Friday, September 2, 2011

A Review of Free Windows Gerber File Viewers

When you send off your latest PCB design to a PCB fabrication shop you'll typically send Gerber files. You probably want to perform a final proof-read of your design, so you'll need a Gerber file viewer to view your files graphically. If you're cheap like me you want a free Gerber viewer. Here's a brief review of truly free Gerber file viewers for Windows.

Name and Link Verdict Files Drill UI Features Notes
gerbv WIN many yes great goodSecond Favorite
3D Gerber Viewer (web) WIN many no good fairfast, 3d; not all layers
Circuit People (web) WIN zip no n/a minimal black and white
GerberLogix WIN zip, many yes great good My Favorite!!
GC-Prevue WIN zip, many yes good great odd zoom; merge!
ViewMate WIN zip yes good great edit, too!
ViewPlot Viewer WIN many yes fair great drill displays wrong FAIL zip, many yes fair fair slow, drill displays wrong
Gerber Viewer Lite FAIL one no good good only 2 layers!
ExcelCAM FAIL one no poor good can't read gerbers?!
ProntoGERBER CONNECTION FAIL one no poor good can't read gerbers?!

The table above tells you, for each viewer application, the overall verdict of Win or Fail; whether it opens multiple Gerber files, if it opens zip files; whether it opens and displays drill files properly; UI quality; richness of feature set; and additional notes.

Some of the problems listed above might be fixable but I could only spend so much time on each product. My top picks are: GerberLogixgerbv, and GC-Prevue.

GerberLogix is my favorite Gerber viewer. Easy to use, simple and clean UI, simple zip import, and fast to launch and load. Update: Version 2.5 now automatically detects Excellon format so the drill file displays perfectly.

Gerbv comes in a close second favorite. If only it opened zip files it would be awesome. It is also fully featured, displays correctly and doesn't appear to have commercial use restrictions. Since I'm now selling products, I'll use gerbv as my go-to viewer. It's also Linux compatible.

GC-Prevue is fast, you can import multiple Gerber files or zip files, and it has a lot of features including the ability to merge Gerber files graphically!

Screen Shots

PentaLogix ViewMate Gerber File Viewer (Windows)
PentaLogix ViewMate
CircuitPeople online Gerber File Viewer
Circuit People online web application
GraphiCode GC-Prevue Gerber File Viewer (Windows)
GraphiCode GC-Prevue
Roneda ViewPlot Gerber File Viewer (Windows)
Roneda ViewPlot
EasyLogix GerberLogix Gerber file viewer (Windows)
EasyLogix GerberLogix

gergv free open source Gerber file viewer (Windows, Linux)

3D Gerber Viewer (Windows)
3D Gerber Viewer

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