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18. August 2023
2 minutes reading


In electronic design, a footprint refers to the geometric layout description of an electronic component’s pins and associated solder pads on a printed circuit board (PCB). It provides an accurate representation of how the component should be physically positioned and soldered onto the PCB. The footprint specifies the placement of pins, dimensions and shape of solder pads, as well as the necessary clearance areas and silkscreen markings.

Purpose of a footprint

  • Define the physical layout and connectivity configuration of an electronic component on a printed circuit board (PCB).
  • Enable proper assembly and connection of the specific component onto the PCB.
  • Ensure that the component’s pins align correctly with the PCB’s traces and connection points.
  • Prevent misalignment, poor connection, or short circuits that could negatively impact the PCB’s performance.
  • Contribute to achieving optimal electrical performance and ensure the design functions as expected under various operating conditions.
  • Critical for reliable electronic assembly and well-functioning electronic devices.


Geometry Definition
The footprint specifies the geometric shape, size, and layout of an electronic component on the PCB.

Pin Placement
It precisely indicates where the pins or connection points of the component should be placed on the PCB.

Connection Points
The footprint defines the connection points on the PCB where the component will be soldered.

It establishes the traces that connect the individual pins of the component to other components or circuits on the PCB.

Soldering Areas
The footprint designates the areas where solder should be applied to attach the component to the PCB.

Thermal Reliefs
It includes thermal reliefs around the pins, aiding in regulating heat distribution during the soldering process.

Stencil Design
It also contains information about the stencil layout used to apply solder paste during the Surface Mount Technology (SMT) soldering process.

3D Model
A footprint may also include an associated 3D model representing the physical shape of the component to assist with mechanical design and collision testing.

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