PCBmodE was originally conceived as a tool that enables the designer to precisely define and position design elements in a text file, and not through a GUI. For practical reasons, PCBmodE does not have a GUI of its own, and uses an unmodified Inkscape for visual representation and some editing that cannot practically be done textually.

A typical PCBmodE design workflow is the following:

  1. Edit JSON files with a text editor
  2. “Compile” the board using PCBmodE
  3. View the generated SVG in Inkscape

Then, optionally

  1. Make modifications in Inkscape
  2. Extract changes using PCBmodE

and then

  1. Back to step 1 or step 2


  1. Generate production files using PCBmodE


It is possible to design a complete circuit in a text editor without using Inkscape at all! This would only require generating, or hand crafting, SVG paths for the routing.


Inkscape does not reload the SVG when it is regenerated by PCBmodE. To reload quickly, press ALT+f and the v.


Until you get used to it, the extraction process may not do what you expect, so experiment first before designing something that will disappear when you reload the SVG. It might also be practical to design in a separate Inkscape window and then copy over the shapes to the design’s SVG.