Altium Designer Documentation

Linking to Supplier Data

Modified by Jason Howie on Apr 11, 2017

Parent page: More about Components and Libraries

Altium Designer facilitates the linking of your design components to real-world parts, enabling you to have access to live supplier data at your fingertips, as you design. Through direct connection to Supplier web services, you are able to search across a supported Supplier's entire product catalog. This 'live' data can then be integrated within the design process - at the library design level, during the design, and at design release time. In short, this feature allows Supplier databases to be searched from within Altium Designer, and Altium design components linked to matching Supplier Items.

For any given Supplier Item found through a search, its parameters, data sheet links, pricing, and stock information can also be imported, as parameters of a target library component (SchLib, DbLib, SVNDbLib), or placed component on a schematic sheet. In addition, whole new components can be created in a target library directly from Supplier Items.

The linked supplier data can also be included at design release time, in a Bill of Materials - especially useful from a project costing and procurement perspective.

Being able to link to Supplier data does not require you to be signed in to your Altium account. Searching is conducted with the Suppliers through web services. However, when displaying pricing information in alternate currencies, exchange rates for currency conversion are refreshed daily, provided you are signed in to your account.

This document takes a look at linking to supplier data for component management methodologies that utilize SchLib, DbLib, or SVNDbLib as their 'backbone' for component storage. If you are using an Altium Vault - and Vault-based components - a similar, yet distinctly separate and far more powerful link between design component and supply chain is realized, through the notion of Part Choices. For more information, see Adding Supply Chain Information to a Vault Component. For more information on the centralized configuration of Suppliers as part of an Altium Vault installation, see Supply Chain Management.

Supported Suppliers

The cornerstone of this feature to access live supplier data, is the Altium Parts Provider extension. This extension delivers an aggregate supplier data service that provides access to live component information from a comprehensive range of parts suppliers.

The Altium Parts Provider extension.

This extension is enabled by default when installing the software, but in case you opted not to install it, or have inadvertently uninstalled it, it can be found on the Purchased tab of the Extensions & Updates page (DXP » Extensions and Updates). Restart Altium Designer once the extension has been successfully downloaded and installed.

While the Altium Parts Provider extension provides a comprehensive and effectively universal supply chain data source, there are individual Supplier extensions available.

Extensions available for install that provide direct connection to the web services of the indicated Supplier.

These are considered more 'legacy' in nature. Each of these Suppliers are accounted for with the Altium Parts Provider. The difference is that they offer direct links to Supplier web services, rather than through an intermediate aggregator. They also allow for use of special account relationships with those Suppliers.

While it is recommended to use the more powerful aggregate service of the Altium Parts Provider, you are free to use these individual providers exclusively, or in conjunction with, the Altium Parts Provider. If used in conjunction, and the same provider is also enabled for use through the Altium Parts Provider, the individual providers take precedence when obtaining/returning supply chain data results.
You may also have noticed another extension that is installed with a default installation of Altium Designer - Custom Database Parts Provider. This extension provides an interface to any parts database connection that has been setup in an  Altium Vault, such as a link to a company’s own internal parts database (directly, or via an ODBC or OLE-DB interface). You need to be signed in to an Altium Vault to access this component data. As such, it is not functionality available to, or concerned with, the ability to link to Supplier data for non-Vault component management methodologies. For more information on the centralized configuration of Suppliers as part of an Altium Vault installation, including setting up an interface to a parts database, see Supply Chain Management.

Supplier Preferences

The Data Management - Suppliers page of the Preferences dialog is command-central for configuring which Suppliers will be available when searching for parts data, along with other options relating to linking to Supplier data.

Configure options relating to the feature to link to Supplier data, as part of your Altium Designer preferences.

When the Altium Parts Provider extension is installed, use the Altium Parts Options section of the page to configure the service to suit your needs.

Options for configuring Suppliers - when the Altium Parts Provider extension is part of your installation.

Options include the following:

  • Location - enable which geographical regions the parts service will collate parts data from. While many suppliers are multi-regional, if a part is uniquely available in a specific location, it will only be listed if that region is enabled.
  • Currency - enable which international currencies will be available for selection when searching for parts and examining results.
  • Supplier - enable which Suppliers to include when performing a supplier data search. Only part results from those Suppliers will be returned.
By default, the individual Suppliers that can be installed through separate extensions are enabled in the list of Suppliers. Simply enable those Suppliers that suit the procurement preferences of your company. By including more Suppliers for use with the feature, you are able to compare and shop for the best deals on the components required by your design. A majority of the Suppliers are listed as being Verified (). This simply means that a Supplier is a partner of the aggregator service that underlies the Altium Parts Provider, has proven to own its own stock, and its data feeds are real (considered trustworthy).
Locations and currencies can be ordered, allowing you to set an order of priority, with your preferred entry at the top of the corresponding list.
Note that if you are signed in to an Altium Vault from Altium Designer, the Altium Parts Options region becomes read-only and adopts those settings defined for the Vault. For more information on the centralized configuration of Suppliers as part of an Altium Vault installation, see Supply Chain Management.

When using Individual Supplier Extensions

If you have specific part supplier extensions installed, these are listed in the Available Suppliers section at the bottom of the Data Management - Suppliers page. These can be enabled/disabled, and ordered by priority, as required.

Any specific (legacy) supplier services extensions that have been enabled, will work in conjunction with those enabled for the Altium Parts Provider, but
take precedence.

If an account is already held with a Supplier (existing customer), you may be entitled to special pricing or products that are not available in that Supplier's public catalog. If this is the case, simply ask that Supplier's sales representative for a username or customer number that can be used with their Web Service. Having gained this information, enter it into the options section for that particular supplier.

Making use of these additional supplier options is a wholly optional exercise. You are not required to fill out these details in order to link to Supplier data, they simply offer additional benefits for those users that are existing customers of a particular supplier, should they wish to access them.
Note that if you are signed in to an Altium Vault from Altium Designer, the Available Suppliers region will not be presented, since individual supplier services are not supported by the Altium Vault (version 3.0 and later).

Searching for Supplier Items

The primary interface to live supplier data is the Supplier Search panel. Think of this as a direct portal to real-world parts offered by the various Suppliers you have enabled for the feature. Access this panel by clicking the System panel access button, at the bottom-right of the main design window, and choosing Supplier Search from the associated menu.

Search for real-world Supplier items through the Supplier Search panel.

As illustrated, the panel is essentially divided into three key sections:

  1. Search Criteria - use the Keywords field to enter one or more keywords relevant to the supplier item to be searched for. Click the  button, to the right of the field, to access the Search Filters pop-up. From here, specify how many results, per supplier, are displayed on each 'page' of results within the panel. Additional options allow enhanced filtering based on whether items are in stock, lead free, or RoHS-compliant. Once criteria are defined, either press Enter within the field, or click the Search button, to effect the search.
Only those Suppliers that are enabled will be searched for matching items. Enable/disable suppliers as required from the Data Management - Suppliers page of the Preferences dialog. Quick access to this page can be made by clicking the  button, at the top-right of the panel.
  1. Search Results - this region of the panel will populate with all Supplier Items matching the search criteria, and in accordance with any advanced filtering options. Results are grouped by Manufacturer (and Manufacturer Part Number), with all Suppliers vending that part listed below. The total number of items returned are displayed below the region. Use the arrow controls to the left to flick through the pages of results, where applicable.
Depending on the scope of the search and the number of Suppliers enabled, multiple pages of results may be returned. Typing Resistor for example, will return far more results due to its generic nature, whereas typing 1K Res 1/4W is a finer search and will therefore return fewer results. Throw in a manufacturer name and the results will shrink further still.
Add additional columns of information by right-clicking in the header area and choosing from the pop-up menu. Change column order by dragging a column's header to the left or right. Sort data by any column by clicking on the header for that column - in ascending or descending order.
  1. Detailed Item Information - this region of the panel provides detailed information for the currently selected (and focused) item in the results region above. Depending on availability, the region can contain a listing of parametric data for the item, datasheets for the item, quantity-pricing levels applicable to that item, and a stock section reflecting how many units of the item are currently in stock.

Adding a Link to a Supplier Item

At the heart of Altium Designer's feature to link to Supplier data, is the Supplier Link. This fundamental entity provides the live link between an Altium Designer component and an item vended by an enabled Supplier.

The link will either be to an item in the intermediate database of the aggregator service (provided by the Altium Parts Provider), or directly to an item in the Supplier's database of electronic components (where a supported, individual supplier extension has been used).

Creation of a Supplier Link involves the addition of two parameters to the target Altium Designer component involved:

  • Supplier n
  • Supplier Part Number n

n is an integer suffix, used to distinguish between Supplier Items when multiple links are added to the same component.

Manually creating a link is a simple, straightforward process. Simply click on the required Supplier Item, in the results region of the Supplier Search panel, then drag and drop onto the target component. Exactly where to 'drop' depends on the type of component:

  • Schematic Library component (SchLib) - with the source Schematic Library document open as the active document, there are three areas on which to 'drop' the Supplier Item and create the link:
    • Anywhere within the main editing area of the Schematic Library Editor (ensuring the recipient component is focused).
    • Onto the required component's name, in the Components region of the SCH Library panel.
    • Into the Supplier Links region of the SCH Library panel (ensuring the recipient component is focused).

Illustrating the various methods of adding a Supplier Link to a schematic library component. The resulting two parameters - the fundamental elements that make the link possible
- can be viewed in the associated properties dialog for the component.

  • Database/SVN Database Library component (DbLib, SVNDbLib) - with the required DbLib/SVNDbLib document open as the active document, drop onto the required component record, on the Table Browser tab of the relevant table.

Demonstrating the addition of a Supplier Link to a component record in a database linked by a DbLib file.

  • Placed component on a schematic sheet - with the required source schematic document open as the active document, drop onto the schematic symbol of the required placed component.

Demonstrating the addition of a Supplier Link to a placed component on a schematic sheet.

A basic Supplier Link can also be created, in a more automated fashion, by right-clicking on the Supplier Item entry in the results region of the Supplier Search panel and choosing the Add Supplier Link To command. If a SchLib/DbLib/SVNDbLib is active, the Supplier Link will be added to the focused component/component record. If a Schematic document is active, simply click on each part that requires the Supplier Link.

Adding a Link from the SCH Library Panel

For the currently focused component in a schematic library, Supplier Links can be directly added from within the Supplier Links region of the SCH Library panel. Simply click on the Add button to access the Add Supplier Links dialog. Search for the required item, select it in the upper (results) region and click OK to add a link to that item, to the schematic library component.

Add links directly from within the SCH Library panel, courtesy of the Add Supplier Links dialog.

On the surface, the Add Supplier Links dialog has the same look and feel as the Supplier Search panel. However the panel has greater functionality - as detailed elsewhere in this document - and, as such, should be used as the primary means of creating Supplier Links.

Speeding the Search Process - Suggested Keywords

To speed searching, the software fills in some suggested keywords into the Keywords field at the top of the Add Supplier Links dialog. The entry depends on the settings defined in the Suggested Keywords region, on the Data Management - Suppliers page of the Preferences dialog.

The use of suggested keywords is completely configurable. You have full control over which parameters of parts are used for suggestive filling of the keyword search field, and in what order.

Default suggested keywords that are used when searching for parts in Supplier databases.

Default priority assignments (with highest priority at the top of the list) mean that the Comment will be used as the search criteria first. If the source component has no comment, then the next attempt uses its Description. If this is also blank, the component's Name will be used.

Add your own suggested keyword parameters as required. Clicking the Add button will add a new parameter entry (with default name Parameter Name) to the bottom of the list (and therefore assigning it lowest priority). The new parameter will automatically be focused, ready to change its name. To change the name of an existing parameter, click once on its name field to focus it, then enter the new name as required. Alternatively, select a parameter by clicking on its associated priority field, then click the Edit button.

Click anywhere on the Priority column to effect the name change. You can also press Enter, but be aware that this will commit the change and close the Preferences dialog.

Use the Move Up or Move Down buttons to move the currently selected parameter up or down in the list respectively - increasing, or decreasing, its assigned Priority accordingly.

An example user-defined suggested keyword parameter, added and given the top priority.

While the default parameters can be edited, or indeed removed, you can always get them back from the drop-down listing associated with a parameter entry.

Once the relevant suggested keyword is loaded into the Keywords field - in the Add Supplier Links dialog where the part search is being performed - it can be further refined as required, to better target the desired Supplier Item(s).

Importing Data from a Supplier Item

For any given Supplier Item found through a search in the Supplier Search panel, its parameters, datasheet links, pricing, and stock information, can be imported as parameters of a target library component (SchLib, DbLib, SVNDbLib), or placed component on a schematic sheet. Importing information is simply a case of selecting the parameter(s), datasheet link(s), pricing information, or stock information - in the detailed information region of the panel - then dragging and dropping onto the target component/component record. Examples of each of these are given over the following sections.

The target 'drop' point in each case is the same as that when manually adding a link to a Supplier Item (refer back to the section Adding a Link to a Supplier Item). The one exception being that when the target is a schematic library component, the dragged information cannot be dropped into the Supplier Links region of the SCH Library panel.
Multiple entries from the same section of information (Parameters, Documents, Pricing, Stock) can be imported concurrently in this way, but not entries spanning different sections of information.

Parameter Import Options

Prior to importing any parameters, pricing, or stock information from Supplier Items, you have the opportunity to define name mappings. This is particularly useful where, for example, certain parameters have already been defined for library components, and those existing parameters have different names to those used by a Supplier in their published data for an item. Rather than importing data into a new/separate parameter, the data can be imported into the existing parameter - provided the name mapping has been setup to do so.

Parameter name mappings are defined as part of the Parameter Import Options, on the Data Management - Suppliers page of the Preferences dialog.

Define options for imported parameters on the Data Management - Suppliers page of your Altium Designer preferences.

When importing a parameter, the software will look to these options to see if that parameter has a defined mapping - specified by the Imported Parameter Name field. If this field is blank, or the parameter is not listed, it will be imported using the parameter name used by the Supplier. If this field has a value, then data will be imported into a new or existing parameter with that name. In the case of the latter, the data will overwrite any existing data.

Use the Visible option to specify whether or not the associated parameter, when imported, is displayed in the workspace.

The Supplier Link options only apply when creating a new library component from a Supplier Item, or when adding a Supplier Link and parameters simultaneously. For each listed parameter, the designer can choose to exclude it from import, and also define whether a suffix is to be used - useful if importing parameters from multiple Supplier Items to the same Altium Designer component. The suffix identifies a parameter as belonging to a particular Supplier Link. That parameter can be deleted when the associated Supplier Link is removed. Note that non-suffixed parameters will not be deleted when the Supplier Link is removed.

By default, several base parameters are defined, all enabled for import when creating new components from Supplier Items, or importing parameters along with a Supplier Link. With the exception of Supplier and Supplier Part Number, options for these parameters can be edited, including specification of imported name. None of these parameters can be deleted.
When creating a new component from a Supplier Item, or importing parameters along with a Supplier Link, if a parameter for that item is not listed, it will be imported by default. To prevent a certain parameter from being imported, an entry for it must be added to the list - in the Supplier Parameter Name field - and its Exclude option enabled.

Importing Parameters

To import parameters, simply select the required parameters in the Parameters section of the Supplier Search panel, and drag to the target component/component record. Import will comply with defined parameter import options.

Example of Supplier Item parameters imported to a schematic library component. From left-to-right, you can see the selected parameters (in the Supplier Search panel) dragged
into the main editing window for the active library component, with the resulting added parameters verified in the component's associated properties dialog.

Parameters can be imported without setting up a prior link to the Supplier Item, however importing the Supplier and Supplier Part Number parameters in this manual, drag-and-drop fashion, will not create a link to the item.
Another way to initiate the import of parameters is to select the required parameter(s), right click, and choose the command from the context menu that appears. If a SchLib/DbLib/SVNDbLib is active, the command will appear in the format Add Parameters To <ComponentName>, where ComponentName is the currently focused component/component record in the library. If a Schematic document is active, the command will appear in the format Add Parameters To Part. Simply click on each placed component to which the parameters are to be added. Right-click, or press Esc, to exit.

The process for importing a datasheet link from a Supplier Item is the same as that for importing parameters. The only difference is, that there are no options to set up beforehand - just click and drag the datasheet link from the detailed Documents section for the Supplier Item onto the target component/component record in the active library (SchLib, DbLib, SVNDbLib), or component on the active schematic sheet as required.

If there are multiple datasheets with non-obvious naming as to what their content might be, simply double-click on an entry in the panel to open the datasheet in your default web browser. Once you've verified the documents you need, select and drag them across to your component.

The process will add a ComponentLink parameter pair, targeting the datasheet. By default, the same value will be entered for both the ComponentLinknDescription and ComponentLinknURL parameters - the URL for the data sheet. Access the link from the right-click References context menu for the component.

Example of Supplier Item datasheets imported to a schematic library component.You can see the selected datasheets (in the Supplier Search panel) dragged
into the main editing window for the active library component, with the resulting added parameters verified in the component's associated properties dialog.
The datasheets are made available on the References sub-menu, when right-clicking over the component.

It can be a good idea to change the value for the ComponentLinknDescription parameter to a shorter, more meaningful entry, for better display in the References sub-menu.

Importing Pricing Information

To import pricing information from a Supplier Item, simply click anywhere within the detailed Pricing section of the panel, and drag to the target component/component record. Import will comply with defined parameter import options for the Pricing parameter.

Although a Supplier Item may typically list a range of different prices, based on quantity levels, the import results in only a single Pricing parameter. The value of the parameter will reflect these various price-quantity relationships in the following format:

Quantity1=Price1, Quantity2=Price2, ..., Quantityn=Pricen

The left-most Quantity-Price pairing in the imported parameter corresponds to the first/top entry for pricing for the Supplier Item in the Supplier Search panel.

Pricing information for a Supplier Item is imported as a single, distinct parameter.

Importing Stock Information

To import stock (inventory) information from a Supplier Item, simply click anywhere within the detailed Stock section of the panel, and drag to the target component/component record. Import will comply with defined parameter import options for the Stock parameter.

If a Supplier Item is currently out-of-stock, there will be no available Stock section in the detailed information area of the Supplier Search panel.

Stock information for a Supplier Item is imported as a distinct parameter.

Adding a Supplier Link & Parameters Simultaneously

It is possible to add parameters, datasheet links, pricing, and stock information for a Supplier Item, along with a Supplier Link to that item, all in the one step. This allows you to setup components in a far more streamlined way, rather than adding each stage independently. To do this, simply right-click on the Supplier Item entry in the results region of the Supplier Search panel, and choose the Add Supplier Link And Parameters To command.

If a SchLib/DbLib/SVNDbLib is active, the parameters and Supplier Link will be added to the focused component/component record. If a Schematic document is active, you will be able to click on each part to which the parameters and Supplier Link are to be added.

For parameters, pricing, and stock information, the import will proceed in accordance with any defined parameter import options, on the Data Management - Suppliers page of the Preferences dialog.

The image below illustrates this for an 8-position DIP-Switch component - DIP-8 - in a Schematic Library. The result is a new Supplier Link to the item - verified in the Supplier Links region of the SCH Library panel - and all imported parameters populating the Parameters region of the associated Library Component Properties dialog for the component.

Add a link to, and import all information for, a Supplier Item, using a single command.

Creating a New Library Item from a Supplier Item

Adding a Supplier Link and/or parametric information to an Altium design component is straightforward, but what if that component does not yet exist? No matter, the ability is provided to create a new library component directly from a Supplier Item.

This feature creates a new component in the target library, adds a link to the Supplier Item, and imports parameters for that item. You will still need to draw symbol graphics, modify graphical and/or other component properties and, if applicable, add required model links, as necessary.

The method used to create the component depends on the type of target library:

  • Schematic Library - simply drag the item, from the results section of the Supplier Search panel, and drop onto the Components region of the SCH Library panel. Alternatively, right-click on the Supplier Item and choose the Import Into command.
  • Database Library/SVN Database Library - ensure the required table is selected in the target library file, and that the Table Browser tab is focused, then right-click on the Supplier Item and choose the Import Into command.

The name of the newly created component uses the value of the Supplier Item's Manufacturer Part Number parameter.

For parameters, pricing, and stock information, the import will proceed in accordance with any defined parameter import options, on the Data Management - Suppliers page of the Preferences dialog.

Being able to create a new component, directly from a Supplier Item, enables you to quickly build design libraries that are tightly linked to real-world components from the outset.

The Supplier Links currently defined for a library component, or placed component on a schematic sheet, can be viewed and edited using the Supplier Links dialog. To access this dialog:

  • For a schematic library component - right-click anywhere within the main workspace and choose the Supplier Links command from the context menu.
  • For a Database library / SVN Database Library component - right-click inside the record for the component, on the Table Browser tab of the relevant DbLib/SVNDbLib file, and choose the Edit Supplier Links command from the context menu.
  • For a placed component on a schematic sheet - right-click on the component and choose the Supplier Links command from the context menu.
All currently defined Supplier Links for a schematic library component can also be viewed and edited directly from the SCH Library panel. Simply select the required component in the Components region of the panel, to populate the Supplier Links region of the panel. Detailed data for a selected Supplier Item will be displayed in the Supplier Information region of the panel.

Manage the links for a component directly from within its associated Supplier Links dialog.Illustrated here is access from a schematic
library component (top) and a database library component record (bottom).

Enable the display of additional data columns, as required, by right-clicking on a column header and choosing from the subsequent pop-up. Click on a column header and drag horizontally to change the display order. Click on a column header to sort all defined links by that data attribute - price is often a good sorting choice.

To add an additional Supplier Link, simply click on the Add button. The Add Supplier Links dialog will appear, which can be used to search for, and add a link to, the required item.

An example of adding an additional Supplier Link to a schematic library component, using the Add Supplier Links dialog.

To delete a Supplier Link for the component, simply select its entry, in the upper region of the Supplier Links dialog, then click the Remove button.

Remember that while the Add Supplier Links dialog has the same look and feel as the Supplier Search panel, it simply does not offer the same set of powerful features and functionality as the latter, as described elsewhere in this document.

Quantity & Pricing

With suppliers and distributors of electronic components, it is quite common to pay less when buying in bulk. Suppliers will typically have different pricing based on the quantity of an item to be purchased from them. The quantity levels required to access increasingly reduced unit price points differ not only between different suppliers, but also from item to item for the same supplier.

This 'quantity pricing' is readily found in the detailed information region of the Supplier Search panel - specifically the detailed Pricing section for the Supplier Item currently selected in the results region of the panel. By changing the entry in the Order Quantity field, below the results region, the displayed pricing in the Unit Price column will change, in accordance with supplier-specified quantity pricing levels in-place for the displayed Supplier Items.

Quantity pricing and the Order Quantity field are also readily accessible in the Supplier Links and Add Supplier Links dialogs, and from the Supplier Links and Supplier Information regions of the SCH Library panel.

Example of displayed Unit Price change, based on the specified Order Quantity. In this example, ordering 75 units brings the price down by 0.22USD per switch. Ordering
more would enjoy even greater price breaks.

Supplier prices and stock levels can vary. Bear in mind that there is a delay in updating the information from Suppliers, into the database of the aggregator service delivered by the Altium Parts Provider extension. An indication of how up-to-date the information is, is provided in brackets to the right of the Pricing and Stock section headers (e.g. (Updated today)).

Currency Conversion

Different Suppliers operate in different, often multiple, regions of the world and, as such, it is common to see product pricing reported in different currencies. Altium Designer provides the facility to convert the display of such pricing information into one of a number of supported currencies.

To quickly display all Unit Price information - within the upper region of the Supplier Search panel - in a single currency, simply choose the required currency from the drop-down field available to the left of the Order Quantity field.

Currencies and the currency selector field are also readily accessible in the Supplier Links and Add Supplier Links dialogs, and from the Supplier Links and Supplier Information regions of the SCH Library panel.

Access a range of common currencies in which to display pricing information. Hover over the image to see
this conversion in action.

Only pricing information in the results region will display in the chosen currency. Pricing information in the detailed information region will remain shown in the currency used by that supplier.

To have pricing displayed in the default currency used by a Supplier, simply ensure the field entry is set to <none>. Remember that you can also configure currency preferences at a global level, on the Data Management - Suppliers page of the Preferences dialog.
Currency conversion is performed using applicable exchange rates. These rates are updated on a daily basis (every 24hrs), but you must ensure that you are signed in to your Altium account in order to use them.

Including Supplier Data in a Bill of Materials

Related pages: Bill of Materials (BOM), ActiveBOM

Being able to cost a project, and determine the quantities of design components to be ordered from suppliers/distributors, is an essential part of the overall design process. After Supplier Links have been added to Altium Designer components as required, the linked supplier data - including pricing and stock information - can be included in a Bill of Materials.

Supplier data can be included in a 'static' BOM, generated for a project at release time, and also as part of a BOM generated from a BOM document (*.BomDoc). The latter is known within Altium Designer as ActiveBOM. ActiveBOM offers a live presentation of the design from the outset, providing early and ongoing cost estimation. It allows you to define target pricing at the individual item level. You can then track how actual costing fares against these estimates, and so give a timely flag if any cost blow-outs are on the near horizon. In addition, you can quickly assess item availability, complete with notification if there is a risk in the supply of a chosen part. For more information, see ActiveBOM.
Supplier data is not available when generating a Bill of Materials for a PCB document, and is also not included when generating a Simple BOM.

Supplier data can be included as part of a Bill of Materials.

Each detected Supplier n/Supplier Part Number n pairing will be presented as a distinct Solution in the All Columns region of the Bill of Materials dialog (so Solution 1 for Supplier 1/Supplier Part Number 1, Solution 2 for Supplier 2/Supplier Part Number 2, and so on).

For each Solution n, the following data can be included in the BOM:

  • Manufacturer n - name of the Manufacturer of the item
  • Manufacturer Part Number n - part number that the Manufacturer uses to identify the item.
  • Supplier n - name of the Supplier of the item.
  • Supplier Currency n - alphabetic code for the chosen currency used for pricing data.
  • Supplier Order Qty n - number of units required to fulfill the desired production quantity of the product.
  • Supplier Part Number n - part number for the Supplier Item.
  • Supplier Stock n - how many units of the item the Supplier has in stock.
  • Supplier Subtotal n - the Supplier Order Quantity multiplied by the Supplier Unit Price, giving the subtotal for that item.
  • Supplier Unit Price n - cost, per unit, of the Supplier Item.

Select which data to present by enabling the respective Show option. Enabling the Show option associated with the Solution n entry itself will automatically enable all data elements for that solution.

A closer look at the supplier data available in the BOM, as part of a solution (Solution 1).

Specifying Production Quantity

You can fully cost a project based on the number of units of the product that it is intended to produce - the Production Quantity. Use the Production Quantity field, in the Supplier Options region of the Bill of Materials dialog, to specify the required value.

Options in the Supplier Options region of the dialog only become available provided that the Supplier Unit Price n and/or Supplier Subtotal n data columns are included in the BOM.

The value entered into the Production Quantity field is used to determine the Supplier Order Qty - the quantity of component that would need to be ordered to produce the given product quantity. This is calculated by multiplying the Quantity (of each particular component) by the specified Production Quantity.

Enter a value for the Production Quantity - the number of units of the product to be manufactured.

In turn, the Supplier Order Qty is used to determine the Supplier Unit Price that applies. Remember that suppliers typically offer various quantity pricing levels, depending on how many units of an item are purchased. To have Altium Designer round up the Supplier Order Qty to take advantage of the next (reduced) pricing level, simply enable the Round up Supplier Order Qty to cheaper price break option.

Hover over the image to see the effect of enabling rounding - taking
advantage of reduced unit pricing for ordering more units.

Changing Supplier Currency

The currency used for pricing-related data in a Bill of Materials can be specified from the range of supported currencies. Simply choose the required currency from the drop-down field available to the left of the Production Quantity field, in the Supplier Options region of the Bill of Materials dialog. The chosen currency will affect the following data columns:

  • Supplier Unit Price n
  • Supplier Subtotal n
Be sure to include the Supplier Currency n column in the BOM, to distinguish which currency is in use through an associated alphabetic code.

Hover over the image to see the effect of changing currency on pricing data.

Using Cached Pricing Data in BOM Parameters when Offline

When working online - connected to the internet and signed in to an Altium account - pricing-based data for components with links to Supplier Data will be updated. When generating a BOM, the latest pricings at that point in time will be used. For specific currencies, the exchange rates are updated on a daily basis.

When working offline, there is the ability to use the last cached pricing data in the pricing-based parameters in the BOM. To do this, from within the Bill of Materials dialog, simply enable the Use cached pricing data in parameters if offline option - in the Supplier Options region of the dialog.

Example BOM Template

The Excel template file BOM Supplier Links.xlt provides an example BOM template that includes supplier link information. This file can be found in the \Users\Public\Documents\Altium\AD<VersionNumber>\Templates folder of a default Altium Designer installation.

Example Bill of Materials generated using the Excel template file, BOM Supplier Links.xlt.

In the Excel template, entries for Production Quantity and Currency are made using the parameters Field=ProductionQuantity and Field=Currency, respectively.

 

If you'd like to comment on the content on this page, use the Ctrl+Enter keyboard shortcut to send us your feedback. To include a section of the page in your comment (a typo, missing/wrong info, or incorrect imagery), highlight the text (max. 200 chars) and/or image first. Please restrict your feedback to documentation issues - for technical assistance refer to the Altium Forums.

Contact Us

Contact our corporate or local offices directly.

You are reporting an issue with the following selected text and/or image within the active document:
Request Free Trial

Complete this form to request a free 15 day trial of Altium Designer: