The panel sources components from a connected managed content server and any open or installed Library files. The panel offers full details of the selected component (Parameters, Models, Part Choices, Supplier data, etc.,), component comparison, and for Managed Components, a filter-based parametric search capability for specifying target component parameters.
The Components panel uses the basic search engine functionality and view that is applied in the Manufacturer Part Search panel. While the Manufacturer Part Search panel harnesses the Altium Parts Provider service and focuses on component manufacturer and supplier data searches, the Components panel is populated with ready-to-place components from your managed content server and file-based library sources.
To open the Components panel, select View » Panels » Components from the main menu or the Components option from the button menu at the lower right of the main screen. Using a responsive design configuration, the panel layout will dynamically adapt between full screen (wide) mode and its narrow docked mode where the Categories/Filters options collapse to menus.
From within a Schematic document, use the PP keyboard shortcut to open the Components panel. From within a PCB document, use the PC keyboard shortcut.
The panel’s Categories pane (or drop-down menu in docked mode) lists any installed/open libraries and all available Managed Components under the All category entry. When the panel is in its wide mode, click the Categories list icon () (or the « icon) to collapse or expand the display of the column, and use the button (top right) to toggle the visibility of the component Details pane. When sifting through the Categories pane, the Up/Down and PgUp/PgDn keyboard shortcuts may be used to walk through the list. The Left/Right keyboard shortcuts may be used to to open and close the individual branches.
The file-based (non-managed) library menu options provides you the ability to set preferences, perform searches, and migrate filed-based library content. To access these options, select the library menu button at the top right of the panel.
Select the File-based Libraries Preferences command to open the Available File-based Libraries dialog, where you may view controls to add or remove libraries, install libraries, and specify library search paths. The Available File-based Libraries dialog has three tabs and are described in the following sections.
This tab lists all of the libraries that are part of the active project (the project currently selected in the Projects panel).
To add a library to the project, click the Add Library button. A dialog will open in which you can browse to and select a library file that you want to add to the project.
The following types of library files are supported as project libraries:
Use the Move Up and Move Down buttons to define the search order of the libraries.
This tab lists all of the installed libraries. This list is an environment setting. Any libraries added to the list will be available for all projects and the list is persistent across design sessions. Project libraries can be added to this list but are not initially part of it.
Click the Install button then select Install from file to open a dialog in which you can select the desired library you want to add to the list. The Install from server option is detailed in the Adding Content Server Folders to the Libraries Panel sectionh of this document.
The following types of library files are supported as installed libraries:
Use the Move Up and Move Down buttons to define the search order of the libraries.
This tab lists all libraries that have been found along the Library Search Paths for the project. These paths are defined in the Search Paths tab of the Project Options dialog. Click the Paths button to open the Search Paths tab to define further search paths or modify existing ones as required.
Use the Refresh List button to update the search paths and ensure that the library list is current.
Libraries in this tab are searched in the order they appear. Click the Paths button to define the order.
When you do not know which library contains the component or if it is even available, you can search for it. To search for a component, click the Search button at the top of the panel to open the File-based Libraries Search dialog.
The searching process can be summarized as follows:
The Filters region is used to define text strings that are to be applied to searching. There are three regions to configure:
There are essentially two approaches to searching:
Searching will return all items of the chosen search type (Components/Footprints/PCB3D Models) found in all libraries that fall under the defined Scope (Available Libraries/Libraries on path on the specified search path). For example, if you want to find a component that you think is in a library within specific folders on the hard disk and that library was not currently listed in the Available File-based Libraries, you would define the search as follows:
The types of libraries shown in the drop-down list will change, depending on the panel browse mode selected. For instance, Footprint Libraries (*.PcbLib) will not be present in the drop-down list if the Footprints option is disabled in the Libraries Menu. Enable to the Footprints option to display installed or used footprint libraries including *.PcbLib library types and footprints from IntLib libraries.
When the Footprints option is enabled in the Libraries Menu, the Footprint Libraries (*.PcbLib) will be available in the list, meaning the (*.Pcb) document does not have to be the active document in order for this entry to be seen. The Footprint Libraries (*.PcbLib) file(s) will be listed under the Project and Installed tab of the Available File-based Libraries dialog regardless of whether the Footprints option is enabled or not.
Within the component listing grid itself, the content that is included in the list is managed by:
Footprint) into the grouping space at the top of the list. The list entries will be collected under each unique parameter (e.g., type of footprint) from the specified grouping column.
There are various manners in which you may display the contents within the Components panel. When right-clicking on the names of each column (Name, Description, Footprint) you may select from the following options, depending on how you wish to display the components:
To search for available components in the Components panel, enter a phrase in the Search field and/or use the panel's Categories and Filters selections to narrow the component listing to your specific needs. Filters are supported for Managed Components only, and as in the Manufacturer Part Search panel, the Components panel supports unit-aware (text to number) search filters. The search functionality prioritize results according to the entered search criteria.
The Search function allows you to select then edit or add to an active Search string. Click the 'active' search string to enter it into the Search field. You can re-use or edit that search from the Search field.
The Find Similar Components dialog provides the possibility to define search preferences based on the selected component.
The Find Similar Components dialog is used to define your search preferences based on the selected component. The final search results will depend on the selected component type, be it managed or unmanaged components, and your server connection status. For example, managed components will often display more parameters than a unmanaged component. To specifically gather components and parameters that are the same or different from the one selected, the drop-downs may be utilized to select Same, Any, or Different choices.
The dialog can be accessed by right-clicking on a listed component, then selecting Find Similar Components.
The Apply Column Visibility to Child Categories command allows you to push the column visibility settings of the parent category to all child categories. The command is accessed by right-clicking on a selected category that has at least one child category then selecting Apply Column Visibility to Child Categories. When the command is clicked, the column visibility and order of the child category(ies) will be the same as the selected parent category.
The panel Filters options can be tailored your needs by selecting particular parameter types as Favorites, which then shift to the top of the list for the current component Category. Hover to the right of a parameter filter’s name and click the icon to set the filter as a Favorite. Favorite filter settings apply to and are saved for individual component Categories.
To reset your favorites to the five default parameters, right-click then choose Reset Favorite Parameters.
For Managed Components, the right-click menu offers options to edit the component through the Single Component Editor (Edit) and perform component management functions such as component creation and cloning, or editing the selected component's Part Choices and Type (Operations).
Additional information options in the component Details pane include: viewing a model image, viewing online datasheets (References) live Supplier information (Part Choices), seeing where the part has been used in Managed Projects (Where Used), and through the right-click menu, the ability to copy selected or all component parameter data (technical details) in a tab-delimited format, and resetting favorites.
You may use custom filtering feature to further refine filtering in the Components panel. The feature is available by clicking the filter () icon in the header, then selecting (Custom). This will open the Filter Editor dialog, which allows you to define the condition, operator, value, operator type, etc., for which you want to filter results.
When using the Components panel, the data for Managed Components are cached to the local machine from the Server. This provides an offline access mode for Managed Components when Altium Designer is not connected to the Server, and therefore allows normal component browsing and placement, etc. Note that Filters are not enabled in this mode.
This condition is indicated by the 'Offline mode – cached data is being used' warning text in the lower bar of the panel’s component list pane. The cache builds up component data over time and may be cleared (for all servers) using the Clear Cache option that is available under Known Servers in the Data Management – Servers page of the Preferences dialog. Component data caching is available in new Altium server products only.
Edit the Part Choices List associated with a managed component by selecting the Operations » Create/Edit PCL option from the entry’s right click menu.
Use the following Edit Part Choices dialog’s button to open the Add Part Choices dialog,
which will automatically search for part manufacturers by the selected component's
Name parameter. Deselect the predefined search term to manually search for alternatives – functionally, the dialog is a modal version of the Manufacturer Part Search panel.
Part Choice entries in the list can be ranked by selecting an appropriate star icon level, where the list will automatically be reordered with the highest ranked manufacturer choice at the top.
A Part Choices List is carried with the component wherever its data is applied, such as in a Schematic design, BOM document, Output Report and so on.
ComponentTypeparameter associated with a managed component.
The Compare feature allows you to compare parameters of two selected parts. This feature is accessed by selecting two components (parts) in the grid region with the icon enabled (blue). The Selected Component Details region opens to the right of the grid region. The upper region (region 1 in the image below) displays an image, the name, description, and price of the selected parts side-by-side. Click the Datasheet button to open the manufacturer's datasheet (if available) for the associated component. Click the Place button to place the component in the design workspace. The component will appear floating in the workspace; click to place the component in the desired location. You can continue to place additional components or right-click or Esc to leave placement mode and return to the Components panel.
The lower region (region 2 in the image below) displays a side-by-side view of the components' parameters, with differences highlight in red text for easy comparison.
The Compare feature is also available when the Components panel is in compact mode, though works a tad differently. This feature is accessed by selecting two components (parts) in the grid region. The Selected Component Details region opens below the grid region. The upper region displays the name, price, and view of the components' parameters, with differences highlighted in red text for easy comparison. The lower region displays a side-by-side view of the components' Symbols and Models.
The symbol and footprint of a given component can now be hidden within the Models section of the Details pane, which is accessed by clicking in the upper right. Once hidden, the symbol and footprint will be replaced with clickable links that revert the hidden items to their original view. Also included is the ability to scale the size of the displayed models. For both the symbols and footprints, click and drag the lower perimeter of the model area to resize the image.
The ability to edit a footprint is made available when accessing the Components panel from within a Schematic Library (.SchLib) file, so long as valid and linked footprints are already present.
The search engine and view used in the Components panel is also applied in other Altium Designer applications where a component choice is made. The component search functionality is included in these (modal) dialogs, along with an OK confirmation button and minor variations in the available action commands. The dialog is typically called Component Search.
The right-click pop-up menu for the panel provides the following commands: