What's New in Altium 365

Learn about the new features, enhancements, and important
changes introduced to the Altium 365 platform.

November 2021

SSO support for MCAD CoDesigner in Altium 365 Copy link

November 15, 2021
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Altium ECAD solutions support Single Sign-On (SSO), now you can log into MCAD CoDesigner from the MCAD side using SSO as well:

SSO MCAD

A single sign-on solution simplifies username and password management. You no longer have to keep track of various credentials—simply remember a single, more complex password. SSO allows you to access MCAD CoDesigner much faster.

For more updates on MCAD CoDesigner, please visit: New in CoDesigner

The Altium 365 Trust Center and Knowledge Base Are Now Live Copy link

November 10, 2021
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The Altium 365 Trust Center provides detailed information on the steps we take to ensure the security and reliability of the Altium 365 cloud platform, as well as the measures we take to comply with regulatory requirements.

The Trust Center Knowledge Base

The Altium Trust Center Knowledge Base is a self-service library of our users’ most frequently asked questions about security, reliability, and compliance. If you can’t find the information you are looking for, please send your question to us, and we will add it to the knowledge base.

Trust Center

Gerber Compare in Altium 365 Beta Copy link

November 5, 2021
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The Gerber Compare utility is beneficial when PCB designers need to confirm changes in Gerber files before fabrication (e.g., unintentional changes). The recent Altium 365 update includes an intuitive and easy-to-use Gerber comparison feature, allowing designers to reduce time to market while keeping everyone informed during the process and making changes to Gerber files visible before sending them to the manufacturer.

Note: This is an Open Beta feature, and we'd love to hear from our users on how it could be improved further and about any issues encountered.

Fig. 1 - Gerber Compare
Fig. 1 - Gerber Compare

How can you see the differences between two Gerber files?

1. Differences in a macro-level view

Changes are organized into groups with explicit identification on the screen that corresponds to areas of the board that were changed. Changes are displayed per layer.

A. Clicking on a group will display a compare view that highlights any differences between the two revisions. As you can see, each group has a number, which is the number of differences.

B. You can switch quickly between layers on the side panel (see Fig. 3 - Quick view of changes).

C. When you switch between different layers and revisions, the location and zoom settings are preserved.

Fig. 1 - Groups of changes
Fig. 2 - Groups of changes

2. Easy navigation between revisions

You can quickly switch between the old revision, the new revision (that features a full Gerber viewer), and the comparison screen, which shows the difference between the two Gerber files.

Fig. 2 - Easy navigation Quick view of layers that have changed
Fig. 3 - Easy navigation

3. Quick view of layers that have changed

You don’t need to know which specific layer was modified beforehand—the software will check and display it on the screen with the number of changed areas.

All layers that are not modified appear in gray.

Fig. 4 - Quick view of changes
Fig. 4 - Quick view of changes

4. Color Coding of Changes

Gerber Compare has the ability to perform a graphical comparison; areas that have not been modified are gray. Red indicates the changes in the previous revision of the Gerber file.

Fig. 4 - Graphical comparison: Gerber Compare, old revision, and new revision
Fig. 5 - Graphical comparison: Gerber Compare, old revision, and new revision

5. Cross-probing capability

This feature also includes bi-directional cross-probing capability between the change on the side panel and the detail. Once you identify a specific change of interest, you can highlight relevant information about it.

Fig. 6 - Cross probing
Fig. 6 - Cross-probing

6. Distance Measurement

The Distance Measurement tool reports the point-to-point distance, the X (horizontal) distance, and the Y (vertical) distance in both metric (mm) and imperial (mil) units. The Measurements panel provides quick access to these measurements. Its primary function is to help you compute the exact measurements to use in the PCB manufacturing process. 

Fig. 7 - Measurements panel
Fig. 7 - Measurements panel

How can you access Gerber Compare?

  • The Releases tab in Altium 365: compare Gerber data between releases or against a locally generated file set.
  • Project Releaser in Altium Designer: compare with previous releases as part of output preview steps.

How can you provide feedback?

Since the tool is in beta, your feedback is valuable to us. Feel free to share your ideas, comments, and suggestions about Gerber Compare through the following channels:

  • Click the Feedback button located at the right-hand side of the view. A window will be presented with which to rate your experience (star rating), and then to elaborate, with the option to select an element of the interface to include with your feedback. Please supply your email address if you are willing to be contacted by Altium about your feedback.
  • Through our forum: Altium 365 feature introduction: Gerber Compare (Beta).
RECOMMENDED CONTENT

You can find more information on using Gerber Compare in Altium 365 by visiting Getting Started Guide - Gerber Compare.

Managing Access Requests in Altium 365 Copy link

November 5, 2021
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Sharing access to projects in an Altium 365 workspace can be restricted to preserve data privacy. In the past, users without sharing permissions needed to contact someone with sharing permissions and request access to others. To make this process more manageable but still preserve security properties, we've implemented “Requesting access to a project for someone else”.

If you are not familiar with the sharing controls in Altium 365, we suggest you check the guide: Allowing Access to Your Project: Design Collaboration.

Requesting Access for Others

You will know that you don’t have access to share projects because a sharing dialog box will display this information when you click the share button: “You do not have permissions to share this project. Supply the emails of people requiring access below. An administrator for the project will act on this request.”

Select “Add a Note” if you want to add a message explaining why this request is needed (optional).

Requesting Project Access

If you receive a link to an Altium 365 project and don't have access to it, the message “You need access to the project” will show up, and you can request access with an optional message for the owner of the project:

Access Request Notification

Once access is requested, anyone who can share the project receives a notification email.

In the email, “Open sharing settings” is a clickable link so that the admin can go directly to the sharing and access controls. All your pending requests will be visible there.

After accepting the request, an email notification is sent automatically to the accepted user.

RECOMMENDED CONTENT

For more information on the subject, you can read the Altium 365 User Guide: Sharing a Design in Altium 365

Schematic Compare in Altium 365 Beta Copy link

November 5, 2021
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The purpose of Schematic Compare is to provide a domain-aware comparison—that is, show essential modifications (like component, net, and connectivity changes or removal) and disregard secondary events (like moving a component that does not affect connectivity).

Note: This is an Open Beta feature, and we’d love to hear from our users on how it could be improved further and about any issues encountered.

Schematic Compare 1

How can you see the differences between the schematics?

1. Compact overview of the differences

With built-in Schematic Compare, you can easily visually compare changes between schematics. This automated process allows you to quickly and accurately analyze the differences and review each change individually. This representation refers to the latest version of the schematic data but with the color code of changes compared to the chosen older schematic.

Schematic Compare 2

Schematic Compare only shows logical differences; the graphical changes are not displayed (such as moving a symbol on a sheet or changing a text string).

2. Easy navigation

The Differences panel on the left-hand side shows the differences in the Components or the Nets between the two selected commits or releases. The differences detected in the board design are listed in the Differences Panel. You can cross probe to the latest version of the schematic/layout, where these differences are color coded and highlighted:

Differences Panel

You can select a component in the Differences panel to view its properties. The component’s properties shown refer to the latest schematic.

3. Elements can be found by name in the search bar

If you are looking for a specific element, you can type its name in the search bar (shown below):

4. Detailed change track

The list on the left displays all parameters of the selected element, comparing the old and new parts. In this way, you do not need to search for the data inside the schematics to see which parameters have changed or which nets have been added or removed; do this quickly in an overview in Schematics Compare to save time.

How can you provide feedback?

Since the tool is in beta, your feedback is valuable to us. Feel free to share your ideas, comments, and suggestions about Schematic Compare through the following channels:

  • Click the Feedback button located at the right-hand side of the view. A window will be presented to rate your experience (star rating) and then elaborate, with the option to select an element of the interface to include with your feedback. Please supply your email address if you are willing to be contacted by Altium about your feedback.
  • Through our forum: Altium 365 feature introduction: Schematic Compare (Beta).
RECOMMENDED CONTENT

You can find more information on using Schematic Compare in Altium 365 by visiting the Getting Started Guide - Schematic Compare.

October 2021

MCAD CoDesigner - Rejection Comments Copy link

October 4, 2021
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MCAD CoDesigner now displays the complete history of accepted and rejected changes, along with any comments the engineer has entered if a change is rejected. 

The history of changes is shown in MCAD CoDesigner's panel, making the interaction between the electrical and mechanical engineers more transparent. As soon as changes are applied/rejected on one side, the engineer on the other side is notified, and any rejection comments are displayed.

MCAD CoDesigner - Rejection Comments
RECOMMENDED CONTENT

Please access our online documentation for detailed information on the feature: Support for Change History and Rejection Comments.

September 2021

Interactive Commenting in Altium 365 Copy link

September 28, 2021
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With Altium 365 Interactive Commenting, your comments provide you instant access and complete visibility to any design changes, so your explanations are all in one place.

Interactive Commenting in Altium 365

How is it useful?

  • Different users can collaborate in real-time, in a chat-like, conversational format.
  • Specific contextual annotations on your design can be collected.
  • Conversations are never lost or misplaced since everything is tracked through Altium 365 and backed up in the cloud.
  • Notifications allow users to stay engaged even if they are not actively working with a design.
  • People outside of your Workspace team—invited by you—can view and leave any comments via a web-based application without an Altium Designer License. 

Here's what to expect:

Collaboration in Real-Time through the Comments Panel

Like a news feed, the comments panel on the right-hand side displays comments chronologically, and you, as a team member, can efficiently manage these comments in one place:

  • Place a Comment: Places a comment on any object or area of your design.
  • Filter Comments: Shows only the comments that match your specified criteria. You can filter comments by status (resolved or unresolved) and by a particular user.
  • View Comments: Shows a list of all responses and comments received for your design, with recent comments at the top.
Collaboration in Real-Time

Use Drawing Markup Tools to Add Comments

  • The markup is graphically drawn with a pen tool at the top of the comment dialog box.  
  • You can specify the line width, color, and other properties before you draw.
Drawing Markup Tools

After starting a new comment or reply, you can use the @mention feature to notify one or more members of your organization. Just type the @ symbol followed by the name of the user or email.

Real-time commenting in Altium 365

When you post your comment, the person you @mentioned will receive an email notification. Anyone who started the comment thread will also be notified. Notification emails let your colleagues know that there's been new activity in the comment thread and that you have left a comment. They can reply to your comment or click a link in the notification email to open the document and go straight to the comment in its context.

Please note that comments or replies can only be edited by the person who created them.

Comment Panel

In the Comments panel, comments are side-by-side with the page content to help you focus on the most relevant feedback for the part of the document you’re working on.  You can see a single list of all comments in your document, including resolved comments. To turn the Comments panel on and off, simply click the Comments button in the upper-right corner of your window.
 
Resolve a Comment Thread

Comments in documents generally represent questions, ideas, or concerns about the project. When those have been addressed, comments allow you to mark that thread as resolved. Resolved comment threads can appear in the side view, but you can choose to show unresolved comments only.

Resolve a Comment Thread

Notification Settings – you can choose to receive email alerts for all comment activity, for only those comments where you are mentioned or assigned, or not receive email alerts at all.

Notification settings
RECOMMENDED CONTENT

Please access our online documentation for detailed information on this feature: Working with Altium 365 - Commenting in Your Design.

Project History in Altium 365 Copy link

September 28, 2021
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Altium 365’s Project History shows changes to the project's documents and the timeline since the project was launched.

Project History in a Nutshell

  • Presents events as a chronological timeline (Creation, Commits, Releases, Clones, and MCAD Exchanges)
  • Auto-generates Differences Summary to view the differing entities (e.g., replaced components)
  • Even a non-expert can act on a revision (Download, View, Revert) 

Version Control and Chronological Timeline

Version Control in Altium 365

We are introducing a new feature for tracking the history throughout the project— Project History. When you click the History in the sidebar, you can scroll down quickly to see the entire timeline, as well as details about significant events: (Who, What, When, Why, and How).

Text search in Local History revisions

You can quickly find components by typing the query in the search bar in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

Easily Find Components

Embedded Compare Function

The Project History feature includes an embedded compare function that shows the differences between two versions of Schematics, BOM, or Gerber files - you can compare between commits or releases.

embedded Compare Function

Clone a Project

This operation lets you create a new project without having to configure them from scratch. Once you create the new project, you can modify its settings independently from the original project. You can also choose which folder you want to save the cloned project.

Cloned Projects

Download Previous Commits or Releases

It’s easy to navigate back to your project history, view past versions of documents and revert to previous versions if needed. Download the complete project or only the snapshot copy in a fast way.

download previous commits and release

To access the Project History, follow these simple steps:

1. Access the Altium 365 workspace
2. Go to Projects and open the project to which you want to see the history of the activity.
3. Click on the History tab on the left side pane.
4. Scroll through the screen to see all releases and commits since the creation of the project.

RECOMMENDED CONTENT

Please access our online documentation for detailed information on the feature: Project History in an Altium 365 Workspace.