schematic drawing software


Joined Oct 18, 2012
There are lots of programs that can draw schematics and more. For instance, I like Eagle, but the program is a PCB layout editor. You can create schematics with it, but the software does much more.

Any of the graphical SPICE programs(PSPICE, LTSPICE, 5SPICE, etc.) can create schematics.

As can KiCAD, Xcircuit, and many more....

Ron H

Joined Apr 14, 2005
I use LTspice. Our erstwhile friend, Audioguru, has said that he uses Microsoft paint exclusively. You really need to build up a library of symbols to make it easy to use.


Joined Apr 24, 2011
Microsoft paint is a pretty good choice, as long as you don't mind dead data (ie, no netlist, etc). I used it for years and it makes good stuff.

The schematic capture from the (free) ExpressPCB download makes good images and is simple to use, and you can do shortcuts with it.

My best suggestion and my choice is KiCad. Has somewhat of a learning curve but I like a package that makes netlists and has a rules check method.


Joined Feb 12, 2009
Microsoft Paint is a bitmap editor. No good for creating circuit diagrams.

You need a vector drawing application.

Visio is good but has to be paid for.

For free, try: Inkscape, LibreOffice Draw.

Or try DraftSight - a free AutoCAD rip-off. Also free. Google for these.

Or one of the schematic circuit diagram applications mentioned above.


Joined Feb 20, 2011
I've used expressPCB in the past, and while it works, I don't care much for it. It's rather bland, and you can't export gerber files--if you plan on designing a PCB, everything has to be done through their company, which is a turn-off for me. I switched to Eagle and loved it, though it is a bit of a learning curve. It's free for small boards (not sure of the dimensions exactly), but if you plan to do anything bigger you'll need to buy the professional version. I was going to try DesignSparkPCB, but the stupid site never sent me an email to activate my account (both times I tried), so I've pretty much given up on it. I've heard great things about KiCad, but it's not free as far as I know. I've used Proteus and like it, though again, it's not free.

I guess if you only want to draw schematics (and not make any boards), and don't mind a bland layout, ExpressPCB will be fine, but personally I'd recommend Eagle for now.


Joined Oct 18, 2012

As far as I know, KiCad is only for linux.

There is a lot of free Science & Engineering software:

A lot is written for linux, but you can use the advanced search to filter other OS systems.

From the KiCAD website homepage:
KiCad is an EDA software suite for the creation of professional schematics and printed circuit boards. Kicad runs on Windows, Linux and Apple OS X and is released under the open-source GNU GPL v2.
I have KiCAD running on my Windows machine...can't use it, but I have it.:)


Joined Sep 30, 2009
I'm learning to use Diptrace, makes more sense to this old guy, that doesn't understand computers that well. So far it seems easier than Eagle.


Joined Apr 16, 2010
Hmm, I agree. It seems a bit over-simplified and sloppy to me.....
I tried to learn Eagle and failed. I suppose that DipTrace is not as comprehensive as Eagle, but then, my needs are not as comprehensive as some.

The only thing that I ever needed to do that DipTrace wouldn't do, was to make pads with the hole off center. I found a workaround, but it was not perfect.