Altium Designer Documentation

Installing Altium Designer

Created: November 3, 2023 | Updated: December 13, 2023
Applies to Altium Designer version: 24

Parent page: Installation, Licensing & Management

Installation of Altium Designer is both intuitive and fast, courtesy of the Altium Designer Installer. This wizard-based installer streamlines the initial installation process while letting you choose the initial 'flavor' of the installation, in terms of installed functionality.

This page takes a look at the procedure for installing Altium Designer on a computer.

Each major version of Altium Designer is released as a separate full installation with unique default installation paths. This allows for side-by-side installation with other major released versions of the software.

Obtaining the Installer

To access the Altium Designer Installer (commonly referred to as the Online Installer), you need first to download and run a small (approx. 26MB) executable – AltiumDesignerSetup_<Version>.exe. This executable is downloaded from the Altium Designer section of the Altium website's Downloads page and can be saved anywhere on your hard disk.

Each version of the software has its own dedicated installer.

The standard Altium Designer Installer requires an internet connection to complete the installation process. If it is not possible to run the installer from the target PC, you can install Altium Designer using an offline installation package (commonly referred to as the Offline Installer).

First, you will need to obtain the offline installation package. This is a zipped collection of the necessary installables (including extensions), along with the relevant Altium Designer Installer. The latter simply runs, as per the standard internet-based Installer, only getting the required files from elsewhere in the local unzipped content rather than the Altium Cloud repository.

The Offline Installer can be obtained directly from the Altium Designer section of the Altium website's Downloads page by clicking the Need Offline Installer? link.

You must be signed in to your Altium account to see the link.

A pop-up window will appear, prompting you to enter a reason why you need an Offline Installer. Sometimes firewalls or routers block some of the installation traffic, so that would be a reason, for example. Using the Offline Installer usually resolves this issue.

After entering your reason, click the Submit button. A second pop-up window will confirm that your request has been received. You will be assigned a Case Number with which you can track your request through Altium's Support Center. It can take up to 48 hours for the request to be processed, but typically a response will be received within a few minutes.

Once you receive the confirmation email, go back to the Downloads page – the link will have been replaced with a ZIP file download link. You may need to sign out of your Altium account and then sign back in again for the link to change from a question into a download link.

Once the initial request has been approved, you will always be able to have access to the corresponding Offline Installer for each existing version of the software, as well as new versions as they are released. Just select the version of Altium Designer required, and the link will update accordingly.

With the Offline Installer acquired, unzip to the required target PC on which you want to install the software.

Each version of the software has its own dedicated installer and, therefore, requires a dedicated offline installation package.

Running the Installer

  • When using an Online Installer – double-click the AltiumDesignerSetup_<Version>.exe file
  • When using an Offline Installer – browse to the location on your hard disk into which you have unzipped the offline installation package and double-click the Installer.exe file.

The Altium Designer Installer welcome page will open.

Initial welcome page for the Altium Designer Installer.
Initial welcome page for the Altium Designer Installer.

The installer itself is wizard-based, providing a set of progressive (and intuitive) pages that collectively gather the information to effectively install the version of the software and its initial feature set as you require.

Click Next to continue. The following sections provide a summary of the various pages you will encounter.

License Agreement

This page of the Installer presents you with the Altium End-User License Agreement (EULA).

Read and accept Altium's End-User License Agreement.
Read and accept Altium's End-User License Agreement.

Before you can continue with the installation of the software, you must read through and accept the terms of this agreement. The agreement can be viewed in different languages, including English (the default), German, French, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian.

Clicking the Advanced button will access an Advanced Settings pop-up window. From here, you are able to specify proxy settings, if applicable. Click OK to effect any changes and return to the License Agreement page.

These settings are only needed for the online installer if applicable for that installation environment. They can be ignored as part of the offline installation.

Specify the use of basic authentication using proxy settings as part of advanced options for the installation.
Specify the use of basic authentication using proxy settings as part of advanced options for the installation.

With the EULA read, continue with the installation by checking the I accept the agreement box, then click the Next button.

Installation Mode

If you have an existing installation of Altium Designer, and that installation can be updated to the new version you are trying to install now, an additional page of the Altium Designer Installer wizard will be available – Installation Mode. This page gives you the choice of either updating an existing version instance of Altium Designer or installing it as a separate new version instance. Choose the New installation option to maintain separate version instances of the software on the same computer. Alternatively, choose the Update existing version option, then use the drop-down field to select the specific instance of the software you wish to update.

If you already have a previous installation of Altium Designer within the same version stream, you can choose to update that version. Or install it as a separate unique instance.
If you already have a previous installation of Altium Designer within the same version stream, you can choose to update that version. Or install it as a separate unique instance.

With your choice of installation mode made, click Next to proceed.

Account Log-In

This stage is only applicable when using an Online Installer.

You will now be presented with an Account Log In pop-up window. This means logging in to your Altium account – to which your valid license is associated – using your Altium account credentials, linked Google® or Facebook® account, or your organization's Single Sing-On (SSO) authentication system. The reason for this is two-fold:

  • First, it verifies your identity and that the installation of the software is valid as determined by your account and licensing.
  • Second, it provides secure access to the Altium Cloud Repository in which the installation files reside – the files that are required to be downloaded before the software can be ultimately installed on the PC.

Log in to your account using your AltiumLive Credentials, linked Google® or Facebook® account, or your organization's SSO.
Log in to your account using your AltiumLive Credentials, linked Google® or Facebook® account, or your organization's SSO.

Select Design Functionality

This next page of the Installer allows you to specify which features are installed initially. The PCB Design option provides the base software and core technologies required to perform PCB design. It is always installed and cannot be deselected. Use the remaining options to tailor the installation to suit your needs. This will also have an impact on the initial installation time!

Click to expand an area for greater control over the sub-functionality available.

What initial functionality would you like in your installation of Altium Designer? The choice is yours! This can be changed later if required.
What initial functionality would you like in your installation of Altium Designer? The choice is yours! This can be changed later if required.

Platform Extensions offer extended functionality to the core platform. Each platform extension is a dedicated package of core platform functionality that has been 'brought out' of the platform and delivered in the form of an extension. By delivering this functionality as an extension, Altium can deliver updates to that core functionality without having to release an update to the entire platform itself.

Click to enable the functionality you require. As you select and deselect functionality, the text at the bottom of the page dynamically updates to reflect the size of the download involved and how this translates to required disk space once those downloaded files are installed. Note that the figure given for the amount of downloaded data does not apply to the Offline Installer.

Click to enable functionality at the parent level to quickly enable all of its child functionality too.

Remember, no matter what decision you take at the initial installation, you can add or remove features and functionality at any stage after installation. This puts you in the driver's seat to fully customize your installation in line with your possibly ever-changing design needs.

After defining the functionality you would like, click Next to proceed.

Destination Folders

This next page of the Installer allows you to specify the destination folders for the installation in terms of both the Program Files for the software and the Shared Documents that are accessed and used by the software.

Specify where the software and associated documents are to be installed.
Specify where the software and associated documents are to be installed.

These locations become especially important when installing multiple instances of Altium Designer. If one or both of these destinations is not currently an empty folder (i.e., devoid of content), you will be prevented from proceeding with the installation until you specify alternate (and empty) destination(s).

The default destinations (Windows 7 SP1 and above) are:

Program Files

C:\Program Files\Altium\AD24

Shared Documents

C:\Users\Public\Documents\Altium\AD24

To specify alternate locations,  type the location directly into the applicable field or click the folder icon at the right of a field and browse for the required destination folder.

Once the install locations are specified, click Next to continue.

Customer Experience Improvement Program

This page is used to choose whether to participate in the Customer Experience Improvement Program. Altium uses the program to enhance our understanding of how our customers use Altium products and services. The data is transmitted via a secure connection so your privacy is protected. You do not need to send us anything; your computer will automatically send usage information to Altium servers, and participation will not impact software performance or cause any work interruptions. The data we collect cannot be used to recreate your work, products or designs.

To participate in the program, enable Yes, I want to participate. To opt out of participation, enable Don't Participate.

Since this program requires a connection with Altium, it is not required for an offline installation. Therefore, you can choose the Don't participate option.

Choose whether to participate in the Customer Experience Improvement Program.
Choose whether to participate in the Customer Experience Improvement Program.

Ready To Install

The Installer now has all the information required to proceed with the installation. If you need to change anything, click the Back button. If you want to cancel the installation, click Cancel.

Ready to begin the installation!
Ready to begin the installation!

To go ahead and proceed with the installation, click Next.

Installing Altium Designer

The page will change from Ready to Install to Installing Altium Designer, and the installation will proceed with the required files first being downloaded (from the secure cloud-based repository when using an Online Installer) or prepared (from the set of files contained within the unzipped Offline Installation package when using an Offline Installer). Progress of this download/preparation is displayed within the Installer itself.

Installation commences by downloading/preparing the required set of install files.
Installation commences by downloading/preparing the required set of install files.

Once the download/preparation of files is complete, they will be installed, again with progress displayed in the Installer.

After the download/preparation is complete, the software is then installed.
After the download/preparation is complete, the software is then installed.

Installation Complete

When the installation itself is complete, you have reached the end of the Installer wizard.

That's it; installation is complete!
That's it; installation is complete!

The Run Altium Designer option is provided to launch Altium Designer when you exit the Installer, which is enabled by default. Click Finish to exit the wizard.

That's it. You have installed Altium Designer on your computer and initially tailored its functionality to suit your design needs. Now it's time to do what you do best and go create that next innovative (and hopefully lucrative) product!

Within Altium Designer, the F1 shortcut is worth getting acquainted with. Hover the mouse over anything inside Altium Designer – a button, command, dialog, panel, or design object – and press F1 to access documentation for it. F1 also works for specific pages in the Preferences dialog and specific rule constraint pages in the PCB Rules and Constraints Editor dialog. Also, if you're running a command, e.g., placing a component, and you're unsure how to rotate it, press Shift+F1 for a list of command-dependent shortcuts.

Importing Preferences from a Previous Version or Major Release

After installing and launching your new version of Altium Designer, the Import settings dialog will open in which you can choose to import preferences from the most recent previous installation at startup.

Import settings from your previous version's installation.
Import settings from your previous version's installation.

Not only will the preferences be imported, but the user settings will also be copied across – ensuring the new version opens with the same look and feel created in the previous version, even down to the last opened project group and panel positioning!

If the option to import preferences upon initial startup is not taken, don't worry – preferences can be quickly imported at any time from within the Preferences dialog: learn more.

Preferences can be imported from any individually installed version instance of Altium Designer (installed builds of AD10 or later), or any of the following pre-AD10 major releases of the software: Summer 09, Winter 09, Summer 08, and Altium Designer 6.
The benefit of importing at the initial startup is getting the working environment looking exactly the way it was set up in the previous installation. Importing preferences at a later stage will only 'restore' a subset of this environment.

Altium Designer Product Improvement Program

As part of working with Altium Designer, you have the ability to participate in Altium's Product Improvement Program. This program helps Altium to improve Altium Designer moving forward by better understanding user behavior and environments. You can commence participation at any time. Conversely, if you initially start participating but later would prefer not to, you are free to stop participating in the program at any time. The option to participate or not is available from the System – Product Improvement page of the Preferences dialog (accessed by clicking the  button at the top-right of the design space). Alternatively, you can enable/disable participation using the Product Improvement option on the System – Network Activity page of the Preferences dialog.

Rest assured that no personal data or design/IP information will be collected by participating in this program. Participation in this program is strictly voluntary and anonymous, and you are free to stop participating in the program at any time. For the rules that govern the program, see the Altium Designer Improvement Program page on the Altium website.

If you are using an Offline Installer, you might wish to configure Altium Designer to operate in an offline mode, essentially severing the connection to Altium. This can be done from the  System – Account Management page of the Preferences dialog by choosing the No, I wish to remain disconnected from Altium option ( show image). By enabling this option, your installation of Altium Designer will stay completely disconnected from Altium. While disconnected, you will not be able to access or use any of the on-demand services that require a connection with Altium. In essence, this option is a 'full offline' switch.

In addition, confirmation that you are using an offline installation of the software can be seen on the System – Installation page of the Preferences dialog. The Offline installation option will be enabled with the path to the unzipped offline installation package folder ( show image).

Note that the offline installation does not check for updates or new extensions, regardless of the status of the Altium Connection setting. To perform an update, you will need a later copy of the Offline Installation package.

When disconnected from Altium, your offline installation can be licensed using the Private License Service available as part of an Altium On-Prem Enterprise Server or Altium Infrastructure Server or using a Standalone license file.

Post-Installation Management

For information on how to manage your instance of Altium Designer after initial installation, use the following links:

License Management

Extending the Capabilities of Altium Designer

Installing Multiple Instances of the Software

Changing Installed Core Functionality after Installation

Updating to a Later Version

Uninstalling

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