Altium Designer Documentation

New in Altium Designer

Created: December 12, 2022 | Updated: January 17, 2023

This page details the improvements included in the initial release of Altium Designer 23, as well as those added in subsequent updates. Along with delivering a range of improvements that develop and mature the existing technologies, each update also incorporates a large number of fixes and enhancements across the software based on feedback raised by customers through the AltiumLive Community's BugCrunch system, helping you continue to create cutting-edge electronics technology.

You can choose to continue with your current version, update your current version, or install Altium Designer 23 alongside your current version to access the latest features. Your current version can be updated from within the software in the Extensions and Updates view. If you prefer to install Altium Designer 23 alongside your current version, visit the Altium Downloads page to download the installer, then choose New Installation on the Installation Mode page of the installer.

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Altium Designer 23.1

Released: 17 January 2023 – Version 23.1.1 (build 15)

Release Notes for Altium Designer Version 23.1


Schematic Capture Improvements

Compiled Names of Power Ports

The Net Labels option in the Compiled Names Expansion region of the Schematic - Compiler page of the Preferences dialog now determines the name for a Power Port object on the compiled (physical) tab of a schematic document.

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An example of strict hierarchical multi-channel design schematics that includes net labels and power ports. Note that when viewing compiled tabs of the schematic sheet, the power ports display the physical name in the same way as the net label does.

The Net Labels option in the Print dialog (when accessed from an Outjob file for a schematic print output with the [Project Physical Documents] option selected as the output's data source) and on the Structure Settings page of the Smart PDF Wizard also defines how the power ports will be shown in the schematic outputs.

Refer to the Creating a Multi-channel Design and Preparing Printed Data pages to learn more.

PCB Design Improvements

Load a Stored View Configuration File

Added the ability to load a stored view configuration file from the View Options tab of the View Configuration panel. Use the Load View Configuration option from the Configuration drop-down to browse to and select the required view configuration file.

Refer to the Colors & Visibility Control page to learn more.

Rename the Gerber Board Outline File

You can now rename the Gerber Board Outline type file in the Gerber Setup and Gerber X2 Setup dialogs.

Refer to the Preparing Fabrication Data page to learn more.

Platform Improvements

Improved Callstack Crash Report Content

This feature uses an enhanced method to collect callstack crash reports.

Data Management Improvements

Ability to Attach Images to Comments

This update adds the ability to attach images to your comments. As is said, a picture is worth a thousand words so attaching images will help explain your ideas to coworkers or highlight the location of an issue. You can add an image to a comment by first copying the image from an Explorer window or a web browser page by right-clicking on the image, which copies the image to the clipboard. To attach the image, use right-click Paste (or the Ctrl+V shortcut) in the comment itself (in the field that states "Add others with @ or paste images"). 

Each image can be a maximum of 2MB. After it is pasted into the comment, click the image to display the full image, as shown in the image on the right.

Refer to the Document Commenting page to learn more.

Export Project History from Reports Menu

Added the ability to export the Project History from the Reports menu to a PDF. After choosing Reports » Project History from the main menus, the Project History Report Configuration dialog opens in which you can set the Period for which the report should be exported: either the entire project history or from/to a specific (or the latest) project release. Click Export then enter a name for the exported PDF in the Explorer window that opens then click Save. The PDF report opens in a web browser.

Note that the project history report export functionality is not supported with the Altium Designer Standard Subscription.
Refer to the Project History and Print Preview dialog pages to learn more.

Harness Design Improvements

Crimps in Wiring Diagram

Crimps can now be used on the Wiring Diagram (*.WirDoc) as was previously available in the Layout Drawing. The Crimps tab of the Harness Component mode of the Properties panel can be used to add and edit crimps using the  icon. A crimp is denoted by a  in the design space as shown below.

Refer to the Defining the Harness Wiring Diagram - Crimps page for detailed information.

Twist and Shield Parameters

Parameters have been added to Twist and Shield objects in a Wiring Diagram document (*.WirDoc). During or after placement of a twist or shield, click Parameter in the Add drop-down of the Properties panel, then update the desired visibility, parameter name and value. An example of a twist object is shown in the below image.

Refer to the Defining the Harness Wiring Diagram - Wire Twisting and Shielding page for detailed information.

Quickly Add Connection Point Objects

The ability to add connection point objects to the Layout Drawing (*.LdrDoc) has been added. This allows you to add multiple objects to a connection point with one action. In the Connection Point mode of the Properties panel, click Add in the Connectors region to open the Add Connectors dialog. In the dialog, enable the connectors for the connection point. To enable all in the list, enable the checkbox next to Connector.

Additional Physical Views

With this release, you can add multiple 3D physical model views for a connector in a Harness Layout Drawing (*.LdrDoc) document. In the Physical Model region of the Harness Component mode of the Properties panel, select Physical Model then click Add View. A physical view will be added. You can see and update the view's parameters by clicking the corresponding  icon.

Refer to the Creating the Harness Layout Drawing - Harness Component Properties page for detailed information.

Added Download Sources to Project History

You can now download and open a specific revision of a project (in the Projects panel) using the Download Sources command. In a Project History file (<ProjectName> History), click  then select Download Sources. The downloaded revision opens in the Projects panel. Note that this revision is read-only, i.e. you can view but not edit it in any way.

Refer to the Project History page to learn more.

Ability to Save as ASCII

You can now save Harness Design Wiring Diagram (*.WirDoc) and Layout Drawing (*.LdrDoc) documents in ASCII format, which can be beneficial when sharing. Use the File » Save As command and select Harness Wiring ascii (*.WirDoc) or Harness Layout ascii (*.LdrDoc) from the Save as type drop-down in the Save As dialog that opens.

When saving an ASCII Wiring Diagram or Layout Drawing document using the File » Save command, the File Format dialog will open alerting you that the ASCII format is used. Choose the ASCII Version (highlighted in the below image) in the dialog to keep using this format.

Added Autosize and Justification

Added Auto Size and Justification properties to the Properties panel for the Wiring Diagram View and Layout Drawing View objects in a Harness Project Draftsman document (*.HarDwf).

When Auto Size is enabled, the Wiring Diagram View automatically adjusts its size to remove empty space at the borders. Select the Justification by clicking on an arrow that corresponds with the desired justification or the circle to center. The chosen option for Justification defines the point relative to which the position of the view is changed if its size is updated.

Example of a Wiring Diagram View with the Auto Size option enabled and Justification set to bottom-left. Hover the cursor over the image to see the view with the Auto Size option disabled - note that the location of the view is changed relative to its bottom-left corner.
Example of a Wiring Diagram View with the Auto Size option enabled and Justification set to bottom-left. Hover the cursor over the image to see the view with the Auto Size option disabled - note that the location of the view is changed relative to its bottom-left corner.

For more information, see the Creating a Manufacturing Drawing for a Harness Design page.

Multi-board Improvements

Allow Pin Connection to More Than One Pin

When configuring a connection of the Harness type on a Multi-board schematic document (*.MbsDoc), you can now connect a pin from one PCB connector to more than one pin on the same target PCB connector.

An example of the connection configuration of a harness connection in a Multi-board schematic. Note that the same pin of the source connector (H_1-Entry_1[1]) is connected to multiple pins of the same target connector.
An example of the connection configuration of a harness connection in a Multi-board schematic. Note that the same pin of the source connector (H_1-Entry_1[1]) is connected to multiple pins of the same target connector.

Refer to the Working with Connections page to learn more.

Circuit Simulation Enhancements

Inertial Delay

Implemented inertial delay processing for all PSpice digital gates (except DLYLINE).

Added PSpice Primitives

Added support for the following PSpice digital model primitives:

  • DLTCH
  • SRFF

Altimade Enhancements

Relaxed Constraints for the Min Trace Width and Min Hole Size

Constraints for the Min Trace Width and Min Hole Size have been relaxed to allow for 3mil and 4mil respectively.

Refer to the Single Click Ordering with Altimade page to learn more.

Altium Designer 23.0

Released: 15 December 2022 – Version 23.0.1 (build 38)

Release Notes for Altium Designer Version 23.0


PCB Design Improvements

Silkscreen Preparation

To assist in resolving common Design for Manufacture (DFM) issues faced by having silkscreen overlapping exposed copper, holes and board shape, a dedicated feature for preparing the silkscreen for your boards has been implemented in this release. These issues can now be effectively addressed by:

  • automated clipping of silkscreen lines and arcs
  • automated clipping or movement of fills and regions
  • automated movement of silkscreen text and component designators.

The feature is available in both the PCB footprint editor (for the active footprint) and PCB editor (across all or selected objects on one or both overlay layers) using the Silkscreen Preparation dialog, which is accessed by using the Tools » Silkscreen Preparation command from the main menus.

This feature is in Open Beta and is available when the PCB.SilkScreenPreparation option is enabled in the Advanced Settings dialog.

Enhanced Net Information UI

The Net Information region of the Properties panel now displays all nets, differential pairs, and xSignals for the selected primitive. You can expand the sections to view all listed information. 

For more information, refer to the PCB Placement and Editing Techniques page.

Data Management Improvements

Manage Missing Files

Previously, missing files were removed with a corresponding notification in the Messages panel and the project was marked as modified in the Projects panel. This release includes an enhanced approach to managing files defined within the project file but not found within the project folder. Rather than simply removing references to such files and marking the project as modified, these files are now marked as ‘missing’. They remain defined in the project file and still appear listed in the project’s structure in the Projects panel, but they are now grayed out and have a distinguishing icon.

Associated commands are available that give you full control over handling missing documents. Using the right-click menu of a missing file in the Projects panel to remove the selected or all missing files from the project or to update the path to the file (i.e. to replace the missing file with a selected one). For a project that is under version control, you can also revert local modifications to restore a missing file from the project's VCS repository.

When adding an existing file to the project using the Add Existing to Project command from the project entry's right-click menu and the name and the path of the file being added are the same as the name and the path of a missing file (which is possible when, for example, the missing file was added to the project folder after opening the project in Altium Designer), a confirmation dialog will open asking if you would like to replace the missing file with the selected one.

Refer to the Working with Documents page to learn more.
This feature is in Open Beta and is OFF by default. It is available when the WSM.ManageMissingFiles option is enabled in the Advanced Settings dialog.

Creating a Project History Report

A Project History PDF report can now be created for a Workspace project. In the OutputJob file (*.OutJob), right-click on the [Add New Report Output] associated with the Report Outputs entry then choose Project History.

The newly-created Project History output report can then be connected to a PDF output container.

Right-click the created output then select Configure to access the Project History Report Configuration dialog in which you can set the Period for which the report should be exported: either the entire project history or from/to a specific (or the latest) project release.

When the report is added, linked to the required PDF output container, and configured as needed, click Generate content or generate output as part of the project release process to export the project history.

An example of a project history report
An example of a project history report

Note that the project history report export functionality is not supported with the Altium Designer Standard Subscription.
Refer to the Project History page and the Preparing Reports page for more information.

Layer-specific Comments

Support has been added for layer-specific comments on the PCB in 2D. Focusing a comment will auto-switch to the same view the reviewer had (visible layers, active layer, top/bottom view).

Example of view configuration switch when focusing a comment. Shown here is the view configuration before focusing on a comment: all layers are enabled, Top is the active layer, and the board is shown from the bottom side. Hover the cursor over the image to see the board after focusing on a comment (the same view is applied as it was when the comment was added): Bottom is the only signal layer enabled, Bottom is the active layer, and the board is shown from the top side.
Example of view configuration switch when focusing a comment. Shown here is the view configuration before focusing on a comment: all layers are enabled, Top is the active layer, and the board is shown from the bottom side. Hover the cursor over the image to see the board after focusing on a comment (the same view is applied as it was when the comment was added): Bottom is the only signal layer enabled, Bottom is the active layer, and the board is shown from the top side.

For more information, refer to the Document Commenting page.

Ability to Delete Workspace Repository

A Workspace repository that appears in the Data Management - Design Repositories page of the Preferences dialog after migrating a project managed by an external VCS to the Altium 365 Workspace VCS can now be deleted if the repository has no reference to a Workspace project.

After successful migration of a project from an external VCS to the Workspace VCS, the repository will be removed from the Workspace automatically.

Notes:

  • You must be an administrator of the Workspace to be able to delete a repository.
  • If a project has been soft deleted (moved to Trash), it must be deleted permanently so the repository referencing it can be removed.
  • The Workspace's Versioned Storage repository cannot be removed.
For more information, refer to the Making an Existing Project Available in the Workspace page.

Harness Designs

This release sees the first implementation of the Harness Design capability. This new tool allows new engineers of various types (involved in the Product Design process) to work in Altium Designer. It brings comprehensive harness design support into the same environment as PCB and system design, removing the previous heavy reliance on third-party software.

The Harness Design tool allows you to create a full wiring harness design, from individual pin-to-pin connections to manufacturing documentation. A harness design can be created as a standalone project, or as part of a Multi-board project. In the latter case, the logical connections between PCBs in the Multi-board project are used to define the connectivity within the harness.

This release includes a sample harness design project (Harness_Demo_Prj.PrjHar), which is associated with a new multi-board demo project (Harness_Demo_MB.PrjMbd), so you can take harnesses for a test drive straight out of the box.

For more information, refer to the Harness Design page.
This feature is in Open Beta and is available when the System.HarnessDesignAvailable option is enabled in the Advanced Settings dialog. Note that Harness Design functionality is not supported with the Altium Designer Standard Subscription.

ActiveBOM Enhancements

This release includes several enhancements when working with alternative components in ActiveBOM.

Retaining Filters and Values in the Add Alternative Item Dialog

The Add Alternative Item dialog, which is accessed by right-clicking a Workspace component and selecting the Operations » Add Alternative Item command in the context menu now remembers the used filters and values when accessing the dialog for different components of the same type.

Preventing Replacement of an Alternative Component with an Already Used One

When trying to replace an alternate component with one already used as an alternative, a warning dialog appears to alert you.

 

Confirmation for Removal of an Alternative Group with Alternate Components

When trying to remove a group of alternatives and the components in this group have an alternate component assigned, a warning dialog appears to alert you and asks for confirmation to delete the group.

For more information, refer to the Managing Your ActiveBOM Solutions page.

Circuit Simulation Improvements

High-impedance State

Added the ability to view the high-impedance state for digital waveforms in the SimData editor.

PSpice Enhancements

Support for the following PSpice primitives has been added in this release:

  • LOGICEXP
  • Digital delay line
  • Digital Pullup and Pulldown
  • DFF
  • JKFF
  • DFFDE
  • JKFFDE

Also, components for the following PSpice primitives were added to the Simulation Generic Components library:

  • Standard gates
  • Tristate gates
  • Digital stimulus

Features Made Fully Public in Altium Designer 23.0

The following features have been taken out of Open Beta and have transitioned to Public in this release:

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