What Is a Gerber (GBR) File?

How to Open, Edit, and Convert GBR Files

GBR Files
GBR Files.

A file with the .GBR file extension is most likely a Gerber file that stores printed circuit board designs. It's an industry standard file format that PCB machines use to understand how to drill into the board.

If the GBR file isn't a Gerber file, it might be a GIMP Brush file used by the GIMP image editing software. This kind of file holds an image that the program uses to paint repeated strokes onto the canvas.

Another use for the GBR file extension is for Gameboy Tileset files that can be incorporated into the standard Gameboy as well as Super Gameboy and Gameboy Color.

How to Open GBR Files

You can open Gerber files with a number of programs, most of which are free. These free Gerber viewers include GraphiCode GC-Prevue, PentaLogix ViewMate, PTC Creo View Express and Gerbv. A few of them support printing and viewing the measurements. You could also use Altium Designer to open the Gerber file but it isn't free.

GIMP Brush files are used with GIMP, which works on Windows, macOS and Linux.

If your GBR file is in the Gameboy Tileset format, you can open it with Gameboy Tile Designer (GBTD).

How to Convert a GBR File

To convert a GBR file requires you to know what format it's in. This is important so that you know which converter program to use since the three formats mentioned above have nothing to do with one another.

This means you can't convert, say, a GIMP Brush file into the Gerber file format; it just doesn't work that way.

When it comes to converting Gerber files, it's very possible that some of the programs mentioned above are capable of not only opening it but also saving the GBR file to a new file format.

If not, however, GerbView can convert Gerber files to DXF, PDF, DWG, TIFF, SVG and other file formats.

Online Gerber Viewer might also work for saving the GBR file to the PNG image format. FlatCAM can convert the Gerber file to G-Code.

To convert GIMP GBR files to ABR for use in Adobe Photoshop, you first have to convert the GBR to PNG with a program like XnView. Then, open the PNG file in Photoshop and choose which part of the image should be turned into a brush. Make the brush through the Edit > Define Brush Preset... menu.

You can convert Gameboy Tileset files to other file formats with the Gameboy Tile Designer program mentioned above. It supports saving GBR to Z80, OBJ, C, BIN and S, through the File > Export to... menu item.

More Information on GBR Files

The Gerber format stores binary, 2D images in an ASCII vector format. Not all Gerber files use the GBR file extension; some are GBX, PHO, GER, ART, 001 or 274 files, and there are most likely others too. You can read more about the format from Ucamco.

You can make your own GIMP Brush files but several are provided by default too, when GIMP is first installed. These default GBR files are usually stored in the program's installation directory, in \share\gimp\(version)\ brushes\.

Still Can't Open Your File?

Double-check the file extension if you can't get your file to open. It's likely that if it doesn't work with any of the programs above, you're misreading the file extension. This is important because even if two file formats share most or even all of the same file extension letters, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are related or can be opened with the same software tools.

For example, GRB files have all three of the same file extension letters has GBR files but they're instead GRIB Meteorological Data files stored in the GRIdded Binary format. They have nothing at all to do with any of the GBR file formats mentioned on this page, and therefore can not be viewed or converted with the programs talked about above.

The same is true for Symbian OS Font files that use the GDR file extension. Plenty other examples could be given but the idea is to look closely at the file extension letters and make sure they say .GBR, else you're probably dealing with something entirely different than what's covered in this article.