I have been asked to review some schematics and libraries for a client. I work as an electronic engineering consultant, however I do not own a copy of Altium as I haven't had to do any complicated PCB design so have just been using the free version of Eagle.

Currently I was installing the 6 month trial of the Altium Design Viewer to see if this was a suitable tool. However I was looking for a more permanent solution.

I am most likely not going to be required to make changes in Altium in the foreseeable future so am hesitant to purchase.

Did anyone have recommendations for alternative software which could be used for reviewing Altium schematics and libraries?

  • What file format do you need to open? With what filename extension? A link to the documentation of each file format you want to open would help.
    – Nicolas Raoul
    May 25, 2016 at 6:04
  • I wanted to open up a full Altium PCB project including libraries. So .SchLibs .scc .step .PcbDoc .LibPkg .Harness .SchDoc .PcbLib (I think that is all of them) which all come under .PrjPCB
    – Luke
    May 26, 2016 at 3:52

1 Answer 1


Have you considered requesting that the client supply the data in a non proprietary exchange format such as STEP, which is the exchange format for electronics CAD information, or DXF, then using either any software you may already have or:

  • FreeCAD - Better for the mechanical side
  • KiCad - For schematics

Personally I always consider it a valid step in a design review is to check that the design can be successfully, transferred, for outsourcing, to suppliers that may not have exactly the same software that it was originally produced in - sometimes even going from version x.4 to x.3 of the same software, or between exactly the same software on different platforms, breaks things.

  • 1
    Hi Steve, thanks for your answer. Your comments have also given me some food for thought as well. I have commented on my original post to give an idea of some of the file types we are to expect. For this current project some of the files are actually in the STEP format, so this would be a good starting point. The full circuit was also provided as a .pdf, so the main issue is now confirming we are able to review the footprint library correctly. KiCad sounds like it is worth checking out.
    – Luke
    May 26, 2016 at 4:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.