Print PCB Layout From Proteus (Step-By-Step Guide)

If you’re working in the electronics industry or studying electronics engineering, you’re probably already very familiar with PCB circuits and designing with Proteus.

Printing the layout after you’ve created your schematics in Proteus can be a tricky task, however, and you’d need to keep a few points in mind before you go for it.

Focusing on those points, we’ll provide you an easy-to-understand guide to print your PCB layouts from Proteus in the most perfect form attainable.

What Is A PCB Layout?

The Printed Circuit Board, also known as PCB, is used in all types of electronic devices today, starting from tiny remotes to large smart TVs.

The board has the circuit schematics for a specific device and various connection bars and wiring references.

With the help of these schematics, the electrical elements, like resistors and capacitors, are connected accordingly to create the “brain” of all electronic devices.

Moreover, PCBs can also provide support and hold the electrical elements fixed in the correct places.

Types Of PCB

According to certain device configurations, the PCBs required are different. Whichever configurations you employ, all PCBs are fundamentally one of the following types:

  • Single-Sided PCBs
  • Multilayer PCBs
  • Double-Sided PCBs
  • Rigid-Flex PCBs
  • Flex PCBs
  • Rigid PCBs

Each PCB has its own advantages and is used for particular purposes.

For example, Single-Sided PCBs are relatively cheaper than the others and easily fixable. These are used in mini radios.

On the other hand, the Multilayer PCBs are smaller but more efficient than the single-sided ones. These PCBs can be modified easily to suit your purpose and have a higher longevity. These are usually integrated with high-end circuit of computers and trackers.

Importance Of PCB

PCBs are the elementary part of all kinds of electronic equipment and devices. The schematics and connection references in the PCB make it much simpler to design and configure the internal circuitry of any device.

Adding to the simplicity, the electrical elements are internally connected through copper tracks rather than wires, which cuts down on a lot of space and untidiness.

The components are also held tightly in their spots, so the PCBs can be kept as small as required.

These features help to design highly complex circuits with ease, rather than a cumbersome system without PCBs.

The proper space between the components also allows you to carry out simple tests to check if your configuration is okay for a certain device

PCBs, help to cut down on the size of the electronic devices with their small but complex structure.

Furthermore, all the elements of the circuit are ensured to be well separated from each other. This keeps you and the circuit safe from any kind of short-circuit and fuse burns. The probability of any errors happening is also greatly reduced.

Usage of too many wires and items increases the noise of the circuit. This can lead to improper output and results. PCB boards also provide a solution to this problem with the thoroughly designed schematics along with copper tracks.

How To Print PCB Layout From Proteus (Steps By Step Guideline)

Printing the PCB layout can be difficult initially, given that there are lots of things to keep in mind. You’ll also need to have a good idea of circuitry and how to construct circuits in software.

The Proteus software comes with a good range of options that will help you design your PCB layout conveniently and make the process a bit easier.

We’ll take you step-by-step through the entire process of printing out your PCD layout using Proteus. And we start off with constructing the circuit.

PCB Design With Proteus (Complete Guide For Beginners)

Circuit Design

This process requires us to configure our circuit using electrical components.

Step 1

  • Download and install the latest version of the Proteus software from the Proteus website. It’s completely free.
  • After installation is complete, open the Proteus software. You should be able to see a workspace with blue borders and a huge number of buttons in the taskbar.

Step 2

  • From the taskbar on the left of the window, select the “Component Mode” button. A new window called “Library” with lots of options will appear.
  • Navigate to the entry option called “Keywords” on the top left.
  • Type in the name of the components you’ll require to construct your circuit, like a particular type of capacitor, op-amp, etc., and add them one by one.
  • You’ll see a small “Devices” column on the left with the list of the components you added.

Step 3

  • Double-click on the components you need to access them in the workspace.
  • According to your schematics, position and join the components correctly to complete your circuit. You can drag the components around and also rotate them if you wish.
  • Right-click on that particular component if you’re not satisfied with a certain component after completing the circuit.
  • Use the options in the drop-down menu that appears to make your necessary changes.

Step 4

  • Once you’re properly done constructing the circuit, click on “File” on the top-left corner.
  • Save the current file to an easily-accessible directory.

Layout Design

This process requires us to create a shape of our previously-created circuit. This is the harder objective.

Step 1

  • Open a new, blank file on the Proteus software.
  • Select on “Tools” from the taskbar on top.
  • Click on “Netlist to ARES,” and a black workspace should appear.

Step 2

  • Click on the “2D Graphics Box Mode” option from the left.
  • After that, choose the “Select Layer” and the “Board Edge” feature.
  • In accordance with the PCB shape you need, create a box in the workspace.
  • Navigate to the left-bottom corner and click on a green icon, “Mech 3”.
  • A drop-down menu should appear, from which you should choose “Board Edge,” which has a yellow color.

Step 3

  • Drag the electrical components into the box you created in the workspace.
  • Place them just like you constructed your circuit before.

Step 4

  • Click on the “Trace” option from the taskbar to link the components.
  • On the column with your components list, click on “C” to create and “E” to edit your trace style. A new window, “Edit Trace Style,” should appear.
  • Set the name and width with reference to the circuit you’re designing.

Step 5

  • When you hover over any element, a green adjustable point will appear on the edge of the element.
  • Based on the circuit you’re constructing, extend the point to make it a line and connect it to another component.
  • The lines will turn blue if the connection is valid and correct, and red if it’s a wrong connection. Fix the connection if the line turns red.

The next step is only if you’re creating a double-layered PCB. Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult to detect wrong connections in this type of PCB, so Proteus has programmed a system to help you out.

Step 6

  • Open the “Auto Router” command box from the taskbar.
  • Change the values in the “Design Rules” and “Execution Mode” sections with the help of your original circuit.
  • Press on the “Begin Routing” button.
  • Proteus automatically creates proper connections between your elements. A red line denotes connections on top, and a blue line denotes ones on the Bottom.

Step 7

  • After the tracing is done, click on “File” again on the top left side.
  • Hit on “Save” and save the file in the same place where you saved the initial circuit design.

Printing the PCB layout

Step 1

  • Open the PCB Layout you designed using Proteus.
  • Go to “Output” and then “Export Graphics.”
  • Select “Export Adobe PDF File.” A new window will appear.
  • Change the “Mode” option to “Artwork.”

Step 2

  • In the Layers/Artworks section, tick only the “Bottom Copper” option and untick other boxes.
  • Select “100%” for the Scale option and “X Horizontal” in the Rotation section.
  • With PCB transfer paper placed correctly in the printer, give the Print command to print out the Bottom Copper portion.

Step 3

  • Next, select “Top Silk” and “Board Edge” in the Layers/Artworks section.
  • Check the “Normal” option in the Reflection section.
  • Hit “Print” on a new PCB transfer paper.

Step 4

  • Change the Mode option to “Solder Resist.”
  • Only check the “Bottom Resist” and “Board Edge” boxes below.
  • Tick “Mirror” from the Reflection section.
  • Print it out as well, like the previous two steps.

Step 5

  • Tick the boxes “Drill” and “Board Edge” only for this step.
  • Change the Reflection section choice to “Normal” again.
  • Print the output in PCB transfer paper too.

The following step is required only if you’re creating a double-layered PCB.

Step 6

  • Select only ” Top Copper Layer ” with the Mode set to “Artworks,” select only “Top Copper Layer.”
  • Hit the Print command.
  • Next, only tick the “Bottom Silk Layer” box.
  • Execute the print once again.

And, that’s it! You’re all done designing and printing your PCB layout from Proteus. Now, all you need to do is join them together in the correct orientation, also known as Etching of the PCB.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is Proteus Good For PCB Design?

Proteus is an excellent software for PCB design. PCB designing, in general, isn’t a very easy task; it takes a certain level of skill. However, Proteus comes with many user-friendly options and makes PCB designing at least a bit easier.

How Do You Simulate A PCB Design In Proteus?

  1. Download and install the Proteus software from their website and open it.
  2. Open the “Component Mode” button from the taskbar and add all the elements you’ll need for your circuit.
  3. Drag the elements into the workspace and arrange them like your circuit schematics.
  4. Join them by connecting a line from the end of one element to the end of another.
  5. Click on “NETLIST to ARES” in the layout option and choose “2D Graphics Box Mode”.
  6. Select “Board Edge” and use it to create a box in the workspace and arrange your components just like in your circuit.
  7. Use the Auto Router feature from the taskbar to complete proper routing and tracing of your circuit, and finish simulation of your PCB design.

How Do You Draw Circuits In Proteus?

  1. Open the Proteus software after downloading the latest version from the Proteus website.
  2. Select the “Component Mode” from the left toolbar.
  3. Look up the components for your circuit and add them to your devices list.
  4. Once you’re done, drag your devices into the grid-lined workspace and place them accordingly.
  5. Right-click on each component to adjust its position and orientation.
  6. Drag a line from an end of a component to the end of another component.
  7. Repeat the process to complete the circuit.