Gerber Files- what are they?

The Beginning

First, some definitions:

  1. Aperture- define thickness of traces, size, and shape of pads.
  2. Macros- AM parameters. These define complex shapes for registration marks, logos, lettering, and other special design geometry.
  3. PCB- a printed circuit board.

Now, what is a Gerber file? Basically, a Gerber file is a standard file format used in electronics. It’s kind of like a PDF. They’re used by manufacturers as a way to interpret PCB design info.

Gerber files contain instructions including:

  1. Configuration parameters
  2. Macro and aperture definitions
  3. Drawing commands
  4. X/Y coordinate information for component locations


When ordering, if you’re submitting your own files, note that a 2 layer PCB will need up to 9 Gerber files:

  1. Top Copper
  2. Bottom Copper
  3. Top Solder Mask
  4. Bottom Solder Mask
  5. Top Silkscreen
  6. Bottom Silkscreen
  7. Drill file (has drill hole locations/ properties)
  8. Board outline (includes cutouts and scoring)
  9. README file (includes name and intended file use)

Also note that you have to put your Gerber files into a ZIP to submit them to your manufacturer of choice.


Here are some PCB manufacturer options: