Are there any good references on advanced PCB design/layout/routing? There seems to be a large wealth of circuit design books, books about RF PCB design, and books dealing with high-speed digital design. None of these books are what I'm talking about. The type of book I am looking for is along the lines of PCB best practices for general digital/low speed analog/power supply layout & routing. What is the de-facto standard book they use in college classes for this topic (similar to the way that Oppenheim et. al.'s Discrete-Time Signal Processing is used in many DSP classes, or Sedra & Smith's Microelectronic Circuits is popular in many Circuit Design Classes)? Can anyone recommend a good PCB design/layout/routing book for this type of design? Would a high-speed design book be a sufficient in that it would be overly-strict based on lower speed designs?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think they teach PCB design in college classes. At least they didn't in the 80's. Most people of my generation picked that up on the job. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 16:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ I wasn't sure if they did or not. I didn't recall any classes when I went to college except for RF PCB design classes. Isn't it odd that every engineer comes out of college not having learned such an important topic and responsible for knowing it? \$\endgroup\$
    – Joel B
    Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 17:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ related: Getting started with PCB designing \$\endgroup\$
    – davidcary
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 11:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Lets not close these old questions \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 16:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please note: This question would be closed as off topic if posted today. It is here only because when it was created back in 2011 the rules against making requests for help in finding off-site resources had not crystalized. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 22, 2020 at 18:04

5 Answers 5


The standard IPC-2221, "Generic Standard on Printed Board Design" is quite complete - it covers:

  • General Requirements
  • Materials
  • Mechanical/Physical Properties
  • Electrical Properties
  • Thermal Management
  • Component and Assembly Issues
  • Holes/Interconnections
  • General Circuit Feature Requirements
  • Documentation
  • Quality Assurance

It is intended to

establish design principles and recommendations that shall be used in conjunction with the detailed requirements of a specific interconnecting structure sectional standard ... to produce detailed designs intended to mount and attach passive and active components.

(and you can check out the other IPC dependencies related to specific subjects such as rigid/flex circuits, high speed design etc...)

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    \$\begingroup\$ The document linked to only consists of a table of contents. IPC, like all the other money-grubber standardization organizations, wants money (USD 62) for the full document (which the original answer linked to. That's all I'm saying ;-)). \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 10:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Franky - The spec is not one of the free IPC publications, it's for sale at $62 on the IPC website. I've changed that link because it is illegal in most (not all?) countries; we'd generally like to avoid linking to copyright infringing sites. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 10:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Steven - $62 is nothing when it comes to standards. What a nice change of pace! It almost makes me doubt the money-grubbing nature of the IPC. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 10:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kevin - agreed, ISO is often more expensive. OTOH, some joint IPC/JEDEC standards, like J-STD-609, are freely available from JEDEC, whereas IPC changes for them. I like JEDEC better. When I say money-grubbing it's because most of them charge for membership, then for voting rights, and a third time for the documents. I would think they should be happy to disseminate their documents as widely as possible. \$\endgroup\$
    – stevenvh
    Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 10:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @stevenvh one would think, but USB charges outrageous for obtaining your own vendor id for use in your own devices, and membership for PCI spec group is even more. Let alone having a device tested OpenCable certification. Anyway, I won't link to the copy of the spec I found (which is circa 1998) but I will say it's googlable. \$\endgroup\$
    – MDMoore313
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 13:55

One book that helped me quite a lot was Johnson and Grahams "High Speed Digital Design". Quite old, but the theory hasn't changed so still very useful reading.
Analog Devices technical documentation has a few good app notes like "A practical guide to PCB layout" and "PCB Design Issues" Their web archives contain some good stuff too.

Although the theory stays the same, the important factors vary from application to application - e.g. a digital only board, mixed signal (e.g. opamps/ADCs with uC) or analog only board. Grounding with mixed signal can get quite interesting, needing careful attention to return paths, placement of power sources, breaks in plane causing return path to deviate, etc. A high impedance analog signal may need routing well away from anything digital, sometimes even a 90 degree crossing might not be acceptable.
In amplification systems (e.g audio, especially microphone amplifiers) one problem is the (often huge) difference of signal levels and impedances from input to output, so needs careful routing to avoid coupling from output back to input.

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    \$\begingroup\$ High speed digital design is definitively not the easiest read I have ever had but the most valuable of any source I looked into. I bought a copy and have it somewhere in my house and have a pdf it is so fantastic. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kortuk
    Commented Nov 3, 2011 at 14:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good book, but uses imperial units. :/ \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 11:48

I agree that there doesn't seem to be a standard book for "simple" PCB design -- relatively slow and simple digital circuits; relatively slow and low-precision analog op-amp circuits; and everything else on a PCB necessary to support them. I agree that it's a little odd that all the EEs I know graduated college without knowing how to do this, yet everyone seems to expect them to know how to do this.

I'm collecting a list of books related to PCB layout at the Massmind.

So far I have

  • IPC-D-275D Design standard for rigid Printed Boards and rigid Printed Board Assemblies http://www.ipc.org
  • Murrietta Circuits Design Layout Standards http://www.murrietta.com/mc-ls.htm
  • High-Speed Digital Design : A Handbook of Black Magic by Dr. Howard Johnson, and Martin Graham. See also: H. Johnson's archived newsletters [ on http://www.sigcon.com/ ]
  • Digital Design for Interference Specifications (2nd Edition) by David Terrell and R. Kenneth Keenan.
  • EMC and the Printed Circuit Board by Mark I. Montrose.
  • EMC at Component and PCB Level
  • High Speed PCB Design by Lee W. Ritchey and James C. Blankenhorn.
  • Surface-Mount Technology for PC Boards by James K. Hollomon, Jr. (1995)
  • Printed Circuit Board Basics by Michael Flatt
  • Archambeault, Bruce R. "Pcb Design for Real-World Emi Control" ISBN:1402071302 ISBN:9781402071300 A current university textbook.
  • Wikibooks: Practical Electronics Layout (a)

The "Bible" for PCB design is "Coombs' Printed Circuit Handbook". Most of the content of the book is about mechanical issues and manufacturing processes for building the PWB. But that's okay, these are really the issues that a printed circuit layout designer will be expected to know. More importantly, these are the issues that the circuit design engineer will be likely to ignore, and expect the layout person to take care of.

And yes, the book is like 1000 pages. That's because there really is that much that you have to know to have solid knowledge of printed circuit design. It's probably not a great book to learn from, but it will probably be the reference you use to answer most questions after you know what you're doing.


old topic, but new book. might be good to add this list: http://blog.cadsoftusa.com/2014/05/neues-englischsprachiges-buch-uber-eagle-erhaltlich/ A new manual about PCB design written by Simon Monk.


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