Protel PCB _ Features, Uses and Applications

Protel PCB – features, uses and applications

Making a PCB is quite time-consuming and costly. Some automatic PCB fabrication techniques have been developed to reduce time and cost. One of these techniques is the use of the PCB layout software, Protel PCB

Let’s look at Protel PCB, its functions, and how to use it!

Table of Contents

What is Protel PCB?

Protel PCB

Protel PCB is a PCB layout software that enables to create printed circuit boards. The program features a library of standard components and integrated auto-routing technology. It supports schematic capture, PCB layout design, and the ability to import from and export to other CAD formats, such as AutoCAD and MicroStation.

What are the features of Protel PCB?

features of Protel PCB

Protel PCB offers an intuitive user interface that makes it easy to start designing the next board. It includes all the tools required to create professional quality circuits in no time, including:

Customer interaction use case
Protel PCB’s customer interaction use case offers a unique experience that allows interaction with customers, suppliers, and vendors from within the program. This includes electronic ordering, parts lists, and more.

3D visualization
Designers can easily view 3D models in real time without leaving the design environment. This allows for easier collaboration between designers and engineers and better visualize how the design will function when manufactured.

Unified interface
Protel PCB has a unified interface that allows users to work on multiple projects simultaneously. The unified interface lets users easily switch between different projects without learning new commands or procedures.

Improved functionality and utilities
The latest version of Protel PCB includes many new features, such as improved layer management, library management, trace simplification, auto-routing algorithms, signal integrity analysis, and more!

Improved autorouter
Intelligent routing engine supports more component types, larger boards, and more complex routing problems than ever before.

Easier schematic capture, the new schematic editor, features a simplified user interface with fewer tabs and submenus, making it easier to start capturing ideas on paper directly into electronic form!

What are the applications of Protel PCB?

Protel PCB is used in various applications in the following industries:
●Electronics industry (printed circuit board design)
●Software industry (software prototyping)
●Automotive industry (printed circuit board design)

Advantages of Protel PCB

Advantages of Protel PCB

Protel PCB offers a wide range of features that make it an ideal tool for creating high-quality PCBs. Some of its key advantages include the following:

Saves costs on production
Protel PCB allows users to create their computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) files, which can be sent to manufacturers for printing onto the board. This means designers do not need to spend money on expensive CAM software or outsource their work to third parties, who may charge more than they want to spend on each job.

Once users have become familiar with Protel PCB, it is easy to use and understand. The software has been designed for beginners; therefore, even if they have no previous experience with circuit board design software, they should have no problems using this application successfully.

Reduces design complexity
Protel PCB offers an intuitive interface that allows the creation of circuit boards quickly and easily. It has tools for creating schematics, routing traces and placing PCB components on the board.

Reduces errors
The program checks for errors as work. If a mistake is made during the design process, users can easily correct it by simply deleting or moving an element in the schematic or layout.

Generates new ideas
Using Protel PCB’s built-in library of symbols, footprints (the physical representation of a component), models and other parts, users can create custom models that represent their unique needs and requirements.

Limitations of Protel PCB

Protel PCB has many advantages and excellent features. The use of this software for creating a printed circuit board has some restrictions, though. The following are the restrictions:

●The default options don’t seem to be very useful.
●It’s a little challenging to use because it has so many functionalities.
●Less customization is available for the interface and its parts.
●The cost of the subscription is considerable.
●Access to files and startup times can both be exceedingly slow.
●There isn’t a simulation option.

What is the process of Protel PCB design?

What is the process of Protel PCB design

The method employs a digital twin to accurately represent the PCB system, including substrates and numerous components. Additionally, the digital twin facilitates autonomous, heterogeneous assembly verification through

●LVL (Layout versus layout) and LVS (Layout versus schematic)
●Stress and thermal analysis
●Substrate-level (DRC) design rule checking
●Parasite extraction

How to avoid the common mistakes of Protel PCB design?

There are some common mistakes that people make when using Protel PCB. Here are some of them:

Not reading the manual – The first thing users should do is read it thoroughly. If someone doesn’t know how to use the software, it won’t be easy to complete a project on time and with the best quality possible.

Not using a template – The designer needs a template to create a design or modify an existing one. A template allows to start quickly without wasting time figuring out where everything goes on the board layout.

Using outdated versions of Protel PCB – If users want designs to look modern and attractive, they must use an up-to-date version of Protel PCB. However, suppose They’re still using an old version because it’s free or cheap. In that case, this could lead to problems such as poor performance or compatibility issues with newer hardware components and operating systems that may render some features unusable or limited (if any).

Easy steps to create the PCB Protel into a PCB Gerber file

  1. Check the integrity of the PCB design files by opening them in Protel software. Here is an example.


2. Under “File“, select “New“. Click it and then left-click.


3. You will see a “New Document” page. The following options are available on the “New Document” page.


Choosing the default settings.

4. Click on Generates Gerber files on the Output Wizard page.


5. Name the file now.


6. Default options are fine for the following two pages.



7. Select “used on” under Plot Layers; do not select anything for Mirror Layers.


8. The next three pages also have default options that can be chosen.




9. If you find some contents in the field of automatic layer, select mechanical 1, 13 or 15.


The last page will show up; left-click the “Finish” button.

All Gerber files have been completed except the drill file.

10. Insert NC Drill is selected by left-clicking after performing a right-click on the cam page blank area. The NC Drill setup page will then open; we advise selecting the option for Suppress leading zero.


●By pressing F9, all cam files will be exported.



Gerber files must then be exported to a designated folder. If left-clicked “CAM for PCB“, go and right-click it.

The export option can be found; left-click it, then move the files to the desired folder.


Protel is the best PCB software for hobbyists and electronics enthusiasts. The Protel PCB allows designing and building circuits through a simple prototype or working on something more technical.  

In a nutshell, Protel PCB is a powerful software tool that can help digitize PCB designs and make the process of PCB Layout easier. At the very least, it’s worth a try.

But, if you are looking for a free PCB design software, here are also a lot of choices for you. The most important is how to find the best and most suitable one for your project.

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