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General Questions

What Operating requirements does the PADS Maker workflow have?

Operating System

  • Windows 7 SP1 (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows 8 (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows 10 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Hardware Requirements

  • Memory/RAM: 2GB or higher
  • Disk space for installation: 1.2GB
  • Surfaces and Tablets are not supported at this time.

Where do I get PADS Maker by Mentor?

This page will get you started.

Will the PCB tool have useful features such as interactive routing and online DRC?

PADS Maker Layout has all the features you need to design your PCB and create the CAM files needed to manufacture the board. PADS Maker Layout will provide dynamic interactive routing that will allow you to complete your design with high quality. Online design rules checking (with multiple modes) and batch DRC are included.  The tool does not include autorouting. Autorouting is available in Mentor’s higher-end tools.

What type of manufacturing outputs does PADS Maker support?

ODB++ version 7 & 8, Gerber 274x, and IPC 2581 ( as well as NC drill files, and placement data for automatic insertion.

What does the Schematic and Layout software offer?

Student and Maker PADS Maker versions offer up to 1500 connections, a board size of 25 square inches and 6 layers (4 signal layers max), and a 1 year license.

PADS MakerPro (purchased) versions offer unlimited connections, a board size of 50 square inches and 8 layers (6 signal layers max), and the license is perpetual.

Can I import from other tools?

Yes you can. PADS Maker will import from Altium, P-CAD, CADstar, OrCAD, Eagle (Schematic only).  There are some limitations as to what version can be converted or how exact the outcome will be. For more information, see Importing Files into PADS Maker Schematic   and  Import Schematic Netlist/Third Party to Layout.

Where can I get support for PADS Maker?

Most questions can be answered by this wiki. There are also some helpful video how-to's on the Digi-Key site: .

If you have questions that have not been answered by either of these sources, you can ask them at the online forum located here: 

These sites will be monitored by Digi-Key Applications Engineers and Mentor Graphics personnel.

How do I submit new feature requests?

Those with PADS MakerPro purchased licenses are encouraged to visit the PADS Maker Community at Digi-Key ( or at Mentor Graphics ( to submit any suggestions that you have relating to any PADS Maker product.  

How will upgrades be performed for PADS Maker?

We will continually support PADS Maker with upgrades and technical advancements. You will be notified via email of updates to the product and be able to upgrade while your license remains active.  Single download points will be communicated to customers where they can gain access to the new software downloads. To upgrade PADS Maker to MakerPro, purchase a MakerPro license from Digi-Key go to Help About and select ReHost for Schematic and Layout products. Once you have Rehosted you start the application again and enter your new MakerPro license. To upgrade from the Maker 2.0 version to a subsequent version, uninstall Maker 2.0  prior to installing the newer version.


 What type of licensing does PADS Maker software use?

Student and Maker version licenses are good for one year while MakerPro purchased licenses are perpetual. These licenses are bound to specific personal computers or workstations, but you can rehost to different machines twice during a license period.

Am I entitled to new versions of the software during my one-year license period?

Yes, Student and Maker version licenses are entitled to updates for minor version changes during the 1 year license period. We will notify users by email about new versions as they become available. No new license is required; just uninstall your current version of the software and reinstall the latest version. MakerPro purchased licenses are entitled to updates for minor versions throughout the perpetual license. No new license is required, just uninstall your current version of the software and reinstall the latest version.

What happens when my license subscription runs out?

PADS Maker is offered through a free, annual, renewable license. PADS MakerPro licenses are perpetual and never expire.

To purchase the MakerPro license, go to 

Will I be notified when my license is close to running out?

The software will display the number of days left in your license in the Output (Schematic) or Status (Layout) window when you start the application. Help About in your PADS product will also display this information.  There will be a pop up that count down the last 10 days of the license to be sure you have adequate time to renew you subscription.

Can I move/rehost my license to a new computer?

Yes, you have the option of rehosting the license two times. For more information, see Rehosting a License.


Upgrading from Designer to PADS Maker or upgrading from PADS Maker to PADS Standard Layout & Schematic

Will Designer 1.0 and 1.1 files be compatible with PADS Maker Schematic and Layout?

Designer 1.0 and 1.1 Schematic and Layout files may be opened using PADS Maker Schematic and Layout. Once saved as PADS Maker files, they cannot go back to Designer 1.0 or 1.1.

How do I upgrade Designer 1.0 or 1.1 to PADS Maker?

Users that purchased Designer 1.0 or 1.1 licenses will receive a free upgrade to PADS Maker Schematic and Layout. Prior to installing PADS Maker, users should uninstall Designer products.

  1. Uninstall Designer Schematic and Designer Layout (Control Panel)
  2. Install PADS Maker Software
  3. Start PADS Maker Schematic and enter license activation code
  4. Start PADS Maker Layout and enter license activation code
  5. Go into your PartQuest Profile and select PADS Maker as your Default Flow
  6. In your PartQuest Profile, select Dropbox or Direct Download for Maker. PQ Tools are setup in the background so give it 5 minutes to complete before downloading new parts.
  7. Download a part for PADS Maker.
  8. If you have PADS Maker Schematic or Layout open when you initially setup PartQuest Direct or Dropbox and download your 1st part, you will need to close the application(s) and reopen. Following this step, PADS Maker will automatically detect scan these locations for any changes in your PartQuest Dropbox or Direct Download location.
  9. PADS Maker Dropbox and Direct Download locations will be automatically detected by the PADS Maker Schematic Parts window/Library list.  You do not need to add it manually to the library list.  PADS Maker Dropbox default location is Dropbox/Apps/PartQuest/PADS_Maker. PADS Maker Direct Download location is a hard-coded location C:/Partquest/PADS_Maker.
  10. If you select Direct Download for PartQuest parts,  you will need to double-click on your downloaded *.pqz file to unencrypt them.

Will xDX Designer and PADS Maker projects and/or files be compatible?

PADS Maker Schematic and Layout files are compatible with xDX Designer Schematic files and PADS Layout files.

  • PADS Maker projects can be taken up to xDX Designer and PADS Layout should the user need features not found in PADS Maker.
  • xDx Designer and PADS Layout files cannot be opened in PADS Maker.
  • PADS Logic is not supported as an import/export to PAD Maker.

How do I take PADS Maker Layout files into PADS Layout?

  1. Open PADS Layout and select File/Import
  2. Next to File Name, click the drop-down and select Designer Layout files (*.pcb)
  3. Browse to the .pcb file from PADS Maker Layout that you'd like to open
  4. Select Open

How do I take PADS Maker Schematic files into DX Designer for PADS Flow?

  1. Open a new project in DxDesigner
  2. Use File/Open and select your PADS Maker Schematic project
  3. You will see this dialog
  4. If you are okay with not being able to take the project back to PADS Maker, select OK. PADS Maker Schematic project is now a DxDesigner project.

May I use symbols and footprints created while using Designer 1.0/1.1 in PADS Maker 2.0?


Before updating to PADS Maker 2.0 from Designer Schematic 1.1 we recommend you take the following steps to backup your symbols during the update.

  • Copy C:/DesignerProjects/Libraries to a new name and location
  • Go to Tools>Settings>Project>Symbol Libraries. Here you can import your library by adding the file path(s) to the library list
  • Select the dashed box at the top 
  • Select the ... box to browse to your previous project 
  • Select Project Name and the directory where your SCH and SYM directories reside.  In the example below, select Netduino/Netduino.

  • The project library is added in the list.  Use the up and down arrows at the top to move where the library is in the list of libraries.  Note below Netduino is near the top


Before updating to PADS Maker version 2.0 from Designer Layout 1.1, we recommend you take the following steps to back up your footprints during the update.

  1. Copy C:/DesignerProjects/Footprints to a temporary location with a new name
  2. Uninstall Designer Schematic and Designer Layout 1.1/1.0
  3. Install PADS Maker Layout 2.0
  4. Select File/Library
  5. Select Manage Lib. List...
  6. Select add and browse for the new library name for your older footprints.
  7. The order of the libraries in the list is important as they are searched in this order The first footprint found with the proper name is the one used. For this reason, active libraries should be listed first such as PartQuest if you are downloading new parts. Use the Up/Down buttons in the dialog to change the library order.

May I import Libraries from PADS 9.x to PADS Maker Edition? It consist of 4 types, .ld9, .ln9, .pd9, .pt9.

Try the free version, since the process for adding libraries is the same in the free version versus Pro.
That said, there are 2 things that need to be addressed.

  1. Maker Layout adds libraries just like PADS Standard Layout does, via the File->Library and click “Manage Lib. List”. From there Click Add… and browse to the library. If you have PADS, you may already be familiar with the process. I am able to add PADS decal/part libraries in .pd9, .pt9 formats just fine in Maker. Maker Schematic, (Designer) uses a different process from Layout, but the process is the same in both flows. That said, see point 2…
  2. In regards to the PADS Logic symbols (.ld9). Those files in particular are specific to PADS Logic, which we don’t use in the Maker flow. If you are using Logic, we don’t currently have a mechanism for bringing those symbols files in since we don’t use Logic as a schematic tool in the Maker flow.


What is PartQuest and why is it important?

PartQuest is a free web based tool utilizing part data from Digi-Key for researching and selecting parts. It houses a library of over 800,000 parts that can be downloaded into your computer as well as the tools to create new symbols and footprints should the need arise. See  PartQuest wiki for additional details. 

May I use symbols and footprints downloaded via PartQuest in the Designer Flow in the PADS Maker Flow?

Yes. Symbols and Footprints downloaded while using the Designer Flow in PartQuest are usable in the PADS Maker Flow.

How to use Designer 1.0/1.1 PartQuest downloaded parts in PADS Maker

  • Go to your profile for PartQuest and select PADS Maker as your default flow.
  • Download some parts to either Dropbox, Direct Download or both.
  • Dropbox Parts-  Go to your Dropbox/Apps/PartQuest/Designer directory and copy the footprint, SCH and sym directories to Dropbox/Apps/PartQuest/PADS_Maker.  Select Yes to merge to existing footprint, SCH and sym directories if these directories are already there.

  • Direct Download Parts-  Go to your Designer PartQuest direct download location and copy the footprint, SCH, and sym directories to C:/PartQuest/PADS_Maker directory.  Select Yes to merge to existing footprint, SCH, and sym directories if these directories are already there.
  • Parts are in the Parts window under PartQuestDirect or PartQuestDropbox.


 Why is there no “save as” function in PADS Maker Schematic?

The PADS Maker Schematic software is saving your changes continuously following each action in the schematic. The Symbol Editor accessed from Schematic has Save and Save As. PADS Maker Layout has Save and Save AS.

How is used in the PADS Maker flow?

How do I customize PADS Maker Schematic so it opens the same every time with my environment settings?

There is an option called Window Layouts on the upper right corner that will allow you to save and load different window layouts.

You can customize them as you like for different projects or users. For more information, see Schematic Windows.

Where can I find my symbols and footprints from stored?

For your convenience, we have hard coded the direct download location for PADS Maker, and we auto detect your Dropbox location. Alternatively, you can look in the Direct Download location you created under your PartQuest profile. If you choose to use Dropbox, you must have a Dropbox account, and you must log into PartQuest and allow PartQuest to act as your agent to access your Dropbox folder.  You must also instruct PartQuest to save each part you chose in your Dropbox account (see PartQuest for details on selecting either Direct Download or setting up a Dropbox with PartQuest). 

Why am I having issues with PADS Maker 2.0 installation?

If Symantec is running a virus scan during installation of PADS Maker 2.0, you will experience installation errors such as those below. To resolve this, reboot and begin installation again.


Installation Issue

I installed PADS Maker and started PADS Maker Schematic from the Start Menu but either the software doesn't ask me for my activation code or I put in my activation code and I don't see the software come up. Out of a several hundred installations we've had 2 people that experienced issues. This is likely due to registry issues. Follow the following steps to get PADS Maker working:

  1. Uninstall PADS Maker from Control Panel (Mentor Graphics)
  2. Go to C:/MentorGraphics/PADSMaker_2.0 folder and delete it and it's contents.
  3. Go to C:/WDIR and delete it and it's contents.
  4. Run CCleaner free version and clean up the registry
  5. Install PADS Maker

Digi-Key Parts Integration

How do I get my BOM over to Digi-Key Corporation?

See  Generating Bills of Materials.

What is single kit vs. multiple kit in BOM Manager?

Single kit comes with all unique parts in a single package (typical order for production purposes: 1 part-per-board x 100 boards = 100 parts in a bag, digi-reel, tube, etc.)

Multiple kit keeps each kit/board separate (think ordering kits for a class—each student needs a kit).

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