Gerber Data

PCB extended Gerber logo

If you export the Gerber poduction data by yourself, please refer to the following instructions.

Basically, you send us Extended Gerber (RS-274-X) data and in addition the drilling program (Excellon or Sieb & Meier). If your software allows it, we recommend instead of Gerber the export of ODB ++ data!

We naturally import your ODB++, Gerber-, Target-, Eagle-, IPC-2581- and Sprint layout data free of charge!

The Gerber format (originally from 1980) enables data exchange between CAD ​​(development) and CAM (production) and is used primarily to output the layout data  used for printed circuit boards. The advanced format Extended Gerber (RS-274X), developed In 1998 by the company Barco ETS, is today's standard in the PCB production and is now cared for by the company Ucamco NV.

All popular CAD programs allow exporting the design in the Extended Gerber format, and all popular CAM programs of printed circuit board manufacturers are capable of importing it.

Please do not use the outdated standard Gerber (RS-274-D) for export.

Gerber-Export

When exporting Gerber data, the highest output resolution should always be chosen (eg 2.6 inch leading, or 4.4 mm leading). Gerber data should not be outputed either mirrored, nor rotated.

For each layer, an extra file is outputed. Layer does not only refer to the copper, but also to any additional manufacturing step such as solder-stop, marking print, milling, scoring, SMD stencil pads, etc.

The assignment of the individual layers is done via the file extension, which is however not standardized. The extensions of the Gerber files could for example look like this:

Layer File extension
LayerCopper topFile extension.top
LayerCopper bottomFile extension.bot
LayerInner layer (x)File extension.in(x)
LayerSupply layer, power / ground (x)*File extension.pg(x)*
LayerSolder-stop topFile extension.smt
LayerSolder-stop bottomFile extension.smb
LayerMarking print topFile extension.plt
LayerMarking print bottomFile extension.plb
LayerPeelable solder-stop topFile extension.peeltop
LayerPeelable solder-stop bottomFile extension.peelbot
LayerSMD paste data topFile extension.pastetop
LayerSMD paste data bottomFile extension.pastebot
LayerPCB contour, millingFile extension.mil
LayerZ-axis milling topFile extension.zmiltop
LayerZ-axis milling bottomFile extension.zmilbot
LayerScoringFile extension.sco

* Please number consecutively with the inner layers.

You can check your exported Gerber files with the help of free Gerber viewers, such as Gerbv or GC PREVUE.

You can find more on the history of the Gerber format in our PCB Glossary.

Excellon or Sieb & Meier - drill data

Excellon or Sieb & Meier data contains the coordinates of the holes of your PCB. Each drill data set includes a tool list with drill diameters.

It is important to differentiate between plated-through-holes (PTH) and non-plated-through-holes (NPTH).

As with the Gerber data, the drilling data is outputted in text format and may not be mirrored or rotated. As in the printed circuit board production, the metric system has prevailed for drills, please export all drilling data always metric.

Preferably use the Excellon and Sieb & Meyer 3000 (SM3000) format as they have already integrated the aperture table (diameter of holes). The Format SM1000 is not recommended (extra aperture table).

Best practice are the formats 3.3mm leading or 4.4mm leading. The extensions of the drill files could for example look like this:

Layer File extension
LayerPlated-through-holeFile extension.pth
LayerNon-plated-through-holeFile extension.npth
LayerBlind viaFile extension.blindvias
LayerBuried viaFile extension.buriedvias

Development

Gerber X2 of Ucamco - Logo

Meanwhile, the Gerber format is maintained and enhanced by Ucamco NV, currently working on an introduction of Gerber X2. As long as this new standard has not yet been set, please continue to use Extended Gerber data (RS-274X) for your PCB order.

Checking of Gerberdata

GC Prevue Logo

Your exported Gerber files can be checked and printed with the freeware GC PREVUE by GraphiCode. This allows testing if everything was exported correctly. You can find GC PREVUE on our download pages.

Directly to the download page for GC Prevue (on bottom of the page)