Altium Designer Documentation

New in Altium Designer

Modified by Jason Howie on Mar 12, 2018

Altium Designer 18.0

Released: 15 December 2017 - Version: 18.0.9 (build 584)
Released: 30 January 2018 - Version: 18.0.11 (build 651)
Released: 09 March 2018 - Version: 18.0.12 (build 696)

Release Notes for Altium Designer Version 18.0

Altium Designer 18.0 UI - FAQs

This latest update to Altium Designer continues to deliver new features and enhancements to the software's core technologies, while also addressing many issues raised by customers through the AltiumLive Community's BugCrunch system. Along with delivering a range of new and exciting features that develop and mature the existing technologies, it also incorporates a large number of fixes and enhancements across the software as a whole, helping designers continue to create cutting-edge electronics technology.

It is not possible to update to Altium Designer 18.0 from an earlier version, since Altium Designer 18.0 is 64-bit - a new, clean installation is required. You have the choice to continue with your current version, or to install Altium Designer 18.0 to access the latest features. Alternatively, have both installed side-by-side, and use the version that best suits your needs.


Altium Designer 18 is a major update to one of the world's most popular electronic product design environments. This release not only includes a broad range of new and improved features, there also has been a major focus on optimizing the productivity of the designer. Altium Designer 18 also presents an entirely new look and feel that will enhance your board design experience. From the color scheme of the main editors, to the new and more comprehensive panels, to a quicker route to your Preferences and your managed content server, this updated version of Altium Designer gives you more streamlined ways to work as you build your designs.

Support for Multi-board Design

Advanced electronic product designs are generally composed of multiple PCB designs that are interconnected to create the complete, functional system. From a design with a main board and a front panel LCD module to a complex active backplane system with plug-in cards, all are implemented as a system of multiple board designs.

This requires a high level design system that allows multiple ‘child’ PCB designs to be electrically and physically connected together while maintaining the integrity of their Pin and Net connectivity. Integrated system-level design is supported by Altium Designer 18 in the form of a dedicated Multi-board Design environment that features both the logical (schematic) and physical (PCB) aspects of system design.

ActiveRoute Enhancements

ActiveRoute is an automated interactive routing technology that applies efficient multi-net routing algorithms, to the specific nets or connections selected by the designer. This release sees the introduction of automatic length tuning for both single ended and differential pairs; automatic pin swapping; and configurable track spacing within a Route Guide - all configured from the updated PCB ActiveRoute panel.

Selection Filter

To edit multiple objects you first need to select them - the challenge has been selecting only those objects you are after. Altium Designer 18 simplifies this challenge with the new Selection Filter. The filter is available at the top of the new Properties panel, which is displayed whenever there is nothing selected in the schematic or PCB editor's workspace.

Draftsman Enhancements

The Altium Designer 18.0 release brings a range of new features and enhancements to the Draftsman production drawing application. Included is support for two new object types - Arc and Region. A Bookmarks panel is also now available, which offers a convenient way to navigate and manage multi-sheet drawing documents. The panel presents an expandable tree view of the complete document structure, not unlike the Projects panel, and includes all document sheets and the primary view objects within those sheets.

The Draftsman editor now supports PCB document Embedded Board Arrays, allowing Draftsman documents to provide drawing details of multiple boards placed as a panel array.

The release also incorporates a range of Bug Fixes and drawing feature improvements.

Enhanced BOM Management with ActiveBOM

The final Bill of Materials often includes more than just the components mounted on the board, requiring manual and error-prone crafting in another editor. The new ActiveBOM editor solves this, with: custom rows and columns; a dedicated, configurable and editable line number column; powerful supply chain searching; and comprehensive BOM checking.

Performance Enhancements & New Rendering Engine

Altium Designer 18.0 includes a number of significant optimizations to enhance performance, as well as now being delivered in 64-bit. It also features a new graphics Rendering Engine.

Introducing Altium NEXUS

Altium has officially announced the upcoming launch of a new product that is designed to simplify the experience of working together with other engineers, designers, and stakeholders in the electronic product design process. Altium NEXUS will include cloud-enabled server technology to support collaboration, process management, and data management, hosted in either public or private (on-premise) environments. The core schematic and PCB design technology of NEXUS is identical to that of Altium Designer 18.0, sharing 100% of the design capabilities - now and always.

As such, Altium Designer 18.0 and beyond will no longer connect to an Altium Vault. Customers and users of the Vault can switch to Altium NEXUS and connect seamlessly to their existing Vault with full data integrity and preservation of capabilities. There is no additional charge to customers who are on active maintenance subscriptions, and as stated above, the schematic and PCB capabilities, and user interface of Altium NEXUS and Altium Designer 18.0 are identical.

As a standalone product, Altium Vault 3.0 will be our last release with new capabilities, yet the Vault technology will continue to evolve and advance as a core part of Altium NEXUS. In the near future, Altium NEXUS will offer a server of its own (cloud-hosted, or on-premise flavors of an 'Altium NEXUS Server') that will expose new capabilities for collaboration, data management, and process management. These new capabilities are made possible through the integration and continued development of technologies from Vault, as well as recent Altium acquisitions of Ciiva, Perception Software, and more.


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