Keep Your Eagle Software Files When You Migrate to Altium

Zachariah Peterson
|  Created: October 5, 2020
Keep Your Eagle Software Files When You Migrate to Altium

When your free design software and other programs like designing circuit boards with Eagle Software don’t include critical design features, you’re stuck finding a workaround with another design tool. The real price of budget design software is lost time, lost productivity, and headaches that arise from inconsistent workflows and compatibility problems. When it’s time to get serious about PCB design, it’s time to look at Altium Designer. Below we'll explore Eagle Software vs Altium Designer, and we’re confident you’ll make the switch.


The most powerful, modern, and easy-to-use PCB design tool for professional use.

Designing a modern PCB can be a complicated affair. If you’re working on your own, you’ll play the role of a systems designer, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and PCB manufacturing engineer simultaneously. Computer-aided printed circuit board design software like Eagle Software (sometimes referred to as Autodesk Eagle, CadSoft Eagle, or Eagle PCB design software) lacks the advanced functionality you need to stay productive and create advanced circuit boards.

If you’re looking for a replacement PCB design platform, look no further than Altium Designer. You’ll have access to a complete set of design tools for creating powerful new technology. It’s time to move up to Altium Designer and access the best and most complete suite of PCB design features.

Altium Designer Gives You Advanced Design Tools

The set of design tools in Altium Designer is built for advanced PCBs, but they are still easy to access and easy to use. Starting with one of the most advanced schematic editors available, Altium Designer’s intelligent user interface will help you design circuits for advanced technology. From there, Altium Designer gives you schematic capture features to help you create a PCB layout with ease. You can create simple and advanced boards with a single application when you use Altium Designer.

Advanced PCB Design Tools for Your Growing Design Needs

The intuitive schematic editor in Altium Designer exceeds expectations and makes it easy to use schematic capture to create a new PCB layout. When you need to design advanced boards with high-speed signals on multiple layers, Altium Designer is ready with advanced routing and signal integrity features to keep you at the cutting edge.

Schematic editor in Altium Designer

Your Eagle PCB library files are accessible in Altium Designer’s unified PCB design environment.

Eagle Software vs Altium Designer: Use Unified PCB Design Tools

There are clearly many factors that go into how determining which software is better. When it comes to circuit board design, your CAD software should be easy to use while still giving you a complete set of features. Here’s what you’ll find in Altium Designer’s unified design environment:

  • Superior Schematic Capture and Layout Tools: Built with the PCB designer in mind, Altium Designer’s schematic capture, and layout tools are the bread-and-butter for any PCB design software. Altium Designer’s design tools are built to handle complex designs in multiple schematic sheets and multiple boards.
  • Unified Design Environment: What makes Altium Designer from Eagle CAD, OrCAD PCB, Designspark PCB, Unisoft software, and a host of other programs is its integrated PCB design interface. Within the unified design environment, a user can jump from the circuit board layout to the 3D model viewer to BOM management and component information. Your schematic, layout, and component library files will synchronize easily.
  • Online Design Rule Checking: As you create your circuit board, the online DRC engine will check your schematics and layout against your design rules. This flags design errors early and ensure your design will pass important electrical tests and DFM checks.
  • Simulation and Analysis Tools: Altium Designer also includes a PDN analyzer and signal integrity analysis tools. You can take data from your PCB layout and instantly run simulations without a separate program.
  • Advanced Auto and Auto-Interactive Routing Tools: Routing tools are essential for keeping designers productive and routing traces accurately. Altium Designer includes an intuitive auto-interactive router to help guide you through complicated routing routines.

Altium Designer gives you an intuitive and seamless design workflow. Altium’s software engineers know what your needs are, and they are constantly improving Altium Designer to give you a complete set of design features that work together.

Access the Best User Interface in Altium Designer

The best PCB design tools are easy to access, easy to use and make you more productive. You’ll still need access to all the components you’ll find in Eagle PCB layout component library files, Adafruit libraries, and other formats like a Sparkfun Eagle library or EDM library. You shouldn’t have to recreate your old projects and libraries when you start using new design software.

The CAD tools in Altium Designer are built to take you to design the most advanced PCBs and are easily accessible within a single program. Instead of using a CAD tool with an antiquated workflow that was never intended for modern PCBs, you need to use PCB design software with the best design tools integrated in a single design environment. Access all your old projects and component library files when you make the switch from Eagle circuit board design CAD to Altium Designer.

Screenshot of Altium Designer’s schematic editor and PCB layout

Altium Designer’s unified environment is the key to PCB design success.

The Ease of Switching to Altium Designer

You probably don’t need a lot of convincing when it comes to switching up to Altium Designer from Eagle CAD. The lack of features, archaic programming scripts, and an outdated workflow make simple circuit board design tasks difficult. If you’re tired of the workflow in Eagle's software for PCB design, Altium Designer comes with the capability to easily translate your Eagle PCB design files.

Switching to Altium Designer from Eagle circuit board design CAD, Designspark PCB, or OrCAD PCB might seem like a huge leap. You might be worried the work you put into creating your old projects and libraries will be lost forever. When you’re ready to make the switch, Altium Designer includes conversion tools that will import your old libraries and projects into Altium’s file format. With very little effort you can translate your Eagle BRD, SCH, and LBR files straight into the Altium Designer environment.

Altium Designer Gives You Everything for PCB Design

Other design tools separate your important design features into separate programs, making simple design tasks extremely difficult. With Altium Designer, you’ll have a complete set of design features in a single program. You can create schematics and a circuit board layout with multiple layers, and prepare your board for manufacturing with a unified interface. Eagle's software and other design programs can’t offer this depth of advanced design features.

Become an ultra librarian with the design tools in Altium Designer

Create your manufacturing documents and bills of materials easily in Altium Designer

There’s no reason to use outdated Eagle PCB library files in substandard PCB design software. Once you migrate to Altium Designer, you’ll have all your component library files and projects available in the world’s best PCB design platform. Keep your old projects and design cutting-edge technology with Altium Designer, the world’s only integrated PCB design platform.

Altium Designer on Altium 365 delivers an unprecedented amount of integration to the electronics industry until now relegated to the world of software development, allowing designers to work from home and reach unprecedented levels of efficiency.

We have only scratched the surface of what is possible to do with Altium Designer on Altium 365. You can check the product page for a more in-depth feature description or one of the On-Demand Webinars.

About Author

About Author

Zachariah Peterson has an extensive technical background in academia and industry. He currently provides research, design, and marketing services to companies in the electronics industry. Prior to working in the PCB industry, he taught at Portland State University and conducted research on random laser theory, materials, and stability. His background in scientific research spans topics in nanoparticle lasers, electronic and optoelectronic semiconductor devices, environmental sensors, and stochastics. His work has been published in over a dozen peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, and he has written 2500+ technical articles on PCB design for a number of companies. He is a member of IEEE Photonics Society, IEEE Electronics Packaging Society, American Physical Society, and the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (PCEA). He previously served as a voting member on the INCITS Quantum Computing Technical Advisory Committee working on technical standards for quantum electronics, and he currently serves on the IEEE P3186 Working Group focused on Port Interface Representing Photonic Signals Using SPICE-class Circuit Simulators.

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