Schematic capture / artworking software.

There are a dozen or so free electronic schematic capture and layout packages around (as node-limited versions of commercial packages). I've briefly tried a few (PCB Elegance, 123 and a couple more) but is there one which is head and shoulders above the rest? I'm looking for good library search and easy component placement and routing. Standard generic symbols as well as specifics, and autorouting and placement. Also ability to save as GIF or JPG. What would other users recommend? Incredible - When I was in electronic design for a living (a fair few years ago) my company spent hundreds of thousands of Pounds on a schematic capture and routing package and the SparcStations to run it on.

AndyGadget (author) 9 years ago
Thanks - I tried Eagle but found it a bit too basic. Very easy to use though. I've setttled on DipTrace. 250 pin limit on the free version and no save as JPG, so I'll be printing to a PDF converter instead. Very extensive libraries, but I'm building a stripped down library with the components I use most. The autoplacement and autorouter are a wonder to watch.
westfw9 years ago
Cadsoft's EAGLE is a favorite among hobbyists because of its flexible licensing. YMMV as to whether you find it acceptable. No auto-placement. Saves to PNG and Postscript (no GIF or JPG) as well as the usual professional formats. A lot of the other free packages seem to be semi-abandoned used-to-be products, supported by one or two people as a labor of love. There are a couple open-source efforts; I'd trust them a lot more... EAGLE seems to do very well (IMO) at treading the fine line between a professionally supported product and something approachable by hobbyists. I've seen comments from people who should know better than I that range from "a toy compared to a real package" to "better an easier to use than packages costing 10x as much." (Both of these can be true at the same time, of course.)