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Drawing digital circuits can become a mess very fast which makes testing those even more difficult. Doing it offline is a painful job with all those wires. So, what GUI software is recommended for building digital circuits and testing them?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Logisim is not in the repos, but being a single java jar, should be fairly easy to get going. It is purely digital, without the discrete and analogue components. It is however quite sophisticated - I've been putting together a simulation of a single instruction CPU with it.

Instructions for getting and running it:

  1. Download the .jar file from
  2. If you saved the file to ~/apps/logisim-generic-2.7.1.jar, you can run it from a terminal with:

    java -jar ~/apps/logisim-generic-2.7.1.jar
  3. To save yourself from typing that the whole time, create the executable ~/bin/logisim containing

    java -jar ~/apps/logisim-generic-2.7.1.jar
  4. Make it executable:

    chmod +x ~/bin/logisim
  5. If ~/bin existed before, it's already in your $PATH. Otherwise, re-login to update your $PATH. From now on, you can start it by running:


If you update logisim later, it's as easy as putting the new file in ~/apps/ and change the filename in ~/bin/logisim

Well, now it's there in the ubuntu 14.04 repositories as well, just type :-

   sudo apt-get install logisim 

to install it.

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Awesome tool, well-maintained and relatively easy to use (read tutorial first). – Lekensteyn Sep 25 '11 at 8:53

I used a promising program called KTechLab in the past, the program is KDE 3 based and has not yet been ported to KDE 4 I used it to teach some youngsters electronics both analogue and digital concepts, it is a fine piece of software, even has PIC microcontroller simulation, sadly development seem to be very very slow and after they made an update to it I started having stability problems, I would still encourage you to try it though.

It is in the repositories but I do not know if the stability problems are still there as I have stopped using it.

The links below may be of some use:

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It's neither in the natty nor oneiric repos. It looks quite extended, is it easy to use? – Lekensteyn Sep 23 '11 at 19:14
It is extremely easy to use, see the manual at Wikipedia, you may be able to install by the download from the sourceforge link. sorry I am still using 10.10 – Sabacon Sep 23 '11 at 21:13
I'll give it a go even if the tarball is from November 2009. The git repos are more recent, but I'm not sure which one is the most stable so'll stick to the tarball for now. – Lekensteyn Sep 23 '11 at 21:22

You should have had a quick look at the Software Centre, it's always where I look first if I'm trying to find something. I typed in "circuit" and you get a nice list of the follow: KLogic, tkgate & Qucs (the rest just seem to be for making/design PCB's and other stuff). The tkgate one was always my favourite one to use. I suggest giving that a go, along with KLogic, and see how you feel about them.

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I actually looked at every available software package, but they all seems to be outdated (2009/2010) or not what I'm looking for (not a plain drawing tool, but something that also allows for simulation). tkgate looks like I've to learn Tcl first. Is that true? – Lekensteyn Sep 23 '11 at 20:20
Not actually sure if you need to learn Tcl first... but might be useful. Did you eventually find something that works for you btw? – hazrpg Jan 30 '12 at 13:49
Logism was the niciest tool I encountered. – Lekensteyn Jan 30 '12 at 14:28

Electric: electrical CAD system
Electric is a sophisticated electrical CAD system that can handle many forms of circuit design, including custom IC layout (ASICs), schematic drawing, hardware description language specifications, and electro-mechanical hybrid layout.

QElectroTech: Electric schematic editor
QElectroTech is a Qt4 application written in C++ . This program is helps you to design electric schematics. It includes both a schematic editor and a symbol editor. It uses XML files to store the produced contents. QElectroTech is a small, easy to use program.

Electric and QElectroTech can be installed from the Ubuntu Software Center in Ubuntu 12.04 and Ubuntu 14.04 (and also in Ubuntu 10.04 although the desktop version of Ubuntu 10.04 is out of date).

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