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Symbol Generation

18. August 2023
2 minutes reading


Symbol generation is a crucial process within electronic design where electronic components are graphically represented using symbolic representations. These symbols are fundamental visual depictions used in schematic diagrams, circuit designs, and PCB layouts to illustrate the functions, connections, and relationships of components to each other. Symbol generation is a vital part of PCB design, as accurate and correct symbols ensure that the circuit operates as expected and reduces the risk of errors during production and assembly.

Purpose of Symbol Generation

  • Precise Communication: One of the main purposes of symbol generation is to facilitate precise communication between electronic designers, engineers, and other stakeholders. Having standardized and consistent symbols makes it easier to exchange ideas and understanding of complex electronic circuits.
  • Error-Free Design: Symbol generation helps minimize the risk of errors in the design. When the symbols are accurate and adhere to standards, there is less likelihood of misunderstandings or incorrect connections in the final circuit.
  • Time Saving: Automation of footprint creation and data extraction from datasheets helps reduce the time that would otherwise be required to manually create symbols. This enables a faster design process and shortens development time.
  • Standardization: Symbol generation promotes the use of standards like IPC-7351, which is crucial for maintaining consistency and compatibility across different projects and design tools. Standardization ensures that all involved parties speak the same language and follow recognized practices.
  • Quality Improvement: Automatic error-checking and verification mechanisms help ensure that symbols are correct and meet quality standards. This leads to improved design quality and reduced risk of production-related issues.


  • Automation of Footprint Creation: Symbol generation tools automate the creation of footprints necessary for placing components on the final printed circuit board (PCB). This eliminates the manual and time-consuming process of creating footprints and ensures they are accurate and correct.
  • Compliance with Standards: Symbol generation tools adhere to industry standards like IPC-7351, which establish guidelines for dimensions and tolerances of footprints. This ensures that components are mounted correctly and function as expected.
  • Automatic Data Extraction: The tools often have features for automatically extracting data from datasheets and technical specifications of components. This allows the tools to create symbols with accurate parameters and connections.
  • Library Management: Symbol generation tools help organize and manage component libraries, allowing designers to easily find and use the necessary symbols and footprints in their projects.
  • Error Checking and Verification: The tools often include built-in checks and verification mechanisms that identify any errors or inconsistencies in the symbols. This helps ensure that the design is accurate before progressing to production.
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