Altium Designer Documentation

Drill Table

Modified by Tania Mashkoory on Mar 12, 2019

Parent page: PCB Objects


The Drill Table presents a live summary of all drill holes present in the board.

Summary

A drill table, also known as a drill table or a drill drawing legend, is a standard element required for manufacture of a Printed Circuit Board. The drill table lists the size and number of holes for each drill used on the board. Each drill size can be represented by a symbol, a letter, or the actual hole size. When a drill drawing is generated for the board, each actual drill site is marked by a symbol. The drill table updates in real time as hole-containing objects, such as pads and vias, are placed or removed from the PCB design.

A Drill Symbol is displayed at each drill site on the Drill Drawing layer when the Show Drill Symbols option is enabled in the Drill Symbols dialog.

Availability

A Drill Table can be placed only in the PCB Editor in one of the following ways:

  • Click Place » Drill Table command from the main menus.
  • Right-click in the workspace then choose Place » Drill Table from the context menu.
Note that the drill table must be placed on the Drill Drawing layer. It will be automatically placed on the Drill Drawing layer even if this is not the currently active layer.

Placement

After launching the command, a drill table will appear attached to the cursor. Position the table in a suitable location outside the board then click or press Enter to place it.

Additional actions that can be performed during placement while the drill table is still floating on the cursor and before the drill table is anchored are:

  • Press the Tab key to pause the placement and access the Drill Table mode of the Properties panel, from where its properties can be changed on-the-fly. Click the workspace pause button overlay () to resume placement.
  • Press the Alt key to constrain the direction of movement to the horizontal or vertical axis depending on the initial direction of movement. 
While attributes can be modified during placement (Tab to access the Properties panel), keep in mind that these will become the default settings for further placement unless the Permanent option on the PCB Editor – Defaults page of the Preferences dialog is enabled. When this option is enabled, changes made will affect only the object being placed and subsequent objects placed during the same placement session.

Graphical Editing

Moving a Drill Table

Click and hold anywhere within the drill table then move it to the desired location in the PCB editor workspace.

Interactively Resizing a Drill Table

The drill table is automatically sized based on the specified Text Height setting, as well as the number of different hole sizes (rows) and the number of defined columns. To interactively resize the table, click once to select it then click and hold on a corner vertex then move to resize as required. Note that interactively resizing the table will also increase/decrease the font size.

Interactively Switching the Layer Pair to Preview

When the board includes layer-pairs, the displayed layer-pair is controlled by the Layers Pairs option in the Drill Table mode of the Properties panel.

This chosen layer-pair also can be switched using the:

  • PCB Editor right-click menu - right-click on the Drill Table then select the required layer-pair in the Drill Table sub-menu as shown in the image below. 


Right-click on the Drill Table to switch it to display another layer-pair.

  • Layer-pair selection menu accessed via the Layer Tab at the bottom of the workspace as shown in the image below.

Non-Graphical Editing

The following methods of non-graphical editing are available:

The table size is automatically scaled to fit the included text; reducing the font size (Text Height) will shrink the table to match.

Editing Via the Properties Panel

Properties page: Drill Table Properties

This method of editing uses the associated Properties panel mode to modify the properties of a drill table object.

 
The Drill Table mode of the Properties panel

During placement, the panel can be accessed by pressing the Tab key.

To access the properties of a placed drill table:

  • Double-click anywhere on the drill table object.
  • Right-click on the drill table then select Properties from the context menu.
  • If the Properties panel is already active, click anywhere on the drill table object to select it.
Press Ctrl+Q to toggle the units of measurement currently used in the panel between metric (mm) and imperial (mil). This only affects the display of measurements in the panel, it does not change the measurement unit specified for the board - this is configured in the Units setting in the Properties panel when there are no objects selected in the editing workspace.

Controlling the Assignment of Symbols or Characters

The software automatically assigns a symbol for each hole size. This automatic assignment can be overridden if required in the Drill Symbols dialog. Click the Drill Symbols button in the Properties panel to open the dialog.

Use this dialog to change the style of an assigned Symbol, or choose a Letter (Character) instead.

Configure the assignment of Symbol-to-hole size in the Drill Symbols dialog. The assignments are stored in the PCB file.

There are a total of 15 symbols available, as shown below. If there are more than 15 different hole sizes in the PCB, then letters are automatically assigned.

The 15 pre-defined graphical symbols that are available.

Updating the Drill Table

If there are design changes that introduce changes in the Drill Table, it can be refreshed by selecting it then clicking the  button in the Properties panel, as shown below.

The Drill Table is automatically updated during output generation.

The software also can be configured to automatically refresh the Drill Table whenever a design change is made. The option is enabled in the Advanced Settings dialog accessed via the Advanced button in the System - General page of the Preferences dialog.

Note that enabling this option can degrade the overall performance of the software.

Editing Multiple objects

The Properties panel supports editing multiple objects, where the property settings that are identical in all currently selected objects may be modified. When multiples of the same object type are selected manually, via the Find Similar Objects dialog or through a Filter or List panel, a Properties panel field entry that is not shown as an asterisk (*) may be edited for all selected objects.

Via the PCB List Panel

Panel page: PCB List, PCB Filter

The PCB List panel allows you to display design objects from one or more documents in tabular format, enabling quick inspection and modification of object attributes. Used in conjunction with appropriate filtering - by using the PCB Filter panel, or the Find Similar Objects dialog - it enables the display of just those objects falling under the scope of the active filter – allowing you to target and edit multiple design objects with greater accuracy and efficiency.

Tips

The drill table will appear on all output that includes the Drill Drawing layer. The image below shows an example of drill drawing output, showing each drill site marked by the symbol that has been assigned to that hole size. This example output also includes the Drill Guide layer, which adds a small cross at each hole site.  

Example output of the Drill Drawing layer showing the Drill Table next to the board, with each drill site marked by the appropriate hole size symbol.

 

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