DesignSpark PCB Design Software for Windows PCs

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Introduction to DesignSpark PCB

DesignSpark PCB is a powerful, free-to-use printed circuit board (PCB) design software for Windows PCs. Developed by RS Components, DesignSpark PCB offers a comprehensive set of tools and features that enable users to create professional-grade PCB designs efficiently. Whether you are a hobbyist, a student, or a professional engineer, DesignSpark PCB provides a user-friendly interface and advanced functionality to help you bring your electronic projects to life.

Key Features of DesignSpark PCB

1. Schematic Capture

DesignSpark PCB includes a full-featured schematic capture tool that allows users to create complex electronic circuits easily. The software provides a wide range of schematic symbols and components, which can be placed and connected using simple drag-and-drop operations. Some of the key features of the schematic capture tool include:

  • Extensive library of schematic symbols
  • Hierarchical design support
  • Customizable symbol creation
  • Real-time design rule checking (DRC)
  • Netlist generation for PCB layout

2. PCB Layout

Once the schematic design is complete, DesignSpark PCB seamlessly integrates with the PCB layout tool. The software offers a powerful set of features to help users create professional-grade PCB layouts:

  • Automatic component placement and routing
  • Interactive routing with real-time DRC
  • Multi-layer board support
  • Customizable design rules and constraints
  • 3D visualization and rendering

The PCB layout tool also includes advanced features such as copper pour, teardrops, and thermal relief pads, ensuring that your designs are optimized for manufacturability and reliability.

3. Component Libraries

DesignSpark PCB comes with an extensive library of pre-built components, including schematic symbols, PCB footprints, and 3D models. The library covers a wide range of components, from basic resistors and capacitors to complex ICs and connectors. Users can also create and manage their own custom component libraries, making it easy to reuse designs across multiple projects.

4. Design Rule Checking (DRC)

To ensure that your PCB designs are error-free and manufacturable, DesignSpark PCB includes a comprehensive Design Rule Checking (DRC) engine. The DRC tool automatically checks your design against a set of predefined rules, such as minimum trace width, clearance, and hole size. Users can also define custom design rules to meet specific requirements or manufacturing constraints.

5. Output Generation

DesignSpark PCB supports a variety of output formats, making it easy to share your designs with manufacturers or collaborate with other team members. The software can generate the following output files:

System Requirements

To run DesignSpark PCB on your Windows PC, ensure that your system meets the following minimum requirements:

Component Minimum Requirement
Operating System Windows 7, 8, 10 (64-bit)
Processor Intel Core i3 or equivalent
Display 1280 x 720 resolution
Storage 5 GB free disk space

For optimal performance, it is recommended to use a system with a faster processor, more RAM, and a dedicated graphics card.

Getting Started with DesignSpark PCB

1. Download and Installation

To get started with DesignSpark PCB, visit the official website ( and download the latest version of the software. The installation process is straightforward, and the installer will guide you through the necessary steps.

2. Tutorials and Resources

DesignSpark PCB offers a range of tutorials and resources to help users get up to speed quickly. The software includes a built-in tutorial that covers the basic features and workflow, allowing you to create a simple PCB design within minutes. Additionally, the DesignSpark community website provides a wealth of user-generated content, including tutorials, design examples, and forum discussions.

3. Community and Support

One of the standout features of DesignSpark PCB is its active and supportive community. The DesignSpark community website serves as a platform for users to share their designs, ask questions, and collaborate with other engineers and hobbyists. The community is moderated by experienced engineers from RS Components, ensuring that users receive accurate and helpful responses to their queries.

Advanced Features and Techniques

1. Hierarchical Design

For complex projects, DesignSpark PCB supports hierarchical design, allowing users to break down their designs into smaller, more manageable sub-circuits. This feature enables users to create reusable design blocks, simplify the overall schematic, and improve the organization of their projects.

2. Design Reuse

DesignSpark PCB makes it easy to reuse designs across multiple projects. Users can create custom component libraries, save schematic and PCB layout blocks, and import them into new designs. This feature saves time and effort, as designers can leverage their existing work and maintain consistency across projects.

3. Simulation and Analysis

While DesignSpark PCB does not include built-in simulation tools, it integrates with popular simulation software such as LTspice and PSpice. Users can export their schematic designs in a compatible format and perform circuit simulations and analysis to validate their designs before proceeding to PCB layout.

4. Collaboration and Version Control

DesignSpark PCB supports collaboration among team members through its integration with version control systems such as Git and Subversion. Users can store their design files in a version-controlled repository, allowing multiple team members to work on the same project simultaneously. This feature streamlines the design process and ensures that all team members have access to the latest version of the design.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. Is DesignSpark PCB really free to use?
    Yes, DesignSpark PCB is completely free to use for personal and commercial projects. There are no hidden costs or subscription fees.

  2. Can I create Multi-layer PCBs with DesignSpark PCB?
    Yes, DesignSpark PCB supports the design of multi-layer PCBs, allowing users to create complex designs with up to 12 layers.

  3. Does DesignSpark PCB offer autorouting?
    Yes, DesignSpark PCB includes an autorouting feature that can automatically route traces between components based on predefined design rules and constraints.

  4. Can I import designs from other PCB Software into DesignSpark PCB?
    Yes, DesignSpark PCB supports the import of schematic and PCB designs from popular file formats such as Eagle, KiCad, and Altium Designer.

  5. Is there a limit to the number of components or board size in DesignSpark PCB?
    No, there are no inherent limits to the number of components or board size in DesignSpark PCB. However, larger and more complex designs may require more system resources and processing time.


DesignSpark PCB is a powerful, free-to-use PCB design software that offers a comprehensive set of features for creating professional-grade electronic designs. With its user-friendly interface, extensive component libraries, and advanced design tools, DesignSpark PCB is an excellent choice for hobbyists, students, and professional engineers alike. The software’s active community and support from RS Components ensure that users have access to the resources and expertise they need to succeed in their projects. Whether you are just starting out in PCB design or looking for a capable software to tackle complex projects, DesignSpark PCB is definitely worth considering.