Altium Designer Documentation

Smart Paste

Modified by Rob Evans on Jun 19, 2017


The Smart Paste dialog.

Summary

The Smart Paste dialog allow you to convert some textual information into Altium Designer objects. You can copy Altium Designer objects or Windows based text and then paste it into your design as Ports, Net labels Buses, Harnesses, or groups of objects like a port with wire and net label.

Access

The Smart Paste dialog can be accessed by selecting Edit » Smart Paste from the toolbar or by using shortcut key Shift + Ctrl + V.

Options/Controls

Choose the Object to Paste

  • Schematic Object Type Grid - This displays a list of all the objects in the clipboard you have selected, grouped by their type. The check box allows you to control which set of objects you would like to paste. Before you can paste, you also need to select an operation from the Choose Paste Action region of the dialog. This determines how your selected objects will be placed onto your schematic sheet. The Themselves paste operation is a standard paste operation which pastes the objects as they were selected to the clipboard. The other operations allow you to transform the source object into a different object (or collection of objects) when pasting.
  • Windows Clipboard Contents Grid - Altium Designer uses its own clipboard. The Smart Paste operation allows you to control paste operations over the Altium Designer clipboard and also the windows clipboard. Enable the contents in the Windows clipboard if you want to include these contents in the smart paste.

Choose Paste Action

  • Paste As - Before you can paste, you need to select a paste operation. This determines how your selected objects will be placed onto your schematic sheet. The Themselves paste operation is a standard paste operation. The other operations allow you to transform the source object into a different object (or collection of objects) when pasting. The possible transformations are:
    • Ports, Sheet Entries, Net Labels can be transformed into equivalent ports, sheet entries, net labels, or one text frame/note or a port and net label set per object (with wires).
    • Label, Text Frame, Note can be transformed into Label, Text Frame, Note.
    • Windows Clipboard Text can be transformed into net labels, ports, sheet entries, labels, text frames, notes, possibly parts or a port and net label set per object (with wires).
    • Windows Clipboard Graphics can be transformed into an image.
  • Options - By choosing different Paste As objects, different options will be shown:
    • The option Sort Order and Signal Names are the most common options; those options are available when choosing the objects Net Labels, Ports, Cross Sheet Connectors, Sheet Entries, Harness entries, and all groups where one of those objects are used.
      You can set the Option Sort Order to By Location so the clearance between the copied object are kept. If you choose Alpha-Numeric the names will be sort by alpha-numeric order.
    • For the option Signal Names, there are more possibilities. Select Keep if you don't want to change the name you copied. You can choose Expand Buses in order to have free objects. You can also choose the option Group Nets with Lower First or Higher First to paste the object with a bus index. The last option of this section is Inverse Bus Indices so you can reverse the index of the copied text. For example if you copy the name LEDS[ 7..0 ] you can paste it as LEDS[ 0..7 ].
    • If you choose a port, you can set the Port Width option. Set it as Use Default Size in order to take the value from the preferences. You can also choose Set Width To Widest to get the widest value for the port. The last option is Set Width To Fit and sets the port to be created at the exact size so as to fit your text.
    • If you choose to paste some sheet entries, you will see the Same Side option. This option allows you to paste all the copied information on one side of the sheet symbol. If this option is unchecked, the sheet entries will keep the default side.
    • The option Wire Length is available when selecting a group of objects and you can enter the value of the length of the wire that will be placed.
      The clearance between the wires will be set by the actual grid value.
    • When pasting the text in a text frame, you can choose the Text Frame Size and the Aspect Ratio. This second option is available only when setting Set Width/Height using Aspect Ratio. The text frame is placed with the dimension defined by this aspect ratio. In the other cases, you can set this option to Use Default Size to take the value from the preferences or you can choose Set Size To Fit so the text frame fits the information you are pasting. The same options are also available for the Notes.
    • When pasting information as a harness connector, you will be able to give a name to the connector using the option Harness Type. In the case of pasting the harness connector with a port, you can also choose to enter a Port Name and a Wire Length.
    • When working in a FPGA project, you can place some C code Symbols, so the smart paste feature allow you to paste the Code Entries in this symbol. There are two additional options for this kind of object. The option Data Type allows you to paste those code entries with a Signed Integer, an Unsigned Integer, a Floating Point, or a Boolean text; those are predefined C language data types. The last option Copy Graphical allows you to keep the color of the copied object (sheet entries to code entries for example).

Paste Array

  • Enable Paste Array -  Enable this option to to copy your selected objects as a two-dimensional array. The total number of copies you will create are the number of columns times the number of rows. On clicking OK, you will be prompted to select a start location on the document, where the array will be inserted. Simply position the cursor at the desired location and click or press Enter.
  • Columns
    • Column Count - This specifies the number of columns you want in your paste array. Each column is separated by the Column Spacing setting.
    • Column Spacing - Enter positive or negative values for spacing, to determine whether the array is pasted to the right or left respectively for horizontal placement, or upwards or downwards respectively for vertical placement.
  • Rows
    • Row Count - This specifies the number of rows you want in your paste array. Each row is separated by the Row Spacing setting.
    • Row Spacing - Enter positive or negative values for spacing, to determine whether the array is pasted to the right or left respectively for horizontal placement, or upwards or downwards respectively for vertical placement.
  • Text Increment
    • Direction -  Select what method you would like to use to increment strings (such as designators) on the copies you are pasting. You can select from the following options:
      • None - do not increment. Each copy will have the same strings.
      • Horizontal First - increment strings by increasing the value of a string from its predecessor by the Primary amount. The successor string to increment is found by finding the next string in the sequence immediately to the right. Once a row has been re-sequenced, move to the start of the next row above. Pins can also be incremented using the Secondary setting.
      • Vertical First -  increment strings by increasing the value of a string from its predecessor by the Primary amount. The successor string to increment is found by finding the next string in the sequence immediately above. Once a column has been re-sequenced, move to the start of the next column to the right. Pins can also be incremented using the Secondary setting.
    • Primary - Strings are incremented/decremented from its predecessor by the Primary amount. Pins can also be changed using the Secondary setting.
    • Secondary - Strings are incremented/decremented from its predecessor by the Primary amount. Pins can also be changed using the Secondary setting.
    • Remove Leading Zero - Enable this option to remove the leading zeros from the text string. For example 000ABC is transformed as ABC if this option is enabled.

You can add a negative value in the spacing field so you can reverse the order of the placed objects

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