Schematic Capture

Efficiently capture schematics of any complexity.

Schematic Capture
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Hierarchical, Design-Reuse, Simulation, and More All in One Place

A schematic capture tool should be both powerful and simple to use; unfortunately, most are not.

Seasoned engineers and beginners alike will find the schematic editor in Altium Designer® is both intuitive and powerful. The UI is laid out so you can focus on the design and not navigating the features of the tool. Whether the project is simple or complex, all features are always easy to access and use.

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Control the Synchronization

Your schematics and PCB are always dynamically linked. Changes made to the schematics may be updated to the PCB with just a few simple clicks. The process is bi-directional so any changes to the PCB which affect the schematics such as pin or part swapping are updated to the schematic domain. Throughout the ECO process, you have full visibility of changes and may reject them on a line item by line item basis.

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Powerful Tools to Capture Your Design

Experience unparalleled capability with the powerful tools to capture any design intent. Realize every idea and quickly bring it to reality with ease.

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Key Capabilities

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Flat & Hierarchical Design

Simple designs are better served in a set of simple flat schematic sheets, however, when the need calls for a system level representation of the design, a hierarchical design will better reflect the flow of signals from subsystem to subsystem. Altium Designer offers support for either paradigm and conversation from a flat design to hierarchical as the complexity of the design increases is a snap.

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Multi-Channel Design

Multi-Channel design in Altium Designer saves time by allowing the placement of multiple instances of a single child schematic sheet within the hierarchy of a design. This design is replicated for each instance of the schematic in the PCB editor. Powerful tools to place and route one instance of a channel and then copy that routing and placement to other channels are at your fingertips.

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Component Management

A component is so much more than a symbol, footprint, and handful of parameters. With the ability to combine 3D and SPICE models, datasheets, real time supply chain information, and more, you get real purchasable components and truly costed BOMs. Pricing, availability, lifecycle data, and everything else come together to make a unified component definition.

With a simple manufacturers part number or parametric search, a few clicks in the Manufacturers Part Search panel lets you download everything you need for a component definition and connects it to real-world suppliers from across the globe.

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Generic Components

Generic Components, can quickly be placed in a design without the need to find and choose a specific manufacturer part from the available component sources. Generic components are intended as placeholders that are easily replaced by a suitable component later in the design process – serving as virtual or parametric components.

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Instantiating Net Connectivity

Placing components and instantiating net connectivity captures the design intent. With a dense schematic, the wiring can get convoluted very quickly. But wires are only one of a multitude of ways of instantiating net connectivity. Wires, Net Labels, Busses, Bus Entries, Ports, Sheet Entries, Offsheet Connectors, Signal Harnesses, Power Ports all play a part in capturing the design, and you have the flexibility to choose what mix best suits your needs.

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SPICE Simulation

The Altium Designer circuit simulator is used for engineering analysis and verification of electrical circuits based on SPICE technology. Built directly into the Altium Designer Schematic Editor, circuit simulation capabilities cover both analog and discrete electrical domains, allowing calculations for mixed-signal electrical circuits.

Due to this feature, the circuit simulator in Altium Designer is named Mixed-signal circuit simulator, or Mixed Sim.

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Powerful Electrical Rule Checks

A key aspect of verifying the design is to be confident that the components are connected properly. The Electrical Rule Check (ERC) in the Altium Designer Schematic Editor has a built in ERC engine which runs both online and batch mode checks. The ERC validates that the schematic is properly wired, properly annotated and more, prior to ever updating the design to the PCB.

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Powerful Annotation Tool

Design Annotation is the systematic and methodical process for ensuring that each component in the design can be individually identified by means of a unique designator. There are a number of approaches to annotating a design in Altium Designer. The choice of Annotation tool depends on a number of factors including the type of design, personal preference, and company policy and procedures.

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Specifying Design Requirements During Design Capture

Design Directives are objects that are placed on the schematic during design capture, providing a way of specifying instructions to be passed to other parts of the software. A variety of Design Directives are available for creating net and component classes, PCB layout rules to be passed to the PCB editor as well as defining differential pair, NO ERC and more.

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Design ReUse Blocks

Design reuse is just another way Altium Designer enhances your daily productivity. Device Sheets are completed schematics of your IP which may be placed into your design as hierarchical design blocks. The recycle symbol indicates that these are static blocks within your design. Snippets are like clipboard references to those circuits you tend to use over and over again and are always at your fingertips.

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Specifying Design Requirements

Often the design engineer must convey layout requirements to the PCB designer performing the layout. Altium Designer supports scoping PCB design rules directly in the schematic to communicate the design intent across domains. Differential Pair directives, Parameter sets scoped to PCB design rules and blankets are just some of the tools available for conveying cross domain design intent.


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Graphics for Your Schematic

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and the schematic not only defines design intent in terms of component interconnectivity but can also convey so much more. Through placement of graphical objects, flowcharts of power up sequences, visuals of key external connections and text directions for the placement of jumper settings to enable and disable features on the PCB are all possible.

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Color Highlighting Nets

Making a complex schematic readable is an art. Net color highlighting is just another feature Altium Designer brings to the table to make your job easier. Individual nets, groups of nets and net classes may all be color coded in the schematic document. The net color highlighting then transfers to the PCB document to highlight the same net groups in the PCB.

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