Altium Designer Documentation

OrCAD Export

Modified by Jason Howie on Mar 28, 2018

Altium Designer includes a range of design file export options that allow native design files and data to be transferred to OrCAD® design software. The exported files relate to schematic based data, and apply to both older legacy (DOS) systems and more recent OrCAD programs.

The OrCAD design file exporter is accessed through Altium Designer's Export menu (File » Export), where the available range of export options is relative to the currently active design file.

Installing the Exporter

The OrCAD Importer/Exporter can be installed alongside all other importers and exporters as part of initial installation of Altium Designer. Simply ensure that the OrCAD option - part of the Importers\Exporters functionality set - is enabled, on the Select Design Functionality page of the Altium Designer Installer.

The OrCAD Importer/Exporter is selected for installation as part of the Importers\Exporters area of functionality.

If support has not already been added during initial installation of the software, it can be added from the Configure Platform page, when managing the extensions and updates for your installation through the Extensions & Updates view (click on the  control at the top-right of the workspace and choose Extensions and Updates from the menu):

  1. From the Installed page of the view, click the Configure button at the top-right - to access the Configure Platform page.


First access the Configure Platform page of the Extensions & Updates view.

  1. Scroll down the page and enable the entry for OrCAD, in the Importers\Exporters region of the page.

Then enable the OrCAD option, under Importers\Exporters.

  1. Click the Apply button, back at the top-right of the page. Altium Designer must be restarted for the changes to take effect, so click Yes at the dialog prompt.

Export OrCAD Capture Schematic

To convert an Altium Designer Schematic document (*.SchDoc) to a binary OrCAD Capture schematic file (*.dsn), use the File » Export » Orcad v7 Capture Design command while a schematic design is the currently active Altium Designer document. The exported file’s target name and folder can be specified in the browser dialog that follows.

An Orcad Schematic document may also be exported as part of an Altium Designer Output Job by adding the Orcad v7 Capture Design (AutoSCH) generator to the Output Job's  Export Outputs category (Add New Export Output).

Export OrCAD Capture Schematic Library

To convert an Altium Designer Schematic Library document (*.SchLib) to an OrCAD Capture Schematic Library file (*.olb), select the File » Export » Orcad Capture Schematic library command while a schematic library is the currently active Altium Designer document. The exported file’s target name and folder can be specified in the browser dialog that follows.

Export OrCAD SDT Schematic

To convert an Altium Designer Schematic document (*.SchDoc) to an OrCAD SDT file (*.sch), select the File » Export » Orcad SDT Schematic command while a schematic design is the currently active Altium Designer document – the exported schematic applies to legacy OrCAD products such as OrCAD SDT, PC2 and 386+. The exported file’s target name and folder can be specified in the browser dialog that follows.

Export OrCAD Netlist

To generate and export an OrCAD-compatible netlist (*.net) from an Altium Designer Schematic document (*.SchDoc), first select the File » Export » Netlist Schematic command while a schematic design is the currently active Altium Designer document.

Next, specify the exported file’s target name and folder in the following browser dialog, and then set the OrCad/PCB2 netlist entry as the NetList format option in the Export NetList dialog. Select a Scope option of Project or Document to specify netlist generation for all available project schematics or just the currently active schematic, respectively.

An OrCAD Netlist may also be exported as part of an Altium Designer Output Job by adding the OrCad/PCB2 generator to the Output Job's Netlist Outputs category (Add New Netlist Output).

As an alternative to exporting an OrCAD compatible netlist, the file can be generated and added to the current Altium Designer project via the Design » Netlist for Project or Design » Netlist for Document commands. In the same way as outlined above, use the Netlist for Project or Netlist for Document command to specify the scope of the schematic netlist generation, and the OrCad/PCB2 sub-command to determine the file format.
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