Allegro is opening fine. Is Presto a separate license that we need to buy?

To access OrCAD X Presto, you will need a 23.1 OrCAD X license.

Does the newly created pin only exist with the symbol, or does it get added to a padstack library? Is there a padstack library?

Yes, the full pad stack library is still available, and the new wizard writes to the specified libraries.

Is the Presto license included with OrCAD X 23.1 or an add-on cost?

Yes, the OrCAD X Presto license is available within OrCAD X 23.1, and there is no add-on cost – it is your choice to choose which layout environment you want to design with.

Where can I learn about OrCAD X Presto from beginner to pro?

We are in the process of releasing a How-To series on OrCAD X Presto on YouTube. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified as it becomes available. Feel free to peruse our website, contact your local sales rep, or initiate the trial, and a rep will contact you.

I am having issues adding Tachyon 100G within the layer stackup material section. Can you help me?

If you navigate to tools/material editor, you can add custom material layers that can be used in the cross-section editor.

Which EDA translators are included in OrCAD X Presto?

You can translate your designs from Altium, PADS, and Eagle.

If I import a netlist or translate a PCB from PADS, does the swapping info translate, or it is possible to add them inside the PCB Editor?

You can specify swapping in the PCB Editor.

Can I view the bottom side of my board?

Yes, you can.

Live Doc

Does Live DOC support custom title blocks and embedded Bill of Materials?

OrCAD X Live DOC does not yet support custom title blocks or the inclusion of the BOM.

Can you add bitmaps to Live DOC?

Yes, the following image types are supported in Live DOC – bmp, svg, jpeg, png, etc.

Does Live DOC support GD&T dimensions and frames?

Yes, it supports a wide range of dimension capabilities.

Design Review/Markup

Are the design review comments stored in the .brd file, or are they stored external to the .brd file?

The comments are stored in the PCB database with the ability to export.

Do comments generate a notification for other viewers when made?

Not at this time, but this will be supported in a future release.

Free Viewer

It seems that allegro_free_viewer_classic.exe is not included with OrCAD X. Has it been discontinued? Is there any chance it might come back?

Allegro Free Viewer Classic has been discontinued for 23.1, and all versions are moving forward.

How can production personnel view a design if we don’t buy the full version? Is there a viewer available?

There is a free viewer available for download on the Cadence website available to view this UI.

So, with OrCAD X not supporting Allegro Free Viewer Classic, Cadence is asking us long-term users of Allegro to learn the new interface.

The user interface for the Allegro X viewer was changed based on an abundant feedback. Users familiar with Allegro PCB Editor felt at home, but new users to the interface felt it was difficult to learn and overly complicated for a viewer. Because a large majority of viewer users are not Allegro PCB Editor experts, it was decided to provide a much simpler interface. Most Allegro users have found the new viewer extremely intuitive with little learning curve and new users are pleased with its ease of use and quick accessibility.

Is there any sort of GUI for configuring hotkeys? The current Allegro method is pretty confusing.

Yes, OrCAD X Presto has preassigned hotkeys that are fully customizable.

Does the free viewer allow design review comments or is it available only in the fully licensed software?

For now, the free viewer does not yet support design review and markup. With that said, there is a web-based viewer that will support this in the future.

Does the Viewer have the markup and the design review feature?

The free viewer does not have the commenting and design markup capability.

Can a custom shortcut be added? Can scripts be recorded? Can a script be run from a shortcut?

OrCAD X Presto works on SKILL just like Allegro X, so full scripting capabilities are available.

Do you need a licensed version to use the design review feature?

Yes. The free viewer does not have access to the markup and design review features.


How do I add the STEP file to the footprint to make sure that 3D is oriented correctly?

In the Properties Panel in the new OrCAD X Presto footprint editor, there is an Add/Import (+) 3D model button in the Status section.

To orient the 3D model, there are several alignment controls in the Properties panel, under 3D Location, and options including auto, manual, snap model face to top or bottom layer, and coordinate alignment.

What formats/options are available for 3D board export?

You can export STEP, IDF, DXF, and IDX.. 3D Exports are STEP, IGES, ACIS, and 3D PDF.

Software Version Compatibility

Could an OrCAD X design be exported backwards? Or can I work with OrCAD X Capture, and my board designer work with 17.4 or 17.2 Allegro?

Designs from previous versions (17.2 and 17.4) opened in 23.1 Layout Editor will go through an Uprev process. Once saved, it will be in 23.1 format. 23.1 designs cannot be directly opened in previous versions. Downrev is available to save the database to a lower version if necessary.

Downrev will save the design to 17.4 format, compatible with 17.4 or 22.1, but if Nested Zones are present, the lowest possible version after downrev will be 22.1.

Sometimes I have been asked to go back to an old design, perhaps created in the DOS tools from 1990 or more recent but layout Windows tools. How far back is it possible to go now?

We support the ability to downrev two base versions back unless there are special object circumstances that cannot be supported in a downrev, like the introduction of nested zones.


Does MCADX replace CADSync?

CADSync is an optional OrCAD MCAD/ECAD exchange solution provided by EMA. MCADX is a native solution to OrCAD X that is included and free of charge. It contains all the functionality of CADSync and extends support for additional objects. MCADX is installed as part of OrCAD X, and the MCADX Solidworks plugin can be downloaded here.

Is there a similar add-on fee for MCADX? Is there anything to install on the Solidworks side?

No, there is no add-on fee. We have worked closely with Solidworks to ensure the best back-and-forth ECAD MCAD experience.

Can you import STEP files from the mechanical team to check the DRC between mechanics and components?

Yes, importing STEP files from the mechanical team is supported with our ECAD MCAD interfaces and our 3D DRC engine.

OrCAD X Capture

Can you show the schematic page, too?

To view the schematic sheets, you need to open OrCAD X Capture – a full cross probe is available between OrCAD X Capture and OrCAD X Presto and PCB Editor.

Can we set PCB design rules in the schematic itself?

Yes. the Constraint Manager is available in both the schematic and PCB layout environments.

Are OrCAD X Capture and System Capture the same?

OrCAD X Capture and Allegro X System Capture are two different schematic environments, each with its own benefits. OrCAD X Capture libraries and designs can be imported into System Capture.

Can I work with OrCAD X Capture, and can my board designer work with 17.4 or 17.2 Allegro?

If a database is opened in 23.1 from versions 17.4 or 17.2, it is not backwards compatible.

I'm not seeing 'OrCAD X Capture' for schematics. I only have Capture CIS 2023. (I CAN see the Presto application).

OrCAD Capture used to be offered with and without CIS (Component Information System). Due to the popularity of CIS, it was decided to minimize it to a single offering, hence why there is only OrCAD X Capture CIS.

How does Live BOM compare to the features and capabilities in OrCAD CIS/CIP and CIP Compliance?

If you are interested in Live BOM, watch the Optimize Your Supply Chain Through Effective BOM Management webinar, which addresses supply chain challenges and introduces the capabilities of Live BOM.

Does OrCAD X Capture have the same design review/comment features as the layout editor?

The design review and markup is currently a layout feature only, reach out to your local AE if you think that it would be helpful in the schematic as well.


If there is a limited version download, that would be useful. I am currently using the demo version 17.2. I like to keep my capabilities up to date when I am home.

Yes, you can download the latest trial that can coexist with the version you’re running. The latest trial version is 23.1, with 23.1.1 tentatively scheduled for release at the end of March. You can access the latest trial here.

How do I open the Presto PCB Editor?

There are two different PCB layout environments in ORCAD X - OrCAD PCB Editor, which most users are familiar with, and the New OrCAD X Presto. If you go under Cadence PCB 2023, you will see a new Presto icon to start this interface.

Are there any plans for Arena PLM integration?

There is an Arena PLM integration available through our channel partner, EMA Design Automation.

Does OrCAD X contradict the previous version - or is it possible to have on the same computer the previous version as well as the ORCAD X?

Assuming you have sufficient disk space, multiple versions of Cadence products can coexist on the same machine. After you install, you will get separate start menu entries for each version of the software.

Will the new OrCAD interface replace the old interface? Or is this a new interface for the X interface?

No, OrCAD X Presto and OrCAD X PCB Editor will continue to be actively developed. There is tremendous value in both interfaces as they are intended to target two different users:

  • OrCAD X Presto is tailored to the novice designer, electrical engineer, or PCB layout designer focused on quick-turn designs.
  • OrCAD X PCB Editor is for the experienced layout designer possessing the same interface as its advanced counterpart, Allegro X PCB Editor.
Does OrCAD X include PSpice, so when designing I can electrically test my circuit before building it?

PSpice is included to verify circuit function, and there are additional options for electrical overstress and system integration into MathWorks Simulink for full system simulation.

Does OrCAD X have a wire bond command?

No, you would need to consider Allegro X for wire bond support.

How do I upgrade to OrCAD X 23.1?

Feel free to contact your local sales representative or sign up for the OrCAD X trial, and a representative will contact you.

Is there an IPC-7351 compliant footprint generator?

Not as of yet, a batch generator is coming.

Any Creepage Audit separately added, which will dynamically updated with Mechanical Slots?

Creepage and Clearance checks are not available in OrCAD X but are available in Allegro X.

Does Cadence have a free student version of OrCAD X?

Yes, with an .edu email address, you can sign up for the academic trial at no cost, which should last you a full six months. It is seamless once you create your Cadence account with a .edu address! Click here to learn more.

Is there a webinar that gives an overview of the various OrCAD X and Allegro X layout programs? Which is compatible with which? Due to the limited number of licenses we have, I sometimes have to use a viewer application - especially in the lab. I would like to have a viewer program that uses a familiar interface.

OrCAD X PCB Editor, OrCAD X Presto, and Allegro X PCB Editor databases are fully compatible.

Has the constraints manager changed or not?

There has been no change to the constraint manager for OrCAD X. Furthermore, OrCAD X now supports all constraints except for the extended DFx rule set supported by Allegro X.

Are the Presto capabilities specific to OrCAD X? Can we get these capabilities within Allegro X as well? If yes, what is the license required?

OrCAD X Presto is specific to OrCAD X. On the Allegro X side, these capabilities are being slowly added to System Capture EE Cockpit - for now, just floor planning is supported.

If OrCAD X is currently being developed, is it a fully useable version now, or would you recommend creating a design at this moment using v22/v17.4, etc.?

OrCAD X 23.1 is fully released, so you can go ahead and start using it right away! You can sign up for a free trial of OrCAD X here: