Gerber files for PCB: How are they important in manufacturing your printed circuit boards?

Gerber files are the most commonly accepted design file formats to fabricate and assemble printed circuit boards. They ensure an efficient manufacturing process by standardizing the design data transfer from engineers to PCB manufacturers. Once you complete the circuit design and proceed to order placement, your contract manufacturer will ask for the design files to accurately build your PCBs. If there are any errors in your shared data, then defective boards, extra costs, and time delays are inevitable. To avoid such consequences, Gerber files play a crucial role in PCB manufacturing.

What is a Gerber file? What information does it include?

A Gerber file is a standard file format used in the printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing industry. It contains information about the artwork, or the copper layers, of a PCB design. Gerber files are essential for translating the electronic design data generated by PCB design software into physical PCBs during the manufacturing process.

The Gerber format includes several files, each representing a different layer of the PCB design. The common Gerber files include:

Top Copper Layer (GTL): This file contains information about the top layer of copper traces, pads, and components.

Bottom Copper Layer (GBL): Similar to GTL but for the bottom layer.

Top Silkscreen (GTO): This file contains information about the top layer’s silkscreen, which includes component outlines, reference designators, and other markings.

Bottom Silkscreen (GBO): Similar to GTO but for the bottom layer.

Top Solder Mask (GTS): This file represents the areas where solder mask should be applied on the top layer, protecting copper traces from solder during the assembly process.

Bottom Solder Mask (GBS): Similar to GTS but for the bottom layer.

Drill Files (TXT or DRL): These files contain information about the locations and sizes of holes that need to be drilled into the PCB. Sometimes, drill files are in Excellon format (EXL or similar)

Importance of Gerber files in PCB manufacturing:

Gerber files play a crucial role in the manufacturing of printed circuit boards (PCBs). They are the standard file format used to convey PCB design information to PCB manufacturers. Here’s why Gerber files are important in the PCB manufacturing process:

Universal Standard:

Gerber files are an industry-standard format for PCB fabrication. They are universally recognized by PCB manufacturers worldwide. Using a standardized format ensures compatibility and seamless communication between PCB designers and manufacturers.

Layer Information:

PCBs are often designed with multiple layers, such as signal layers, power planes, and solder mask layers. Gerber files contain information about each layer, specifying the conductor traces, pads, vias, and other features on each layer.

Aperture Information:

Gerber files include aperture information that defines the shapes and sizes of the features on the PCB. Apertures represent openings for pads, traces, and other elements. This information is crucial for accurately reproducing the design during the manufacturing process.

Copper Traces and Pads:

Gerber files provide detailed information about the copper traces, pads, and other conductive elements on the PCB. This information is essential for creating the copper layers during the etching or plating processes.

Solder Mask and Silkscreen:

Gerber files include data for the solder mask and silkscreen layers. The solder mask protects the copper traces from environmental factors and prevents unintended solder bridges. The silkscreen layer contains markings, component outlines, and other information for assembly.

Drill Information:

Gerber files also include drill data, specifying the locations and sizes of holes needed for mounting components and creating vias. This information guides the drilling process during PCB fabrication.

Quality and Accuracy:

The use of Gerber files ensures that the PCB manufacturer receives accurate and precise information about the design. This reduces the risk of errors and discrepancies between the intended design and the manufactured PCB.

CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing):

Gerber files are processed by CAM software used by PCB manufacturers. This software interprets the Gerber data and generates the instructions for the various manufacturing processes, such as imaging, etching, drilling, and solder mask application.


Gerber files are the universal data transfer formats used in the PCB manufacturing industry. They enable high-yield mass production of your PCB products. The latest version, Gerber X2 is popular among PCB manufacturers for delivering high-performance and reliable PCBs. These Gerber files reduce fabrication errors, increase profits and boost product-to-market timelines.

Fubon Precision Electronics is one of the leading providers of PCB manufacturing services to all the dominant industries. Having a strong manufacturing unit with a strong tool room and a team of experts, we are the one that provides cost effective solutions with keeping quality at the nucleus in each stage of PCB manufacturing.

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