What is an IPC-D-356 File?

An IPC-D-356 file, also known as a "Netlist File" or "Netlist Data File," is a standardized electronic document used in the field of printed circuit board (PCB) design and manufacturing.

The IPC-D-356 file serves the following primary purposes:

  1. Netlist Representation: The IPC-D-356 file contains a detailed list of connections (nets) within a PCB design. These connections specify how different components, such as integrated circuits, resistors, capacitors, and connectors, are interconnected on the PCB. It includes information about the pins, components, and the electrical connections between them.
  2. Manufacturing Documentation: PCB manufacturers use IPC-D-356 files to ensure accurate fabrication and assembly of the circuit boards. By providing a clear and unambiguous representation of the design's interconnections, it helps prevent errors during manufacturing, such as incorrect component placement or missing connections.
  3. Design Verification: PCB designers use IPC-D-356 files to verify the correctness of their designs. By comparing the netlist in the file with the intended schematic or layout, designers can identify and correct any discrepancies or errors in the design before it goes into production.
  4. Compatibility: IPC-D-356 is a widely accepted and standardized format, making it compatible with various PCB design software tools and manufacturing equipment. This compatibility ensures seamless communication between different stakeholders in the PCB design and manufacturing process.
  5. Efficiency: The IPC-D-356 file streamlines the design-to-manufacturing workflow by providing a common format that simplifies data exchange between design teams and PCB manufacturers. This efficiency can help reduce design iteration times and minimize the chances of costly errors.

A great summary on this file format can be found here.

Exporting IPC-D-356 Files from KiCad

  1. Open Your KiCad Project: Launch KiCad and open the PCB project that you want to export an IPC-D-356 file for.
KiCad Board View

2. Generate the Netlist: Click File > Fabrication Outputs > IPC-D-356 Netlist File and choose the directory you'd like to save it in.

KiCad IPC-D-356 Export Screenshot

Exporting IPC-D-356 Files from Altium

Follow this link to the full documentation for detailed instructions on generating an IPC-D-356A document in Altium Designer and comparing it to an extracted netlist.

Exporting IPC-D-356 Files from Fusion360 or Eagle

Follow this link for comprehensive instructions on generating IPC netlists in Autodesk Fusion 360 (aka Eagle).