Altium Designer Documentation

PDF Settings

Created: January 17, 2017 | Updated: July 14, 2017

The Advanced and Basic variations of the PDF Settings dialog


This dialog allows the user to manage and configure the properties of generated PDF files.


The PDF Settings dialog is accessed by right-clicking on a PDF in the Output Containers region of an OutJob file, then choosing Properties.

When this dialog is first accessed, the Basic version opens. Click Advanced to open the Advanced version of the dialog.


Output Management

Use this region to setup the location for this output container. You can specify a path, include a container folder related to the container, and specify the container's file name.

  • Release Managed - Click to open a pop-up in which you can specify folder management.

  • Release Managed - Select to make the PDF available to the PCB release system.
  • Manually Managed - Select to set the PDF to be manually managed and stored in a local folder. 
  • File Location textbox- Click the file browser button to browse for and select a target folder for the PDF. This option is available only when Manually Managed is selected.
  • Use relative path - Enable this option to use a relative path in the File Location textbox. This option is available only when Manually Managed is selected.
  • Done - Click to complete the configuration.
  • None - click to open a pop-up in which you can configure the container folder for the PDF.

  • Do not include any container folder - Select to not include a container folder.
  • [Container Name] (PDF) - Select to use the container name as the container folder name.
  • [Container Type] (PDF) - Select to use the container type as the container folder type.
  • Custom Folder Name - Select to customize the folder name. Click the drop-down arrow to open a drop-down list from where you can choose a naming string for the folder. You can also directly enter the folder name in the textbox.
  • Done - Click to complete the configuration.
  • [Filename].pdf - click to open a pop-up in which you can configure the PDF output. 

  • Separate file for each output using output name - select to create a separate file for each output using the output name specified.
  • Separate file for each output using custom name - select to create a separate file for each output using the custom name specified in the textbox below. Click the drop-down arrow to open a drop-down list from where you can choose a naming string. You can also directly enter the custom name in the textbox.
  • Collate outputs into a single file - select to collate the outputs into a single file. Click the drop-down arrow to open a drop-down list from where you can choose a naming string for the file. You can also directly enter a custom name in the textbox.
  • Done - click to complete the configuration.
  • Preview - this region shows a preview of the PDF location. As changes are made in the above pop-up dialogs, the preview window is updated so you can immediately see how your changes affect the structure of the folders.

Advanced Version Commands

  • Zoom - Use the slider bar to control the zoom level (Far to Close) when jumping to components or nets.
  • Page Size And Orientation - Use these settings to control whether the page size and orientation are configured from the Page Setup dialog or from the source documents. 
    • Schematic Page Size and Orientation Source - Select either Page Setup Dialog or Source Document from the drop-down list to specify which page size and orientation settings are to be used for the schematic document.
    • PCB Page Size and Orientation Source - Select either Page Setup Dialog or Source Document from the drop-down list to specify which page size and orientation settings are to be used for the PCB document.
  • Output Options
    • Open PDF file after export - Enable to open the PDF file after exporting.
    • Prompt if file already exists - Enable to see a prompt if the file already exists.
    • Generate Table of Contents - Enable to generate a table of contents in the PDF file.
    • Include Component Parameters - Enable to include component parameters in the PDF file. Parameters are displayed in a pop-up when the schematic component is clicked on.
    • PDF/A Compliance - Select the desired PDF/A compliance type from the dropdown. If you do not desire PDF/A compliancy, select Disabled from the dropdown.
    • PDF Version - Select the desired PDF version from the dropdown.
PDF/As are 100% self-contained and do not rely on external sources for information and therefore allow electronic documents to be reproduced exactly using various software. All information necessary to the document is embedded in the file itself, including (but not limited to), text, images, fonts, and color information. While PDF/As allow more flexibility for future editing and replication, they are much larger than regular PDF files since all information is embedded within the PDF/A document.
  • Additional Bookmarks
    • Generate nets information - enable to include net information in the PDF file. The following options are available when this option is enabled:
      • Pins - enable to bookmark Pins in the PDF file.
      • Net Labels - enable to bookmark Net Labels in the PDF file.
      • Ports - enable to bookmark Ports in the PDF file.
    • Global Bookmarks for Components and Nets - enable to create bookmarks for all components and nets in the PDF file.

Additional Controls

  • Advanced/Basic - click to toggle between the Advanced and Basic versions of the dialog.


To set up the folder structure in the PDF settings dialog, click in the first region to open a drop-down. Select (Release Managed) or (Manually Managed). If (Manually Managed) is selected, you can either search for the desired folder or enter the desired name in the textbox.


Naming the folder Output.

Select the other folder names in the same way, clicking each region and using the drop-down to specify the folder name, etc. 

Setting the Custom Folder Name to =OutputName.

In the following image, the output and folder naming works as follows:

  • The outputs are stored in a manually named folder called Output.
  • The Containing Folder (the folder for all outputs from the Jobs allocated to the output container currently being configured) is named from the Variant that is being used to generate the outputs. In this example it is Bluetooth Deluxe1.
  • The Output Folders (the folder for the individual outputs) are named from the designer-defined Name of each job. In this example, it is Bluetooth_Example.
  • The individual outputs are named using a concatenation of the ProjectName, the VariantName and the value of a Variant Parameter. In this example, the Variant Parameter is named VarRevNo.

Expression-based names can be defined when custom output file names are generated.


The user-defined output name is built up by concatenating the required elements. The concatenation process obeys the following rules:

Element Function Example Returns
= (equals) Indicates that the following string is an expression that must be interpreted. =ProjectName DB31 for the example Altium Designer project named DB31.PrjPcb
+ (plus) Used to concatenate the elements required in the output name. =ProjectName + '-' + ProjectRevision + '.PDF' DB31-07.PDF for the example Altium Designer project named DB31.PrjPcb
' ' (single quotes) Used to include a fixed string anywhere within the output name. Illegal characters are listed below. ='AcmeEngineering' +_+ ProjectName + '.PDF' AcmeEngineering_DB31.PDF for the example Altium Designer project named DB31.PrjPcb


The following characters are not permitted in user-defined output names:

< > : " \ | ? *

If there is a syntax error in an expression, for example an unbalanced quote such as =ProjectName+.PDF' instead of =ProjectName+'.PDF', this will give the result #NAME. When you see this, look carefully for missing quotes or invalid or mistyped special strings.


User-defined Project-level parameters and variant parameters are supported, support for Document parameters will be added in the future. Project parameters are defined in the Parameters tab of the Options for Project dialog (Project » Project Options). Variant parameters can be defined for each variant in the Variant Management dialog (Project » Variants).

Parameters cannot contain spaces unless they are a special string. If a string starts with ".", the entire string is treated as a 'special' string. To include more than one string in a 'special' string, use apostrophe ( ' ) to enclose each string. Example:  '.PcbDoc' '.PcbName'. You can now also use spaces or special characters inside 'special' strings. Example: '.PcbDoc #1'


Special Strings is the term used in Altium Designer to define interpreted strings. Most of these strings can be interpreted on-screen by placing a text string with a value of =SpecialStringName, for example =CurrentDate. They are always interpreted during output generation.

Currently supported Special Strings that can be used in Output filenames include:

Special String Returns
CurrentDate The current date, as retrieved from the Operating System, in the ISO 8601 format yyyy-mm-dd. Example: 2016-01-25
CurrentTime The current time, as retrieved from the Operating System, in the format hh_mm. Example: 14_55.
DataSource The Data Source used for this Output in the Output Job file.
OutputName The user-defined name of this Output in the Output Job file. Only functions when the Separate File for Each Output option is selected in the Output file naming settings.
ProjectName Displays the actual name of the project, excluding the extension.           
VariantName The name of an assembly variant defined for this project in the Variant Management dialog. The value used depends on the Variant chosen in the Output Job for the Output whose filename is being defined.
ProjectParameterName The value of the Project Parameter named <ProjectParameterName>.
VariantParameterName The value of the Variant Parameter named <VariantParameterName>.


For collated output files, only those special strings that are not restricted to a specific output can be used. For example OutputName cannot be used for a collated output file as it applies to a specific output in the Output Job file. VariantName and DataSource also cannot be used. Use of one of these special strings in a collated output file will result in the actual string being used as the filename.

If the expression fails to be analyzed, save, close and reopen the Output Job file to refresh the expression analysis engine.

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