Altium Designer Documentation

New in Altium Designer

Created: November 28, 2021 | Updated: June 17, 2022

This page details the improvements included in the initial release of Altium Designer 22, 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 have the choice to continue with your current version, update your current version, or install Altium Designer 22 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 22 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 22.6

Released: 16 June 2022 – Version 22.6.1 (build 34)

Release Notes for Altium Designer Version 22.6

Schematic Capture Improvements (22.6)

Custom Names for Multi-functional Pins

This feature allows for the custom naming of multi-functional pins. Use the new Functions field of the Pin mode of the Properties panel in a schematic library document to enter the desired custom name. After clicking Enter, the custom (alternate) name will display below the field as shown in the image below. There are no limitations for the field, and numbers and/or special characters (&, *, %, etc.,) can be used. All Font Settings for the custom name are the same as the original pin name.

In the Component mode of the Properties panel in a schematic document, the custom names are displayed on the Pins tab.

Custom pin names can also be defined when creating a schematic symbol using the Symbol Wizard. When pin names entered in the Display Names column of the Symbol Wizard contain slashes ('/'), these names will be added as custom pin names to the pins of the generated symbol.

Note that use of the slash character to delimit each pin function is hard-coded, so if a pin name should contain a slash but without creating custom pin names for it (e.g., I/O), you can remove these extra pin names using the Pin mode of the Properties panel after creating the symbol.

Example of a pin name with slash characters in the Symbol Wizard. Hover the cursor over the image to see the properties of the generated symbol's pin.
Example of a pin name with slash characters in the Symbol Wizard. Hover the cursor over the image to see the properties of the generated symbol's pin.

Display of pin names on schematic symbols can be managed by clicking on the name of a pin with custom names defined. In the pop-up window that opens, check the function names you would like to display on the schematic symbol. If no custom pin name is selected in the list, the default name will be shown.

Note that the names of pins with custom names use a background color different from the component body color to distinguish such pins in the design space (this will not affect the schematic printouts).

Example of a pop-up menu for a pin with custom pin names. Hover the cursor over the image to see this pin after selecting some custom names.
Example of a pop-up menu for a pin with custom pin names. Hover the cursor over the image to see this pin after selecting some custom names.

When a component placed on a schematic sheet is being updated from its source library, and pins of the component have custom naming defined on the schematic sheet only, updating will not remove the custom pin naming.
This feature is in Open Beta. If desired, it can be disabled using the Schematic.CustomNamesForMultifunctionalPins option in the Advanced Settings dialog.

Support for Alternate Parts in Multi-channel Projects

When defining a variant for a multi-channel design, it is now possible to select specific/different alternate parts across the channels. Therefore, the Unsupported multi-channel alternate item check is removed from the Error Reporting tab of the Project Options dialog.

This feature is in Open Beta. If desired, it can be disabled using the Schematic.SupportForAlternatePartsInMultichannels option in the Advanced Settings dialog.

Availability of Designators and Net Names in Text Frames

Component designators and net names in text frames that are placed on the schematic function as links and provide cross-probing capabilities within the schematic and printed PDFs. Use the Properties region of the Text Frame mode of the Properties panel to define the link by using '@' in the Text field to access a list of possible choices. Select the desired primitive to search for; the text frame now includes a link as shown in the second image below. 

Clicking the link to zoom to and highlight that primitive on the sheet. 

This feature is in Open Beta. If desired, it can be disabled using the Schematic.LiveReferencesToDesignatorsAndNetsInTextFrames option in the Advanced Settings dialog.

Ability to Work with Objects Located Outside the Schematic Sheet

Any schematic design object that is placed outside of the schematic sheet boundaries can now be selected and moved. When an object is selected, the same set of operations and commands can be performed as for an object within the schematic sheet boundaries.

This feature is in Open Beta. If desired, it can be disabled using the Schematic.AccessibilityOfObjectsOutsideTheOutlineOfSchematicPage option in the Advanced Settings dialog.

PCB Design Improvements (22.6)

New Parameters Tab for Board Properties

To provide you with a quick view of the current PCB design's parameters, a new Parameters tab for the Board mode of the Properties panel has been added. The tab lists both system parameters (e.g., the PCB file name) and the parameters calculated from the PCB (e.g., the number of components on the PCB and the board thickness).

The parameter listing can be narrowed down using the filter buttons at the top of the panel. A parameter can be quickly placed as a special string using the Place button at the bottom of the list when the parameter is selected in the panel.

The Parameters tab for the Board mode of the Properties panel provides you with comprehensive parametric information on your PCB design.
The Parameters tab for the Board mode of the Properties panel provides you with comprehensive parametric information on your PCB design.

Added Check for Unused xSignals and From-Tos in Health Check Monitor

This release sees new checks implemented as part of the PCB Health Check Monitor functionality: Unused xSignals and Unused From-Tos. If the PCB design contains xSignals or From-Tos that are not used in any design rules, they will trigger issues of the respective PCB health checks. Unused xSignals and From-Tos can be removed from the design using the Fix Issues button provided on the Health Check tab.

New Unused xSignals and Unused From-Tos PCB health checks can be used to find xSignals and From-Tos that are not used in the design rules of the PCB design. New Unused xSignals and Unused From-Tos PCB health checks can be used to find xSignals and From-Tos that are not used in the design rules of the PCB design.
New Unused xSignals and Unused From-Tos PCB health checks can be used to find xSignals and From-Tos that are not used in the design rules of the PCB design.

xSignals and From-Tos of the current PCB design can be inspected using the xSignals and From-To Editor modes of the PCB panel, respectively.

Improved DRC Performance

Added the following options to the Advanced Settings dialog that improve DRC performance.

  • Enable the PCB.EngineX.RuleSystem option to use the new DRC implementation.
  • Enable the PCB.EngineX.ExpressionEngine option to use the new Expression Engine implementation.
  • Enable the PCB.EngineX.ClearanceRule option to use the new Clearance Rule implementation.
This feature is in Open Beta. If desired, it can be accessed using the associated options in the Advanced Settings dialog.

Data Management Improvements (22.6)

Added Comparison of Local Files with a Commit or Release

Features for comparing locally saved schematic documents with a commit or release of the Altium 365 Workspace project for which these documents are constituent parts have been implemented. To compare the schematic documents with a required data set, select a command from the Compare button menu in the Save to Server dialog, the History & Version Control » Compare right-click menu of the project or project document in the Projects panel, or the  control menu of the new Local Changes tile of the Project History view.

Javascript

After selecting a command, the comparison results will be presented in a new tab of your default web browser.

An example of schematic comparison results.
An example of schematic comparison results.

To learn more about design data comparison features provided by the Altium 365 Workspace, see Design Data Comparisons.

Added Design Reuse Mode to the Properties Panel

In this release, a new Design Reuse mode of the Properties panel has been implemented. When a selected schematic or PCB component is part of a reuse block placed in the design, this mode can be accessed by clicking the Reuse Block link provided in the Component mode of the panel. The properties of the component's parent reuse block will be presented in the panel. To return to the properties of the initially selected component, use the Component link.

Access the reuse block properties from a component that is a part of this reuse block. The images above display accessing the properties from a schematic component. Hover the cursor over the image to see access from a PCB component.
Access the reuse block properties from a component that is a part of this reuse block. The images above display accessing the properties from a schematic component. Hover the cursor over the image to see access from a PCB component.

Display of General Tasks in the Comments and Tasks Panel

General tasks (tasks applied to the current project but are not associated with a project comment or document) are now shown in the Comments and Tasks panel. These tasks are listed in the panel in a separate group under the entry of the project. For general tasks, the same content and attributes are shown in the panel as for regular tasks (assignee, priority, etc.).

General tasks are now listed in the Comments and Tasks panel.
General tasks are now listed in the Comments and Tasks panel.

Circuit Simulation Improvements (22.6)

Simulation Examples

A set of quick-start simulation examples has been added to the Shared Documents folder (C:\Users\Public\Documents\Altium\<PlatformAndVersion>\Examples for default installation). Each example demonstrates a real-world use case of simulation, complete with information on setting up the simulator and interpreting the results.

Logarithmic Form for the Y-axis

In the Sim Data Editor, the Y-axis for simulation results can now be presented in logarithmic form in the same way that was previously possible for the X-axis. Use the Y Axis Setting dialog to configure the Y-axis to be presented in logarithmic form.

Features Made Fully Public in Altium Designer 22.6

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

Altium Designer 22.5

Released: 19 May 2022 – Version 22.5.1 (build 42) 

Release Notes for Altium Designer Version 22.5

Schematic Capture Improvements (22.5)

'Find Text' Enhancement

You can now mask the results when using search (Edit » Find TextCtrl+F) in a schematic document by enabling the Mask Matching option in the Find Text dialog. When this and the Jump to Results options are enabled, all found elements will be zoomed while other elements are dimmed according to the settings on the System – Navigation page of the Preferences dialog.

Custom Differential Pair Suffixes

Previously, differential pairs were defined by adding specific suffixes, namely _P (positive) and _N (negative), however, the predefined suffixes were found to be too confining for users. To give you more flexibility, differential pairs can now be defined using custom suffixes in the Diff Pairs region of the Project Options - Options dialog. Custom suffixes cannot be added if only one suffix of the pair is defined or if any of the suffixes are used in another pair of custom suffixes. The suffixes cannot contain spaces or underscores ("_").

This feature is in Open Beta. If desired, it can be disabled using the Schematic.CustomDiffPairNaming option is enabled in the Advanced Settings dialog.
PCB Design Improvements (22.5)

PCB Health Check Monitor

The final goal of each PCB design is to get a correct and reliable set of assembly and fabrication outputs, and one purpose of any design tool is to provide a user with tools to find and resolve the issues that could arise during the design process before the design goes to production. During its constant development, Altium Designer delivers enhancements and bug fixes in each release to provide you with a better design experience and to help you avoid some “unhealthy” layout aspects of your PCBs. In some cases, such areas of a board might be fine from the perspective of Altium Designer’s DRC system, not leading to serious fabrication issues. However, they could result in software performance degradation and issues during MCAD co-design or generation of PCB outputs. For example, PCB components could have 360 degrees rotation value in previous versions of Altium Designer, but this situation is not allowed anymore in the current versions – the software will set such components to 0 degrees.

These “unhealthy” board layout elements may be present in designs created in versions of the software before it was improved and fixed in certain areas. To help you in detecting and resolving such issues, and some other issues that can arise under certain conditions, the concept of PCB Health Checks has been introduced. These checks allow you to discover common issues in the PCB design, fix them, and avoid potential problems during the next stages of the design and manufacturing process. The list of available PCB Health checks will grow up moving forward.

The Board mode of the Properties panel (available when no object is selected in the active PCB document) has the new Health Check tab that enables you to configure, perform, and explore the results of the PCB Health Check. Recommendations for fixing the issues of a specific type can also be found on this tab of the panel.

The new Health Check tab of the Properties panel is in the Board mode.
The new Health Check tab of the Properties panel is in the Board mode.

To learn more about this functionality, see PCB Health Check Monitor.

This feature is in Open Beta. If desired, it can be disabled using the PCB.HealthCheckMonitor option in the Advanced Settings dialog. Use the following settings to configure the desired feature mode as shown below. The default value is 1.
0 - switched off
1 - user mode
2 - debug mode (makes available additional checks that are under active development).

Set Board Shape Visibility for Board Arrays

A new Board Shape option has been added to the Embedded Board Array mode of the Properties panel. This button allows you to control visibility for the board shapes of the PCBs that are constituents of the selected board array.

Use the Board Shape button to control the visibility of the board shape. Hover the cursor over the image to see the difference between the enabled and disabled states.
Use the Board Shape button to control the visibility of the board shape. Hover the cursor over the image to see the difference between the enabled and disabled states.

Improved Print Dialog for Configuring PCB Printouts

The Print dialog has been enhanced to streamline the configuration of the pages to be printed from a PCB design. Some options have been relocated and updated from bullets to highlighted boxes in order to improve the readability for our users. The Pages tab now includes Printout Properties options for the display of surface mounts, through-holes, and design views, as well as a Displayed Layers region to configure specific layers.

Default Units for Fabrication Outputs

Millimeters are now the default units when configuring Gerber, Gerber X2, ODB++, and NC Drill fabrication outputs (File » Fabrication Outputs) as shown in the Gerber X2 Setup and NC Drill Setup dialogs in the image below.

Detect Copper Primitives with No Net Assigned

All copper layer objects with a net assignment of No Net will be checked. To run the check, click Tools » Design Rule Check. Ensure the Report Dead Copper larger than option is enabled on the DRC Report Options page of the Design Rule Checker dialog. (The value field of this option applies to the plane. All other objects are checked regardless of size.) This option is enabled by default. Errors are flagged as an Unrouted Net Constraint in the Messages panel and the Design Rule Verification Report.

This check does not detect isolated areas of copper that have a net assigned.
This feature is in Open Beta. If desired, it can be disabled using the PCB.Rules.DeadCopperNoNet option in the Advanced Settings dialog. Use the following settings to configure the desired feature mode as shown below. The default value is 2.
0 - Do not check any.
1 - Check all.
2 - Check all except free Pads, Text objects, and objects in Components.
Data Management Improvements (22.5)

Improved Project Version Control Statuses

Version control status icons provided in the Projects panel for documents are now active controls that can be clicked to receive more information on the VCS status of the document and access options to perform the relevant actions. For example, clicking the  icon for a document that has locally-saved changes but that have not yet been sent to the Workspace shows the date and time when local changes have been saved, as well as options to save the project changes to the Workspace or revert local modifications of the document.

Click a VCS status icon in the Projects panel to show more information on the document status and access-related actions.
Click a VCS status icon in the Projects panel to show more information on the document status and access-related actions.

Added Support for Moving from an External VCS to the Concord Pro Workspace Native VCS

When connected to a Concord Pro Workspace, Altium Designer now offers the ability to faithfully migrate projects that use an external VCS system to a fully-managed Workspace project that hosts the design files in that Workspace’s own Git repository. The converted design project, which will retain the previous history of VCS commits, can then benefit from the Workspace's native VCS-enabled features, such as advanced project sharing, single authentication, and the event-based History timeline.

Migration of a project that uses an external SVN repository with the file protocol is not currently supported

Added 'New Library' Dialog

The New Library dialog has been introduced to facilitate the creation of a new library. The dialog is accessed by choosing File » New » Library from the main menus. It provides the flow to create a new Workspace library component, component template, footprint, or symbol, or for creating an older generation library (file-based or database type library).

This feature is in Open Beta. If desired, it can be turned off by disabling the UI.CreateLibraryDialog option in the Advanced Settings dialog.

Added Ability to Edit Properties of a Local Snippet

The Name, Description, and Path of a local snippet can now be edited through the Snippet Properties dialog that is accessed from the Design Reuse panel by clicking  within the local snippet's tile (or right-clicking anywhere on the tile) then selecting the Edit Properties command from the menu.

Edit properties of a local snippet using the Snippet Properties dialog accessed from the Design Reuse panel.
Edit properties of a local snippet using the Snippet Properties dialog accessed from the Design Reuse panel.

Features Made Fully Public in Altium Designer 22.5

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

Altium Designer 22.4

Released: 13 April 2022 – Version 22.4.2 (build 48)

Release Notes for Altium Designer Version 22.4

Schematic Capture Improvements (22.4)

Display of Alternate Component Parameters

When viewing variants on a compiled tab of a schematic document, alternate part properties are now displayed in the Properties panel, rather than the original component properties that were displayed in previous versions. The alternate part properties are read-only.

Javascript

An alternate part is defined for a component on the schematic sheet. When a compiled tab is selected, the Properties panel will show the properties of the component for the current variant.

Data Management Improvements (22.4)

New Design Reuse Functionality

The ability to reuse design content not only saves time but also means that a set of proven circuitry blocks can be created, which helps reduce component inventory and frees up your design team to focus on the development of new concepts and products. To extend the existing concept of design snippets, new Reuse Blocks have been implemented in this release. When connected to your Altium 365 Workspace, the new content of the Reuse Block type can be created, used, and managed, as well as Workspace-based schematic and PCB snippets. The new Design Reuse panel provides access to reuse blocks and both Workspace-based and local snippets.

The Design Reuse panel
The Design Reuse panel

A reuse block can contain both schematic circuitry and its physical representation for the PCB. When such a reuse block is placed on a schematic sheet, its physical representation will be placed automatically during the ECO process.

New Gerber Dialog with Improved Support for PCB Panels

The Gerber Setup and Gerber X2 Setup dialogs have been replaced by the dialogs with specific options to suit each Gerber format. The new dialogs include two output naming options using either the PCB filename with a unique extension or a unique filename with a common extension.

PCB Panel Support

When Gerber or Gerber X2 output is generated for a PCB panel (an embedded board array), the new dialog includes a column for the panel as well as a column of layers for each board included in the panel. Use this new column to quickly verify that the various board layers are mapped to the correct panel layers.

Learn more about Generating Gerber Fabrication Data.

This feature is in Open Beta and available when the UI.Unification.GerberDialog option is enabled in the Advanced Settings dialog.

Also, note that the Mirror column in the Gerber Setup dialog is in Open Beta and available when the UI.Unification.GerberDialog.ShowMirrorColumn option is enabled in the Advanced Settings dialog.

Enhancements to the Library Migrator

This release includes several enhancements and improvements to the Library Migrator.

  • For better reflection of the tool's purpose, its name has been changed to Library Importer.
  • Along with the current ways of accessing the Library Importer (e.g., by choosing File » Library Importer from the main menus) and new ways from the Components and Explorer panels (see the section below), the Library Importer can now be launched for an installed library listed on the Installed tab of the Advanced File-based Libraries dialog. When the library to be imported is selected in the dialog, click the Import control in the dialog's grid section.

    Also, the Library Importer can be launched for an integrated library when opening it.

  • You can now easily access the Properties panel from the Library Importer by clicking  near the top and in the SOURCE LIBRARIES region. 

  • New component categories to be created during the import process and the Uncategorized entry are now labeled with  and  icons.

  • Default values have been added for library splitting.

  • Validation now checks for empty Workspace folder paths, conflicting system parameters, and duplicate models.

UI Improved for Components in Workspaces  

For a quicker start of work with a Workspace Library, additional controls have been added to the Components and Explorer panels.

At the first launch of the Components panel in the current Altium Designer session, the following controls are available when connected to a Workspace:

  • Use Existing Components – click to browse the component type currently selected in the panel's top drop-down.
  • Delete Existing Components – click to open the Delete Existing Components dialog followed by the Data Cleanup page of your Workspace's Settings where you can select the content types to be removed.
  • Import Library – click to open the standard Windows Open dialog then select a database or file-based library saved on your local or network folder. After opening a library file, the Library Importer in its Simple mode will launch with the selected library loaded.
  • Create Component – click to open the Create New Component dialog followed by the Component Editor in Single Component Editing mode ready to define a new component.

When in offline mode, a warning will be shown in the panel along with controls to keep using the cached component data or to clear the cache.

Creating a new component. existing library import, as well as library cleanup, can also be launched now from the Component panel's  menu.

In the Explorer panel, when a folder of the Components type has no components in it yet, a number of controls are now presented to assist you in populating the folder with components. Use these controls to perform an appropriate action:

  • Import Library – click to open the standard Windows Open dialog then select a database or file-based library saved on your local or network folder. After opening a library file, the Library Importer in its Simple mode will launch with the selected library loaded.
  • Create Component – click to open the Component Editor in Single Component Editing mode ready to define a new component.
  • Create Other Item Type – click to open the Create New Item dialog and create a new item of any type.

Regardless of whether or not there are components in the folder, these actions can also be performed using the options of the menu associated with the Add Component drop-down at the top-right of the panel.

Draftsman Improvements (22.4)

Different Drill Symbol Sizes for Drill Drawing Views and Drill Tables

The drill symbol size was previously linked between the Drill Drawing View and the Drill Table. With this release, you can set the drill symbol with one size on a Drill Drawing View and a different size on the Drill Table. You can set the desired size defaults on the Drill Symbol tab of the Draftsman - Defaults page of the Preferences dialog or for a specific project in the Drill Symbols Configurations dialog as shown in the images below. Use the Symbol Size Table and Symbol Size View fields to set the drill symbol size. To set different sizes for the Drill Drawing View and Drill Table, click  to unlink the two sizes then set the desired sizes independently of each other.

Added Option for IPC-4761 Via Type

An option has been added to the Via Type mode of the Properties panel that allows you to select from what side covering should be applied. The Side option in the Properties region of the panel includes a drop-down so that you can choose the desired side. The options of the drop-down depend on the via type selected in the ViaType option in the same region of the panel.

For via types 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, and 6A, choose from either Top or Bottom. For via types 1B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5, 6b, and 7, the option is essentially disabled with Both as the only option and is the default for those via types.

Circuit Simulation Improvements (22.4)

Added .CSV File-based Stimulus Type

The circuit simulator now supports using a CSV file to specify the Time-Value Pairs for the interpolated VPWL and IPWL voltage and current sources. Set the Source Stimulus Type to File then specify the path+filename in the File parameter (e.g., C:\Designs\Circuit Simulation\Analog Amplifier\PWL_test.csv).

Features Made Fully Public in Altium Designer 22.4

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

Altium Designer 22.3

Released: 16 March 2022 – Version 22.3.1 (build 43)

Release Notes for Altium Designer Version 22.3

Schematic Capture Improvements (22.3)

Generic Components

When connected to an Altium 365 Workspace, note that the Generic Components functionality is not supported with the Standard Subscription Plan. As such, this functionality will not be available with this level of access to Altium 365.

Also, note that the Generic Components functionality is not supported when connected to a Concord Pro Workspace.

This release introduces the concept of standard Generic Components, which can quickly be placed in a design without the need to find and choose a specific manufactured part.

Generic Components are intended as placeholders that are easily replaced by parameter-matched real-world components later in the design process. They also can be considered as virtual or parametric components.

Refer to the Generic Components page to learn more about working with Generic Components.
This feature is in Open Beta. If desired, it can be turned off by disabling the ComponentSearch.GenericComponents option in the Advanced Settings dialog.

New SheetSymbolDesignator Special String

A new SheetSymbolDesignator special string has been added as part of this release. This special string can be placed on a child schematic sheet to display the designator of the associated Sheet Symbol object that is placed on the parent schematic sheet. The SheetSymbolDesignator special string can also be used in a multi-channel design. Select a compiled tab of the child schematic sheet to display the converted value of the special string.

Use the SheetSymbolDesignator special string to show the parent sheet symbol's designator. Hover the cursor over the image to see the special string's converted value on the compiled tab of the sheet.
Use the SheetSymbolDesignator special string to show the parent sheet symbol's designator. Hover the cursor over the image to see the special string's converted value on the compiled tab of the sheet.

This feature is in Open Beta. If desired, it can be turned off by disabling the Schematic.EnableSheetSymbolDesignatorAsSpecialString option in the Advanced Settings dialog.

Updating of Alternative Components in Variants

The Tools » Update from Libraries (schematic editor) and Tools » Update Schematics (schematic library editor) commands are now functional for alternative components in variants. Running either of these commands results in updating parameters of alternate components, which are visible in the Variant Management dialog and a compiled tab of the schematic sheet.

When updating the alternate components using the Tools » Update from Libraries command from the main menus of the schematic editor, make sure that the Include Variants and Update To Latest Revision options are enabled on the first page of the Update From Library dialog that opens after launching the command.

Example of an updated alternate component from the Workspace library. Shown here is the alternate component before the update. Hover the cursor over the image to see the component after creating a new revision and updating the component using the Update from Libraries command.
Example of an updated alternate component from the Workspace library. Shown here is the alternate component before the update. Hover the cursor over the image to see the component after creating a new revision and updating the component using the Update from Libraries command.

Support for Negation of Power Ports

You can now negate (include a bar over the top of) a Power Port object as can be done for ports, net labels, and sheet entries. Include a backslash character after each character in the Name field in the Power Port mode of the Properties panel (e.g., V\C\C\3\), or include one backslash character at the start of the net name (e.g., \VCC3) if the Single '\' Negation option is enabled on the Schematic – Graphical Editing page of the Preferences dialog to negate a power port.

Special String Identification Labels

To assist in identifying Text String objects that are using special strings, the name of the special string can now be shown on the schematic sheet. When the new Display Name of Special String option is enabled on the Schematic – Graphical Editing page of the Preferences dialog, each special string has its name displayed as a faint superscript.

PCB Design Improvements (22.3)

Enhanced UI for Via Stack Editing

To improve the usability of the Via mode of the Properties panel when editing a via stack in Top-Middle-Bottom or Full Stack mode, the user interface of the panel's Via Stack section has been changed. Basic information about the via stack on different layers of the PCB design is now available for viewing and editing in tabular form. When you click within a layer name cell, the Thermal Relief option becomes available. A custom thermal relief can be set if the Relief option is enabled.

Length Tuning Relative to a Chosen Target xSignal

Tuning and matching the route lengths within a specific tolerance is an essential ingredient for a high-speed design as it ensures that timing-critical signals arrive at their target pins at the same time. In this release, tools for specifying length matching requirements have been enhanced by implementing a feature for selecting an xSignal as a target for a Matched Lengths design rule when an xSignal class (or all xSignals of the design) is used as the rule scope. The previous behavior used the longest xSignal of the xSignal class as a target for length matching.

When an xSignal class is selected as a Matched Length design rule scope, one of its xSignals can be selected as a source target.
When an xSignal class is selected as a Matched Length design rule scope, one of its xSignals can be selected as a source target.

The xSignal selected as a target will be labeled as such in the new Margin column of the xSignals mode of the PCB panel while deviation from this target length is shown in this column for other xSignals of the selected class.

Deviation from the target length is shown in the new Margin column.
Deviation from the target length is shown in the new Margin column.

During interactive length tuning, the Interactive Length Tuning mode of the Properties panel provides the ability to switch between tuning relative to the selected target xSignal (the new behavior) or the longest net in the xSignal class scoped by the rule (the previous behavior).

Select a desired mode for the tuning target during interactive length tuning.
Select a desired mode for the tuning target during interactive length tuning.

Refer to the Defining High Speed Signal Paths with xSignals page to learn more about working with xSignals. Refer to the Length Tuning page to learn more about interactive length tuning.
This feature is in Open Beta. If desired, it can be turned off by disabling the PCB.Rules.RelativeTarget option in the Advanced Settings dialog.

Preventing Modification of PCB Component Primitives

If a PCB component has its primitives locked (the Primitives option in the Component mode of the Properties panel is in its  state), most properties of these primitives can no longer be modified by graphical (e.g., using drag-and-drop) and non-graphical (e.g., using the Properties or List panel) editing methods. This will help to prevent occasional changes of component primitives that can result in incorrect assembly and fabrication outputs.

By way of an example, the Pad mode of the Properties panel is shown in the image below for a pad that is a constituent part of a PCB component that has its primitives locked. Note that all properties of the pad (except for Net and Testpoint properties) are dimmed and not available for editing. Note also that the  icon is shown at the far right of the pad's Component field, which denotes that the parent component has its primitives locked, and pad properties cannot be modified.

The Pad mode of the Properties panel (on the left) for a pad of a PCB component that has its primitives locked (on the right).
The Pad mode of the Properties panel (on the left) for a pad of a PCB component that has its primitives locked (on the right).

This feature is in Open Beta. If desired, it can be turned off by disabling the PCB.Component.LockPrimitives option is enabled in the Advanced Settings dialog.

Print Not Fitted Components

When this feature is enabled, copper shapes and solder masks for not fitted components are displayed in PCB printouts even if their variant(s) is/are set as Not Fitted. 

This feature is in Open Beta. If desired, it can be turned off by disabling the PCB.PrintNotFittedComponents option is enabled in the Advanced Settings dialog.
Data Management Improvements (22.3)

Enhanced Save to Server Dialog

A hint that describes how to link an existing task to the project commit has been added to the Save to Server dialog. The "Add task-id to connect this commit to a task" text is displayed in the Comment field.

As the hint states, add the task ID to the Comment field (as it appears in the Comments and Tasks panel); the task will be linked to the project commit that will be created after clicking OK in the dialog.

The link to the commit will be shown in the task detail pane when the task tile is selected on the Tasks page of the Altium 365 Workspace browser interface or the Tasks view of the project's detailed management page. Click the link to open the project's History view with the related commit highlighted on the timeline.

The link to the connected commit will be shown in the task detail pane. Hover the cursor over the image to see the History page that opens after clicking the link and the related commit highlighted on the timeline.
The link to the connected commit will be shown in the task detail pane. Hover the cursor over the image to see the History page that opens after clicking the link and the related commit highlighted on the timeline.

Circuit Simulation Improvements (22.3)

Improved Performance

The speed of the simulation process has been increased when running analyses. Also, when using the Components panel for browsing large simulation model libraries, the speed to upload the content of such libraries has been improved.

Simulation Model Caching

Simulation models used in a project are cached now in the project, so simulation of such projects can be easily run on different machines.

Features Made Fully Public in Altium Designer 22.3

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

Altium Designer 22.2

Released: 14 February 2022 – Version 22.2.1 (build 43)

Release Notes for Altium Designer Version 22.2

Schematic Capture Improvements (22.2)

Sheet Symbol Indexing Enhancement

Any digit or number may be used as the first or last index of a repeated Sheet Symbol, including 0. Negative numbers are not allowed. The last index must always be larger than the first index.

This feature is in Open Beta. If required, it can be turned on by enabling the Schematic.NewIndexingOfSheetSymbols option in the Advanced Settings dialog.

Component Class Enhancement

Use this new feature to add the new class Component Class Name to set parameters for components within a blanket by means of the Parameter Set mode of the Properties panel.

Associating the Component Class Name to a component (or group of components) will result in sending the information about the component class, its name and members to the PCB as is done currently for Net Classes.

This feature is in Open Beta. If required, it can be turned on by enabling the Schematic.ComponentClassesAndEnhancementParameterSet option is enabled in the Advanced Settings dialog.

Added Graphical Pull Up/Down Resistors Symbol

Added the ability to mark a pin as containing internal pull-up or pull-down resistors. Choose Internal Pull Up/Down from the Inside drop-down in the Symbols region of the Pin mode of the Properties panel.

The new graphical symbol will be displayed next to the pin as sown in the images below. The left image is the new Internal Pull Up graphical symbol; the right image is the new Internal Pull Down  symbol.

This feature is in Open Beta. If required, it can be turned on by enabling the Schematic.InternalPullUpDownResistorsExist option is enabled in the Advanced Settings dialog

Calculate Formulas and Resolve Special Strings in Text Frames and Notes

Many designers use the special string capabilities available in Altium Designer to create complex strings that display important information on the schematic sheets. Special string support has been added to Text Frames and Notes, allowing you to create complex special string definitions as a single, multi-line text object.

Altium Designer supports resolving numerical calculations defined in a Text String, with support for resolving numerical calculations extended to include those defined in schematic Text Frames and Notes.

When this feature originally entered into closed beta (as indicated above), the special string or formula had to be enclosed in curly brackets. With this release, special strings and formulas are now delineated by opening with the "=" character and closing with a space character.

Special strings and formulas can be evaluated inside a Text Frame or a Note by using the
Special strings and formulas can be evaluated inside a Text Frame or a Note by using the "=" character.

This feature is in Open Beta. If required, it can be turned on by enabling the Schematic.CalculateFormulasInTextFrame option is enabled in the Advanced Settings dialog.

Remember the Last Selected Variant for a Project

The last variant that was set prior to closing a project is now remembered and will be the variant presented when the project is reopened. Previously, the base design ([No Variation]) was always presented when the project was reopened.

PCB Design Improvements (22.2)

CounterHoles Improvements

A number of improvements have been applied to the Counterholes functionality that was implemented in previous releases.

  • Counterholes are now grouped in Counterholes Top and Counterholes Bottom layer pairs in the Hole Size Editor mode of the PCB panel and in the Drill Table mode of the Properties panel.

    The Counterholes Top and Counterholes Bottom groups in the Hole Size Editor mode of the PCB panel (the first image) and in the Drill Table mode of the Properties panel (the second image). The Counterholes Top and Counterholes Bottom groups in the Hole Size Editor mode of the PCB panel (the first image) and in the Drill Table mode of the Properties panel (the second image).
    The Counterholes Top and Counterholes Bottom groups in the Hole Size Editor mode of the PCB panel (the first image) and in the Drill Table mode of the Properties panel (the second image).

    Note that counterholes are excluded from other layer pairs of a drill table, including All Layer Pairs (Composite table) and All Layer Pairs (Separate tables).
  • New Counterhole Depth and Counterhole Angle columns are added to the Hole Size Editor mode of the PCB panel and the Drill Table.

    Enabling the Counterhole Depth and Counterhole Angle columns in the Hole Size Editor mode of the PCB panel.
    Enabling the Counterhole Depth and Counterhole Angle columns in the Hole Size Editor mode of the PCB panel.

    Enabling the Counterhole Depth and Counterhole Angle columns for a Drill Table from the Columns dialog.
    Enabling the Counterhole Depth and Counterhole Angle columns for a Drill Table from the Columns dialog.

  • For NC Drill, Gerber, Gerber X2, and ODB++ outputs, files for all top and all bottom counterholes are now generated instead of separate files for each counterhole type.

    Example of Counterholes Top and Counterholes Bottom file options in the Gerber X2 Setup and ODB++ Setup dialogs.
    Example of Counterholes Top and Counterholes Bottom file options in the Gerber X2 Setup and ODB++ Setup dialogs.

  • If the size of the counterhole is larger than or equal to the pad size, the pad shape is removed from the corresponding side of the PCB (since this pad shape will be drilled out when drilling the counterhole).

    Example of a removed pad shape from the top layer.
    Example of a removed pad shape from the top layer.

Access to the Advanced Rigid-Flex Mode

Previous releases include significant improvements to the process of working with Rigid-Flex board designs in Altium Designer. These improvements include new Board Region and Bending Line behaviors when working in Board Planning Mode in the PCB editor, and the introduction of the Board mode in the Layer Stack Manager. This new feature set is referred to as Rigid-Flex 2.0.

In this release, to enable the Rigid-Flex 2.0 functionality for the current PCB design, select the Design » Layer Stack Manager command from the main menus to open the Layer Stack Manager then select Rigid/Flex (Advanced) from the Tools » Features sub-menu or the  button menu.

Enable the Advanced Rigid-Flex mode to configure a Rigid-Flex board; either via the Tools menu or by clicking the features button (hover the cursor over the image to show this).
Enable the Advanced Rigid-Flex mode to configure a Rigid-Flex board; either via the Tools menu or by clicking the features button (hover the cursor over the image to show this).

To enable the Rigid-Flex 1.0 mode, select Rigid/Flex from the same menus.

Note that when trying to disable the Rigid-Flex 2.0 mode or switch to the Rigid-Flex 1.0 mode for a PCB that already uses Rigid-Flex 2.0 features, the warning dialog will open for confirmation.

The Rigid-Flex 2.0 functionality is in Open Beta. Enable the PCB.RigidFlex2.0 and PCB.RigidFlex.SubstackPlanning options in the Advanced Settings dialog to access the functionality.

Added 'Apply to Polygon Pour' Option to Creepage Distance Rule

The Apply to Polygon Pour option has been added to the Creepage Distance design rule. When the option is enabled, the rule tests the creepage distance between scoped polygons and other objects.

The new Apply to Polygon Pour option of the Creepage Distance rule.
The new Apply to Polygon Pour option of the Creepage Distance rule.

If a polygon pour and other objects are scoped by a Creepage Distance design rule with the Apply to Polygon Pour option enabled and a Clearance design rule, both rules are considered and the tightest set of constraints is applied when pouring the polygon. For example, if the Creepage Distance rule has a larger constraint value than the Clearance rule, this larger value will be applied.

Note that for existing Creepage Distance design rules, the option is disabled. For newly-created Creepage Distance design rules, the option will be enabled by default.
Data Management Improvements (22.2)
Added Option to the Comments And Tasks Panel to Export Comments

An option for accessing the Comment Export Configuration dialog has been added to the Comments and Tasks panel. Click the  button at the top-right of the panel then select the Export Comments option from the menu to open the dialog and configure the comment export to a separate document.

Accessing the Comment Export Configuration dialog from the Comments and Tasks panel.
Accessing the Comment Export Configuration dialog from the Comments and Tasks panel.

Draftsman Improvements (22.2)

New Option to Remove Leading Zeros

Dimensioning and Tolerancing, ASME Y14.5, specifies that for values less than 1, leading zeros should be omitted when using inch units (for example, ".5" versus "0.5"). The Remove Leading Zero option has been added to the Document Options mode of the Properties panel that allows you to automatically remove the leading zero for mil and inch values. This option is disabled by default.

The Remove Leading Zero option on the Document Options mode of the Properties panel The Remove Leading Zero option on the Document Options mode of the Properties panel

Additional Default Values for Drill Table

Default values of some additional properties of the Draftsman's Drill Table object can now be defined on the Draftsman - Defaults page of the Preferences dialog. The new settings, including Symbol Size, Symbol Line Style, and Grouping, can be found on the Drill Symbol tab of the page when Drill Table is selected in the Primitive List.

Default settings for some additional options of Draftsman's Drill Table can now be defined on the Drill Symbols tab of the Preferences Draftsman - Default page.
Default settings for some additional options of Draftsman's Drill Table can now be defined on the Drill Symbols tab of the Preferences Draftsman - Default page.

Importer/Exporter Improvements (22.2)

Support for Importing Design Variants from xDxDesigner Projects

The xDxDesigner Importer has been enhanced to allow importing an xDxDesigner project to also import defined variants of that project automatically. To import xDxDesigner project variants, the following steps should be performed:

  1. Using Variant Manager in xDxDesigner, export variants via Report » Delimited Text Document.
  2. Make sure that Unplaced is defined as the Unplaced keyword in the Settings dialog.
  3. Save the variant file as ProjectVariants.txt in the same location as the .prj project file to be imported in Altium Designer.
  4. Run xDxDesigner import from the Import Wizard (File » Import Wizard) and point the xDxDesigner project file (.prj) – design variants will be imported automatically.
Circuit Simulation Improvements (22.2)

Sensitivity Analysis Enhancements

This release brings further improvements to the Sensitivity Analysis tool. Group Deviations of Global parameters as a sensitivity parameter are now supported, and Temperature as a sensitivity parameter is also now supported.

The Global Parameter option has been added to the Sensitivity analysis Group Deviations options; hover the cursor over the image to show where the parameters are defined.

Altium Designer 22.1

Released: 20 January 2022 – Version 22.1.2 (build 22)

Release Notes for Altium Designer Version 22.1

Schematic Capture Improvement (22.1)

Further Enhancements to Sheet Cross-referencing

Adding cross-references to the project allows you to easily follow the connective flow of nets between the schematic sheets in a project. In this release, the support of cross-references has been extended by adding the Jump to commands for Sheet Entry and Off Sheet Connector objects.

When cross-references are enabled for sheet entries on the Options tab of the Project Options dialog, use the Sheet Entry Actions right-click menu of a sheet entry to Jump to the matching port on the child schematic sheet.

Use the Jump to command to jump to the matching port.
Use the Jump to command to jump to the matching port.

For a flat design, when cross-references are enabled for off-sheet connectors in the Project Options dialog, use the Off Sheet Actions right-click menu of an off-sheet connector to Jump to a matching off sheet connector on a related schematic sheet.

Use the Jump to command to jump to a matching off-sheet connector.
Use the Jump to command to jump to a matching off-sheet connector.

PCB Design Improvements (22.1)

Keepout Visibility in Embedded Board Arrays

Keepout objects placed in a PCB design can now be shown in a panelized embedded board array using the PCB as a source. Enable visibility of the Keepout layer on the Layers tab of the Properties panel when an Embedded Board Array is selected in the design space.

The Keepout layer of the source PCB can now be shown in the Embedded Board Array.
The Keepout layer of the source PCB can now be shown in the Embedded Board Array.

Note that this feature only provides a visual representation of the Keepout layer. Currently, copper objects will not respect keepouts from the source PCB when placed on the Embedded Board Array.

Ability to Change PCB Cursor Color

The Cursor Color option has been added to the PCB Editor - General page of the Preferences dialog that allows you to change the color of the crosshair cursor in the PCB editor. This gives you the freedom to customize the color in order to distinguish the cursor from grids, etc. Click the color box associated with the new option to open the Choose Color dialog, then select the desired new color for the cursor.

Enhanced UI for Pad Stack Editing

To improve the usability of the Pad mode of the Properties panel when editing a pad stack in Top-Middle-Bottom or Full Stack mode, the user interface of the panel's Pad Stack section has been changed. Basic information about the pad stack on different layers of the PCB design is now available for viewing and editing in tabular form. When clicking within a layer name cell, additional options become available for this layer: Corner Radius (for Rectangular shape) and Thermal Relief (shows the current parameters of the pad's thermal relief; custom thermal relief can be set if the Relief option is enabled).

The updated Pad Stack section of Pad properties when editing a pad stack in Top-Middle-Bottom (the first image) or Full Stack (the second image) mode with the Top layer options expanded. The updated Pad Stack section of Pad properties when editing a pad stack in Top-Middle-Bottom (the first image) or Full Stack (the second image) mode with the Top layer options expanded.
The updated Pad Stack section of Pad properties when editing a pad stack in Top-Middle-Bottom (the first image) or Full Stack (the second image) mode with the Top layer options expanded.

Data Management Improvements (22.1)

Ability to Control Visibility of Components and Nets Folders in the Projects Panel

Upon validation of a PCB design project, the Components and Nets folders that list the project's components and nets are displayed in the Projects panel. To manage the visibility of these folders, the Show Components and Nets folders option has been added to the Settings pop-up of the Projects panel (appears when the  icon is clicked at the top of the panel) and the General region of the System – Projects Panel page of the Preferences dialog. This option is enabled by default.

The Show Components and Nets folders option in the Projects panel setting pop-up.
The Show Components and Nets folders option in the Projects panel setting pop-up.

The Show Components and Nets folders option on the System – Projects Panel page of the Preferences dialog.
The Show Components and Nets folders option on the System – Projects Panel page of the Preferences dialog.

Comments Panel Renamed

The Comments panel allows you to add comments to a defined area or point in the active document of a Workspace project and assign these comments to Workspace members, essentially creating tasks for them. To reflect that, the panel has been renamed Comments and Tasks. Also, the new Tasks only option in the panel's filter menu allows you to display only the comments with tasks.

Note that the functionality for creating and managing tasks from the Comments and Tasks panel is not supported with the Standard Subscription Plan. As such, with this level of access to Altium 365, this functionality is not available and the panel will be titled Comments.

This functionality is also not available when connected to a Concord Pro Workspace.

Circuit Simulation Improvement (22.1)

Sensitivity Analysis

Sensitivity Analysis provides a way of determining which circuit components or factors have the most influence on the output characteristics of a circuit. With this information, you can reduce the influence of negative characteristics, or alternatively, enhance the circuit performance based on positive characteristics. Sensitivity Analysis calculates sensitivities as numeric values of given measurements related to components/model parameters of circuit components, as well as sensitivity to temperature/global parameters. The result of the analysis is a table of the ranged values of sensitivities for each measurement type.

In this release, a new Sensitivity option has been added to the Analysis Setup & Run region of the Simulation Dashboard. Once it has been enabled, the Sensitivity properties can be configured in the Advanced Analysis Settings dialog, as shown below.

This feature is in Open Beta. If required, it can be turned on by enabling the Simulation.Sensitivity option in the Advanced Settings dialog.
Draftsman Improvement (22.1)

New Via Type View

The Via Type View object has been added to Draftsman documents. The object allows the illustration of a via type according to the IPC-4761 standard, Design Guide for Protection of Printed Board Via Structures. A Via Type View can be placed by choosing Place » Additional Views » Via Type View from the main menus. The view will display in the document. Select the view to access its properties.

Altium Designer 22.0

Released: 29 December 2021 – Version 22.0.2 (build 36)

Release Notes for Altium Designer Version 22.0

Schematic Capture Improvements (22.0)

Cross-Selection for Sheet Entries and PDF Outputs

Adding cross-references to the project allows you to easily follow the connective flow of nets between the schematic sheets in a project. In this release, the support for automatically creating and updating cross-references has been extended for the Sheet Entry objects.

Enable the Automatic Cross References and Sheet Entries options on the Options tab of the Project Options dialog. Sheet Entries will be tagged with sheet and location coordinates of the corresponding port object on the child schematic sheet.

Enable the Automatic Cross References and Sheet Entries options in project options for tagging sheet entries with cross reference values.
Enable the Automatic Cross References and Sheet Entries options in project options for tagging sheet entries with cross reference values.

Cross references are enabled for sheet entries.
Cross references are enabled for sheet entries.

Cross Reference values are also displayed in the Sheet Entry mode of the Properties panel, which simplifies the task of identifying the Cross Reference that is being applied to the selected Sheet Entry.

Cross References can be explored in the Properties panel of the selected sheet entry.
Cross References can be explored in the Properties panel of the selected sheet entry.

Support of cross references has also been extended in schematic PDF outputs. If an object is related to more than one connected object (e.g., a port is connected to a sheet entry on the parent schematic sheets and ports on other sheets), clicking the object in the PDF output will show the list of sheets where the connected objects reside. Select a list item to open the corresponding page.

In the schematic PDF output, multiple connected objects can be easily navigated using the pop-up menu.
In the schematic PDF output, multiple connected objects can be easily navigated using the pop-up menu.

If required, this feature can be turned off by disabling the Schematic.UseAutomaticCrossReferences option in the Advanced Settings dialog.
PCB Design Improvements (22.0)

New 'Gloss And Retrace' Panel and Preferences Page

To give you greater control over the glossing process, a new Gloss And Retrace panel has been introduced for configuring options for the Route » Gloss Selected and Route » Retrace Selected commands. This new panel can be used to set the gloss and retrace parameters that work best for the selected routing that you are currently glossing or retracing in your design.

The panel can be used to control the following Gloss and Retrace Parameters:

  • Avoid polygons – when this option is enabled, existing polygons will be respected when the Gloss Selected or Retrace Selected command is run. If the option is disabled (as it was in previous versions), existing polygons will be ignored, affected polygons can then be repoured.
  • Avoid rooms – when this option is enabled (as it was in previous versions), existing rooms will be respected when the Gloss Selected or Retrace Selected command is run. If a room scoped by specific routing width requirements is defined in the design and the routing to be glossed/retraced does not cross the room, the resulting routing will not cross this room either when the option is enabled. If the option is disabled, existing rooms will be routed across, and the width to be used within such rooms will be that as defined in the constraints of the room-based rule.

For the following two options, you can choose between the Min, Max, or Preferred value of the corresponding rule. Choose Current to leave the existing width or gap unchanged, or type in a new value.

  • Set Width - previously, this was always configured as preferred. You can now use the drop-down to select the width to be applied when the Retrace Selected command is run.
  • Set Diff Pair Gap - previously, this was always configured as preferred. You can use the drop-down to select the differential pair gap setting to be applied when the Retrace Selected command is run.

The Gloss and Retrace settings also can be configured in the new PCB Editor - Gloss And Retrace page of the Preferences dialog. Whenever a change is made in the panel or Preferences dialog, it is reflected in the other. The installation defaults are preset to match earlier versions.

These Gloss and Retrace settings apply to the Gloss Selected or Retrace Selected commands. Glossing behavior during interactive routing or interactive sliding is controlled by the settings in the PCB Editor - Interactive Routing page of the Preferences dialog (which can also be configured while you are working in the Interactive Routing and Interactive Sliding modes of the Properties panel).

IPC-4761 Support 

The IPC-4761 standard, Design Guide for Protection of Printed Board Via Structures, provides information regarding methods for protecting vias on PCBs. You can now select the via type to ensure it is protected according to the IPC standard. Use the new IPC 4761 Via Type drop-down in the Via Types & Features region of the Via mode of the Properties panel or the Via Template Editor to select.

Additionally, when a via that has the via type set to IPC-4761 in its properties is placed in a PCB design, new types of mechanical layers and component layer pairs are automatically added to the design, with corresponding shapes on these layers.

The IPC-4761 via type mechanical layers are automatically added to the design. The Top Tenting layer is shown on the design space by way of example.
The IPC-4761 via type mechanical layers are automatically added to the design. The Top Tenting layer is shown on the design space by way of example.

New layers are available for the following outputs:

  • PCB printouts
  • Gerber and Gerber X2
  • ODB++
  • IPC-2581

The PCB/PCBLIB List panels also now include a column titled IPC 4761 Via Type and you can add columns to a Drill Table object (titled Via Feature and Via Type) that display the IPC 4761 supported via type.

The ODB++ Setup dialog has the new mechanical layers listed under the new IPC-4761 Via Type Features layer group.

The IPC-4761 Via Type Features layer group in the ODB++ Setup dialog.
The IPC-4761 Via Type Features layer group in the ODB++ Setup dialog.

This feature is in Open Beta. If required, it can be turned off by disabling the PCB.IPC4761Support option in the Advanced Settings dialog.

Automatic Update of Designators in Design Rules

Changes made to PCB component designators did not previously update custom, designator-specific design rules. They had to be updated manually. Enabling this new feature changes references in design rules when PCB component designators are: reannotated; updated by an ECO; or manually edited on the board.

This feature is in Open Beta. This feature is disabled by default and can be accessed by enabling the PCB.Rules.UpdateQueryOnComponentDesignatorChange option in the Advanced Settings dialog.

Pad Entry and Exit Enhancements

Because of their small physical dimensions, routing in and out of surface mount devices is often dense and complex. In previous versions of the software, if the SMD rules could not be observed, for example, the required 'distance to corner' was not available; the router would fail to place any track segments (as shown in the video below). To improve the pad entry and exit behavior, the following improvements are available:

  • Once the pad has been exited, the route is kept away from the pad. The software no longer allows the route to re-enter the pad and then re-exit without regard to the SMD rules.
  • SMD rules are ignored if the pad exit is blocked (they are already ignored during pad entry in this situation). Note that if there is a pad exit available that does not violate the SMD to corner rule, that exit will be used.
  • Miters are no longer created in violation of SMD rules. The software favors the SMD to corner rule over the miter, allowing the miter to collapse to zero if required.
  • Stubs that follow the SMD rules are now created in Any Angle routing mode. In this mode, once the first track segment has been placed arcs will be included in the corners. If you need an arc in the first corner, place the exit stub before attempting to create a corner.

This feature is in Open Beta. If required, it can be turned off by disabling the PCB.Routing.EnhancedPadEntry option in the Advanced Settings dialog.

Support for Counterholes

Counterholes in the laminate allow room for screw heads. Countersink and counterbore holes are two types of counterholes that allow for different types of screws. This release introduces the ability to choose counterbore or countersink holes. The key difference between countersink and counterbore screws is the size and shape of the holes; counterbore holes are wider and more square to allow for the addition of washers. Countersink holes create a conical hole matching the angled shape on the underside of a flat-head screw. A countersink is a cone-shaped hole cut into the laminate. It is typically used to allow the tapered head of a screw to sit flush with the top of the laminate. By comparison, a counterbore makes a flat-bottomed hole and its sides are drilled straight down. This is usually used to fit a hex-headed cap or screw. Only one countersink or counterbore hole per pad is allowed.

Use the new options in the Pad mode of the Properties panel to choose the type of counterhole desired. A dashed line appears around the pad in 2D to define the counter hole contour on the active layer as shown in the images below. The positioning of the dashed lines is different for Top Side and Bottom Side as seen in the images. Counterholes are supported in 2D, 3D, and in Draftsman.

The counterholes display as Layers Pairs in the Properties panel modes of the Drill Table mode of the Properties panel and the Hole Size Editor mode of the PCB panel as shown below.

This feature is in Open Beta. If required, it can be turned off by disabling the PCB.CounterHoles option in the Advanced Settings dialog.
Data Management Improvements (22.0)

Added Virtual BOM Item to the Project

A 'virtual' BOM item is added to the project in the Projects panel if there is at least one component in the project. You can open, save or remove the BOM item. The basic flow of BOM generation will not be impacted by the virtual BOM item. Click +Add ActiveBOM in the panel to open the virtual BOM in preview mode. Once the new *.BomDoc has been saved it will become a standard project document. If the virtual BOM is not required, right-click in the Projects panel then select Remove from Project

This feature is in Open Beta. If required, it can be turned off by disabling the BOM.ActiveBOMDesignPreview option in the Advanced Settings dialog.

Show 'Detached' Comments

When a project document is removed or its UniqueID has changed, the comments for the document can become "detached". Those comments can still be accessed from the panel's Detached Comments collapsible region. Click on a detached comment's tile in the panel to show the comment in the design space of the currently opened document. You can restore a comment by selecting it then clicking the mouse.

Added Ability to Override Part Numbers for Ansys EDB Exports

An 'Override Part Number With' option was added to the Ansys EDB Export Options dialog. This new option allows you to specify which parameter should be used as a Local Part Name rather than using 'Comment' by default. Enable the option then use the associated drop-down to select the desired parameter.

The option is available only if the Ansys EDB Exporter extension you have installed is version 1.0.12.180 or later.

Circuit Simulation Improvements (22.0)

Calculate and Review Simulation Measurement Results

A focus for this release is a number of improvements in the ability to analyze simulation measurement results. Along with additional measurement types, a number of new measurement-based features have been added. These include:

  • Additional measurement types - new measurement Types have been added to the list of available measurements.
  • Measurement Statistics - measurement statistics are calculated automatically and displayed in the lower region of the Sim Data panel.
  • Display measurement results in a table - a full table of the measurement results can be displayed in the main SDF window by clicking the Expand the table link. Data in the table can be selected and copied to a spreadsheet.
  • Display Histogram - visualize the distribution of data by generating a histogram directly from the measurement results. Hover the cursor over the image below to display a histogram of the Monte Carlo analysis results.
  • Derive plot from measurements - generate a plot of one variable against another. For example, if a parametric sweep has been performed where two component values have been swept, these can be plotted against each other.
  • Show on Chart - click the button in the Measurements tab of the Sim Data panel. The measurement cursors will display on the chart, highlighting the region of the chart that the measurement has been calculated over.
  • Add new measurement - click the Add button in the Sim Data panel to open the Add Waves to Plot dialog where a new measurement can be defined.
  • Edit existing measurement - click the Edit button to edit the currently selected measurement; no need to return to the Simulation Dashboard panel.

The Show on chart feature displays the measurement cursors where that measurement was calculated. Hover the cursor over the image to show a Histogram of the measurement results.

This feature is in Open Beta. If required, it can be turned off by disabling the Simulation.Measurements option is enabled in the Advanced Settings dialog. 
Draftsman Improvements (22.0)

Added Counter Hole Support

The Counter Hole View object has been added to Draftsman documents. A Counter Hole View can be placed by choosing Place » Additional Views » Counter Hole View from the main menus. The view will display in the document. Select the view to access and view and edit the properties. 

Feature Made Fully Public in Altium Designer 22.0

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

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