When it comes to drawing circuit diagrams, it’s damn hard to get a clear overview of all the benefits and functionalities different tools have to offer. However, in the end, everybody needs one, so it’s important to know which circuit diagram maker is best tailored to your personal needs.
In the virtual world, an electronic component is represented by a symbol. These symbols are used in the 2D and 3D representation of diagram circuits. All these symbols are linked with straight lines that represent the electrical wires. Taking a step further, all these symbols and lines form a diagram that is used to show you how to connect in an optimal way the electronic components. The final step is using the simulation tool to determine the design defects and deficiencies.
In the following, we explore a series of online and computer software tools for drawing circuit diagrams.
Online tools to draw circuit diagrams
In general, the tools used to draw circuit diagrams in a browser are simple and allows you to produce schematic diagrams at a click away. Any of these online tools can be comparatively with computer software designed for the same purpose. The reason is simple. All the features of a computer software can be implemented in a browser tool for circuit diagrams.
In this category, I made a list with several free online tools that run in a browser and useful for drawing circuit diagrams.
With a comprehensive list of electronic symbols and components, SchemeIt is one of the most completed, simple and useful online schematic and diagramming tool. The tool offers support for drawing and export the electronic circuit as an image, or just to share the work with other users. A complete electronic symbol library makes the work easier for everyone. SchemeIt is compatible with almost all web browsers and is free for use.
Besides building circuits, the CircuitLab has integrated a simulator designed to be used by anyone to test the electronic schema just using the browser. It has a user-friendly interface and offers an accurate analysis of DC or AC electronic components. The CircuitLab tool uses the drag-and-drop gesture while the electronic elements are linked with fewer clicks.
It can be used for educational purposes or by hobbyists to learn the electronic concepts, or used by practicing engineers to explore the design in the same way as traditional tools.
Webtronics is a simple and free online tool for designing schematic circuit diagrams. It allows you to export the electronic schema as a simple image, and to import and edit schematic images.
Falstad is an electronic circuit simulator that runs in browser as a Java applet. Its design is based on colors that can indicate for example positive or negative voltage, and allows you to build simple circuits with mouse clicks.
EasyEDA is a great free web based PCB tool for anyone involved in electronics design and able to share the work with others. The tool allows you to import an old design from several other circuit maker tools, it has the ability to export the designs and simulation results in .PNG or .SVG formats, and can be a host for your partners and colleagues if they want to work on your projects.
Computer software to draw circuit diagrams
A computer software offers different ways to manipulate and organize the electrical circuits including here the possibility to import files, share, and work with complex electronic scheme.
In the following you have available a series of computer software tools to draw and simulate electronic circuits and diagrams.
SmartDraw is a free software designed to create diagrams for electronic circuits. It has a simple and friendly interface based on drag-and-drop gestures. The tool uses simple commands for shapes while the program automatically adjusts the position with the appropriate connections.
Based on standard and custom symbol libraries, TinyCAD is an open source tool for drawing circuit diagrams.
Dia is a program to draw structured diagrams.
- PSPICE 9.1
PSPICE is also available in student version and is used to draw and simulate analog and digital circuits.
KiCad is a free EDA software for professional schematics and printed circuit boards.
FreePCB is an open-source and free diagram tool designed for Windows OS with support for import and export files.
- Circuit Diagram
Circuit Diagram is an open-source and free software used to design electronic circuit diagrams. The tool has support to export the digital circuit in images.
gEDA is a free drawing tool for a large variety of electronic fields including electrical circuit design, schematic capture, simulation, prototyping, and production.
- Solve Elec
Solve Elec is a free tool used to draw and analyze electrical circuits for alternative and direct current. The software offers the possibility to integrate documentation in the project.
- EAGLE PCB
EAGLE PCB is a software with the aim to offer a complete design tool to experts in electronics. It has incorporated not just one module, it has incorporated three modules embedded in one interface.
EDWinXP is not just a drawing tool, this is a complete software package used to design electronic products. From an idea to the final product are many stages, and all of these stages are covered by this tool. The EDWinXP has support for 3D designs.
- Linear Technology
Linear provides a wide range of tools used for modeling and simulate electronic circuits.
- NI Multisim
NI Multisim is a complete tool to draw circuits, and it’s used especially for educational purposes.
PCB123 software offers a complete range of tools for design and print circuits.
- PowerVue Circuit Analyzer
PowerVue tool is dedicated to electrical engineers and used in small and medium projects. Its features include calculating voltage drops and branch currents and also display voltage and current vectors.
DipTrace is a complete tool and has a friendly interface for drawing schemes. The library is a huge box with over 100,000 parts used to design 3D models. The tool offers support for a large number of output formats in order to fit with various manufacturers.
5Spice offers the ability to integrate the drawing circuits with simulation results, and offer support for an unlimited number of analyzes.
Tina is a powerful design suite tool with circuit simulation and for PCB design.
- AmpereSoft ProPlan
AmpereSoft ProPlan is a complete tool to draw circuit diagrams, assembly plans, terminal tables and part lists.
- Stylus Labs
Compatible with Windows, Linux, Mac or Android operating systems, Stylus Labs is a simple software with support for the SVG file format that allows you to view the documents in any browser.
Inkscape has sophisticated drawing tools for diagrams and is one of the designing tools for professional users. It is free and open-source software, which runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
AVSnap is a free software to draw a detailed circuit diagram.
OmniGraffle is a multipurpose drawing tool with powerful styling tools that can organize diagrams with just one click.
With a large community of users, the Fritzing is a useful design tool for Arduino projects. You can share your work with all users, or you can be helped by people in the community.
- LTspice IV
Compatible with Windows and Mac OS X, the LTspice IV is a high-performance SPICE simulator and schematic capture.
- Circuit Diagram
A simple Windows design tool for making electronic circuit diagrams.
This article was last modified on 09 March 2015.