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Improved user interface in free-to-use DesignSpark PCB version 9

10 December 2019

RS Components introduced the latest version of its free-for-use DesignSpark PCB electronics CAD software.

New features within DesignSpark PCB version 9 include dangling connection detection in schematics, net selection in copper pour areas, and enhancements to Excellon NC drill files.

DesignSpark PCB software is a set of free-to-use rapid PCB prototyping tools offering schematics unlimited in number and size, unlimited layers, nodes, pads and connections, integration with RS and manufacturer parts libraries, a library editor to create custom libraries, and integration with free-to-use DesignSpark mechanical and electrical CAD systems. PCB schematics and files created in DesignSpark PCB can also be imported into the more powerful DesignSpark PCB Pro by users where a more complex set of design rules and characteristics are required.

Among the new features of Design PCB version 9, schematic design now provides a dangling connections report, showing up any component pin where a net has been generated but not completed or assigned. In addition, designers can now select nets located within a specific copper pour area, rather than having to select from all nets in the design, as previously. 

Other improvements include:

• Symbols changed and saved in the component editor are now automatically updated in preview windows. 
• Dialogue boxes such as Add Component in the library manager can be resized so component names can be read in full. 
• Add Text allows selection of text style and alignment.
• Users can exit Cross Probe mode as soon as a selection is made. 
• Buttons for easier selection or deselection of all or individual layers in the Plotting dialogue box. 
• New Library Wizards provide options for creating and saving a new library item. 
• A new Goto bar allows searching by component name. 

Maurice Banting, Head of Design Software and Tools commented: “DesignSpark PCB is our flagship entry point for electronic design engineers on tight budgets who are looking to explore a wider range of PCB design options. Combined with DesignSpark PCB Pro, and our comprehensive range of model libraries and footprints, customers have access to a set of resources that are geared towards helping them accelerate their design time-to-market. We are committed to improving our functionality and drawing on feedback from our user community, to ensure that cost barriers to innovation continue to fall for engineers around the world.”

New and existing DesignSpark PCB users can download version 9 from, free of charge for both personal and commercial use. Support is available via video tutorials, libraries and an online DesignSpark engineering community of more than 850,000 members.

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