[ALUG] Looking for simple[ish] drawing program for basic cir

James Freer jessejazza at googlemail.com
Wed Dec 22 21:55:29 GMT 2010

Qcad is what comes to mind.

Someone else has posted a similar query on another group i belong to.
So i've cut&pasted responses below.



Not sure what you find difficult about Dia - it's pretty much drag &
drop. You can get documentation here:
and additional shapes here:
You can look at any of the additional shapes by clicking on the "more"
link next to the shape info.

hint: download:
from the links here:
install & then: Applications|Graphics|Diashapes
that will add the additional shapes for you.

You can also create rather complex circuit diagrams in OpenOffice.org
Draw, and then export the page to html. You'll have to hunt around a
little for templates/gallery items, but there are plenty around. Here
are a few for starters:
(use google translator)
(search on 'electronic' or 'circuit')
(old, but a good start - check the forum for other similar)

Or, you could try this simple link:

for drawing circuit diagrams in the past, I've usually either used Dia,
but as you've already tried that, the only other program i use is
oregano (available from synaptic).

oregano is supposed to also have some simulation capabilities as well,
but they've never really worked right for me... but for simple circuits
its easy to build them up in oregano, then screenshot them and save it
that way. Did that for notes in class all the time.

Hope that helps!

 you could also look at

Xfig(1) at http://www.xfig.org/ is simple, (maybe too simple for you,)
and has schematic symbols, etc., and you can apt-get(8) it from the
Ubuntu/Debian archives. Has a jpeg export for web page images.

The only one I've ever used is Vutrax.

Nobody here has suggested Eagle CAD. There is a free version available
on the repository.

Apparently it's used to design the Arduino boards.

On 22 December 2010 21:18, Ted Harding <ted.harding at wlandres.net> wrote:
> On 22-Dec-10 12:55:14, Chris G wrote:
>> On Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 07:25:26PM +0000, Wayne Stallwood wrote:
>>> [snip]
>> I really don't want specific devices because I want to have circuit
>> diagrams to wire from rather than analyse the circuit's operation.
>> I have gEDA installled and it's one of my possibles.
>> --
>> Chris Green
> If it's just a schematic, then for diagrams of any such kind I would
> first think of using 'pic', one of the "preprocessor" programms in
> the groff [ = GNU troff ] suite. The the 'troff' program itself is
> a generic document-formatting program, driven by in-line "markup"
> tags (just as TeX and HTML are markup languages). In principle you
> can place arbitrary marks at arbitray positions on the page.
> The 'pic' program allows the user to type in a "plain English"
> diagram description, which is fairly strightforward to learn to use.
> Then 'pic' itself translates this into troff markup, which is then
> piped into troff which in turn produces a renderable output of the
> page (by default in PostScript).
> For something like a circuit diagram, which may contain several
> instances of a particular symbol (for several such symbols), you
> can define a macro once and for all for each symbol which can be
> given parameters as needed for position, size, shape, ...
> For such a purpose, to make your circuit diagram look "kosher",
> you would need a repertoire of standard symbols for particular
> types of circuit element. When you first posted about this, I
> had a quick poke around on the web and found a few sources.
> In particular see:
>  http://www.ece.uwaterloo.ca/~aplevich/Circuit_macros
> which is the README page from
>  http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/graphics/circuit_macros
> As can be seen, these macros are 'pic' macros, even though the
> ultimate intention is to feed them to TeX for the final formatting.
> However, as 'pic' macros they can simply be used in 'pic' and the
> results fed to 'troff' as God and Nature intended!
> However, if you don't need really kosher-looking circuit element
> symbols, you could probably create your own (or I could, if I knew
> what you wanted them to look like). So, if you could post a URL to
> an image of the sort of circuit diagram you want to draw, I would be
> happy to have a go at creating in it 'pic | troff'.
> Back on March 29 of this year, Srdjan Todorovic asked a similar
> question about using Linux to create a "TCP-header" table:
>  "Lets say I'm documenting a low-level protocol or file
>   format and want to produce a picture such as the TCP
>   header (etc) table
>     (http://izecksohn.com/pedro/pub/tcp_header.jpg),
>   what's the best program to use for that?
>   Another example:
>     http://www.wtcs.org/snmp4tpc/images/TCP-Header.jpg
>   I have tried Openoffice drawing tool in Writer, and it does
>   not align well. Inkscape might be good as I can snap to grid.
>   I could use a spreadsheet and then export to picture.
>   Is there a special purpose application for this that anyone
>   has used and would reccommend?
>   I need to be able to insert text into the cells or perhaps
>   refer to the cells in some markup way - also the cells should
>   be fixed width as each cell would represent one byte."
> See the thread starting at
>  http://lists.alug.org.uk/pipermail/main/2010-March/027163.html
> my response at
>  http://lists.alug.org.uk/pipermail/main/2010-March/027165.html
> and my follow-up at
>  http://lists.alug.org.uk/pipermail/main/2010-March/027167.html
> Using his "Another example" above, I was able, using fairly simple
> 'pic' with 'troff' to produce a nice version of it. For the result,
> go to
>  http://www.zen89632.zen.co.uk/Misc
> and look at the file tcpheader.pdf (or tcpheader.ps ), and compare
> it with the original example at
>  http://www.wtcs.org/snmp4tpc/images/TCP-Header.jpg
> The troff input (which includes the 'pic' code) of it all is in
> the file tcpheader.tr in that web page; and the explanatory "howto"
> is in the file tcpheader_howto.pdf
> To come back to your specific query, I have really almost no experience
> of drawing circuit diagrams as such.
> However, if you would supply a pointer to a typical picture of the
> sort of thing you want to do, I'll have a go at emulating it (in the
> same spirit as I did for Srdjan). Once you get the hang of it, doing
> this sort of thing this way is fairly straightforward, and produces
> very high quality output.
> Ted.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <ted.harding at wlandres.net>
> Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
> Date: 22-Dec-10                                       Time: 21:18:48
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