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In Design Last updated: February 6, 2023
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Electronic Computer-Aided Design (ECAD) software offers efficiency and ease while designing electrical components without introducing errors.

In this modern world with huge competition, there’s no room for inefficiencies and errors.

If you still continue the traditional, manual methods of using pencil and paper to design your electrical components, it may take ages to manufacture them while increasing your expenses on workforce and resources.

The best way of doing this is to automate the process with the help of ECAD software that can help you design, edit, assemble, and simulate your components correctly and precisely so that your designs can be approved faster.

Ultimately, you can manufacture electrical components in quick turnaround times with quality.

So, let’s discuss what ECAD software is and how it can benefit you.

What is ECAD Software?

Electronic Computer-Aided Design (ECAD) software is a circuit maker tool used to design and modify layouts and diagrams in 3D and 2D for electronic systems. It’s used to create, assemble, simulate, and compose electric circuits.

It differs slightly from CAD software that is used to design a specific component or assembly. On the other hand, ECAD software will help you design a complete electronic system consisting of various components that are connected to one another with the help of electric circuits.

Example: Designing a computer’s printed circuit board (PCB) using ECAD software. An electrical designer creates a PCB layout from the schematic view of the circuit design and generates a 3D representation of the PCB component with the 3D models.

ECAD software offers different capabilities; hence it’s necessary to choose suitable software for your organization based on your specific requirements. Some of the capabilities of ECAD software are:

  • Diagramming to define electronic components used and signals connecting them
  • Trace routing to detect the path of connections
  • The layout features to create a PCB outline and place components inside it
  • 3D assembly to create a PCB’s 3D model that detects interference inside a system and manage heat dissipation from electronic components
  • Automation to automatically route traces from electrical components
  • Multi-board feature to design and layout different PCBs working together as one system
  • Rule checking to compare PCB designs against a company or industry guidelines or rules and highlighting issues that might affect PCB performance
  • Manufacturing exports to produce ECAM deliverables for manufacturing PCB layers
  • Collaboration features to help collaborate team members on a design, add comments and give feedback to enhance the design

There are numerous other technologies that you may need for data exchange and get error-free results:

  • ECAE: Electrical Computer-Aided Engineering software uses the geometry produced with the help of ECAD software to build an analysis model and simulate PCB performance
  • ECAM: Electrical Computer-Aided Manufacturing software utilizes exports of ECAD software and creates tool paths for PCB layer production.

ECAD and MCAD: What’s the difference?

ECAD software is basically used for creating electronic components, whereas MCAD is used for designing mechanical parts.

Some products need mechanical as well as electrical characteristics in today’s technology-driven world. So, electrical and mechanical teams can collaborate independently on a single platform and innovate components according to the specification.

Together, both the teams can check whether the assembly of each component fits with the other. This is an added benefit for the organizations. You may also need to perform a 3D analysis of the assembled products and visualize if everything is going well as per the requirements.

What are the applications of ECAD software?

Many organizations use ECAD for fulfilling their electrical product designing and manufacturing needs by assembling electronic components. It finds applications in areas, such as:

  • PCB designing: Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) have various electrical components and electric circuits to power electronic devices. Electrical designers convert schematic diagrams to the 3D layout by adding each component in the required circuit and assembling them.
  • Documentation: The product must pass the analysis test to be approved to proceed with the manufacturing process. ECAD software offers detailed documentation according to the input parameters and layout to help analyze every design detail.
  • FEA: ECAD software can be used for Finite Element Analysis (FEA) for creating 3D objects out of 2D information.

Why do you need ECAD software?

Designing electronic components in ECAD software is simple as it handles all the burdens so that you can get an excellent product at the end. It saves you from struggling with manual methods of using pencil and paper for drawing an electrical circuit.

Let’s take a quick look at the benefits of having ECAD software in your organization.

Streamlined designing

Using software instead of manually creating a circuit makes the design process easy. In addition to simplifying the process, it produces high-quality and error-free designs at the end. You will get lots of tools and various functionalities, like drag and drop, to design your components. You will also have a hassle-free experience while innovating with realistic, 3D views.

Saves time

Designing from scratch can be difficult and time-consuming. ECAD software offers many pre-built components that you can use directly in your design by defining the design requirements and basic parameters. Plenty of options in the software lets you think fast and act fast. Hence, when you save time designing, it will help boost your productivity.

Improves Product Performance

Creating the component and assembling it in the model is not the last step of your design process. The product must go through the testing procedures to check the correct flow of electricity throughout the circuit.

Manual testing is time-consuming. Thanks to ECAD software that can help you test your product easily without any hassle. Thus, you can improve the product quality by quickly correcting the issues in the software before finalizing the document for manufacturing.


ECAD software offers complete visibility of your product by maintaining the transparency of every component based on the material, color, etc. The 3D visualization of the product lets you check the product from every angle to check your design and finer detail to spot errors, if any.


From brainstorming to manufacturing a final product requires a lot of workforce, machines, and cost. However, using ECAD software saves a lot of money and effort. ECAD software saves your resources by producing an error-free design that can go straight to the production phase without major changes.

So, if you want to leverage these benefits and are looking for good ECAD software, here are some options you can consider.

Altium CircuitMaker

Turn your unique idea into reality with the Altium design tool. Altium CircuitMaker is schematic software that is built for you to design electronic products. Its powerful engine and streamlined interface help you design better without any issues.

Altium provides you the freedom to create electronic products flexibly with 16 plane layers, 16 signals, and zero restrictions to the dimensions. Its community library contains hundreds of components and a fantastic Octopart database to back it all.

Now, placing components in your designs is super easy; just search the manufacturer part number or design parameters from the library to get the accurate component. If you do not find the component you need, add your design parts and components into the community library.

When you complete your design, you can share it with your team or community or with the specific authors of your choice. This will help you understand better and give you a clear idea while you’re collaborating with your team regarding the design.

Altium can be used as a base by others to build something new or add some features to the product. It also offers the native 3D appearance of your product, Push-N-Shove routing, multi-sheet schematic editor, topological auto-router, and DFM/DRC validated outputs.

Download this free ECAD software to design your great product and enjoy its simplicity.

Fusion 360

Fill the gap between traditional MCAD and ECAD software using Fusion 360. This circuit maker will help you design a complete product with both mechanical and electrical characteristics. Fusion 360 lets designers work on the same project independently within the same design platform.

There is no need to integrate third-party software, exchange, translate, or export any files if you use Fusion 360. It provides an entire solution for data management, mechanical design management, and PCB design. You can also collaborate with your teams to understand the problem better and work on it to complete the project within the stipulated time.

The platform gives one dataset and 3D PCB data, including core material, components, board copper, and more so that you can verify, validate, and analyze on the MCAD software to meet the product specifications. In addition, integrating ECAD and MCAD software will give you electronics tools for the simulation, schematics, manufacturing, management, etc., and 3D design tools for sketching, PCB integration, sheet metal, assemblies, and more.

With Fusion 360, you can efficiently perform thermal simulation of the PCB in the early stages. Additionally, connect your entire product management from the cloud-based platform. You can also get advanced functionalities like generative design, nesting, additive manufacturing, machining, fabrication, and discover extensions if they work smoothly.

Their plans start from $42/month to $987/3 years. They also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can decide whether the tool is suitable for your needs or not.


Create and innovate realistic products from your imagination with Creo software. This 3D CAD solution helps you build better products and combine its proven and robust functionality using new technologies, such as augmented reality, additive manufacturing, simulation, generative design, and more.

Creo allows you to design quality products out of the transformative tools to gain market share and competitive advantage. It introduces many capabilities in various areas, from mechanical design to electronic components.

From design to the final product and meshing to simulation, Creo helps you in every step with its easy-to-understand interface. Creo offers the latest features for every design you create and delivers technologies for the evolving world.

Creo introduces various packages by understanding your business needs. The price of the package starts at $2480. Subscribe now and start designing electronic products out from scratch. It also offers you a free trial for you.


Engineers and designers always seek the best solutions and tools to develop high-quality products, and SOLIDWORKS is an excellent tool. It helps you design great products to market and meet customer requirements.

Whether you have a simple component to design or complex, you can complete your product within the deadline with speed and accuracy. It also provides manufacturing checks and estimation tools to prepare for the production and cost of the product.

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Interaction and collaboration with team members and stakeholders are easy with data management tools and cloud-connected solutions. In addition, analysis tools will help you eliminate errors in your design, and you can access data from any browser irrespective of your location.

SOLIDWORKS provides an intuitive interface for designing, and you can integrate your electrical schematics with the 3D models. It prevents you from performing repetitive actions while developing schematics. You will get a common database for ECAD and MCAD for consistency and saving time during documentation.

Bring your electronic products to life with this software. Try it for free and explore how it makes the design process hassle-free.


nanoCAD is a modern CAD platform that gives designers and engineers the capabilities to design 3D models and electronic components. You can create realistic designs from simple to complex with the help of various tools and features you will get under this software.

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nanoCAD runs in DWG format without the need for conversion and translation. You can easily develop the CAD applications according to your need with the Open API. In addition, you can integrate calculations, link drawings, and automate design activities with external databases.

nanoCAD API supports C, C++, .NET, VBscript, command scripting, JavaScript, LISP, and COM. It also provides a familiar interface so that you feel at home while taking care of the design of the component. Whether you are designing an electronic component or a product, you can get the speed you wish to boost your productivity.

Choose a plan that meets your needs at a starting price of $200/year. You can also go for a free trial of all the modules.


Get one of the best CAD development platforms – IntelliCAD that comes with professional-grade software solutions to design high-quality products. It allows you to focus on the essential things, i.e., vertical solutions of your customer’s product.

It introduces extensive APIs in different languages so that developers can create custom applications, vertical solutions, and custom objects. IntelliCAD includes many features to help you design easily and enhance your final product’s performance.

You can import pdf files and point files like .txt and .csv files. Inserting dynamic blocks is now easy; just press Ctrl to continuously insert points defined by its parameters. You will also get an editing feature for table cells that supports both cells and table styles.

Moreover, the clone command makes it easy to replicate entities quickly. Additionally, you can customize the view transition option to provide a simple animation between view rotation, pan, view changes, and zoom. You will also get features like groups, import shapefiles, geographic maps, multiple drawing layouts, edit array entities, and more.


ECAD software comes with capabilities to help you design, assemble, and simulate your electric circuits and components efficiently and easily without errors. It also saves you time and resources while boosting your productivity so you can deliver high-quality final products on time.

Thus, choose suitable ECAD software based on your requirements from the above list and design your electrical components with efficiency.

  • Durga Prasad Acharya
    Durga Prasad Acharya is a Freelance Technical Writer who loves writing on emerging technologies, such as AI & ML, Cybersecurity, Web Hosting, SaaS, Cloud Computing, and more. Besides writing, he’s a web designer and is passionate about… read more
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