What is "extended X2 format", and other settings

My last project used a cheap chinese PCB house and I had to modify my PCB export settings to work with their outdated and buggy software (CAM 350).

Those settings are:
YES Use Protel filename extensions
YES Coordinate format: 4.5, unit mm
NO Use extended X2 format (recommended)
YES include netlist attributes
YES disable aperture macros (not recommended)

Can I just use these settings going forward for all fabs, even fancyschmancy US based ones, etc? Is there anything actually being lost by disabling the recommended settings?

Is there an actual noticeable difference to the PCB if Aperture Macros are disabled? Or X2 format? Or 4.5 format instead of 4.6?

There has been previous discussion on this you can read for background:

My pragmatic take is, if your fab supports X2 then use it, otherwise don’t. Unfortunately this is not the one answer for all you want.

I think there are plugins that store settings for each fab so you only have to select the fab and then push one button to generate the gerbers. I don’t use one though.

I should add that Protel filenames are generally not an issue with most fabs. They seem to be able to work out which files are for which layers, whatever the names.

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The issue is the aperture macros, which get added to the GERBER files, not X2 itself.
X2 just adds “comments” from the perspective of the format.

I stand by what I state, if a fabhouse fails to interpret X2 then they have a flawed X1 parcer and thus what else are they doing wrong.

This should not be accepted in this day and age


Hi, please bookmark this screenshot for gerber export settings and use three checkbox configuration for future:

(This is a more direct link to correct settings, than in @retiredfeline 's post)

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