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What's Good About Allegro PCB Editor PDF Publisher? See for Yourself in 16.5!

Comments(6)Filed under: PCB Layout and routing, PCB design, SPB, Allegro PCB Editor, Allegro, PCB Editor, property, PCB, layout, design, SPB16.5, Allegro 16.5, Allegro GUI, Grzenia, PDF Publisher, PDF, artwork

Starting with release 16.5, it is possible to export data from Allegro PCB Editor into PDF files. PDF files are more portable and secure in comparison to .brd files and can be used by customers to share a subset of design data with their vendors who do not need direct access to design data. PDF files can easily be posted on websites and opened within browsers.

Read on for more details …

Basic Information

The PDF output is driven by Artwork Film Records.  It also exports net and component data along with properties. If you try to export all the data, the file size becomes larger than the board file.

  • The PDF files generated can be viewed in Adobe Reader 9.0 and Adobe Reader X.
  • The utility can be run from the command line as well as the Allegro PCB Editor UI.

Here’s what the PDF Publisher form contains:


PDF Generation

The PDF generation is based on the Artwork films defined. Each film becomes one sheet of the PDF file. There are many control options available in the PDF generation.

Some of these key options are:

There is a separate password for opening the file -- and another for modifying the permissions.  The permissions are listed under File > Properties in the Adobe Reader.  The permissions can be changed in Adobe Acrobat (if it is not protected with a password).

Board/Symbol Outlines
If  this is option is set, the board and symbol outlines are added to all layers if the PIN CLASS is exported in the film.

Filled Pads, Filled Shapes, Drill holes
Can be turned on and off.

Property Data
Property data can be made made visible in Adobe Reader's model property dialog (the lowest part of the model tree). Property data consumes a lot of space.  It needs to be added judiciously.  You can control which properties are added to the PDF file in the Property Parameters tab.

Test Point
You can generate test point information in the PDF file and it will be available in the PDF output model tree.

The PDF file can be generated directly from a batch command.

Here’s a screenshot of the various Layers and Model Tree objects available in the PDF output:



As always – I look forward to your feedback in using this great new capability.

Jerry “GenPart” Grzenia


By Ulf Kylenfall on October 17, 2012
I have longed for such a feature, since trying to create a .PDF output by using the plot function always means that I have to mess with colors in order to get a readable output (.PDF becomes all black or whatever color has the preference if there is a ground plane). But: It seems that the described feature is not included in Allegro PCB Designer. When loading a .BRD and the trying to do File|Export|PDF I get an error message "No License Found. Please contact your Cadence sales support".

By Jerry GenPart on October 17, 2012
Hi Ulf,
You are correct. This option is licensed separately from the Allegro PCB Editor. It uses the Allegro Design Publisher Option license ( which is also used by the Design Entry  HDL product ).  The Product Number is PA1220.
Jerry G.

By Win Min on December 23, 2012
When I generate the pdf , I still couldn't generate model tree, component tree or net tree in my pdf file. I choose these options in PDF publisher. Is there any step that I am missing?

By Jerry GenPart on January 3, 2013
Hi Win Min,
There should be nothing special in Allegro PCB Editor to insure you see data in the Model Tree view in Adobe Reader. Check that you have some properties listed in the Property Parameters tab of the PDF Publisher form. Then make sure you see the Model Tree icon in Adobe Reader per the image above in the blog post.
Jerry G.

By Rob Uschmann on June 28, 2013
The pdf creator is a great help generating documents. One drawback however, is if i create a multi-sheet pdf file, after selecting multiple film control files, the result pdf file doesn't seem to put them in any kind of alpha numertic order based on my film control file names. Is there a way of setting this up in Allegro so the pdf file is generated with  L1 first and L16 last?

By Jerry GenPart on July 1, 2013
Hi Rob,
Good point. Currently, Allegro PCB Editor exports PDF Films in the same order as they are in the database. There is no option to change the order.
However, there were several enhancement CCR requests for this feature and the good news is that an option has been added for a  film sequence order in the PDF export utility. This has just been fixed in internal code and will go through our standard QA testing. The enhancement will be available in a future 16.6 HotFix (no update to the 16.6 release is planned).
Jerry G.

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