View DDB file with KiCAD



Is it possible to open a DDB file with KiCAD to view it?

The manufacturer sent me a DDB file but I do not have Altium.

Best regards


It’s not possible because DDB is a project with database structure (I suspect it’s Borland BDE). KiCad and any Altium to KiCad converters can’t handle this kind of file.
You need Protel 99SE (Don’t try to install it on Windows Vista/7 or newer!) or Altium Designer. The trials are still available over the Internet.


Or you can complain to the vendor that they are communicating in closed formats.
I doubt that it will help much, but it is the truth…


I’ve just tried the Atltium design viewer 9.x… on my PC and it tells me that it doesn’t support the DDB format. (but list the extension in it’s file open dialog).
You might be able to get the files out if you have MS Access.
But it will be easier to re-create the schematic & pcb if your customer has prints.


The Viewer fuctionality is very, very limited. It can’t even open native Protel PCB3.0 files.


I do not use Windows, only Gnu/Linux, I think that Altium is not to me.



Just out of interest… Have you ever tried to use it with Wine?
Personally, I would not bother, but perhaps you have tried it?


Thanks for the replies,

Finally Kerusey help to me with this.

I once tried something similar with Freescale Sensor Toolbox and wine but consumed a lot of laptop resources.

Best regards


I have had a lot of success using Protel99SE SP6 with Wine. I found it more stable and snappier than using WindowsXP in Virtualbox. I’ve used Protel99SE since 2000, and have many old designs I need to support. Since the earliest days, I’ve not used the DDB database storage format (it uses the old JET database), although it is possible open these files in Protel with Wine, if you have installed the database packs in Wine with Winetricks.

If you can do this, it is possible to export the PCB design file in PCAD2000 ASCII format, from which one of the PCAD to KiCad converters might produce something usable. I never found the converters robust enough to use, however, although there may have been improvements made since.

All of this is not a 5 minute exercise, though.