A Gerber File is a standard file format used by printed circuit board (PCB) fabrication houses. They contain the data necessary for computer controlled machines to draw exact patterns for circuit boards. These patterns are typically used to electrically connect components in electronic assemblies. The patterns usually contain features such as land patterns, signal traces, drilled holes, milling and cutting information. The Gerber Format was originally a subset of EIA RS-274-D. Later the format was extended by the so called "Mass Parameters" and was then also called RS-274-X. The LayoutEditor supports this new RS-274-X standard. The newer Gerber format RS-274X, also known as X-Gerber or Extended Gerber, includes the aperture information in the file headers. With embedded apertures, every X-Gerber file contains all the necessary information about how each PCB layer should look. However, there are still problems with the interpretation of these files, such as on polygons, or the question of which file to use for which layer. Gerber file extensions are often .GBR, .GBX. Sometimes extensions such as .TOP and .BOT are used instead.
A Gerber File stores only a single layer of a design. For this reason they are handled in a different way to file formats which store multiple layers. With the open function, a new cell is opened and the file data is added to the active layer. The import function adds the file data to the current cell on the active layer. An update will replace all elements on the active layer in the current cell with the file data. A Gerber File cannot handle any hierarchy meaning that a flat copy of the design is saved. All used layers are saved in independent file. These files are named like filename-layername.gbx. Additionally, a macro is created which loads all created gerber files.
Gerber files may also use a "layer polarity", which must contain clear elements. If this option is activated, these elements will be added onto a layer that is one higher than the active layer. If the option is not actived, the boolean operation will be performed between the two layer polarities.
If this option is activated, paths are checked on arcs. These arcs will be saved with a circular interpolation instead of a linear interpolation.
If this option is activated, generated files will be optimized on a minimal non-exposure length. This option is useful for outputting the file on physical machines and thus minimizes the writing time.
The Gerber file format can handle circles. Circles are not supported by the LayoutEditor as basic elements nor in the GDSII file format, they are stored as regular polygons. By activating this option, any regular polygon with more than 8 points will be saved as a circle element and not as a polygon.