Altium Designer Documentation

Working with a Callout Object on a Draftsman Document in Altium Designer

Created: June 15, 2017 | Updated: May 16, 2018
Now reading version 18.1. For the latest, read: Callout for version 21
Applies to Altium Designer versions: 18.0 and 18.1

Parent page: Draftsman Objects

Several Callouts of different types placed on a Board Assembly View.Several Callouts of different types placed on a Board Assembly View.


A Draftsman Callout is a graphic pointer that can be placed in a document to provide information about a specific drawing location or object. The information associated with a Callout may be custom text or data sourced from a BOM entry, a Note item or a component Parameter. Its drawing style and information source are configurable in the Properties panel.


Callouts are available for placement in the Draftsman Editor as follows:

  • Choose the Place » Annotations » Callout command from the main menus.
  • Click the button in the annotation objects drop-down on the Active Bar located at the top of the workspace. Click and hold an Active Bar button to access other related commands. Once a command has been used, it will become the topmost item on that section of the Active Bar.
  • Right-click in the drawing workspace then select Place » Annotations » Callout from the context menu.
  • Click the  entry on the Drawing Annotations toolbar (View » Toolbars » Drawing Annotations to enable).


When the command is launched, the cursor will change to a crosshair indicating Callout placement mode. Position the cursor in the drawing space to choose between the two Callout placement types as indicated by the cursor highlighting.

  • Object Callout – when the cursor highlights a side or corner of an object outline (such as the perimeter of a drawing view or component), the placed Callout will be 'attached' to that specific object.
  • General Callout – when there is no highlighting at the cursor, the placed Callout simply refers to that location, rather than an object.

Click to place the Callout pointer at the desired location, as determined above then move the cursor to a suitable Callout end position and click to confirm the placement. Right click to cancel Callout placement mode.

By default, the pointer of placed object type Callout is a dot (positioned on an object outline), while the general type of Callout is indicated by an arrowed pointer. The 'head style' of these pointer ends can be changed in the Properties panel. 

The information text that is shown at the end of the Callout (the Callout 'tag') is determined by the Source Text property options in the Properties panel. By default, an object type Callout will display its BOM entry; a general type Callout will show a custom text string, initially set to '?'.

The default settings for Callouts are available in the Draftsman - Defaults page of the Preferences dialog.

Graphical Editing

The end position of a placed Callout may be graphically modified. Select a Callout to enable its end position editing handle, which can be dragged to a new location.

Drag a selected Callout's editing node to move its end point.Drag a selected Callout's editing node to move its end point.

Non-Graphical Editing

Properties page: Callout Properties

The non-graphical method of editing a Callout is available in the Draftsman Properties panel, which provides a range of editable properties that determine the Callout's visual style and the data source for its displayed text. The data source options include Custom Text, BOM item (number), a Note list item, or an available Component Parameter. See the Callout Properties panel for more information.

The Properties panel when a Callout is selected.The Properties panel when a Callout is selected.

To open the Properties panel and access the properties of a placed Callout:

  • Double-click on the Callout object in the workspace.
  • Right-click on a selected Callout then choose Item Properties from the context menu.

If the Properties panel is already active:

  • Click on the Callout object to access its properties in the panel.
To manually open the Properties panel, select View » Panels » Properties from the main menus or click the button at the bottom right of the workspace then select Properties from the pop-up menu.
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