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Elevate PCB Design
with OrCAD Libraries

common component packages
Electronic components are the building blocks of circuits, and their land patterns are likewise for OrCAD libraries.
Library maintenance has rapidly evolved in response to the supply chain issues provoked by lockdowns and shorthanded workforces during the COVID-19 pandemic responses. Sourcing has become far more involved, requiring design teams to pivot between multiple assemblies due to component shortages. In these times, keeping OrCAD libraries up-to-date is even more critical as designs shift to accommodate alternate packages or components that may call for entirely different land patterns.

Ultra Librarian Integration for OrCAD CIP

Obtain immediate access to a growing library of over 16 million verified parts from the leading component manufacturers. With Ultra Librarian integration built directly into OrCAD software, you can easily search, preview, and place parts with a simple drag and drop or download components to your library for use in future designs.

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Download components for free in over 30 CAD formats. Models are available for download on Ultra Librarian, or from participating distributors, manufacturers, or PCB design tools.

Design in your preferred CAD tool or through our available apps and integrations. Get back to what matters most; innovation, not part creation.

OrCAD Libraries and the Design Cache

OrCAD libraries operate as hubs during schematic and part design. Here, users can store parts, symbols, schematic pages, and folders for later reference and reuse. Libraries exist above individual projects: parts and symbols live in these central databases and can be checked out to include in any design. 

Notably, the libraries differ from the design cache, local to the project, for all the parts and symbols found therein. Placing a part from a library into the file for the first time creates a copy stored in the design cache; every instance of the part refers to this original copy linked to the library part from which it originated.

Users will want to practice good file management when utilizing the libraries or any files contained within. Some common issues can include:


Editing parts or symbols directly in the installed library file paths. These paths are prone to overwriting when updating OrCAD software. A better method is to create a custom library for any edited or additional parts and symbols.

File Pathway Errors

Moving a library after placing a part. Because the part copy is pointing to a file pathway that no longer exists, the link between the design cache and library is no longer active.

Data Backup

In the event of erroneous changes or file corruption, a backup file is generated with a .OBK extension every time a library is saved.

Importing Ultra Librarian Files into OrCAD

OrCAD Library Management via Synchronization

As the design cache descends hierarchically from the libraries, annotation becomes important when editing parts or symbols in either area. The libraries and design cache should agree that the same part or symbol is identical. Editing a part in either the library or design cache means it must also be updated in the other if there are any differences. Updates to parts can take place in sync.  Typically, these changes would proceed from the library to the design cache; consider the two major functions of amending the cache:
Updating pushes any edits to parts from the libraries to the design cache for those parts/symbols that are linked between the two.
Replacing exchange instances of a particular part with a new part in the library. This can also be used to relink parts that have had their link to the library sundered.

Why would a part in the design cache and library lose association? Updating either single instances of parts or all instances in a schematic page effectively introduces it as a new part without any link to the library. Alternatively, copy and paste functionality can push new parts from the design cache to the library.

OrCAD’s part format uses the library to set the pin parameters, meaning updating or replacing the cache overrides any alterations to the pin properties made at the schematic level. Often, pin properties are used to implement back annotated design changes like pin or gate swapping that reduce the design complexity of the board, improve performance, or excise unnecessary features. Because replacing or updating the cache loads pin properties from the library, annotations made to the schematic will be lost. To avoid duplicating work, implement annotation changes after verifying the part list.

How Library Quality Percolates Through Designs

OrCAD library management is central to the design flow of PCB production, as parts and symbols build schematics, schematics build board files, and so on down the line. Think of parts and symbols as the basis of the final manufactured board: even minor mistakes at this level can be extremely consequential for successive stages of development. A part with an incorrect pinout or incorrectly designed land pattern could result in an entire scrapped run if severe enough.
By the same token, investing in quality part design can significantly reduce the chance of defects, improve readability, and generally facilitate a superior product. Here are a few things to keep in mind to enhance part quality:

Assembly Markers

Polarity indicators, pin 1 indicators, and other orientation graphics prevent installation issues during assembly. Ensure the fonts/shapes are straightforward and legible at an appreciable distance.

Thermal Pads

Consider setting thermal pads to maximum dimensions (alternatively, nominal plus tolerance) for increased performance and solderability.

File Naming Convention

An internal naming system for parts that follows IPC rules can be extended to variant part designs to ease part lookup and encourage design reuse to avoid library redundancy.

The correct parts and symbols in your OrCAD libraries can make or break your board. Your design team can benefit from the verified OrCAD library downloads from Ultra Librarian. Your team can better focus their efforts on the intensive engineering processes of board design when libraries of millions of components can be built, maintained, and integrated with mouse clicks instead of manhours.

See How OrCAD Uses Our Service

Cadence OrCAD software offers high-performance PCB Design tools with the goal of boosting productivity. In order to mitigate errors within the design process, OrCAD teamed up with Ultra Librarian to provide users with access to all the parts they need within the software to complete their designs. With access to Ultra Librarian’s massive library of parts, OrCAD customers can now preview, download, and place symbols directly into their schematic without ever leaving the design environment.

On average, users reported saving three hours per component to develop and verify symbols and footprints, with more time to focus on the integrity of their designs.

UltraBOM for OrCAD

Get the Component Information You Need Without Leaving OrCAD Capture

1. Search Digi-Key part information, review component parametrics, status, availability, and cost all inside OrCAD

2. Select and place symbols with linked footprints and Digi-Key supplier data using the Ultra Librarian library

3. Submit fully-managed Bill of Materials directly to Digi-Key for part purchase

Working with Ultra Librarian sets up your team for success to ensure streamlined and error-free design, production, and sourcing. Register today for free.