Altium Designer Documentation

Managing Hole Sizes using the PCB Panel in Altium Designer

Created: August 23, 2016 | Updated: April 11, 2017
All Contents

Parent page: PCB Panels

Hole Size Editor mode of the PCB panel.
Hole Size Editor mode of the PCB panel.

Summary

The PCB panel allows you to browse the current PCB design using a range of filter modes to determine which object types or design elements are listed, highlighted or selected. The panel also has editing modes for specific object types or design elements that provide dedicated controls for editing procedures. Note that you can access the properties for any element listed in the panel.

In the PCB panel’s Hole Size Editor mode, the three main list regions of the panel will change to reflect, in order from the top:

  1. The general filtering for hole types and their status, with a sub-section for the layer drill-pairs currently defined for the board.
  2. Hole objects arranged in groups, as determined by size and shape.
  3. Individual primitives that constitute each group of hole objects (pads, vias and slots).
While the middle list-type sections change between PCB panel modes, the top and bottom portions of the panel remain the same. For a panel overview and information on those sections, please see the PCB panel page.

Panel Access

When the PCB Editor is active, click the button at the bottom-right corner of the workspace and select PCB from the context menu. Alternatively, you can access the panel through the View » Workspace Panels » PCB » PCB sub-menu.

Panels can be configured to be floating in the editor space or docked to sides of the screen, right-click on the panel name to control this. If the PCB panel is currently in a group of panels, use the PCB tab located at the bottom of the panels to bring it to the front.

Once the PCB panel has been opened, select the Hole Size Editor option from the dropdown menu at the top of the PCB panel to enter Hole Size Editor mode.

Using the Hole Size Editor

The panel sections show the cumulative filtering applied to hole types, styles and status.
The panel sections show the cumulative filtering applied to hole types, styles and status.

The groups of holes can be collectively edited in the Unique Holes section of the panel by entering values in the appropriate column cell. You can enter a numeric value to change the current hole size for pads and vias in the Hole Size, Hole Tolerance (+), and Hole Tolerance (-) columns.

Editing the hole size for the selected group of six matching hole styles.
Editing the hole size for the selected group of six matching hole styles.

You can also change the corresponding Length, Type, and Plated entries for holes where applicable.

Changing the hole type (from round to square) for the selected group of six matching hole styles.
Changing the hole type (from round to square) for the selected group of six matching hole styles.

Individual pad/via objects belonging to the selected holes group are listed in the lower Pad/Via section of the PCB panel. Right-clicking on an object in the list and selecting Properties (or double-clicking on the entry directly) will open the matching dialog for that primitive, where its properties can be viewed and edited.

As you click on an entry in the PCB panel's lists a cumulative filter will be applied based on that entry. The visual result of this (in the design editor window) is determined by the highlighting methods enabled (Mask/Dim/Normal, Select, Zoom). In this way you can quickly highlight all holes of a particular status, holes of a particular style or size, or an individual hole primitive (pad/via) that exits in that filtered group. Multiple entries can be selected in each list section, using standard Shift+Click and Ctrl+Click features.

The panel selections filter down to hole primitives of a specific type. Three are selected and displayed here from the '0.75mm & Round' group.
The panel selections filter down to hole primitives of a specific type. Three are selected and displayed here from the '0.75mm & Round' group.

Support for Back Drilling

The Hole Size Editor mode of the PCB panel can also be used to examine pads and vias that are targetted for back drilling. Back drill layer pairs are displayed in the Layer Pairs list, denoted by the addition of the text [BD].

When a back drill hole size is selected (38mil in the image below), the objects have their Kind displayed as Backdrill. Use this ability to quickly locate and examine back drilled holes. Note that back drill settings cannot be edited via th panel.

Use the Hole Size editor to examine back drill holes in the design.
Use the Hole Size editor to examine back drill holes in the design.

Back Drill Report

To generate a report of all back drill events, right-click in the Unique Holes list, and select Backdrill Report from the context menu.

Right-click to generate a back drill report from the Hole Size Editor.
Right-click to generate a back drill report from the Hole Size Editor.

The report details each back drill event, including the location, drill size and drill depth.

To learn more about back drilling, refer to the Controlled Depth Drilling, or Back Drilling article.

 

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