Gerber PCB Layout Guidelines

Gerber PCB Layout Guidelines

This checklist is a tool to help ensure that you have the correct Gerber PCB layout guidelines before submitting your PCB design files.

Note: ValueProto and PCBExpress®  order files are run ‘as-sent’ with limited design review.

I will be submitting my design as:

  • A Native Design File [link to Native File Upload]
  • A Set of Gerbers [link to Gerber PCB File Submission]
  • An ODB++ [new section for ODB++]



Gerber PCB File Submission: (Submitted during or directly after order placement)

  • I am sending one (1) zip file containing only the required files for fastest processing.
  • I understand my order will be manufactured when the file is received; no changes can be made.

Gerber Layer File Preparation:

  • I previewed my design as seen from the top side layer of the board using a Gerber/NC Drill file viewer.
  • My design requirements fall within the PCBExpress Quickturn Printed Circuit Board Assembly & Manufacturing Capabilities.
  • I have exported to either the RS274X (embedded apertures) or RS274D (includes separate aperture list) Gerber file format.
  • All design spaces/traces are a minimum of .006″ (6-mil) or larger.
  • All outer layers (top and/or bottom) are positive polarityand do not require manual merging.
  • Copper for through-hole connections from top to bottom layer are proper sizes for holes.
  • Power/Grounds/Mounting holes have sufficient clearances around holesto prevent shorting.

Unsure about any of these file preparation details? Then use our free, no obligation Design For Manufacturability (DFM) tool on our website, DFMplus. [link to DFMplus page]. DFMplus will scan and check your Gerbers, and report the information above for your review prior to placing your order. Proceed with peace-of-mind that you know exactly what’s inside your design file.


My board file is:

  • 1-2 layers [link to Single-Sided – 1 Layer Boards]
  • 4-6 layers [link to 4-6 layer order Gerber files]
  • More than 6 layers [link to more than 6 layers]


Single Sided – 1 layer Boards:

YOU MUST PREVIEW 1-Layer Files!  [need more explanation on why this is…]

  • My board is viewed as looking through from top (component) layer side.
  • Right reading copper text is drawn on the single side (+ silkscreen if applicable)
  • I understand all boards are through-hole plated; Sunstone will add copper pads to bare side of 1-sided PCBs.


4-6 layer order Gerber files:

  • Inner layers are individual layers (either positive or negative) that do not require merging.
  • Internal ground layers have recommended ground plane clearancesfor all holes, including mounting holes.
  • Ground and power layers are clearly marked to indicate proper polarity.


6+ layer order Gerber files:

  • Details TBD



Board Shape Outline: (See Board Outline for more information)

  • I confirm that the cut shape is drawn around board perimeter using a non-breaking trace.


Drill Setup: (See Drill File Setup)

  • I am providing an ASCII text file showing X&Y coordinates for holes.
  • I have verified NC drill file is NOT a Gerber layer or drawing.
  • For ValueProtoorders only, I understand if my tool sizes do not match the preset drill sizes, they will be placed into our pre-set finish drill sizes: 0.008, 0.016, 0.020, 0.025, 0.029, 0.033, 0.036, 0.040, 0.043, 0.046, 0.053, 0.061, 0.067, 0.080, 0.087, 0.093, 0.100, 0.110, 0.125, 0.141, 0.151, 0.167, 0.193, 0.251.
  • I have reviewed the recommended pads & clearances for preset drill sizes.
  • I understand allholes are treated as through-hole plated.
  • My design does not contain blind vias or buried vias.
  • Hole quantity greater than 50 holes per square inch may be subject to 10% drill fee for additional machine time.
  • Separate tool size list included or the tool sizes are listed within the header of my Excellon drill file.


Slots/Cutouts: (if selected)

  • My design has a maximum of 4 slots and cutouts and I have included the size and location in the drill/fab drawing mapped when uploading my files.
  • The minimum width size is no less than 20 mil for plated slots and 31 mil for non-plated.


Solder Mask: (if selected)

  • I have included both top and bottom solder mask files.
  • Solder mask swell is at least 0.008″ larger than copper surfaces to keep mask off pads.


Silkscreen: (if selected)

  • I included a top silkscreen file and optional bottom silkscreen file (needed if added to order).
  • Automated clipping performed on this service to remove silkscreen covering solder surfaces.
  • Silkscreen traces are drawn with 0.006″ (6 mil) or larger aperture line width (not height) to ensure legibility.



Native File Upload:

Optionally available for

  • Altium (including Protel and other Altium-owned tools),
  • EAGLE,
  • OrCAD (with .MAX file extension),
  • National Instruments Circuit Design Suite,
  • Sunstone’s Free PCB123 design software
  • For all Native File Upload orders over two layers, proofs of the generated Gerber data will be returned for your preview and approval. The order will be placed on hold until the converted files are approved by you. Process lead-time does not begin until the converted files are approved.
  • EAGLE Users: EAGLE layer objects that build silkscreen & inner layers need to be properly listed upon file submission.


    • The top silkscreen default object layers are
      • 21 (tplace)
      • 25 (tnames);
    • the bottom silkscreen default object layers are
      • 22 (bplace)
      • 26 (bnames).
    • ALL midlayer object layer selections MUST be documented with the following information required:

If you do not list these items, Sunstone will convert to default Eagle Cam Jobs.