How to generate Gerber files

This tutorial will cover how to generate Gerber files to get a PCB that you designed fabricated using Altium Designer



  • 1 Create an OutJob File

  • 2 Creating Fabrication Outputs

    • 2.1 Gerber Files

    • 2.2 NC Drill Files

  • 3 Generating Fabrication Outputs

  • 4 Checking the Outputs

  • 5 Preparing the Outputs for Upload


Create an OutJob File

OutJob files are a type of file in Altium that allow designers to easily and repeatedly generate outputs from their design. It is very configurable and can group different outputs into one container so they can all be generated with one click. More can be read about it here on Altium's docs:


You can create an OutJob file by right clicking on the project in the Projects panel and navigating through "Add New to Project" > "Output Job File" as shown below


Creating Fabrication Outputs

There are two types of files we need to create, Gerbers and NC Drill files. The gerber files define each layer of the board and the NC Drill files define all of the holes that need to be drilled. Combining them gives the fabricator the necessary information to create your PCB. 

Gerber Files

Under "Fabrication Outputs", select "Add New Fabrication Output" and choose \[PCB Document] under the "Gerber Files" option. This will add a fabrication output for Gerber files corresponding to the PCB document in your project. If you have more than one PCB document, select the one you want to make Gerbers for from the menu.


Next, double click on the newly created output to bring up the following menu:

Copy the settings on the left hand side of the window, and select all of the layers that you want to generate Gerbers for. The following list should be selected (may vary depending on your board):

  • Board Outline

  • All Copper Layers

  • All Silkscreen Layers

  • All Solder Mask Layers

  • All Paste Mask Layers

  • Top Pad and Bottom Pad Layers

More or fewer layers might be selected depending on your board. One the other two tabs, copy the settings from the following screenshots:

When done, hit apply and the window will close.

NC Drill Files

Next, follow the steps to create a fabrication output but select "NC Drill Files":


Copy all settings from the following screenshot: 


Generating Fabrication Outputs

Now that the outputs are configured, they need to be generated. This is done by defining a "Container" and assigning the fabrication outputs to it. Create a container by choosing "Add New Container Output" > "New Folder Structure" on the right side of the screen:


Name the container something appropriate, I called mine "Fabrication Files". Assign the Gerber and NC Drill file outputs to the new container by clicking the little circle to the right of each output with the container highlighted:

The output folder can be defined by selecting "Change" on the container, the following screenshot is how I have mine set up:

This generates the outputs into their own folders in the folder directory "...\ProjectDir\Project Outputs\Fabrication"

To generate the files, click generate!


Checking the Outputs

After generating the fabrication outputs, Altium will open a CAMtastic window, which is a utility to view Gerber files. A window about importing drill data may appear, just click OK:

It is recommended to step through each layer one by one to make sure everything is aligned and generated correctly. You want to fix errors here and not when communicating with the board house.

Preparing the Outputs for Upload

In order to upload the files to JLCPCB or other fabrication services, a ZIP file has to be made with the outputs. Navigate to the folder where the outputs are and ZIP both the Gerber and NC Drill folders:

Name the folder some descriptive name and that is it! When ready, the ZIP folder is what you will upload when a website like JLC asks you to provide your Gerber or fabrication files.