Working Between SOLIDWORKS PCB and Altium Designer

Since SOLIDWORKS PCB (SWPCB) was established on the same platform as Altium Designer (AD), the file formats are the same or similar.

The following formats are the same for both SWPCB and AD as of SW PCB 2017 SP3.0 and Altium Designer 17.1:

  • Schematics - .schdocs
  • Schematic symbol libraries - .schlib
  • PCB footprints - .pcblib

NOTE: The schematic, schematic symbol library, and PCB footprint library file formats are compatible with AD18, AD19, NEXUS, Concord Pro, SWPCB2018, and SWPCB2019. This will be the case for new Altium and SOLIDWORKS PCB releases in the foreseeable future.

Though similar in nature, the SWPCB and AD PCB layouts' formats are not directly compatible and require some administrative finessing.

From Altium Designer to SOLIDWORKS PCB:

No file format modification is required when saving the .PcbDoc document in Altium Designer.

In the project directory in Windows Explorer (NOT Internet Explorer), copy the .PcbDoc document file and paste the document with the extension .CSpcbDoc


The .CSPcbDoc file cannot be directly opened in SW PCB. Do not use File -> Open.
Note: The user must be in a project for the import option to be available.

After clicking on the import item in the File menu, provide the path and the file type.

After the import is complete, SW PCB will convert the file to a .SWPcbDoc.

From SOLIDWORKS PCB to Altium Designer:

The importation of the .SWPcbDoc into Altium Designer requires the use of the importation tool built into Altium Designer.

In Altium Designer, open a new .PcbDoc file: (File >> New >> PCB)

Once the new .PcbDoc file is open, proceed to File >> Import >> Altium PCB

When prompted, navigate to the appropriate directory and selected the .SWPcbDoc file

Note that this import is also used for importing CircuitMaker, CircuitStudio, and PCBworks (which was SW PCB before the name change)

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