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gerbv - A Free/Open Source Gerber Viewer


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About Gerber files

Gerber files are typically output by a PCB CAD tool (such as the gEDA Project's PCB), and are sent to a PCB manufacturer who uses the files for manufacturing Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs).

There are two standards defining Gerber files: An old one called RS-274D, and a newer one called RS-274X. Gerber files generated in the old format (RS-274D) lack aperture information, which must be supplied separately. The new standard (RS-274X) embeds aperture information into the file. Note: Gerbv displays RS-274X files! Gerbv will not display RS-274D files! When you create Gerber files using your PCB tool make sure you export RS-274X files if you want to view the files with gerbv.

In the Gerber format, the different layers of a PCB (e.g. top silk, top metal, interior layers, etc.) are held in separate files. Information about the PCB's stackup (i.e. layer order, thickness, etc.) is not captured by Gerber files; it is up to the user to supply this information to gerbv, and to his PCB manufacturer.

Gerbv's featureset

In summary, gerbv supports the following features:

Obtaining and installing gerbv

Gerbv is targeted to run on Linux and other UNIX variants. Gerbv is now carried in most of the major Linux distribution's software repositories. Therefore, most people will want to install gerbv using their favorite package tool (such as yum, apt-get, etc.) You can get installation files from the following places:

Build and install instructions


If you wish to build gerbv from source, your system should have the following libraries:

Building gerbv by downloading a release

  1. Download source tarballs from here.
  2. Expand source by running gzip -dc <filename> | tar xf -
  3. Change to newly expanded directory
  4. Type ./configure <switches>.
    The following (gerbv) switches are available to configure:
  5. Type make
  6. Type make install. Please note that if you want to install it in a system directory you have to su first.
  7. Test by typing gerbv

Building gerbv by downloading from anonymous git repository

  1. Check out the source tree:
    git clone git://
  2. Recreate all build system files:
  3. Type ./configure <switches>.
    The following (gerbv) switches are available to configure:
  4. Type make
  5. Type make install. Please note that if you want to install it in a system directory you have to su first.
  6. Test by typing gerbv
  7. Run git pull in the checked out gerbv directory to get the latest changes.

Supported platforms

Gerbv has been built and tested on

Information for developers

Gerbv is split into a core functional library and a GUI portion. Developers wishing to incorporate Gerber parsing/editing/exporting/rendering into other programs are welcome to use libgerbv. Complete API documentation for libgerbv is here, as well as many example programs using libgerbv.

Gerbv now uses git for source code control. It is generously provided by You can get a crash course in geda-projet git from here.

Random resources and information

Gerbv resources

Other Gerber software

Information about Gerber and Excellon file formats

Submitting a patch or addition to gerbv


gerbv and all associated files are released under the GNU Public License (GPL) version 2.0.

Programs and associated files are:
Copyright © 2001 — 2011 by Stefan Petersen and the respective original authors who are listed in the source files.

Contact information