Altium Designer Documentation

Managed BOM Templates

Modified by Jason Howie on Sep 23, 2020

Parent page: Server Items

Altium Designer, in conjunction with your managed content server, caters for the ability to create and manage Excel-based BOM Template Items in that server. Such Items are created directly within the server, with the relevant Excel template file (*xls, *.xlsx, *.xlt, *.xltx) uploaded to a revision of a target item. Once a BOM Template Item has been created (and data released into a revision of it), and its lifecycle state set to a level that the organization views as ready for use at the design level, it can be reused in future board-level design projects.

For more information on working with, and creating a Bill of Materials in Altium Designer, see BOM Management with ActiveBOM.

Folder Type

When creating the folder in which to store a BOM Template Item, you can specify the folder's type. This has no bearing on the content of the folder - uploading will always result in a BOM Template Item. It simply provides a visual 'clue' as to wh at is stored in a folder and can be beneficial when browsing a server for particular content. To nominate a folder's use as a container for BOM Template Items, set its Folder Type as BOM Templates, when defining the folder properties in the Edit Folder dialog.


Specifying the folder type - its intended use - gives a visual indication of the content of that folder when browsing the server.

Another important aspect of the parent folder is the Item Naming Scheme employed for it. This defines the format of the unique ID for each Item created in that particular folder. Several default example schemes are available, utilizing the short-form code for either the folder type (XLT - Excel Templates) or the content type (XLT - Excel Template):

  • $CONTENT_TYPE_CODE-001-{0000} - for example, XLT-001-0001.
  • $CONTENT_TYPE_CODE-001-{A00} - for example, XLT-001-A01.
  • $FOLDER_TYPE_CODE-001-{0000} - for example, XLT-001-0001.
  • $FOLDER_TYPE_CODE-001-{A000} - for example, XLT-001-A001.

Using a default naming scheme, the software will automatically assign the next available unique ID, based on that scheme, having scanned the entire server and identifiers of existing Items. This can be a great time-saver when manually creating BOM Template Items.

A custom scheme can also be defined for a folder, simply by typing it within the field, ensuring that the variable portion is enclosed in curly braces (e.g. XLBOM-001-{0000}).


The Item Naming Scheme of the parent folder is applied to the Unique ID for each Item
created within that folder.

The Item Naming Scheme employed for the parent folder can be changed at any time. The modified scheme will then be applied to any subsequent newly-created Items within that folder.

Item Type

When creating the target BOM Template Item in which to store your Excel template file, ensure that its Content Type is set to BOM Template in the Create New Item dialog. If you are creating the Item in a BOM Templates type folder, this Item type will be available from the right-click context menu when creating the Item.


Creating a BOM Template Item within a BOM Templates folder - the correct Content Type is available on the context menu.

When defining the BOM Template Item, to which the source Excel template file is uploaded, be sure to specify the type of lifecycle management to be used for the Item, and the naming scheme employed for its revisions, respectively.

Lifecycle management and revision naming features are not supported in Altium 365 Standard. As such, this functionality will not be available when connected to an Altium 365 Workspace with this level of access to Altium 365.

Control over which Item types can use a particular lifecycle definition or revision naming scheme, can be defined and enabled at a global level from within the Content Types dialog, when defining each schema. The default schemes assigned for use by a BOM Template Item are: Generic Lifecycle and 1-Level Revision Scheme, respectively.

Once a file has been uploaded into the initial revision of a BOM Template Item, these schemes cannot be changed for that particular Item.

Specify the required schemes in the Create New Item dialog, using the Lifecycle Definition and Revision Naming Scheme fields respectively.

If the option to control use of lifecycle definitions and revision naming schemes per content type is enabled for any definitions/schemes, and the BOM Template Item type is not set to use a particular definition/scheme, then that definition/scheme will not be available in the applicable drop-down list.


Selecting the Lifecycle Definition and Revision Naming schemes for a manually created Item.

Observing standard revision naming schemes and lifecycle definitions, across the various types of design item in a managed content server ensures smooth, consistent management of those items.
It is a good idea to add a Name and Description as part of the Item's definition. This information is used when searching the server and enables quick identification of what a BOM Template Item offers.

Uploading a BOM Template File

So far, we've discussed the support for a BOM Template Item in the server, in terms of related folder and item types. Uploading an Excel template file into the revision of such an item can be performed in a couple of ways.

Upload Menu

An Excel template file can be uploaded by right-clicking on the required BOM Template Item in the Explorer panel, and choosing the Upload command from the context menu. The Create New Revision dialog will appear, in which you can change Name, Description, and add release notes as required. Use the Sources region of the dialog to load the required template file. This can be performed by dragging and dropping the file from Windows Explorer, onto the region. Alternatively, click the  button - the Add Files dialog (a standard Windows open-type dialog) will appear. Use this to browse to, and open, the required template file (supported formats/extensions are: *.xls, *.xlsx, *.xlt, and *.xltx).

If the Item has no planned revision, upload will be to the next planned revision, created on-the-fly as part of the upload process.


Manually specifying the Excel template file to be uploaded to the target BOM Template Item.

Once the desired file is dropped in, or selected and the Open button clicked, an entry for it will appear back in the Sources region. Proceed with the upload by clicking the OK button. The uploaded file will be available on the Details aspect view tab for the Item Revision, in the Explorer panel.


The uploaded file is listed on the Details aspect view tab for the revision of the BOM Template Item.

Drag and Drop from Windows Explorer

An Excel template file can also be uploaded by dragging the selected file from a source folder in your Windows Explorer, and dropping onto the required target BOM Template Item in the Explorer panel. The Create New Revision dialog will appear, with the dragged file listed in the Sources region. Modify Name (which will be the file name, including extension) and Description (which will be in the format Uploaded from <FileNameandPath>, Size <FileSize>, Created on <FileCreationDate>), and add any Release Notes as required, and then click the OK button.

If the existing BOM Template Item has no planned revision, upload will be to the next planned revision, created on-the-fly as part of the upload process. If you drop the dragged file away from an existing Item, a new BOM Template Item will be created. The Create New Item dialog will appear. The Name of the item will be the file name, including extension. The Description will be in the format Uploaded from <FileNameandPath>, Size <FileSize>, Created on <FileCreationDate>. Change these as required. The Item ID will be in accordance with the Item Naming scheme defined at the folder level. If the folder has no naming scheme defined, naming will follow the $CONTENT_TYPE_CODE-001-{0000} scheme.

Uploading an Excel template file using the drag and drop method.

Reusing a Managed BOM Template Item

Once an Excel BOM template file has been uploaded to a managed content server, and its lifecycle state set to a level that the organization views as ready for use at the design level, that BOM template can be reused in future board-level design projects.

When you are signed in to your managed content server, use of available BOM Template Items is automatic. If there are released revisions of BOM Template Items, then only those available templates - shared with you - will be presented in the Bill of Materials dialog, through the dialog's Template field (in the Export Options region of the Properties pane, when the MS-Excel, or Generic XLS formats are chosen):

If BOM Template Items exist, then when signed into the server they will be presented, instead of the local (file-based) templates, when configuring a Bill of Materials Report.

If there are no released revisions of BOM Template Items in the server, or if you sign out of your server, then you will be able to use local, file-based templates (stored in *.xls, *.xlsx, *.xlt, or *.xltx files).

If you do not sign in to your managed content server you can still work with Altium Designer (under your valid Altium Designer License), but you will not be able to access your organization's managed content server, or any other services it provides. You will therefore not be able to reuse any managed BOM Template Items. You will only be able to use file-based templates defined locally, and available from the templates folder specified on the Data Management - Templates page of the Preferences dialog.

Updating a BOM Template Item

If you need to change the Excel template stored in a BOM Template Item, upload the required new template file to that Item - the new template will be stored in the next revision of that Item.

Downloading a BOM Template File

Downloading the Excel BOM Template file (*.xls, *.xlsx, *.xlt, *.xltx) stored in a revision of a BOM Template Item can be performed from the Explorer panel in the following ways:

  • By right-clicking on that revision and choosing the Operations » Download command from the context menu. The file will be downloaded into a sub-folder under the chosen directory, named using the Item Revision ID. The file can be found in the Released folder therein.
Access the Download command from the top-level entry for a BOM Template Item itself, to download the Excel BOM Template file stored in the latest revision of that Item.
Click the Explore button in the Download from Server dialog, to quickly explore to the download folder.
  • By selecting the file for the Item Revision, on its Details aspect view tab, right-clicking, and choosing the Download command from the context menu. Nominate the target folder to receive the file, in the subsequent Choose destination folder dialog.

Opening a BOM Template File

To open a BOM Template file that is stored in a revision of a BOM Template Item, select that file - on the Details aspect view tab for the revision - then right-click and choose the Open command from the context menu. The file will be opened in Excel, where installed.

Soft Deletion

When using an Altium 365 Workspace as your managed content server, flexible functionality is available for removing a BOM Template Item directly from within Altium Designer, from the Explorer panel. Right-click on the Item's entry in the panel and choose the Delete Item command from the context menu. The Delete Items dialog will appear, in which to confirm the deletion. The action is actually a 'soft delete', whereby the Item will be moved into the Trash area of the Workspace. The Trash is essentially a recycle bin into which any managed item within your Workspace can be moved (through a soft delete action). It is isolated from the rest of the Workspace.

With the soft-delete facility, you are able to delete an item that is currently being used.
Multiple BOM Template Items can be deleted in a single action. Select all required Items using standard multi-select controls (Shift+click, Ctrl+click), then right-click and choose the Delete Items command from the context menu.

Soft deletion of a BOM Template Item. The Item will be moved to the Workspace's Trash area.

To proceed with the deletion, click the  button. The item will be removed and a Deletion Summary dialog will confirm successful deletion. If there was an issue with deletion, this will be flagged to you.

All items deleted in this manner can be found on the Trash page of the Workspace's browser interface. Note that you can only view items that you have personally soft deleted. Administrators will be able to see the full content of the Trash page - so all items that have been soft deleted.

Things to consider in relation to a soft deleted item:

  • The item will not be available from your design software, or from within the Web interface.
  • Anywhere the item was being used will reflect that the item has been deleted.
  • An item can be restored, or permanently deleted from the Trash page, provided you have editing rights. Permanent deletion is only possible provided it is not being used by a parent item.
Note that if you have soft deleted an item - moving it to the Trash - you can create a new item with that same name again. If you were to subsequently restore the original item, and the original name is taken, an integer suffix will be used, to keep its name unique within the Workspace.

 

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