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There are many ways you can configure the Altium Designer design space so that it works the best for you, including using dual monitors, viewing all documents simultaneously, and saving your unique desktop layout.
The Altium Designer design space can be customized in order to help you be more productive in your design work. Resources in an editor are the menu bars, toolbars and the shortcut key tables. Behind each resource item, there is a pre-packaged process launcher that activates a command when its resource item is selected. All the commands available from the menus can be added to or deleted from these resources. The pre-packaged process launchers bundle together the process that runs when the command is selected, plus any parameters, bitmaps (icons), captions (the name of an item that displays on a resource), descriptions, and associated shortcut keys. If a process launcher is modified, every linked instance of the command on any bar will be updated.
The following sections describe ways you can configure the Altium Designer design space to suit your needs.
Altium Designer supports the use of dual monitors with a recommended resolution of 2560 x 1440. With many documents open simultaneously, several panels, toolbars and support documents, this feature affords you enough space to configure a more comfortable working environment. You might, for example, dedicate the use of one monitor solely for design, while arranging various panels and additional documents on the other. Use the computer settings to configure your monitor set up according to your needs.
As a further aid in setting up the design environment, Altium Designer supports the notion of Desktop Layouts. This feature allows you to arrange the application's document windows, panels and toolbars around the desktop as required and then save that layout to a file. Using this feature, multiple users can quickly arrange the design space to suit their design habits by loading their preferred layout. Options for saving and loading layouts, including resetting to the default layout shipped with the software, are available from the System - View page of the Preferences dialog.
Every designer has a different way of working. Altium Designer recognizes this and, therefore, allows you to customize your design space, which allows you to be more productive. For example, you can create new toolbars and commands, as well as add commands to a toolbar or menu, and also create drop-down menus.
You can easily customize Altium Designer by arranging the menus and toolbars anywhere on your monitors to suit your needs. The key element to customization of your design space is the Customizing Editor dialog, which is used to customize the resources in an editor, as well as adding to or deleting from these resources. When the Customizing Editor dialog is open, you can click and drag commands between the active menus and toolbars. The dialog can be accessed using one of the following ways:
Each editor has its own version of the dialog as shown in the example images below.
Behind each resource item, such as a toolbar icon or menu item, there is a pre-packaged process launcher that activates a command when its resource item is selected. The pre-packaged process launchers bundle together the process that runs when the command is selected, plus any parameters, bitmaps (icons), captions (the name of an item that displays on a resource), descriptions and associated shortcut keys. If a process launcher is modified, every linked instance of the command on any bar will be updated.
A command can be linked or duplicated when it is added to a bar. A linked command will be updated if the original process launcher is modified. A duplicated command, however, will remain as a copy of the original process launcher and not be updated. Duplicated commands can be modified to create a new command by changing its process launcher properties. To add a command to a bar:
Use the following steps to create a new command:
It is often easier to create a new command by duplicating an existing command that is similar then modify its parameters. To duplicate a command:
Deleting a customized command stored in the Custom category will delete all instances of the custom command from all resources.
If you want to delete just one instance of a command without affecting other instances:
From the Toolbars tab of the Customizing Editor dialog, you can select which main menu and toolbars to display, create a new or duplicate toolbar, as well as rename, delete or restore toolbars. To create a new toolbar:
If you want to create a new toolbar based on an existing toolbar, it is easier to duplicate the original toolbar and edit the commands.
Toolbars will only appear on the screen if they are active. Select which toolbars are active (displayed) on the Toolbars tab on the Customizing Editor dialog. When the Is Active box is enabled (checked), the associated toolbar is active and will be displayed.
With the Customizing Editor dialog open, select the command in a menu or toolbar you want to duplicate or link. Use Ctrl+Click then drag the command to the new location (to Insert Duplicate); use Shift+Ctrl+Click then drag the command to the new location (to Insert Link).
You can nominate which main menu bar is active (displayed) by selecting a menu from the Bar to use as Main Menu drop-down on the Toolbars tab in the Customizing Editor dialog.
Use the following steps to restore the original default menus and toolbars and delete all customizations:
You can add a line separator above the item in a menu or before an icon in a toolbar. With the Customizing Editor dialog open, right-click on a menu or toolbar item then select Begin Group.
The files for your customizations are stored at:
\Users\<ProfileName>\AppData\Roaming\Altium\Altium Designer <GUID>. These files are:
On the Commands tab of the Customizing Editor dialog, [System Level] includes the commands to 'toggle floating panel visibility' and to toggle floating panel focus'. Any new commands added to this category will become system commands and their shortcut keys can be used in any editor.
A shortcut key table lists all the shortcuts currently available in an editor. Only one shortcut key table can be active per editor. As an example, Schematic Shortcuts is the name of the default shortcut key table for the schematic editor. If a shortcut key is changed in a command, it is updated in the active table automatically.
Shortcut key tables can be added, created, deleted, or modified in the same way as menus and toolbars.
Altium Designer supports several non-English language modes. All menu items and most dialog text will be presented in the language chosen in Windows for the computer on which Altium Designer is installed. Localization is configured on the System - General page of the Preferences dialog. After changing any of the Localization settings, you will need to restart Altium Designer.
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