Working with a Port Object on a Schematic Sheet in CircuitMaker

Created: July 30, 2020 | Updated: February 8, 2022

A placed Port

A port is an electrical design primitive that is used to make an electrical connection between one schematic sheet and another sheet or sheet symbol (through a corresponding sheet entry) in a design using multiple sheets (both flat and hierarchical designs). The name of the port defines the connection (i.e. a port on a schematic sheet connects to ports or sheet entries with the same name on other sheets in the project).


Ports are available for placement in the schematic editor only in one of the following ways:

  • Choose Home | Circuit Elements | Port from the main menus.

  • Right-click in the design space then choose Place » Port from the context menu.


After launching the command, the cursor will change to a cross-hair and you will enter port placement mode. Placement is made by performing the following sequence of actions:

  • Click or press Enter to anchor the left-hand edge of the port.
  • Move the cursor to adjust the length of the port as required then click or press Enter to complete placement of the port.
  • Continue placing further ports or right-click or press Esc to exit placement mode.

Additional actions that can be performed during placement while the port is still floating on the cursor and before its left-hand edge is anchored are:

  • Press the Tab key to pause the placement and access the Port mode of the Inspector panel in which its properties can be changed on the fly. Click the design space pause button overlay () to resume placement.
  • Press the Spacebar to rotate the port counterclockwise or Shift+Spacebar for clockwise rotation. Rotation is in increments of 90°.
  • Press X to mirror the port along the X-axis.

Graphical Editing

This method of editing allows you to select a placed port object in the design space and graphically change its length, height or location.

When a port object is selected, click and drag the editing handles to resize the port.

A selected Port
A selected Port

Click anywhere on the port away from editing handles then drag to reposition it. While dragging, the port can be rotated (Spacebar/Shift+Spacebar) or mirrored (X to mirror along the X-axis).

The name for the port object can be edited in-place by:

  1. Single-click the port to select it.
  2. Single-click again (or press Enter) to enter the in-place editing mode and enter the new name. Sufficient time between each click should be given to ensure the software does not interpret the two single-clicks as one double-click (which would open the Inspector panel).
  3. To finish editing, press Enter or use the mouse and click away from the port.
To clear the selection of (or de-select) the object, use the Esc key. 

Non-Graphical Editing

This method of editing uses the Inspector panel mode to modify the properties of a port object.

  During placement, the Port mode of the Inspector panel can be accessed by pressing the Tab key. Once the port is placed, all options appear.

After placement, the Port mode of the Inspector panel can be accessed in one of the following ways:

  • If the Inspector panel is already open, select the port object, right-click then choose Properties from the context menu.
  • With the port selected, choose View | Schematic | Inspector from the main ribbons.
Editing Multiple Objects

The Inspector panel supports multiple object editing in which the property settings that are identical in all currently selected objects may be modified. When multiples of the same object type are selected manually, an Inspector panel field entry that is not shown as an asterisk (*) may be edited for all selected objects.

Port Actions

Right-click over a placed port to open a context-sensitive menu in which the following commands are available on the Port Actions sub-menu that act on that port (or all currently selected ports):

  • Jump to Sheet Entry <PortName> - use to jump to the port's corresponding sheet entry in the parent sheet symbol that references the sub-sheet on which the port resides.
  • Toggle Port IO Type - use to toggle the I/O Type for the port.
If multiple ports are currently selected, the command will appear as Toggle Selected Ports IO Type. The command will apply to all selected ports.

The actual change depends on the current I/O Type as follows:

  • Unspecified remains Unspecified.
  • Output changes to Input.
  • Input changes to Output.
  • Bidirectional remains Bidirectional.
  • Place Harness Connector of Type <HarnessConnectorType> - use to place a harness connector (complete with respective defined harness entries) for connection to the port.
This command is only available for a port that has a defined Harness Type.
  • Jump to Port <PortName> on <SheetName> - use to jump to another port with the same name on the indicated source schematic document.
This command is available if the Net Identifier Scope (on the Options tab of the Project Options (Project |Content | Project Options) is set to Flat or Global.


  • When validating a schematic or generating a netlist, the relationship between ports and sheet symbols is determined by the Net Identifier Scope chosen for the project. This scope is defined by setting the Net Identifier Scope option on the Options tab of the Project Options (Project | Content | Project Options). When set to Flat or Global, all ports with the same name within the same or different schematic documents are considered to be electrically connected. When set to Hierarchical or Strict Hierarchical, ports only connect vertically to their corresponding sheet entries. They do not connect horizontally to other ports of the same name.
  • The I/O Type option in the Inspector panel allows you to define the port's electrical type. 
  • If you need to negate (include a bar over the top of) a port name, include a backslash character after each character in the name (e.g., E\N\A\B\L\E\).
  • Port names are not used for naming nets. This means a system-generated net name will be used if no net label or power object is associated with that net.
  • When a Port is connected to a Signal Harness, the Port becomes a Harness object. By default, the Port will change color to match the color of the Signal Harness.
  • When a Port is connected to a Harness Connector by a Signal Harness, the Harness Type field in the Inspector panel is automatically populated with the Harness Type of the Harness Connector. When a Port is connected to a Sheet Entry by a Signal Harness and the Sheet Entry has a Harness Type declared, the Port will become a Harness object and change to the color of the Signal Harness. If you move the Port away from the Harness Connector or the Sheet Entry, the Port will revert back to the default color.
  • By default, the font used for the port's Name follows the global document-level font set in the Document Font options in the Document Options mode of the Inspector panel (when no objects are selected in the design space). This can be overridden at the individual port level with the Font settings in the Inspector panel. This allows you to fully control the textual presentation of ports as needed.

Schematic Editor object properties are definable options that specify the visual style, content and behavior of the placed object.

All Port object properties are available for editing in the Inspector panel when a placed Port is selected in the design space.


General Tab


  • (X/Y) 
    • X (first field) - the current X (horizontal) coordinate of the reference point of the object, relative to the current design space origin. Click to change the X position of the object. The value can be entered in either metric or imperial; include the units when entering a value whose units are not the current default. 
    • Y (second field) - The current Y (vertical) coordinate of the reference point of the object, relative to the current origin. Click to change the Y position of the object. The value can be entered in either metric or imperial; include the units when entering a value whose units are not the current default. 


  • Name - the name of the port.
  • I/O Type - defines the electrical properties of the port. Select an option from the drop-down list. Available options are UnspecifiedOutputInput, and Bidirectional.
This setting does not influence the connectivity of the circuit, however, it is considered during the running of an electrical rules check, which can be set to detect incompatible port directions.
  • Harness Type - use the drop-down to select the type of harness.
  • Cross Ref - this field displays cross-reference values that are applied to the port. 
  • Width - the width of the object, which may be edited.
  • Height - the height of the object, which may be edited.
  • Font - use the controls to select the desired font, font size, color, and attributes to bold, italicize, etc., if desired.
  • Alignment - click the desired alignment setting.
  • Border - use the drop-down to select the default from the available choices: SmallestSmallMedium, and Large. Click on the colored box to access a drop-down from which you can select the default color.
  • Fill - click on the color box to access a drop-down from which you can select the default color.

Parameters Tab


Use this region to manage parameters attached to the currently selected port object. 

  • Grid - lists the Name and Value of the parameters currently defined for the port. You can edit the fields directly if desired. Use  and  to show/hide the parameter. Use the lock icon to lock/unlock the selected parameter.
  • Font Settings - click to select the desired font, font size, color, and attributes to bold, italicize, etc., if desired.
  • Other - click to change additional options.
    • Show Parameter Name - enable to show the name of the parameter.
    • Allow Synchronization with Database - enable to synchronize with the database.
    • X/Y - enter the X and Y coordinates.
    • Rotation - use the drop-down to select the rotation. Choices are 90°180°, and 270°.
    • Autoposition - check to enable auto-positioning.
  • Add - click to add a parameter. Use  to delete a selected entry from the table.
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