Altium Designer Documentation

Working with a Sheet Symbol Designator Object on a Schematic Sheet in Altium Designer

Created: September 27, 2019 | Updated: September 28, 2019
All Contents

Parent page: Schematic Objects


The Sheet Symbol Designator

Summary

The sheet symbol designator is a non-electrical child object of an electrical design primitive. It is used to provide a sheet symbol with a meaningful name that will distinguish it from other sheet symbols placed on the same schematic sheet. Typically the name will reflect the overall function of the schematic sub-sheet that the symbol represents.

Availability and Placement

The sheet symbol designator is automatically placed when the parent component part object is placed. It is not a design object that the user can directly place.

Any changes made to the Designator field during sheet symbol placement will cause the default properties for the sheet symbol designator object to be updated unless the Permanent option on the Schematic - Defaults page of the Preferences dialog is enabled. When this option is enabled, changes made will affect only the designator of the sheet symbol object being placed and subsequent sheet symbol objects placed during the same placement session.

Graphical Editing

This method of editing allows you to select a sheet symbol designator object directly in the workspace and change its location graphically. Sheet symbol designators can only be adjusted with respect to their size by changing the size of the Font in the Properties panel. As such, editing handles are not available when the sheet symbol designator object is selected:


A selected sheet symbol designator

Click anywhere inside the dashed box then drag to reposition the sheet symbol designator object as required. The object can be rotated or flipped while dragging:

  • Press the Tab key to access the Properties panel from where properties for the sheet symbol designator can be changed on-the-fly.
  • Press the Alt key to constrain the direction of movement to the horizontal or vertical axis depending on the initial direction of movement.
  • Press the Spacebar to rotate the sheet symbol designator counter-clockwise or Shift+Spacebar for clockwise rotation. Rotation is in increments of 90°.
  • Press the X or Y keys to mirror the sheet symbol designator along the X-axis or Y-axis.
If the Enable In-Place Editing option is enabled on the Schematic - General page of the Preferences dialog, you will be able to edit the name for the sheet symbol designator directly in the workspace. Select the designator then click once to invoke the feature. Type the new name as required then click away from the sheet symbol designator field or press Enter to effect the change.
If attempting to graphically modify an object that has its Locked property enabled, a dialog will appear asking for confirmation to proceed with the edit. If the Protect Locked Objects option is enabled on the Schematic – Graphical Editing page of the Preferences dialog, and the Locked option for that design object is enabled as well, then that object cannot be selected or graphically edited. Click the locked object to select it then disable the Locked property in the List panel or disable the Protect Locked Objects option to graphically edit the object.

Non-Graphical Editing

The following methods of non-graphical editing are available:

Via the Parameter Dialog or Properties Panel

Panel page: Sheet Symbol Designator Properties

This method of editing uses the associated Parameter dialog and the Properties panel mode to modify the properties of a sheet symbol designator object.

 The Parameter dialog, on the left, and the Parameter mode of the Properties panel on the right

After placement, the Parameter dialog can be accessed by:

  • Double-clicking on the placed sheet symbol designator object.
  • Placing the cursor over the sheet symbol designator object, right-clicking then choosing Properties from the context menu.

During placement, the Parameter mode of the Properties panel can be accessed by pressing the Tab key. Once the sheet symbol designator is placed, all options appear.

After placement, the Parameter mode of the Properties panel can be accessed in one of the following ways:

  • If the Properties panel is already active, by selecting the sheet symbol designator object.
  • After selecting the sheet symbol designator object, select the Properties panel from the Panels button in the bottom right section of the workspace, or by select View » Panels » Properties.
If the Double Click Runs Interactive Properties option is disabled (default) on the Schematic - Graphical Editing page of the Preferences dialog, when the primitive is double-clicked or you right-click on a selected primitive then choose Properties, the dialog will open. When the Double Click Runs Interactive Properties option is enabled, the Properties panel will open. 
While the options are the same in the dialog and the panel, the order and placement of the options may differ slightly. 

The sheet symbol designator properties can be accessed prior to entering placement mode from the Schematic – Defaults page of the Preferences dialog. This allows the default properties for the sheet symbol designator object to be changed, which will be applied when placing subsequent sheet symbol designators.

Editing Multiple Objects

The Properties panel supports multiple object editing, 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 a List Panel

Panel pages: SCH List, SCHLIB List, SCH Filter, SCHLIB Filter

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 applicable 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

  1. While text frames can be rotated or mirrored along the X or Y axis, this has no effect on the orientation of the text within.
  2. For simple one line text annotations, consider using the Text String object.

Notes 

  • By using sheet symbol instantiation, multiple channels on the same sub-sheet can be referenced from a single sheet symbol. The syntax used involves the use of the Repeat keyword in the sheet symbol designator field and takes the form:
    Repeat(SheetSymbolDesignator, FirstInstance, LastInstance).


Using Repeat keyword
SheetSymbolDesignator is the base name for the sheet symbol and FirstInstance and LastInstance together define the number of channels to be instantiated. The FirstInstance parameter should start at 1 or greater. When the project is built, the Compiler instantiates the channel the required number of times as it builds the internal compiled model, using a chosen annotation scheme to uniquely identify each component in each channel. The channel sub-sheet is not duplicated. Instead, once compiled, a separate tab appears at the bottom of the sub-sheet document in the main design window for each channel on that sheet.

For more information about annotation, see Annotating the Components.
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