Managing Component Types in Altium Designer

Created: June 10, 2022 | Updated: June 29, 2022
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Parent page: Creating a New Component

Component types facilitate the management and structuring of your Workspace library. It is the types of components that provide a grouping of components into categories in the Components panel, which along with searching and filtering tools simplifies the search for the required components.

Component types are managed (created/edited/removed) in the Data Management – Component Types page of the Preferences dialog. Types are listed with their associated component Template and Workspace Folder.

The Data Management – Component Types page of the Preferences dialog.
The Data Management – Component Types page of the Preferences dialog.

When connected to an Altium 365 Workspace, note that Component Templates are not supported with the Standard Subscription Plan. As such, the Template column will not be shown and the related functionality will not be available with this level of access to Altium 365

Use the dialog's Templates button to open the Edit Templates dialog, where the Component Template associated with each Component Type can be specified or changed.

Defining the List of Component Types

Using the Add button's drop-down menu, you can create a new component type or a new component subtype, which will reside in the drop-down under a component type entry.

The component type hierarchy can be configured for the existing types:

  • Drag and drop a Component Type entry to a new location to change its position in the hierarchy. An entry becomes a subtype of another when dropped onto it.
  • Select a component type entry in the list, right-click and select the Move » Indent command to indent the selected component type entry in the list hierarchy. An Indented entry will become a subtype of the next (lower) entry in the list. Select Move » Outdent click to outdent the selected component type entry in the list hierarchy.

To remove a selected component type, click the Remove button and confirm the removal. A component type can be removed only if it is not used by a component revision.

Merging Component Types

When multiple component types would be best grouped under a single component type for future use (e.g., if multiple component types were created during the Library Import process), the Data Management – Component Types page of the Preferences dialog allows selected type entries to be merged into a specified single entry rather than manually changing all the component types in these circumstances. To do so, select all type entries to be merged, including the target type, right-click on the highlighted entries and choose the Merge option from the context menu. In the following Merging dialog, select the target Component Type from the Merge to drop-down menu and click the dialog's button to confirm. The below image illustrates this for a range of Resistor component types.

The process changes the Component Type for components of the merged type (such as Resistor-0402, Resistor-0603, etc.,) to that of the merge target Type – Resistors in this example. One of the practical outcomes is that all components of a particular type will now be available when that type is selected under Categories in the Components panel. Note that the component entries are not affected in any other way. They remain in their existing folders, which are associated with the Component Template, and the templates themselves remain available.

Following the merge, the Data Management – Component Types page now indicates that the Resistors component type is the default for multiple Templates – namely, the Resistors Template and all those associated with the newly merged component types (the Resistor_0402 Template, and so on). The Folder entry for the Resistors component type corresponds to the target folders of those multiple templates.

When a new component is being created (File » New » Component), those Templates are offered as sub-entries for the Resistors Component Type in the Create new component dialog.

The effect of the merge is more straightforward if a single Template is initially associated with all of the source component types – say, the Resistors Template is associated with the Resistor-0402, Resistor-0603 and Resistor-0805 component types. In this case, when the component types are merged with the Resistors type, its singular Template and target Folder settings remain unchanged.

Template Assignments

The Edit Templates dialog, accessed from the button, allows you to update the Template to Component Type mapping from that indicated in the Data Management – Component Types page. The mapping, as shown in the dialog's column entries, represents which Component Type be will be applied when the associated Template is used – or conversely, which Template is used when a Component Type is chosen (such as when creating a new component).

For a selected Template entry in the dialog, the association is changed by choosing an alternative Component Type from the entry's drop-down menu. When the dialog and page are then closed, the template's ComponentType parameter value and its Default Folder setting will be changed to correspond with the newly specified type. This is equivalent to editing the Template manually.

Use the Update existing components for changed templates option to automatically apply the updated Component Type entry to components that used the prior type. For example, if a Component Type setting is changed from LED_SMT to LED, then components that were set to the LED_SMT type will automatically be changed to have the LED Component Type.

The result of the updated template-type mapping is shown in the Data Management – Components Types page, which has a Name orientated listing – where Name represents Component Type. This indicates that a number of different templates (Resistor_0402, Resistor_0603, etc.,) are associated with and will apply the Resistor_LibImport Component Type.

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