Altium Designer Documentation

Component Editor - Batch Component Editing Mode

Modified by Jason Howie on Aug 6, 2019

Parent page: Managed Components

A managed component is defined/edited using the Component Editor, which can operate in two modes - Single Component Editing and Batch Component Editing. The latter provides the interface for defining/editing multiple components, but can be used to define/edit a single component, should you wish. With the Component Editor in its Single Component Editing mode, access to batch editing mode is made by choosing the Tools » Switch to Batch Editor command, from the Editor's main menus.

If defining a component in Single Component Editing mode, and that component has models that have not yet been released to the server, you will be prevented from switching to Batch Component Editing mode. You must release the component first, then edit it, after which you will be able to switch editing modes.

This mode is also accessed if you have selected multiple Component Item revisions for editing, from the Explorer panel. Each component definition will have a common set of parameters and links to required domain models. Batch editing comes into its own where it makes sense to manage components as a set, such as a set of chip resistors for example.

This document looks at working with the Component Editor in its Batch Component Editing mode.

For more information on working with the Component Editor in its Single Component Editing mode, see Component Editor - Single Component Editing Mode.

Interface Overview

In its Batch Component Editing mode, the Component Editor interface is essentially divided into four main regions, illustrated in the following image and summarized thereafter.

The Component Editor, when switched to operate in its Batch Component Editing mode, can be divided into four key regions.

  1. Required Models/Parameters - where you define what type of domain models are required by the component definition(s), as well as the place to craft a set of parametric data that will be applied to all component definitions.
  2. Model Links - where you add links to released domain models, for use in component definitions.
  3. Preview Window - providing a preview of the currently selected model. This will be graphical for a Symbol and Footprint Item, and textual for other model types.
  4. Component Definition(s) - this is where a component is defined, including its folder, name, type, referenced domain models, parametric data, and part choice(s).
The Required Models/Parameters and Model Links regions can be horizontally collapsed by clicking the  control at their top-left. In addition, the top three regions can be collapsed, leaving just the Component Definitions region, by using the  control, at the top-right.

Document Options

Controls for specifying the target server folder in which the Component Items will be created, and also the lifecycle definition and naming schemes to be employed for those Items, are available in the Document Options dialog (Edit » Document Options).

Server settings are defined through the Document Options dialog.

  • Target Vault - if creating one or more new components, the target server will be the one to which you are actively signed in. When editing existing components, this field will reflect the managed content server in which those components reside. Click the Vault Admin button to the right of the drop-down (available if the component(s) have yet to be released) to access the Data Management - Servers page of the Preferences dialog, from where you can browse and manage your active and known servers.
While you can be connected to various managed content servers, you can only be actively signed in to one server at a time.
  • Default Folder - when creating one or more new components, use this field to specify a default folder within the target managed content server in which to store the released Component Item(s). Do this by clicking the Choose button to access the Choose Folder dialog - an incarnation of the Explorer panel, from where you can browse to and choose an existing folder in the server, or create a new one on-the-fly. The entry here will be used by default for the FolderPath when adding a new component definition. If editing the revision of one or more existing Component Items, this field will reflect the existing folder and will be non-editable. In this case the Choose button will also be unavailable.
  • Lifecycle Definition and Revision Naming - use these fields to set a suitable default scheme in each case (Component Lifecycle and 1-Level Revision Scheme respectively). Use the drop-down associated with each field to choose a different scheme, from any of the currently defined schemes available for the parent server.
If the option to control use of lifecycle definitions and revision naming schemes per content type is enabled for any definitions/schemes, and the Component Item type is not set to use a particular definition/scheme, then that definition/scheme will not be available in the applicable drop-down list.
  • Item Naming - this field is used to define a default Item Naming Scheme for components released from the Component Editor, ensuring a unique ID for each resulting Component Item in the server. The entry here will be used as the template for automatically naming a newly-added component definition (in its associated Item ID field). The software will automatically assign the next available unique ID, based on that scheme, having scanned the entire server and identifiers of existing Items.

If the parent folder in which a Component Item resides (or is being created) has a defined naming scheme, then this will be pre-filled as the default. If not, then the default scheme - CMP-{00000} - is provided. You can of course create your own scheme by typing it within the field. Support is available for the use of parameter-based Component Name Templates. Such templates allow you to precisely name, or rather rename your components, based on the currently defined values of parameters available to those components in the Component Editor. Include a parameter into the naming template using the format [<ParameterName>]. Multiple parameters can be used in a template, and you can also add an iterator macro, specified within curly braces (e.g., {000}, {00A}).

Alternatively, you can override the auto-assigned ID for a component by entering the ID required directly in the Item ID field for a definition. You always have full control and final say over how the Items are identified.

If the Components being edited reference a Component Template, the entries specified in the template for Lifecycle Definition, Revision Naming, Component Naming and Default Folder are used to pre-fill the corresponding fields on the Document Options tab of the Document Options dialog. These options (on the Component Editor side) will only be editable provided the corresponding Allow override option is enabled in the template. In addition, the target managed content server will be hard-coded to use the same server as that in which the revision of the Component Template Item resides.

Required Models/Parameters

This region of the editor is used to specify which domain models are required by the component definition(s), as well as the place to craft a set of parametric data that will be applied to all component definitions.

Define required models and parameters.

  • Models - at the most basic level, a component used in board design requires representation in the schematic and PCB editing domains. It therefore needs schematic symbol and PCB footprint models. These then are added as required models by default and cannot be removed. Use the Add and Remove controls for the region to add/remove other model types as required.
Specifying a model type does not mean the component definition has to use it, but rather adds a field for that model type to the component's definition.
Notice that the PCBLIB entry is available from the list. This allows for a component to have different PCB footprint models associated to it. In addition, the PCBLIB (default) parameter allows you to specify the default footprint model for a component.
  • Parameters - two default parameter entries exist - Name and Description. These are system parameters. Any number of additional parameters may also be added as required. To do so, click the Add control at the bottom of the region, then choose the Parameter entry. A new parameter will be added to the list. Click inside the Parameter Name field to change the name as required. To remove a parameter, select it and click the Remove control. The system parameters cannot be removed.
The Show option associated to an entry allows you to toggle the display of the corresponding column for that model/parameter in the lower region of the editor - where the component definitions themselves are defined. This can be a tremendous help where numerous parameters have been defined, and the region starts to become highly congested. Use multi-select in combination with the right-click menu options to toggle the display state of multiple models/parameters.

This region of the editor, through the Add menu, also facilitates the following:

  • Linking to a Component Template - the Templates sub-menu lists all Component Template Items currently available in the same managed content server in which the Component Item itself resides. Click on an entry to create a link to the latest revision of that Component Template Item. Parameters from the template will be brought into this region, and are distinguished by use of the  icon. For more information, see Referencing a Component Template.
If you are not using Component Template Items, you can still create predefined listings of parameters through the Component Editor's support for customizable Parameter List Templates. These simple, humanly-readable files can be built with a list of required parameters, that can then be loaded into the editor with a single click. Parameter List Templates are only supported for use with the Component Editor in its Batch Component Editing mode. For more information, see Parameter List Templates.
  • Enabling the use of Datasheets - choose the Datasheet entry to do this. For more detail, see Attaching Datasheets to Component Definitions.
  • Adding Part Choices - use the Part Choices sub-menu, and choose By MPN. An entry will be added - Part Choice n - to the definitions area, with two columns - Manufacturer and Part Number, with which to specify the choice. Alternatively, if you have configured a custom database part source, choose the By Internal ID menu entry. An entry will be added - Part Choice n - to the definitions area, with two columns - Part source and Internal ID, with which to specify the choice of part from your company's internal parts database. For more information, see Making Part Choices.

This region of the editor is used to add links to released domain models, for use in component definitions. The Model Links region can be thought of in terms of a 'bucket' of domain models that can be accessed by any component definition. Assignment is a case of specifying which links are required for each definition.

Links to models of a particular type can only be added, provided that model type has been added to the Required Models/Parameters region.

The Model Links region, packed with functionality to streamline model link definition and assignment to the component definitions.

Use the following collapsible sections to learn more about working with model links.

There are a couple of streamlined ways in which to add model links to the region:

  • Select models from within a given server folder. You can choose one or more different models, or one or more different revisions of the same model. Click the Add control beneath the Model Links region, choose the model type, then choose the actual model(s) through the Choose Models dialog.

Dialog-based addition of model links.

  • Drag and drop models directly from the Explorer panel. You can drag one or more different models, or one or more different revisions of the same model.

Add one, or multiple models, through drag and drop from the Explorer panel.

Any number of model links may be added, including links to different revisions of the same model. Each link is to a specific named-revision of a model (e.g. SYM-001-0002-3, for revision 3 of Symbol Item SYM-001-0002). Using the Show in Explorer command on the right-click menu for a selected model link will quickly access the Explorer panel, with the chosen model (and revision thereof) in focus.

To change a model link, click on its Item ID field, then click on the  button. The Choose Model dialog will appear, from where you can browse for and choose, a different model Item, or a different revision of that same model Item. To remove a model link, select it and click the Remove control.

If the component references a component template, all model Items that are defined (as dedicated parameters) in that template, will be brought in and listed in the Model Links region. For more information, see Referencing a Component Template.

The Revision Status field for a model link is used to indicate whether it is the latest revision of that particular model, or if there is a subsequent revision available for it. When the Component Editor detects that a linked model is not the latest revision, this is flagged by the text Out of date, shown in a bold font.

To update the link to use the latest revision of the model, right-click anywhere on the model's entry and choose Update to Latest Revision from the menu. This action:

  1. Updates the model link to reference the latest revision.
  2. Updates any usage of that model in a component definition, to use the latest revision of that model.

The Component Editor details any model that is not at the latest revision, right-click to update to the latest revision.

Should you need to edit a linked domain model that is being used (referenced) by a component definition, this can be done most efficiently using the direct editing paradigm:

  1. Right-click on the model entry in the Model Links region of the editor and choose the Edit command from the context menu.
  2. The model will open in a temporary instance of its associated editor. Make changes as required to the model and release into the next revision of its parent item in the server, using the  button (from the Quick Access Bar). The Create Revision dialog will appear, in which you can enter a different Name and/or Description, or enter a note of the changes made in the Release Notes field.
Discard any changes and come out of editing by using the  button, also available from the Quick Access Bar.

Edit and release a model directly from the Model Links region of the Component Editor.

The Create Revision dialog provides the ability to update all Component Item revisions that reference this changed Model Item revision. However this is typically used when editing a domain model item directly, and not through the model links of a component currently being edited itself. While this could be left checked, proceeding will open another editing instance for the component you are currently defining - or a combined editing instance including all affected Component Item revisions, where multiple components reference the changed model. This could get quite confusing, so it is is far better to disable this option before proceeding.

Clicking OK in the Create Revision dialog (with the option to update affected items disabled) will effect the release. The temporary model editor will close and you will be returned to your (already open) Component Editor. The model link and any instance where that link has been assigned to defined components, will be automatically updated with this latest revision.

Model link and assignments are updated with the latest revision after the release process completes.

To clone an existing referenced domain model, select it in the Model Links list, right-click, and choose the Clone command from the context menu. The process flow is similar to that followed when cloning an Item Revision in the Explorer panel:

  1. A direct editing session is launched, with a copy of the source document - stored with the chosen model link's Item-Revision - opened in the associated (and temporary) editor.
  2. Make changes as required through the editor - including changing the name and description, if/as required.
  3. Click the  button (on the Quick Access Bar), to release the document to the server (shortcut Ctrl+Alt+S). The Create Item dialog will appear. By default, the clone Item will adopt the same revision naming and lifecycle definition schemes as the original Item, and will be created in the same folder. These properties can be changed if required. Notice also that the original model Item-Revision ID is entered into the Ancestor Revision field.
  4. Once the Item properties are set as required, click OK. The new Item and its initial revision will be created, the document released, and the temporary editor closed. The clone Item Revision will be added as a referenced link at the bottom of the list of Model Links, back in the Component Editor.

The newly-cloned Item Revision will be added as an additional model link.

To enable or disable the display of a specific column, click the Column Control button  and disable any columns you do not want to be visible.

Hide or show model link data columns as required.

Alternatively, to hide a column, click and drag its header to a point in free space, until a large cross appears, then let go.

The order of the columns is customizable. Click on a column's header and drag it horizontally to the required new position. Valid positions are highlighted by vertical positional arrows.
With the exception of the column containing the icon for the model type, the width of a column can be modified by clicking and dragging the right-hand separator (in that column's header). If columns stretch beyond the extents of the viewable area, a horizontal scrollbar will appear.

Model links can be grouped based on any of the visible column headings. To do this, click and hold on a column header, then drag and drop it onto the text that says Drag a column header here to group by that column.

For example, the following image illustrates the model links being grouped by Revision Status. Doing so separates the model links into as many groups as there are different values in the grouping column - in this case two groups are created, for Revision Status: Out of date, and Revision Status: Up to date.

Grouping the model links based on the values in a column, in this case by Revision Status.

A hierarchy of groups can be created, by nesting the column headers. Within the grouped columns region, use drag and drop to redefine the grouping 'sort order' as required.

Model links can be sorted by a specific column by clicking on that column's header. Click once to sort in ascending order (based on the content of that column). Click again to sort in descending order.

You can sort by multiple columns. With the model links already sorted by a specific column, Shift+click on another column to 'sub-sort' by the content of that column.

To remove sorting for a column, Ctrl+click on its header.

Like an Excel spreadsheet, the model links can be further filtered by the contents of each column. To do this, click the small funnel (filter) icon, located at the right-hand side of a column header (). A menu will appear containing a checkbox for each value present in that column. Enable the required checkbox(es) to reduce the list to only include model links with that value.

Alternatively, for greater filtering control select (Custom..), which displays the Custom Filter dialog. Use this dialog to setup a custom filter to meet your requirements, by specifying which rows of information you want to show based on filter criteria you apply to the data column.

 Choose to apply standard or customized column filtering.

When a column filter is applied, the filter icon is displayed in blue (), indicating that there is filtering applied based on that column. Filtering can be applied to multiple data columns. Each 'column filter' becomes an ANDed condition in the overall filter. A textual representation of the filtering currently in effect will be presented at the bottom of the region.

An example of column filtering in action.

To clear filtering for a column, choose the (All) entry from the filtering drop-down. To clear filtering completely, click the  button, to the left of the textual representation of the filter. To disable the filter, uncheck the check box to the left of its textual representation. To enable again, check the check box.
Within an editing session the history of just used filters is available. Click the  button to the right of the textual representation of the current filter to display the history. The history list is cleared when the temporary Component Editor is closed.

To further customize the current filter, click the  button, to the far right of the textual representation of the filter, to open the Filter Builder dialog. Use this dialog to create more sophisticated and complex filters as needed.

Use the Filter Builder dialog to create more sophisticated filtering.

Commonly used filters can be saved and re-used. This is done in the Filter Builder dialog by clicking the  button to save the current filter in a Filters file (*.flt). Click the  button to reload a previously saved filter.

Component Definitions

Once you have specified the set of parameters, and have your 'bucket' of model links at the ready, you can proceed with definition of the required component(s). This is performed in this lower region of the document.

Define your components in a logical and intuitive way using the Component Editor.

What is actually presented in this region initially, will depend on the component(s) being edited:

  • When creating a new Component Item, and a Component Template is not referenced from the parent folder, the entry will have the FolderPath and Item ID assigned, but that's it - a blank canvas as it were.
  • When creating a new Component Item, and a Component Template is referenced from the parent folder, the entry will have prefilled definition information provided by that template.
  • When editing a revision of an existing, single Component Item, and you have switched from Single Component Editing mode, that revision will be presented, along with whatever information has been defined for it at that stage.
  • When editing multiple chosen revisions of Component Items - and thereby accessing Batch Component Editing mode directly - all of those revisions will be presented.
Add an additional new component definition to the list by clicking the Add Component control at the bottom of the region, or by using the corresponding command of the same name on the region's right-click context menu.

Each component definition appears as a single row entry containing the following information:

  • Component: FolderPath - use this field to release the component to a specific folder in the target server. For each newly added component to the grid, this field can be populated with a default location, if specified in the Default Folder field in the Document Options dialog (Edit » Document Options). Whether or not a default path is specified, you have full control over where in the target server a component will be stored. To manually specify a target folder, click once inside the FolderPath field for a component to reveal the  button, and click to access the Choose Folder dialog. Browse to, and choose an existing folder, or create a new one on-the-fly.
Taking the time to carefully determine folder paths for your components ensures they are released into the correct destination folders from the outset. However, Items can be easily moved to any folder in the server structure, post release, if need be.
This field will be read-only if the component has already been released. If you use the Clear Link To Target Item command (on the right-click Operations sub-menu), the link to the existing Item in the server will be cleared. The fields of the component definition will revert back ready to create a new Item, and the FolderPath field will become available for editing.
  • Component: Item ID - this field is used to determine the ID used for the released Component Item in the server. For each newly added component to the grid, this field is populated in accordance with a default naming scheme, specified in the Item Naming field in the Document Options dialog. The software will automatically assign the next available unique ID, based on that scheme, having scanned the entire server and identifiers of existing Items.

A default Item naming scheme - CMP-{00000} - is provided, but you can of course create your own scheme by typing it within the field, ensuring that the variable portion is enclosed in curly braces (e.g. CMP-001-{0000}). Alternatively, you can override the auto-assigned ID for a component by entering the ID required directly in the Item ID field for a definition. You always have full control and final say over how the Items are identified.

Support is also available for the use of parameter-based Component Name Templates. Such templates allow you to precisely name, or rather rename your components, based on the currently defined values of parameters available to those components in the Component Editor.
This field will be read-only if the component has already been released. If you use the Clear Link To Target Item command (on the right-click Operations sub-menu), the link to the existing Item in the server will be cleared. The fields of the component definition will revert back ready to create a new Item, and the Item ID field will become available for editing.
  • Component: Name - reflects the humanly-readable name given to the component. This system parameter is available and indexed when searching within the server and will provide a good means to locate specific components beyond having to remember their Item ID.
The field will populate with any default value for the Name system parameter that has been defined in a referenced Component Template.
  • Component: Type - this field supports the ability to define the type of component and is a key attribute used to facilitate targeted searching of server components (and which you will use heavily when browsing your managed components through the Components panel). Click on this field, then click  to access the Component Type dialog. Use this dialog to select the required type of component (from all currently defined types) then click OK - the chosen type will be inserted as the value for the Type attribute in the main definitions grid.
The field will populate with any default value for the ComponentType parameter that has been defined in a referenced Component Template, or with the component type selected through the Create New Component dialog, which appears when you attempt to create a new managed component. The types are defined at the preferences level. Click the  button at the bottom of the Component Type dialog to access the Data Management - Component Types page of the Preferences dialog, from where you can craft this listing to better suit your needs - either by adding new types and sub-types, or editing and removing existing types.
  • Component: Description - reflects the description added to the component. This system parameter is available and indexed when searching within the server.
The field will populate with any default value for the Description system parameter that has been defined in a referenced Component Template.
  • Models - these fields correspond to the entries in the Required Models/Parameters region of the document. There is one field per required model that is added, with the exception of footprint models, where multiple can be defined. There will always be at least two models associated to a component, corresponding to the default symbol and footprint models. Each field is used to specify which of the linked models (in the Model Links region) is to be used for the component.
Toggle the display of model columns by enabling/disabling the associated Show option for a Required Model entry respectively. Use multi-select in combination with the right-click menu options to toggle the display state of multiple model types.
  • Template Parameters - these fields correspond to user parameters brought into the Component Editor from a referenced Component Template Item revision. There is one field per parameter. The left-to-right ordering of the parameters in a component definition corresponds to their top-to-bottom ordering in the Required Models/Parameters region. Enter values for parameters as required, and where applicable. For example, parameters that have been marked Read Only in the template will not be editable, while other parameters will be. And if they have been marked as Required in the template, they must be given a value, or you will not be able to release the component definition.
  • Parameters - these fields correspond to the additional user parameters that you have entered in the Required Models/Parameters region of the document. There is one field per additional parameter. The left-to-right ordering of the parameters in a component definition corresponds to their top-to-bottom ordering in the Required Models/Parameters region. Enter values for parameters as required.
Item-level, or dynamic parameters - facilitated through a connected enterprise system instance, or through use of the CSV uploader - are only visible when using the Component Editor in its Single Component Editing mode.
  • Release: Current Rev. - this non-editable field reflects the current (most recent/latest) revision of the Component Item in the managed content server.
  • Release: Next Rev. - this non-editable field reflects the next revision of the Component Item that will be created when the component definition is next released, in accordance with the chosen revision naming scheme.
  • Release: Action - this field shows the action that will be taken by the release manager for this particular component definition, as part of the release process. For a component definition that has not yet been released, this entry will display Create Item. For a definition that has already been released, this entry will display Create Revision. If a planned revision of a Component Item is being targeted, then the entry will display Release To Existing Revision.
  • Part Choice n -  this entry corresponds to a Part Choice that you have added to the Required Models/Parameters region of the document. The left-to-right ordering of the Part Choices in a component definition corresponds to their top-to-bottom ordering in the Required Models/Parameters region. There are two fields per added Part Choice, Manufacturer and Part Number, with which to specify the choice. Alternatively, if you have configured a custom database part source, and added a Part Choice using the By Internal ID menu entry, the two fields will be Part source and Internal ID. Use these to specify the choice of part from your company's internal parts database.
The Current Rev., Next Rev., and Action fields - which collectively form the Release Status - can be toggled with respect to their display in the region, using the Show Release Status option, located at the bottom of the region. Toggle the display of Template Parameter, Parameter and Part Choice columns by enabling/disabling the associated Show option for a Required Parameter entry respectively. Use multi-select in combination with the right-click menu options to toggle the display state of multiple parameters.
When you attempt to commit/release a component back to the server, the Component Editor runs a validation - a Component Rule Check. This feature can also be run at any time, manually, by choosing the Tools » Component Rule Check command, from the main menus (be sure to have saved your component before you do). For more information, see Running a Component Rule Check.

Working with Component Definitions

Use the following sections to learn more about working with this region of the editor, including some cool and time-saving features and functionality.

For existing component definitions, the required model links can be assigned in the following ways:

  • Drag and drop a model link into the relevant column of a component definition.

Assign a model to an existing component using drag and drop from the Model Links region to the corresponding model column for that component.

  • Use the drop-down field for a model column to access a dedicated model link pop-up window. This presents a grid of all existing model links applicable to the model type being assigned, complete with all data columns. This can be a real time saver for finding and assigning a model, where the number of component definitions hamper drag and drop techniques, or the top section of the Component Editor - housing the Model Links region - is collapsed. And this method can be used to assign the same model link to multiple component definitions - just select the model column for each component before accessing the pop-up window.

Resize the window as required. Click and drag the  control at the bottom-right of the window to resize in both directions simultaneously. Click the column control button  at the top-left of the window and disable any columns you do not want to be visible. Columns can be reordered by dragging a column header.

Use the pop-up's search field to quickly locate the model required. Dynamic highlighting based on data across any column is applied as you start to type characters. Select the model link required and either press Enter or double-click to assign that model.

Use the dedicated model link selection pop-up to search, locate and assign the model required.

Creating a New Component with a Linked Model

Where a component definition does not yet exist, one can be created, along with the required model link automatically assigned, in the following ways:

  • Drag and drop a model link from the Model Links region, into free space within the Definitions region, to add a new component definition that uses that model.

Assign a model and add a new component on-the-fly, using drag and drop from the Model Links region.

  • Drag and drop a model directly from the Explorer panel into the Definition region. A new component definition using that model will be added. In addition, if that model does not exist in the Model Links region, an entry will be added for it.

Assign a model and add a new component on-the-fly, using drag and drop from the Explorer panel. The model link will be added to the Model Links region, if it does not exist already.

Adding Multiple Components

The Component Editor facilitates addition of multiple new components in one hit. Right-click and choose the Operations » Add Components command. Then, in the Add Components dialog that is presented, enter the number of components you wish to add. In concert with the grids multi-cell editing support, and copy/paste features, you can quickly build an impressive array of component definitions in quick time.

The command can also be accessed from the editor's main Edit menu (Edit » Operations » Add Components).
Be advised that entering too large a number in the Add Components dialog can have an impact on performance, and may 'tie' the software for a considerable time while the request is processed!

Add multiple new component definitions in two quick steps.

Providing a boost to creation of managed components, Altium Designer supports the ability to search for a real-world part, courtesy of Manufacturer Part Search functionality, and then add that part into the Component Editor. Not only do you get a new component definition entry for the selected part, you get all of its parameters, any data sheets, and a part choice made based on it - leaving you to just organize some domain models, set the component type, and then release!

Note that unlike use of the Manufacturer Part Search feature when using the Component Editor in Single Component Editing mode, in Batch Component Editing mode models (where they exist) will not be brought in.

This functionality is delivered through a purpose-made extension for the Component Editor - the Component From Supplier Search extension.

The Component From Supplier Search
extension.

This feature is only made available, provided the Component From Supplier Search extension is installed as part of your Altium Designer installation. This extension is installed by default when installing the software, but in case of inadvertent uninstall, can be found back on the Purchased tab of the Extensions & Updates page (click on the current user control (e.g. ) at the top-right of the workspace and choose Extensions and Updates from the menu).

The feature is accessed from the Component Editor's Definitions region. Right-click and choose the Operations » Create from Part Search command from the region's context menu. Alternatively, click within the definitions area, and use the keyboard shortcut Shift+Ctrl+M.

The command can also be accessed from the editor's main Edit menu (Edit » Operations » Create from Part Search).

The Manufacturer Part Search dialog will appear. Search for the required part, select an entry, then click the OK button.

The dialog is used in the same way as the Manufacturer Search panel, or the Add Part Choices dialog. Refer to those linked pages for more information.
Search results in the dialog are by Manufacturer Part, with the associated SPN entries reflective of the enabled vendors supplying that part. When you select a part, it is the manufacturer part that is used to create the new component definition. And in terms of Part Choice, by creating based on the manufacturer part, and not a specific vendor/supplier, you get a single Part Choice that will bring with it all solutions based on the suppliers vending that part (and who are available for use through your managed content server). Parameters are imported in accordance with defined Parameter Import Options - configured on the Data Management - Parts Providers page of the Preferences dialog.

Access the Manufacturer Part Search dialog, and search for a part you'd like to bring in to the Component Editor.

After clicking OK, the following will occur:

  • A component entry for the selected part will be created in the definitions area of the Component Editor. The definition will:
    • Be assigned the next available unique Item ID, and in accordance with the defined Item Naming scheme employed by the Component Editor.
    • Have the value for the selected part's Manufacturer Part Number parameter assigned as the value for its Name system parameter.
    • Have the value for the selected part's Description parameter assigned as the value for its Description system parameter.
  • All parameters defined for the selected part (as visible for it in the dialog) will be added to the Required Models/Parameters list. All will be made visible (associated Show option enabled). This just means a column will be displayed for each, by default, in the Definitions region.
  • Parametric entries will also be added for each datasheet available for the selected part (in the form of a ComponentLinknDescription and ComponentLinknURL pairing).
  • A Part Choice (Part Choice 1) will be added for the definition, with the values for the part's Manufacturer and Manufacturer Part Number parameters used to fill the Manufacturer and Part Number fields of that choice respectively.
Parameters are imported in accordance with defined Parameter Import Options - configured on the Data Management - Parts Providers page of the Preferences dialog.

Example of the resulting definition, and added parameters, for a selected part in the Manufacturer Part Search dialog. Highlighting is used to show the data that is brough in from the Manufacturer Part.

Setting the Component Type

The Component Editor supports the ability to define the type of component when configuring a component's definition. This facilitates targeted searching through the managed content server's powerful Search facility - a facility that not only allows you to search by component type, but allows you to search smarter, with supported unit-aware component parameters. When browsing your own managed components using the Components panel, the Categories grouping for managed components is derived from the component type defined for each component.

The type of component is specified through the Type attribute in the Component region of the definitions area. Click on the Type field then click  to access the Component Type dialog. Use this dialog to select the required type of component then click OK - the chosen type will be inserted as the value for the Type attribute in the main definitions grid.

The Component Type dialog presents a default set of component types. The types are defined at the preferences level. Click the  button at the bottom of the dialog to access the Data Management - Component Types page of the Preferences dialog, from where you can craft this listing to better suit your needs - either by adding new types and sub-types, or editing and removing existing types.

Example of setting the Type attribute for a component definition to Diode.

The Type field for multiple component definitions can be set in a single action. Select the Type field for each required component definition, then choose the type for one, to apply to all others.

It is also possible to change the component type for one or more components after release to a completely different type, on-the-fly. In the Components panel or Explorer panel, select the component(s) that you want to change, then right click and choose the Operations » Change Component Type command from the context menu. The Component Type dialog will appear from which you can select the new component type.
The field will populate with any default value for the ComponentType parameter that has been defined in a referenced Component Template, or with the component type selected through the Create New Component dialog, which appears when you attempt to create a new managed component.

Support for Unit-aware Component Parameter Data Types

The Component Editor supports unit-aware component parameter data types that are defined within a referenced Component Template. You can enter a parameter's value directly into the applicable field for a component definition using a range of formats - such as 2.2k, 2k2, 4M, 2.5GHz - with the managed content server engineered with the requisite smarts to recognize the numerical value behind those entries.

This feature of a component template facilitates targeted searching through the server's Search facility - a facility that not only allows you to search by component type, but allows you to search smarter, with range searches. Using the power of unit-aware component parameters, you can quickly define a search, for example, to find all capacitors with a capacitance between 47uF and 220uF.

Unit-aware parameters are also used for smart filtering when searching through your own managed components using the Components panel.
Unit-aware data types for component parameters can only be defined through a component template.

Component parameters from a referenced component template that have unit-aware data types.

When entering a value for a component parameter that uses a unit-aware data type - as the required value in a component definition - the following are things to consider:

  • You can enter the value in a range of different formats: 
    • Numerical value only (e.g. 10). Note that if the data type has a unit, this will be applied automatically. Those types with units, have the unit in brackets after their name.
    • Numerical value in scientific notation (e.g. 1e10, 1E6).
    • Numerical value and units (e.g. 10F).
    • Numerical value with prefix (e.g. 10k). The appropriate unit will automatically be added (where applicable).
    • Numerical value with prefix and units (e.g. 10kF).
    • Numerical value with prefix in typical engineering format (e.g. for a resistance: 2k2, 2K2, 10r2, 10R2). The value will automatically be normalized accordingly (e.g. 2K2 will become 2.2k).
  • You can enter prefix and/or units with or without a space after the numerical value (e.g., 10uF, or 10 uF). The space will be automatically stripped.
Note that engineering abbreviations are case insensitive, so entering 2k2 is the same as entering 2K2, and entering 100R is the same as entering 100r. The only exception is M (Mega) and m (milli).

The following unit-aware data types are supported:

Most data types have a unit (shown in brackets in the Component Template). This will be applied if no unit is specified when entering a value for a parameter.
  • Volt(V)
  • Ampere(A)
  • Ohm
  • Farad(F)
  • Henry(H)
  • Watts(W)
  • Hertz(Hz)
  • Celsius(C)
  • Decibel(dB)
  • Percent(%)
  • Metre(m)
  • Gram(g)
  • Second(s)

The following table lists the prefixes that are supported when entering a value for a unit-aware parameter type.

Prefix Term Value (Scientific) Value (Normal)
T Tera 1 x 1012 1,000,000,000,000
G Giga 1 x 109 1,000,000,000
M Mega 1 x 106 1,000,000
k kilo 1 x 103 1,000
m milli 1 x 10-3 1 / 1,000
u micro 1 x 10-6 1 / 1,000,000
n nano 1 x 10-9 1 / 1,000,000,000
p pico 1 x 10-12 1 / 1,000,000,000,000
f femto 1 x 10-15 1 / 1,000,000,000,000,000
Note that the use of some, or all prefixes may not be applicable, depending on the parameter type. For example, no prefix is valid for a Percentage. The software will alert you to any invalid use of prefixes.

When a unit-aware data type is used for a component parameter, the entered value is validated against the specified data type. This ensures that the correct measurement unit for that data type is being used, where the unit is entered. For example, a parameter of type Celsius cannot have a value of 10V!

In the Component Editor, entering an invalid value for a parameter will cause that value to be highlighted in red text. This is also the case when copying and pasting data between cells.

Data validation - the Component Editor has the smarts to alert you to a mismatch between the value entered for a unit-aware parameter, and its data type.

Using Component Name Templates

The Component Editor (in its Batch Component Editing mode only) provides support for the use of parameter-based Component Name Templates. Such templates allow you to precisely name, or rather rename your components - their Item ID - based on the currently defined values of parameters (user/template parameters - not system parameters) available to those components in the editor. Include a parameter into the naming template using the format [<ParameterName>]. Examples might be:

  • CMP-[Value]
  • CMP-[Part Number]
  • [Part Number]-[Value]
  • [Value]
  • [Part Number]

You can also use multiple parametric declarations in your templates, for example:

  • CMP-[Part Number]-[Value]
  • CMP-[Manufacturer Part Number]-[Value]-[Tolerance]

In addition, and purely optional, you can also add an iterator macro, specified within curly braces (e.g., {000}, {00A}), for example:

  • CMP-[Value]-{001}
  • CMP-[Part Number]-{00A}

At the highest level, the required naming template can simply be entered as the default naming scheme into the Item Naming field of the Document Options dialog. The initial index will always be zero in this case. For greater control, select the component(s) to be renamed, right-click, and choose the Operations » Rename Component (Operations » Rename n Components) command from the context menu. You will be presented with the Component Name Template dialog. Use this dialog to specify the required Naming Scheme, and control the Initial Index (where an iterator macro has been added to the template).

Note that the dialog will initially show the default naming scheme entered in the Document Options dialog. If you leave this scheme, you will not be able to change the Initial Index. The latter can only be changed if a different naming scheme is used.

An example of the use of the CompanyPrtNo and Value parameters in a naming template, to quickly rename selected components being defined in the Component Editor.

Part Choices

The Component Editor can be used to specify one or more Part Choices for a component - the 'allowed' manufacturer parts that can be used to implement the component on the assembled board. The actual supply chain intelligence - comprising Manufacturer (and part number), Supplier (and part number), Description, Pricing and Availability - is sourced from the managed content server's local Part Catalog and the relevant Part Source.

Each managed content server has its own dedicated Part Catalog. This is a managed local part catalog database, dedicated to the management and tracking of manufacturer parts and their associated supplier parts. The local Part Catalog stores items representative of actual Manufacturer Parts, along with one or more items representative of Supplier Parts - the incarnations of those Manufacturer Parts, as sold by the Suppliers/Vendors. Each Supplier Part is a reference to an item in a parts database - either the aggregate parts database of the Altium Parts Provider (the default Part Source which itself interfaces to, and gathers the parts from, enabled Suppliers), or a linked local parts database (a Part Source configured as a Custom Database Parts Provider). Enable required Suppliers and determine Location/Currency ranges for the Altium Parts Provider within the Part Providers area of the server's browser interface. While you remain signed into your managed content server from Altium Designer, the Altium Parts Options region - on the Data Management - Parts Providers page of the Preferences dialog - becomes read-only and adopts those settings defined for the server. For more information on managing the Altium Parts Provider part source for your Altium Concord Pro installation, see Part Source Configuration.

Add a part choice from the Required Models/Parameters region - click the Add control and use the By MPN command from the Part Choices sub-menu. The two columns presented for the Part Choice n entry in the definitions area are Manufacturer and Part Number. Alternatively, if you have configured a custom database part source, choose the By Internal ID menu entry. In this case, the two columns presented for the Part Choice n entry in the definitions area are Part source and Internal ID. Any number of part choices can be added for use.

When you add a part choice for use with the component(s) being defined, an entry will be added - Part Choice n - to the definitions area, with two columns to specify that choice.

Adding a part choice (By MPN) for use with the component(s) being defined. Hover to see an example part choice added By Internal ID - allowing you to hook up a part from your company's internal parts database.

Enter the Manufacturer, and Manufacturer Part Number - for the real-world part you want to be used when the board is manufactured and assembled - into the Manufacturer and Part Number fields respectively.

If using a configured custom database part source, use the Part source field to select the part source. All custom database part sources defined for the server will be listed. Enter the ID for the required part, into the Internal ID field.

A couple of things to be aware of:

  • The addition of a part choice does not mean a component definition has to use it. But if you do enter a value in one of the two fields, the other field will appear with a red border, alerting you to the fact that a value is now required before that component can be released.

  • If you make an incorrect entry for a field value, and the part can not be retrieved by the server, the text will appear greyed and in italics. Once both entries are correct, the text will appear as normal, white text. Note that values are case-insensitive.

Dialog-based Addition of MPN Part Choices

While you can enter the Manufacturer and Part Number information directly into the associated cells for a part choice, it is far easier to use a dialog that allows you to search for a manufacturer part. To 'get at' this functionality, after adding the initial Part Choice 1 entry to the Required Models/Parameters region, click within one of the cells for that choice (associated with the required component being defined). The Preview region of the editor will present the  button. Click this to access the Add Part Choices dialog.

Making a part choice - use the Add Part Choices dialog to search for the required manufacturer part, select its entry and click OK.

Search results in the dialog are by Manufacturer Part, with the associated SPN entries reflective of the enabled vendors supplying that part. When you select a part, it is the manufacturer part that is added to the Part Choices list. And by using the manufacturer part, and not a specific vendor/supplier, you get a single Part Choice that will bring with it all solutions based on the suppliers vending that part (and who are available for use through your managed content server).

Use the dialog to search for the required manufacturer part, select a part, then click the OK button. Click the SPNs entry for a manufacturer part - Supplier Part Numbers - to see the available suppliers of that part, and assess whether you are making the right part choice, based on availability, pricing, etc. The chosen part will be entered back into the Component Editor - both in the cells of the Part Choice 1 entry, and in the Preview region.

Example part choice - added through use of the Add Part Choices dialog - presented back in the Component Editor.

Continue to add further part choices as required by clicking the  button - the associated Part Choice n entry will be created automatically.

To remove a part choice, select it in the list, then click the  button.

A Part Choice contains various pieces of information, as summarized in the following image, and detailed thereafter.

The 'anatomy' of a Part Choice - the entry can be broken down into 9 key pieces of information.

  1. Part Image.
  2. Manufacturer Name and Manufacturer Part Number. This is a clickable link to the Octopart website, providing detailed information on that manufacturer part.
  3. Description.
  4. Stock. This entry displays the total sum of the stock available from the the suppliers enabled as part of the Altium Parts Provider source for your managed content server.
  5. Median unit price. This entry will be displayed in red text if there are no prices, or the price = 0.
  6. Manufacturer Lifecycle Bar. Hover over the bar for an informative tool-tip. This can appear in one of four states:
  • White/Gray = Default, unknown or no information
  • Green = New or Volume Production states
  • Orange = Not Recommended for New Design
  • Red = Obsolete or EOL
The manufaturer lifecycle status is designed to be used as an indicator, for a number of reasons:
  1. Altium maintains a database of many millions of components, produced by thousands of component manufacturers. Since there is no single, consistent method used by those manufacturers to reflect a component's lifecycle state, the status is based on information aggregated from manufacturers, global distributors and global sales analysis.
  2. A part is only reported as EOL or Obsolete when there is at least one authorized distributor or manufacturer that has confirmed this status.
  3. Determining the Not Recommended for New Design status is more complex. Manufacturers sometimes just report if a part is active or not, and may not give advance warning that a part is to be discontinued or replaced. Therefore this lifecycle status does not always concur with the status provided by the manufacturer. The status algorithm uses various information, including real time and historical stock availability from all distributors, to try to determine the availability of the part. Parts which have consistently poor availability (when they have been generally available in the past), or cannot be sourced over a period of time after having previously having good availability, will eventually be flagged as Not Recommended for New Design (if they are not already EOL or Obsolete).
  4. The idea of the lifecycle status indicator is to provide simple-to-understand information that helps you to make more informed decisions about a part, by highlighting those parts which may be problematic. However, due to the sheer volume of data and number of components that are managed, there is always a chance that the Altium status lags behind the instantaneous manufacturer status, and is therefore not up-to-date. It is not possible for Altium to guarantee the accuracy of the lifecycle status, it is recommended that if there is any doubt that you double-check with the manufacturer for authorized lifecycle information.
  1. Datasheet. Click the  button to open the manufacturer's datasheet for the part. All datasheets are hosted on the Ciiva website.
  2. SPNs (Supplier Part Numbers). Indicates the number of suppliers (for those enabled as part of your server's Altium Parts Provider source) who can deliver this part. Click the link to display detailed supply chain information about the suppliers that carry that part, ordered by availability and price. Each Supplier's details about that part are presented on a tile with a colored banner. Details about the icons and information in each tile is given below.
  3. User Rank. If multiple manufacturer parts are available - multiple part choices made for the component and therefore multiple solutions when using ActiveBOM (and a BomDoc) - the solutions are automatically ranked from highest to lowest, based on the part's availability, price and manufacturer lifecycle state. If you prefer to use a lower ranked solution, for example to use a specific manufacturer, you can override the automatic ranking by defining a User Rank, using the star feature. Click on the number of stars required, to increase or decrease the ranking level of that particular part choice. To remove ranking, click the  control to the right of the stars.

Understanding the Supplier Tile
There is a large amount of information presented in each SPN tile. Hover the cursor over an icon or detail to display a tooltip with more information.

The SPN tile includes detailed information about
the part's availability from that specific supplier.

  1. Tile banner showing the supplier name where the banner color indicates:
    • Green = Best choice
    • Orange = Acceptable
    • Red = Risky
  2. Supplier part number (links to that part on the supplier's website).
  3. Country code for the supplier location (ISO alpha 2).
  4. Part Source (typically the Altium Parts Provider) and Last update; the color indicates:
    • Light Gray = Default, updated less than one week ago
    • Orange = 1 week < last update < month ago
    • Red = last update > 1 month ago
  5. Stock quantity; red if no stock available.
  6. Unit price, red if no price available. Unit price includes currency icon; currency is determined by the location of the supplier.
  7. Packaging of supplied parts (e.g. CT = Cut Tape).
  8. Available price breaks, with Minimum Order Quantities.

Attaching Datasheets to Component Definitions

One or more datasheets can be attached to one or more components, while defining component(s) through the Component Editor. This, for example, allows you to quickly attach the same required datasheet(s) to all components in a particular family.


Linking various datasheets, as seen from the perspective of editing a component in the Component Editor.

Attaching datasheets to a component definition involves a sequence of steps, summarized here and detailed in the sections thereafter:

  1. Enabling the use of datasheets.
  2. Uploading datasheets to a selected component.
  3. Assigning uploaded datasheets to other component definitions.

To be able to attach datasheets to a component definition in the editor, you need to first enable the use of datasheets. This is done from the Required Models/Parameters region of the editor. Click on the Add control at the bottom of the region, and choose Datasheet from the context menu.

Specifying the use of datasheets does not mean a component definition has to use it, but rather adds a field for datasheets to the component's definition.


Enable the use of datasheets for components.

Remember that the Show option associated to the entry allows you to toggle the display of the corresponding Datasheets column in the lower region of the editor - where the component definitions themselves are defined.

Having enabled the use of datasheets, you now need to upload them. Essentially, you upload any number of datasheets for the currently selected component, but can then assign all, or specific sheets, across the various components being defined. Once the Datasheet entity has been added to the Required Models/Parameters region, a Datasheet entry will be presented in the Model Links region. Clicking on this will show the list of datasheets currently assigned (linked) to the selected component, in the preview region.

The preview region will only show the datasheets linked to the selected component.
While the Datasheet entry appears in the Model Links region, it is not a model link in the true sense of the word. It is not a single Item, but rather a 'bucket' representing a summation of Datasheet Items into which datasheets are individually uploaded. It presents no other data attributes (no revisions, location, release status, etc).


The Datasheet 'bucket', and the available listing of uploaded datasheets. In reality, each datasheet is uploaded into a unique underlying Datasheet Item.

With a component definition selected in the editor, a datasheet can be uploaded to that component in various ways:

  • Dragging and dropping from Windows File Explorer to the preview region, or the Datasheets cell for that component definition.
  • Dragging and dropping a datasheet link from a web page in an external web browser, to the preview region, or the Datasheets cell for that component definition.
  • Right-clicking in the preview region and choosing the Add File command from the context menu. Use the Open dialog to browse to, and open, the required datasheet(s).

Once uploaded, you can:

  • Open a datasheet by clicking on its entry in the preview region (or by right-clicking on its entry and choosing Open from the context menu).
  • Change the caption for a datasheet, by right-clicking on its entry in the preview region and choosing Edit from the context menu. The Caption dialog will appear with which to do so. Changing a caption for a datasheet is local to that component.
  • Remove the datasheet from the component, by right-clicking on its entry in the preview region and choosing Delete from the context menu.
  • Download the file by right-clicking on its entry in the preview region and choosing Save As from the context menu.

When you initially attach (upload) a datasheet, you are doing so for the currently selected component. But the beauty of the system is that all uploaded datasheets are available for linkage to other components being defined as well. Click the control at the right of the Datasheets cell to access a listing of the available datasheets, and use the associated checkboxes to attach/remove a datasheet to/from the component.

Only those datasheets uploaded during the session with the Component Editor will be available, and not all datasheets uploaded to components throughout the entire managed content server.


Example demonstrating attachment of datasheets that have already been uploaded, to another component definition.

Each datasheet that is assigned to a component appears in the Datasheets cell, separated by a comma.

Validation Checking of Component Naming

The software validates the IDs of components that are being created by multiple users for release to a managed content server, and thereby prevent duplicated Item ID issues. When a user creates a Component Item, the assigned Item ID is 'locked', preventing another user from using that ID, even if the first user has not, or does not, release that component. If other users change the Item ID manually as part of their component definition - to one that is currently used by an existing Item (or an intended-to-be-created Item), the ID will be changed for the next available, unused ID, in accordance with the applicable naming scheme.

A locked Component Item ID will be released automatically after 30 minutes, if no release has taken place within that time.

Cloning a Component Definition

Facilitating the ability to quickly create component definitions that differ slightly from one another, the editor provides cloning functionality. To clone an existing definition, select it in the list of definitions, right-click, and choose the Clone Component command from the context menu (shortcut: Ctrl+D). The clone will be added to the bottom of the list of definitions.

The clone will be an exact replica of the original source component definition, in terms of:

  • Targeting the same folder within the managed content server - the folder in which the original component exists, or targets (if not itself released as yet).
  • Referencing the same domain models.
  • Having the same values for Name, Description, Type, template parameters and any additional user-defined parameters.

It will differ in terms of:

  • Not having any datasheets that were defined for the original component.
  • Not having any part choices that were defined for the original component.
  • Having the next available unique Item ID.
  • Being set to be released into the initial revision of a new Component Item (Action set to Create Item).

An example of cloning a component definition - once cloned, make any changes as necessary, for example to the values of one or more parameters, defining part choices, and adding any datasheets as necessary.

Grouping Component Definitions

Component definitions can be grouped based on any of the visible column headings. To do this, click and hold on a column header, then drag and drop it onto the text that says Drag a column header here to group by that column.

For example, the following image illustrates the component definitions being grouped by the Case-Metric parameter. Doing so separates the component definitions into as many groups as there are different values in the grouping column - in this case nine groups are created.

Grouping the component definitions based on the values in a column, in this case by the Case-Metric parameter.

A hierarchy of groups can be created, by nesting the column headers. Within the grouped columns region, use drag and drop to redefine the grouping 'sort order' as required.

Sorting Component Definitions

Component definitions can be sorted by a specific column by clicking on that column's header. Click once to sort in ascending order (based on the content of that column). Click again to sort in descending order.

You can sort by multiple columns. With the component definitions already sorted by a specific column, Shift+click on another column to 'sub-sort' by the content of that column.

To remove sorting for a column, Ctrl+click on its header.

Column-based Filtering of Component Definitions

Like an Excel spreadsheet, the component definitions can be further filtered by the contents of each column. To do this, click the small funnel (filter) icon, located at the right-hand side of a column header (). A menu will appear containing a checkbox for each value present in that column. Enable the required checkbox(es) to reduce the list to only include component definitions with that value.

Alternatively, for greater filtering control select (Custom..), which displays the Custom Filter dialog. Use this dialog to setup a custom filter to meet your requirements, by specifying which rows of information you want to show based on filter criteria you apply to the data column.

Choose to apply standard or customized column filtering.

When a column filter is applied, the filter icon is displayed in blue (), indicating that there is filtering applied based on that column. Filtering can be applied to multiple data columns. Each 'column filter' becomes an ANDed condition in the overall filter. A textual representation of the filtering currently in effect will be presented at the bottom of the region.

An example of column filtering in action.

To clear filtering for a column, choose the (All) entry from the filtering drop-down. To clear filtering completely, click the  button, to the left of the textual representation of the filter. To disable the filter, uncheck the check box to the left of its textual representation. To enable again, check the check box.
Within an editing session the history of just used filters is available. Click the  button to the right of the textual representation of the current filter to display the history. The history list is cleared when the temporary Component Editor is closed.

To further customize the current filter, click the  button, to the far right of the textual representation of the filter, to open the Filter Builder dialog. Use this dialog to create more sophisticated and complex filters as needed.

Use the Filter Builder dialog to create more sophisticated filtering.

Commonly used filters can be saved and re-used. This is done in the Filter Builder dialog by clicking the  button to save the current filter in a Filters file (*.flt). Click the  button to reload a previously saved filter.

Presentation of Data

Depending on the type of components being defined, there could be a sizeable number of parameters, all of which, when added to the other columns of data, can create a veritable tangle of partially-legible content. Addressing this, a couple of display modes are available for the component definitions region. Switch between modes using the control at the bottom-right of the region.

The control presents the mode that will be enabled when clicking upon it, and not the currently enabled mode.
  • Best Fit - in this mode, each column of data is sized to display all data within it, in accordance with the largest data entry and adding a little padding for good measure. Since each column is sized to display its data, the columns can collectively extend beyond the currently viewable area. In support of this a horizontal scrollbar is provided to allow ease of reading.
  • Auto Width - in this mode, the software will attempt to display all data columns within the viewable area of the grid, stretching or condensing as needed. This mode works fine when there are not so many data columns, but legibility can suffer when a greater number of columns are present.

Example use of the Auto Width and Best Fit presentation modes.

To further aid in display of data, selectively toggle the display of model and parameter columns. Do this using the Show option for each, available in the Required Models/Parameters region of the editor.
You can also manually adjust the width of data columns to fine-tune display of your data - click and drag the right-hand edge of a column's header.

Component Definitions - Editing Techniques

Depending on the components you are creating, the Component Editor may end up containing a sizable number of component definitions. In some cases, these definitions may differ only slightly and many may require similar model or parametric information. The document supports various editing features that enable you to quickly effect changes to one or more component definitions.

  • Multi-cell editing is implemented for models and parameters. Multiple data cells within a column can be selected for operation using standard Ctrl+click and Shift+click keyboard functionality. To assign a model to multiple components, select the range of cells, then click the drop-down to display the model link pop-up window. Double-click on the required model in the pop-up, this model will then be assigned in all selected model cells.

For parameters, select the required cells within the same column, then enter the required value for the focused cell and either click away, or press Enter. All cells in the selection will receive that same value.

This feature can also be used for the FolderPath. Select the entries in the FolderPath column for the applicable component definitions, click the  button for the focused entry, and choose the required target folder in the Choose Folder dialog. All selected definitions will have their FolderPath changed to point to this folder.
  • You can cut, copy and paste data between selected data cells using Ctrl+XCtrl+C and Ctrl+V respectively (or the corresponding commands on the right-click menu).
  • You can clear the contents of selected data cells using the Delete key (or the Clear Contents command on the right-click menu).
  • You can copy, cut, and paste selected component definitions, using Ctrl+Shift+CCtrl+Shift+X and Ctrl+Shift+V respectively (or the corresponding commands on the right-click menu).
  • You can remove selected component definitions from the file completely, using the Remove Component control below the component definition grid, the Remove command from the right-click menu, or the Ctrl+Del shortcut.
  • You can refresh the content of the grid using the Refresh command on the main View menu, using the F5 keyboard shortcut, or by clicking the  button on the Component Library Standard toolbar.
  • You can copy selected data cells to the Windows clipboard, for manipulation in an external spreadsheet application. Component definition information in an external spreadsheet can also be pasted back into the component definitions region.
It is also possible to collapse the upper region of the Component Editor by clicking the small arrow  at the upper right of the editor, thereby dedicating the entire display area to the editing of component definitions.

Browsing a Released Definition

Once released, you can browse a component directly in the server using the Components panel, or the Explorer panel. For a component that has already been released, and is currently being edited, you can jump directly to its Component Item in the server from the Component Editor, by right-clicking on its entry in the definitions area and choosing the Operations » Show in Explorer command.

Jump to an already released managed component in the Explorer panel, directly from the Component Editor when you have that component revision oped for editing.

Targeting an Existing Component Item

For the most part, you would typically leave the creation of the Component Items in the target server to be part of the release process. You add your component definitions, assign Item IDs and away you go - Item creation 'on-the-fly' as it were. However, you may have created (or want to create) Component Items directly in the server, then link to these existing Items. Not a problem.

The right-click Operations sub-menu associated with a component definition contains a couple of commands to support linking a definition to a manually-created Component Item:

  • Change Link To Target Item - use this command to access the Choose Target Item dialog, which you can use to browse for and select the required Component Item in the server.
  • Clear Link To Target Item - use this command to clear the link to an existing Item in the server. The Release-related fields of the component definition will revert back ready to create a new Item.

Running a Component Rule Check

When you attempt to commit/release a component back to the server, the Component Editor runs a validation - a Component Rule Check. This feature can also be run at any time, manually, by choosing the Tools » Component Rule Check command, from the main menus (be sure to have saved your component(s) before you do).

The command is also available from the editor's main File menu.

Just as a board project has the Compiler to detect for any violations, the Component Editor has a Component Validator. Any violations that are found will be listed in the Messages panel.

Detecting issues with a component prior to releasing/committing to the server.

The Component Validator tests for an array of potential issues with each component and its defined models - both hardwired tests, as well as a range of violation types that can be user-defined at the global level.

Hardwired validation checks all carry a report mode of . Examples of these checks include:

  1. Component not referencing any models.
  2. A target folder not specified for the component in the target managed content server.
  3. Component not having a unique Id.

User-definable checks are configured on the Data Management - Component Rule Checks page of the Preferences dialog.

User-definable violation checks that can be configured as part of global preferences, for use with the Component Validator.

Any of the hardwired tests that fail, or user-defined checks at a level of Error or above, would prevent release of a component.

A Word About Linked Simulation Models

Related page: Managed Simulation Models

As with Symbol and Footprint Items, a component definition can also reference a revision of a Simulation Model Item. Adding a model link of this type is exactly the same as for a Symbol and Footprint, so refer back to the previous sections for information on that. Here, we look at including component-level simulation parameters, and also configuration of pin mapping.

Adding Component-Level Simulation Parameters

When using a simulation model for a component in a design, parameters specific to that model can be specified at two different levels:

  • Model-Level Parameter - specified as part of the simulation model definition itself (in the SimModel file), and released with that definition into a revision of the linked Simulation Model Item.
  • Component-Level Parameter - specified as part of the component definition (here in the Component Editor), and released with that definition into a revision of the linked Component Item.
Component-level parameters are used for parameters that are shared between multiple models or where the designer wants to make such a parameter visible/editable on the schematic (e.g. value, frequency etc).

Parameters are added at the component-level in the Required Models/Parameters region of the Component Editor. It is important to note that the naming of parameters must be the same as those parameters defined at the model-level. To see the model-level parameters, and therefore which parameters can be added at the component-level (and their names!), select the SIM model link and click the View Parameters control, at the bottom of the preview window.

View the model-level parameters for a Simulation Model Item, to see which parameters can be added at the component-level - and how they are named!

Armed with the available model-level parameters, you can now proceed to add any of those same parameters at the component-level - to be available to any component definition. To do so, click the Add control at the bottom of the Required Models/Parameters region, and choose Parameter from the menu. A new parameter entry will be added to the list. Change the name as required - remembering to match exactly the name of the corresponding model-level parameter.

Add sim-related parameters at the component-level. Notice that two parameters are already available - Area Factor and Temperature - courtesy of the Component Template referenced by this example component.

When an instance of the released component is placed in a design, a simulation parameter can have a different value at the component-level, to that for the same parameter at the model-level. When the netlist is generated, the component-level parameter will have priority.
For some of the built-in SPICE3f5 models, entering a value for a parameter at the component-level will override a related parameter defined in a linked model file (*.mdl). For a semiconductor capacitor, for example, specifying a value for the component-level Width parameter will override any value specified for the DEFW parameter in the associated model file. If a parameter is specified at the component-level for a subcircuit model, that value will override the value defined for it in the linked subcircuit file (*.ckt). If a parameter is specified at the component-level for a digital device, that value will override the value specified for that parameter in the source SimCode definition (*.scb).

Pin Mapping

Once the link to the required SIM model has been chosen, you need to ensure that the pins of the component - when represented in the schematic domain - are correctly mapped to the pins of the simulation model. This is performed in the Pin Mapping dialog, accessed by right-clicking on the component definition's SIM model entry and choosing Operations » Edit Pin Mapping from the context menu. For each schematic pin, use the available drop-down to change the associated Model Pin entry accordingly. If the device is multi-part, be sure to check the mapping for each part.

Ensuring correct schematic pin-to-model pin mapping.

For a multi-part component, the ability to exclude a part from simulation is also determined through the Pin Mapping dialog.
For the built-in SPICE3f5 and supported PSpice models, the function of each of the pins in a model can be found in the general form section for that model, in the SPICE 3f5 user manual. For subcircuit models, the manufacturer will typically insert comments for each pin of the model, describing that pin's function. If no commenting is evident, then the pinout of the model will typically be that of the physical device itself. Consult the datasheet for the device in this case. For Digital SimCode models, the mapping of the component pins to the INPUTS and OUTPUTS declared in the SimCode file will depend on the input and output node list entries in the netlist template.

Full Support for Digital SimCode Models

When using a managed component that references a Simulation Model Item featuring a SimCode definition (in a *.scb file), that scb file (released with the SimModel file to the server) is used for subsequently run simulations. In the genera ted simulation netlist (*.nsx file), the model reference will contain the full path to the scb file, cached locally from the server. For example:

.MODEL 74LS90 xsimcode(file="C:\ProgramData\Altium\Altium Designer {A586F887-1E00-4F36-9EC8-61C78B91FA73}\VaultsFileCache\0072B38F-E431-40BB-B462-FD262DB9CDAB\Released\LS.SCB" func=ls90)

An .scb file typically contains multiple scb models. When the simulation model definition is released, the .scb file - released and stored with the SimModel file in the server - is stripped back to include only the single scb model referenced by the simulation model definition, and not the full listing of models.
Found an issue with this document? Highlight the area, then use Ctrl+Enter to report it.

Contact Us

Contact our corporate or local offices directly.

You are reporting an issue with the following selected text
and/or image within the active document:
Altium Concord Pro Free Trial

Please Complete the form below to get Free Trial of Altium Concord Pro