Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use LibrePCB instead of XYZ?

Why another EDA tool? Why not contributing to tool XYZ?

Each of the existing open-source EDA tools have a different target audience, different focus and different opinions about how things should be done. It makes no sense for LibrePCB developers to work on another tool (e.g. KiCad) just to be able to implement the small subset of our ideas they agree on. It’s almost impossible (and senseless) to fundamentally change the mindset of other EDA tool developers.

In the end it’s good for users to have multiple different EDA tools to choose from. Of course we don’t develop multiple identical tools.

Why introducing a new, non-standardized file format?

From time to time people ask why every EDA package invented its own file format instead of developing a standardized, open file format to allow data exchange between different EDA packages.

Although this sounds like a great idea, in practice it makes no sense unfortunately. The data structure of a PCB project obviously requires to reflect the feature set and concepts of the tool itself — for example if the tool uses UUIDs for referencing objects, the file format has to reflect this. If we would introduce a file format to be used by multiple EDA packages, it would mean that the general concepts of these packages must be identical as well (otherwise they wouldn’t be compatible with the file format). But it makes no sense to develop multiple identical EDA packages. The same applies to LibrePCB — we want to provide you an EDA tool which is different (from our point of view: better) than other tools, and that’s only possible with a different file format.

The version number is very low, is it already usable?

Yes it is! It is working very well and can be used productively to create PCBs. However, just don’t expect advanced features yet (e.g. blind/buried vias, hierarchical sheets, …​). Features like that will be implemented in future releases.

Check out #madewithlibrepcb to see pictures of some PCBs made with LibrePCB.

I can’t find XYZ in the libraries, where is it?

Providing high quality libraries requires a huge amount of time until they are somewhat "complete" (that’s impossible anyway). If you didn’t find what you’re looking for, probably it doesn’t exist yet.

But there’s good news: With LibrePCB it’s very easy to create your own library elements! Just create a local library and add the elements you need.

In addition, you could ask in our forum if other users already created the library elements you need.