I was reading online and found this site: http://www.cppsim.com/

I was very curious how this professor drew all these circuit diagrams in his lecture notes (such as this one: http://www.cppsim.com/CommCircuitLectures/lec9.pdf). They just look very, very good.

An example is shown below:

circuit diagram

To be more specific about what I mean, by "publication quality" I mean the following:

  • The software must output vector graphics, such as eps, or windows meta files.
  • It would be good to have control over the style of the graphics, such the style of the components, line width, figure size, etc.
  • It would be good to have a graphical user interface. I understand LaTeX is very powerful but it's just too painful to write a 100 line script to generate a circuit diagram.

So in short, I'm not really looking for a schematic capture program. I'm looking for a program that can generate pretty circuit schematic illustrations so that I can put them in papers and presentations.

(I am aware of other posts on this forum, such as this one: Good tools for drawing schematics. None of the software mentioned in that post seems to get you publication quality figures.)


4 Answers 4


I'll take a guess though I don't know for sure. The key words here are publication quality and professor. LaTeX does a very nice job when used in conjunction with CircuitTikZ. LaTeX is very much used for typesetting documents in the university setting.


  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 - I was thinking it was probably Latex too, would make sense in a math heavy document written by a professor. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oli Glaser
    Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 2:03
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for specifically answering his question of what made those SPECIFIC schematics \$\endgroup\$
    – justing
    Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 4:35
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Page 5 doesn't make LaTeX likely. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17592
    Commented Apr 7, 2013 at 18:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ None of the original document makes LaTeX likely. The font, the layout, etc... very strongly suggests it has been made with a basic windows presentation software, and this is confirmed by looking within the PDF data where you can find occurrences of the "Microsoft PowerPoint" string. Although CircuitTikZ may be a good choice for building diagrams, it has clearly not been used for this specific document. \$\endgroup\$
    – dim
    Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 12:15

This really looks like xcircuit to me. It is a very simple program which outputs ps or eps files with an optional LaTeX text mode, which will output a .tex file with text overlays for the postscript output. Take a look: http://opencircuitdesign.com/xcircuit/


For the circuit / schematic drawing tools, the most advanced and usable software tools are not free:

  1. multiSIM but it is very expensive, but you can get a student trial version for download and use but this trial version has some less features. multiSIM comes with Simulator.
  2. Proteus which is less expensive than multiSIM. You may download a trial version. Proteus also comes with a Simulator.
  3. CADsoft EAGLE Layout Editor which is paid as well as free, But it has no simulator.
  4. Electronic Work Bench Free for students and paid for Professionals. Comes with Simulator.
  5. TinyCAD Free and open source software without simulator.
  6. DipTrace Free as well as paid software without simulator.
  7. Altium Very expensive tool without Simulator.

There are so many other software tools. Free software has fewer features and expensive software gives a lot of features.

So, the final choice is yours, you may try TinyCAD first as it is free and open source, than go to the other options.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Proteus Simulator is good; but many times it runs in sim for me back on actual hardware horrible fail. Nice suggestions \$\endgroup\$
    – Piotr Kula
    Commented Aug 17, 2012 at 11:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ I personaly use multiSIM, and i like this software, due to its accuracy and correct response, i had design so many circuits in multiSIM and it gives almost 95% correct response, 5% error may you get due to variation of electronics components \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 18, 2012 at 2:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ I can't vote this answer down, but this isn't what the op asked for. He wanted a program to create vector diagrams for publication. None of those programs do that. Those programs are all CAD applications. \$\endgroup\$
    – tuxfool
    Commented Dec 29, 2012 at 22:28

I guess it is hand drawn in something like CorelDraw. There are many imperfections, which I would not expect from a dedicated schematic drawing app:

  • 3-way wire dots have a few pixel inconsistencies
  • arrow tips are not centered on their respective lines
  • current source arrow is not centered in its circle

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