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 files formats are compatible with AD18 and SWPCB2018.

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

From Altium Designer to SOLIDWORKS PCB:

Save the file as binary 5.0. You do not need to change the extension to .doc

After saving the file, Open SOLIDWORKS PCB.
The file cannot be directly opened in SW PCB. Do Not use File -> Open. Use Select File -> Import.

When the import dialog opens, you will need to provide it the appropriate filter:

From SOLIDWORKS PCB to Altium Designer:

The importation of the .SWPcbDoc into Altium Designer simply 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 prior to the name change)

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