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The LayoutEditor is probably the most popular editor for MEMS and IC designs. However there are quite a lot tools on the market. The following list gives an overview of free tools and useful utilities in this area.
Layout Editor


Other Projects:

(most active, some abandon or even brocken)

Alliance (Tools, Library, Editor)
Alliance is a complete set of free CAD tools and portable libraries for VLSI design. The supplied editor is designed for semiconductor layouts and cannot be used in other applications.
sourceforge project page of Alliance
Alliance

Anuvad (Library)
A library for reading/writing GDS and OASIS files. A two way converter is included. Anuvad is open source, but there are a plenty restriction in the license.


CIF File Format Description (File Format Documentation)
A pdf-file with a detailed description of the CIF-Format.

Boolean (Editor, Library, File Format Documentation)
Boolean
CleWin (Viewer)
Free viewer of a commercial editor. Runs only on windows. Path of type 4 is not displayed correctly.
CleWin

DXF File Format Description (File Format Documentation)
A detailed description of the DXF-Format in various formats (pdf, html).

electric (Editor)
A complete editor designed for semiconductor layouts. Other semiconductor specific tools are integrated. A couple of formats are supported.
It is a GNU project.
electric
EVTView (Viewer)
ETVView is a limited demo version of a commercial product. It is close source and limited to 2 month.
EVTView

GDS File Format Description (File Format Documentation)
There are a couple of sites on the GDSII-file format:
GdsDump (Tool)
GdsDump is a converter of GDSII files to an ascii format.
62: 0004 0800
BOUNDARY
66: 0006 0d02 002a
LAYER 42
6c: 0006 0e02 0001
DATATYPE 1

GDSII to OASIS Translator (Tool)
This tool translate GDSII file to the OASIS format. It didn't use all the possibilities that the Oasis format offers. A reverse translation is not possible.

GDSViewer (Viewer)
A simple GDS viewer with either limited to GDS files smaller than 20kB or limited to 30 days. The test layout was displayed correctly.
gdsviewer
gds2pov (Tool)
GDSII file can converted with this tool to a povray compatible format.
gds2pov
Glade (Editor)
Cell-reference-array with non orthogonal spacings are displayed wrong.
Glade
IC-Editor (Editor)
Demo without the possibility of saveing the layout. Cell reference with negative spacing are not displayed correct.
IC-Editor
ipkiss (Tool)
A python plugin for gds files.
KLayout (Viewer/Editor)
A viewer for GDSII and OASIS files. Basic editor functions are available, if started as an editor.
KLayout
Koala (Viewer)
With additional process definition GDSII file can be viewed in 3d.
Koala Koala
Lasi (Editor)
A complete layout editor for windows. Uses a own format (TLC), but it can import/export DXF and GDS files. It is close source and a donation is requested. A full version can downloaded without any registration. Some special path elements (zero length, type 4 without extension, ...) are not displayed correctly.
Lasi
Layed (Editor)
It was no possible to open the test layout. Limited to manhattan and 45º geometry.
Layed
LinkCad (Converter)
LinkCad is a commercial Convert of common CAD-Formats. GDSII path type 4 elements are not supported.
LinkCad
L-Edit (Editor)
Demo limited to 30 days and 20 GDS-Imports. Path type 4 and cell reference with negative spacing are not displayed correct.
L-Edit

LDTViewer (Viewer)
Demo limited to 20 days. No automatic registration possible.


Magic (Editor)
A editor limited to manhattan geometry.
Further Links:
Magic
MGEN (Library with Editor)
A library for layout editing, editor included. Path type 4 is not supported. Cell-reference-array with non orthogonal spacings are displayed wrong.
MGEN
Microwind (Editor)
A editor limited to manhattan geometry and the free demo is limited to the CIF-format.
Microwind

OASIS File Format Description (File Format Documentation)
A pdf-file with a detailed description of the OASIS-Format.
The same document can downloaded (for purchase) at semi.org.

rel="nofollow" OwlVision (Viewer)
A java based viewer. Some gds elements like cellrefarray are not jet supported. A gds->ascii and ascii->gdsii converter is also included.
OwlVision

P2m (Tool)
P2m is a plug-in for gimp. It converts any pixel-graphics to the CIF-format.

Simple GDS View (Viewer)
As the name says, this is a simple viewer for GDS files. Path of type 4 is not displayed correctly.
sourceforge project page of Simple GDS View
Simple GDS View
SoC GDS (Viewer)
Free viewer of a commercial editor. Triangles and cellrefarrays with negative spacings are not displayed correctly.
SoC GDS

Uncle (Editor)
An Universal Circuit Layout Editor. Academic members can get Uncle free of charge.

CADnex (Editor)
A layout editor for DOS. Operates in a DOS window in Windows 95/98/2000/me/XP. Don't run under WINE.

findhier (Tool)
A simple tool to output topcells, celllists, etc. of GDSII files.

GDS2 stream module (Library, Tool)
A Library to read/write GDSII files. A GDSII to ascii tool is included.

gdsreader (Tool)
A tool to convert GDS-File in PostScript or HPGL-2 format.

gdsviewer (Viewer)
This Project has not released any code files.

Java GDS (Viewer, Tool, Library)
Some projects (belonging together) are using
Kic (Editor)
A quite old editor. It seems that this program is a predecessors of the commercial program Xic.
simple_display (Viewer)
It was not possible to open the test-layout the this program.
SD Viewer
SF Viewer (Viewer)
It was not possible to open the test-layout the this program.
SF Viewer
TopCell (Viewer)
This Project has not released any code files.
Toped (Editor)
Some essential function are still missing or need to be improved.
toped
CoolView, (broken link) (Editor)
CoolView is a commercial close source product with a short free evaluation period. The product is no longer available.
CoolView
GDS File Format Description, (broken link) (File Format Documentation)
A pdf-file with a detailed description of the GDS-Format.
A nice GDS overview, (broken link) and link list is also available.
Stream Utils, (broken link) (Tool)
Stream Utils are two converters. The first is a converter of GDSII files to an ascii format. The second tool converts a ascii file to an GDSII format.
On the same side you can also find a description of the GDS Format.
Streamvista, (broken link) (Viewer)
GDSII viewer for windows. Path extensions are not supported and display not correct.
streamvista

Source Code is not available.
For a download a registration is required.
Usage is limited to a period.
Functions set is reduced.