Altium Designer Documentation

Web Viewer

Modified by Jason Howie on Jul 17, 2020

Parent page: Managed Projects

Altium 365's Web Viewer interface provides universal access to PCB project documents through a standard web browser. Much more than just a web-based viewer, Web Viewer's advanced browser technology allows users to navigate through the project structure, interact with design documents, extract information about elements in the design and highlight areas or objects for commenting notes.

When viewing documents the visual quality of schematics and PCBs are not compromised by its web format, which also provides full pan and zoom capabilities and the ability to search, cross-probe, select and inspect components and nets throughout the design.

Altium 365's Web Viewer interface provides an immersive and interactive experience for reviewing, for example, the source schematic and PCB documents in your design project. Shown here is a schematic - hover over the image to see the PCB (in 3D).

As an independent browser based viewing platform, the Web Viewer interface offers interactive read-only access to design documents without the need to open the project in the design editing environment. Others that are working on the design, such as the engineer who 'owns' it, will not be affected by actions in the Web Viewer space - except for any related comment notifications.

Web Viewer Access

The Web Viewer interface is utilized in the following instances:

  • As an integral part of the Projects Management interface, when managing a specific project. This view is for the latest version of the source project data, rather than a specified release from that project, and so could be considered to be a work-in-progress (WIP) view.
  • As a trimmed-down variation when viewing the Fabrication and Assembly data for a released design package, through the Manufacturing Portal.
  • As a trimmed-down variation when viewing design data in a shared live design.
The Web Viewer interface is not currently used when viewing the Fabrication and Assembly data for a manufacturing package through the Manufacturing Package Viewer, or when viewing design data in a shared design snapshot. These areas will benefit from the Web Viewer interface in a future update to the Altium 365 platform.

The following sections detail how each of these instances is accessed, and how the Web Viewer interface presents in each case.

Viewing Design Project Source

In this instance, the Web Viewer interface is presented through the Design view of the Projects Management page. The latter can be accessed from the Projects page of the Workspace's browser interface by selecting the required project, clicking the  control above the listing of projects, and choosing the Open entry on the associated menu. Alternatively, double-click directly on the required project entry in the list. The page will open in a new browser tab.

Also available in the graphical view of the Projects page by selecting the tile for the required project, then clicking the  control and choosing the Open command from the context menu. When the Projects page is presented in its list view, click the  control at the far right of the entry for the required project and choose the Open command from the associated menu.

Accessing the CAD-centric Projects Management page for a project from the Projects page of the Workspace's browser interface. The Web Viewer interface is presented through the page's Design view.

The Projects Management page can also be accessed from within Altium Designer. For the active managed project, use the Project » Show in Web Browser command, from the main menus. Alternatively, right-click on the entry for the project in the Projects panel and choose the Show in Web Browser command from the context menu. When browsing the project through Altium Designer's Explorer panel - configured in its default Project View rather than Classic View - access to the Projects Management page is made by clicking the  button.

Viewing Fabrication and Assembly Data for a Released Design Package

In this instance, the Web Viewer interface - or a trimmed variant of it - is presented through the Fabrication and Assembly views of the Manufacturing Portal, for the chosen release package of the managed project actively being inspected. To access the portal:

  1. From the Projects page of the Workspace's browser interface, select the required project, click the  control above the listing of projects, and choose the Open entry on the associated menu. Alternatively, double-click directly on the required project entry in the list. The page will open in a new browser tab.
  2. On the Projects Management page, switch to the Manufacture view.
  3. To open a specific release of the project, select its entry in the list of releases, click the  control at the far right, then choose the Open entry from the associated menu. An opened project release is presented in a new Manufacturing Portal browser tab.

Accessing the Web Viewer interface through the Manufacturing Portal, to inspect the fabrication and assembly data contained within a specific release package of a design project.

From the Manufacturing Portal, switch between Fabrication and Assembly views to interact with those elements through the Web Viewer interface:

  • Fabrication - this view applies the Web Viewer interface to show a 2D rendering of the board layout. Standard review features include layer visibility selection and comment markup, as well as the ability to search, select, and inspect components and nets. You can even take measurements.
  • Assembly - this view applies the Web Viewer interface to show a 3D rendering of the board layout. The view may be zoomed, panned and angled to provide a realistic graphical view into the PCB and its constituent objects. You also have the ability to search, select, and inspect components and nets.

Viewing Design Data for a Shared Live Design

In this instance, the Web Viewer interface - or a trimmed variant of it - is presented through the integrated Viewer, when viewing a shared live design. Access to view a shared live design in the Altium 365 Platform Interface's integrated Viewer - which opens in a separate browser tab - can be made in the following ways:

  • The person with whom you shared the live design will receive an email invite to access that design through Altium 365. Once they click the  button in the email they will be taken to the Altium 365 Sign In page (unless already signed in to the platform, or their AltiumLive account). Upon signing in, they will be taken to the Viewer, with the shared design loaded.
  • Any live design that has been shared with you will be available from the Shared with Me page of the Altium 365 Platform Interface. A live design is denoted by the  icon within its tile. To open in the integrated Viewer, select the design of interest, click the  button within its tile, then choose the Open command from the associated menu. Alternatively, double-click directly on the tile (or click on the name of the design).

Altium 365's Web Viewer interface is used by the integrated Viewer when viewing a live design that has been shared with you.

Web Review Features

The Web Viewer interface offers a range of integrated capabilities that allow detailed access to the design's data and layout. Other features such as the Comments system - when used from the Design view of the Projects Management page - communicate directly, and in real-time, with Altium Designer. The following sections take a look at the superset of functionality - available when viewing design source.

Data Views

The Web Viewer interface presents information across distinct data views, to show (when viewing design source) the source schematic(s), board in 2D, board in 3D and Bill of Materials respectively.

When viewing a specific release of a design project, two data views are presented courtesy of the Web Viewer interface - Fabrication and Assembly. These are essentially the same as the PCB and 3D data views presented by the interface when viewing design source.

SCH

This view presents the source schematic sheet(s) for the design.

The SCH data view presents the currently selected schematic source document.

If more than one schematic sheet exists for the design, the ability to switch between the documents can be performed in two ways:

  • From the navigation tree in the left-hand pane. Click on the entry for a schematic to make it the active document in the main viewing area.

  • By clicking on the control at the top-left of the view. Each document is presented as a preview - click on an entry to make it the active document. The currently selected document - the active document being viewed within the SCH data view - is distinguished in the list with a thicker blue border around its entry.

This method of switching between schematics is the only method available when the Web Viewer interface is placed in Full Screen mode (by clicking the  control at the top-right of the view).

Browsing controls for the main viewing area are as follows:

  • Mouse wheel forwards/backwards to zoom in/out.
  • Click & hold (or right-click & hold), then drag to pan document.
  • Click to select.
  • Press R to reset the view of the document (to show entire document).

If the project includes defined variants, then you will be able to switch between these when viewing schematic source documents. The left-hand navigation pane presents a listing of the available variants. By default, this will be set to [No Variations] - presenting the base design.

Variants are supported when viewing schematic source documents only - they are not supported for the 2D or 3D view of the PCB.

Accessing the available defined variants for the project.

Choose a defined variant from the list of all variants defined for the project - the view will update to reflect that variant, including the visual options enabled for not fitted components.

The interface caters for variants. By default, the base design ([No Variations]) will be presented (shown here). Use the controls in the left-hand navigation pane to switch to a different variant (hover over the image to see an example).

PCB

This view presents the PCB in 2D.

The PCB data view presents a 2D view of the PCB.

Browsing controls for the main viewing window are as follows:

  • Mouse wheel forwards/backwards to zoom in/out.
  • Click & hold (or right-click & hold), then drag to pan document.
  • Click to select.
  • Press + or - on the numeric keypad to step forward or back through the list of layers, in single layer mode.
  • Press R to reset the view of the document (to show entire document).

Control over the view and layer visibility for the PCB data view is performed through the Layers pane. Access this pane by clicking on the control at the top-left of the view (e.g. ). This control reflects how many layers are currently visible out of the total number of layers.

Layers pane - command central for controlling layer visibility.

You can pin the Layers pane so that it is always present as you view the PCB in the main viewing area. To do so, click on the  control (unpinned) at the top-right of the pane - the control will change to  (pinned). Click on the control again to unpin.

Layers are grouped into the following categories:

  • Copper - all used signal and internal plane layers.
  • Solder Mask - Top Solder, Bottom Solder.
  • Paste Mask - Top Paste, Bottom Paste.
  • Silkscreen - Top Overlay, Bottom Overlay.
  • Mechanical - all used mechanical layers.
  • Other - including Mutli-Layer, Drill Drawing, Drill Guide and Keep-Out Layer.

Use the  and  buttons to quickly toggle between viewing the board from the top or bottom respectively.

Switch between Top and Bottom views of the board using the provided buttons. Here, the default Top View is shown. Hover the mouse over the image to see the Bottom View.

The following points relate to working with layer visibility in the Layers pane:

  • A currently visible layer is shown in the pane undimmed (e.g. ). A currently hidden layer is shown in the pane as dimmed (e.g. ), along with the  icon displayed at its far right.
  • A currently visible layer can be hidden by clicking on its entry, or by hovering over its entry and clicking the  icon at its far right. Conversely, a currently hidden layer can be made visible by clicking on its entry, or by hovering over its entry and clicking the  icon at its far right.
  • An entire group of layers can be hidden by hovering over the group entry and clicking the  icon at its far right. Conversely, if all layers in a grouping are currently hidden, they can be made visible by hovering over the group entry and clicking the  icon at its far right. Note that if a group has a mixture of visible/hidden layers, the  icon will be present for the group. Click to hide all other layers, then click again (now showing as ) to make all layers visible.
  • To quickly view in 'Single Layer Mode', hover over the specific layer of interest, then click the  control. All other layers will be hidden. Click the  control again to come out of 'Single Layer Mode'.

The PCB data view supports single layer mode. Here, access to the Only control is shown. Hover the mouse over the image to see the result.

  • To reset layer visibility back to how it was when the design was initially accessed, click the  control at the top-right of the Layers pane.

When viewing the board in 2D - using the PCB data view - you are able to take basic measurements between points of interest. To do so click the  button. The Measurements pane opens, the cursor changes to a cross-hair, and you will enter measurement mode. Measurement is performed as follows:

  • Position the cursor to where you wish to start measuring (Point 1) and click. The point is marked using a small white cross.
  • Move the cursor to the required end point (Point 2) and click again. As you move the cursor, a measuring line is displayed as an aide, showing the current XY distance (from Point 1 to the end of the line).
  • The Measurements pane reports the point-to-point distance (XY) measured, the X (horizontal) distance, and the Y (vertical) distance, in both metric (mm) and imperial (mil) units.
  • Continue measuring the distance between other points, or click the  button again to exit measurement mode.

The PCB data view provides the ability to take basic point-to-point measurements.

Clicking on the XY measurement information callout - associated to the main measurement line itself - will toggle the display of the individual X and Y measurement lines.

Click on the main XY measurement callout to toggle the display of the constituent X and Y measurement lines.

The last five measurements are listed in the Previous Measurements region of the Measurements pane. The most recent is at the top of the list. Click on an entry to retrieve that measurement - both in the pane and graphically in the main viewing area.
Measurements are available during the current session of the web page only. If you refresh the browser tab, the previous measurements will be cleared.

3D

This view presents the PCB in 3D.

The 3D data view presents a 3D view of the PCB.

Browsing controls for the main viewing window are as follows:

  • Mouse wheel forwards/backwards to zoom in/out.
  • Click & hold, then drag to rotate the board.
  • Right-click & hold, then drag to pan document.
  • Click to select.
  • Press R to reset the view of the document (to show entire document).

BOM

This view presents the Bill of Materials for the design. This is built on-the-fly from the source schematic documents - an ActiveBOM document (*.BomDoc) is neither required, nor used.

The BOM data view presents the Bill of Materials for the design - created on-the-fly from the source schematics.

The BOM reflects all components required to assemble a single board. Pricing information is sourced from Octopart.

The following points relate to working with the view:

  • Clicking on the Name entry for a component will access the page for the corresponding real-world part on the Octopart site (opens in a separate tab).
  • Clicking on a designator will cross-probe to that component on the other data views.
  • You can sort by Name, Price, or Quantity - click a header once to sort in ascending order. Click again to sort in descending order.
  • Use the Search field above the listing to quickly find a component of interest. Search applies across Name, Price, Description and Designator fields.

Common Interface Elements

The following controls are common to all data views:

  •  - use this control (located at the top of the interface) to toggle display of the left-hand navigation pane. This will give you more viewing area!
  •  - use this control (located in the top-right control cluster) to access the Search facility, allowing you to search for components and/or nets. This facility is available for the SCH, PCB and 3D data views (not BOM). For more information on using the search facility, see Searching.

  •  - use this control (located in the top-right control cluster) to access the Help pane.

The pane is further divided into two sub-views:

  • Controls - gives a helpful listing of controls when browsing the SCH, PCB and 3D data views (some controls are view-specific).

  • Board Info - gives useful summary information about the uploaded design in terms of: Board Size (X and Y dimensions of the board); Number of Layers (Signal + Plane) and a sub-total of Signal layers only; Number of Components (total, including all types of component) with a breakdown of those components on Top and Bottom of the board; Number of Nets (total).

  •  - use this control (located in the top-right control cluster) to switch to Full Screen mode.
  •  - when in Full Screen mode, use this control (located in the top-right control cluster) to exit Full Screen mode (or press Esc).

Selection

Selection of a component or net within the design can be performed from the SCH, PCB and 3D data views as follows:

  • From the SCH data view (component and net selection) -  hover the cursor over a component or wire and click to select. Masking is applied to leave only that component or net fully visible. Information for the selected component/net will appear in the right-hand pane.
Potential objects for selection - components and wires - are highlighted as you move the cursor.
A selected net will be selected across all schematic documents on which it appears.

The SCH data view supports selection of components and nets. Here, a selected component is shown. Hover the mouse over the image to see a selected net.

  • From the PCB data view (component and net selection) - hover the cursor over a component or track and click to select. Masking is applied to leave only that component or net fully visible. Information for the selected component/net will appear in the right-hand pane.
Only components are highlighted as you move the cursor. To select a net, you will need to click on track away from a component.

The PCB data view supports selection of components and nets. Here, a selected component is shown. Hover the mouse over the image to see a selected net.

  • From the 3D data view (component selection only) - hover the cursor over a component and click to select. Masking is applied to leave only that component fully visible. Information for the selected component will appear in the right-hand pane.
Components are not highlighted as you move the cursor.

The 3D data view supports selection of components, an example of which is shown here.

The information for the selected entity that is presented in the right-hand pane is the same, irrespective of data view in which it is accessed:

  • Component - the information comprises the designator, description, layer and parameters.
  • Net - the information comprises the net name, its cumulative length and the layers on which it is found.
The controls at the top of the information pane enable you to quickly view the selected entity within another data view - all views for a selected component, and all views except BOM for a selected net. For more information on this cross-probing support, see the next section.

Cross-probing

When you select a component or net within the active data view, that component/net is selected on the other data views as well - enabling you to quickly cross-probe to the same selection. Cross-probing support is conveniently delivered through controls located at the top of the information pane - displayed when a component or net is currently selected in the main viewing window.

You can also click on the tab for a data view directly to see the result of cross-probing.

Cross-probing controls (for a selected component).

All data views are included for cross-probing of a selected component. For a selected net, the BOM data view is excluded.
  • Cross-probing a Component from the SCH/PCB/3D Data View - select the required component in the active data view, then click one of the buttons to cross-probe to that component in the target data view. For SCH, PCB and 3D data views (accessed by clicking the , , or  buttons), the component will be selected, centered and zoomed within the view, where possible, and masking applied, to leave only the selected component fully visible.

For the BOM data view (accessed by clicking the  button), the entry for the component will be scrolled to the top of the view (where possible), the row highlighted, and the entry for the component's designator made white.

  • Cross-probing a Component from the BOM Data View - click on the designator for the component you wish to cross-probe to. The last active data view prior to accessing the BOM view will be made active, with the component selected, centered and zoomed within the view, where possible, and masking applied, to leave only the selected component fully visible. From there, you can use the buttons (, and ) to cross-probe to that selected component in other data views as described previously.

  • Cross-probing a Net from the SCH/PCB Data View - select the required net on the active data view, then click one of the buttons (, , ) to cross-probe to that net in the target data view. The net will be selected, centered and zoomed within the view, where possible, and masking applied, to leave only the selected net fully visible.

Searching

The Web Viewer interface incorporates a search facility that provides a quick and convenient way to locate components and nets throughout your design. The search feature can be accessed from the SCH, PCB and 3D data views by clicking the  button, at the top-right of the view. A Search pane will be presented in which to conduct the search.

The Web Viewer interface's Search pane.

To perform a search, start typing your search string. Search is case-insensitive. The pane lists the matching results dynamically as you type. The number of matching results is highlighted at the top of the pane.

Each time the Search pane is freshly opened, the initial search will contain a subset of the full results (if too many). This is highlighted by the text and x more press Enter at the bottom of the list. To fully expand the results list, either click the  button, or press Enter (with the cursor in the search field).

Example search conducted from the SCH data view.

Results are local to the active data view. When the active data view is SCH, the search is across all source schematic documents.

Click the  button to access filter options, to show all component and nets matching the search string, or just components, or just nets.

Filter controls.

The five most recent searches are listed in the Recent Search region of the pane. An entry to the list is only registered once a search result is clicked upon.

With search results listed, click an entry to navigate to that entity - component or net - within the active data view. The component/net will be selected, centered and zoomed within the view, where possible, and masking applied, to leave only the selected component/net fully visible.

Example of the search facility in action. Shown here is the result of searching for a component within the active PCB data view. Hover the mouse over the image to see the result of searching for a net within the active SCH data view.

The search facility is great for finding and selecting a net on the 3D view of the board - something that cannot be done by simple selection alone, since you can only click to select components in the 3D data view.

Example result of searching for a net within the active 3D data view - the only way, aside from cross-probing, to select a net within this view.

To return to the listing of search results, click the  control at the top-left of the information pane.
Since the searched component/net is selected, cross-probing naturally becomes available since that component/net is selected across all relevant data views. For more information, refer back to the section on Cross-probing.

Comments

The Web Viewer interface supports commenting of your design documents. Comments correspond to, and interact with, the Comments system in Altium Designer. A comment is a user-added note that is assigned to a specific area, object or point on a schematic or PCB document, and may be replied to by other users. Comments promote collaboration between users without altering the project itself, or its constituent documents, because comments are stored by the Workspace independently of the design project. Comments are accessed through the Comments pane, which is presented on the right-hand side.

Use the  control to toggle display of the Comments pane.

Commenting functionality is used in the following places:

  • In the Design view of the Projects Management page, when managing a specific project. Comments can be added to a schematic (SCH data view) or 2D view of the board (PCB data view). Comments made here appear in Altium Designer and vice versa.
  • In the Fabrication data view of the Manufacturing Portal, for the chosen release package of the managed project actively being inspected. Comments made here appear in Altium Designer and vice versa.
  • In a schematic document (SCH data view) or 2D view of the board (PCB data view) of the integrated Viewer, when viewing a shared live design. Comments made here appear in Altium Designer and vice versa.
  • In a schematic document or PCB document (in 2D) of the integrated Viewer, when viewing a shared design snapshot. Comments made within the Viewer are not shared with Altium Designer. They are only seen by stakeholders with whom the design snapshot has been shared, and whom are using the Viewer to inspect that design.
  • In the Fabrication and Assembly (2D) pages of the Manufacturing Package Viewer, when viewing a specific manufacturing package (created from a specific release of a design project). Comments made within the Viewer are not shared with Altium Designer. They are only seen by stakeholders with whom the manufacturing package has been shared, and whom are using the Viewer to inspect that package.
For a design snapshot and manufacturing package, the related viewers do not currently use the Web Viewer interface. Commenting controls for those viewers, while mostly the same, are nevertheless detailed on those linked pages.

Example comments overlayed on a child schematic sheet of a managed project. The Comments pane reflects all comments, across all schematic and PCB documents in the design.

A comment markup, which defines where or what the comment note applies to, is added by selecting one of the available types from their respective controls located at the top of the Comments pane:

  • Comment on object - click the  control and then click on an object on the active document being reviewed to automatically create a comment area that applies to that object.
  • Comment on area - click the  control and then hold the left mouse button and drag to define an area that the comment will apply to.
  • Freehand comment - click the  control and then use the mouse to draw line shapes on the document. Hold the left mouse button and drag to create a freehand line, and then repeat as needed.

When a markup has been placed, a comment icon ( on a schematic,  on a PCB) will appear next to it in the view, along with a bounding rectangle, and a blank text window will open on the Comments pane, ready for your comment note. Type your comment, then click the  button beneath. The comment will be committed, appearing in the pane.

Hover over a comment icon to access a pop-up with information showing the original comment that started the thread. Click the icon to toggle selection of that comment in the pane, and display of the bounding rectangle in the view.
Comments applied in the Web Viewer interface become available in Altium Designer and vice-versa, and all changes to comments are reflected in both spaces. Remember that this is only the case for comments made:
  • In the Design view of the Projects Management page (when managing a specific project).
  • In the Fabrication data view when viewing a specific release of a project (through the Manufacturing Portal).
  • In the integrated Viewer when inspecting a shared live design.
Comments made within the Manufacturing Package Viewer, or the integrated Viewer when inspecting a shared design snapshot are self-contained, and therefore will not appear in Altium Designer, and vice versa.
In Altium Designer, the Comments panel is command-central for comments. For a high-level run-through of working with comments in relation to a managed project in Altium Designer, see Document Commenting in Managed Projects.

Working with Comments

The following points relate to working with comments and the interface's Comments pane:

  • The Comments pane presents comment threads across all documents in the entity being viewed (and which support comments). Comments on the pane are grouped by document, with the latter listed in alphabetical order.
  • If you click on a comment that is not associated with the active document being viewed, the document on which that comment was made will automatically be opened, and made the active document in the view.
  • The Comments pane will track the entire thread of a specific comment, whereas only the first comment in that thread is displayed in the view - hover the cursor over the comment icon to see this.
  • The number of posts in a particular comment thread are reflected in the Comments pane, at the top-right of the entry for a thread (e.g. ). Note that this is only visible when the thread is not active/expanded.
  • Within a comment thread, the latest reply is always added to the bottom of that thread. Where multiple comment threads are present in a document, the latest thread is presented at the top of the pane.
  • The active/selected comment on the Comments pane is highlighted. In the view, the markup that is the focus of the active/selected comment is zoomed and centered in the view (where applicable). For all comment types, a bounding box is placed around the comment markup.
  • To reply to a comment, select that comment on the Comments pane and click the  control at the bottom. Type your text in the field provided, then click the  button to commit. To exit without replying, click the  button.
  • A comment can be edited or deleted, through the Comments pane only, using the Edit and Remove commands respectively. With the comment selected, these are available from the menu associated to the  control. Note that these commands will only be available for a comment that you yourself have made - you cannot edit or remove a comment made by another user. If you edit an existing comment, make your changes then click the  button to commit. To exit without replying, click the  button.
  • To resolve a comment select it, click the  control, and choose the Resolve command from the menu. The comment will be removed from the Comments pane and the main view.
  • Resolved comments can still be displayed on the Comments pane. To do so, click the  control at the top-right of the pane, and enable the Show resolved comments option. All comments that have previously been resolved will be displayed on the pane - they will present in a grayed-out fashion, and listed below any unresolved comment threads for the corresponding document grouping.
  • You also have the ability to resurrect comments that have been resolved. To do so, click the  control at the top-right of the pane, and ensure the Show resolved comments option is enabled. Select the comment you want to resurrect, click the  control, and choose the Unresolve command from the menu. The comment will be reinstated, both on the Comments pane and in the main view.

Downloads

When viewing a specific release of a design project - through the Manufacturing Portal - any and all data sets for the released design can be downloaded. Click the  button at the top-right of the Fabrication or Assembly data views to access a window in which to define what to download, then click . A single Zip archive containing a folder for each included data set will be downloaded to your Web browser's default downloads folder.

When viewing a shared live design, the source files for the design can be downloaded. Click the  button at the top-right of any of the data views (SCH, PCB, 3D, BOM) - a Zip archive containing all project source documents will be downloaded to your Web browser's default downloads folder.

 

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