Altium Designer Documentation

New in Altium Designer

Modified by Jason Howie on May 7, 2019

Altium Designer 19.0

Released: 17 December 2018 – Version: 19.0.10 (build 269)
Released: 5 February 2019 – Version: 19.0.12 (build 326)

Released: 5 March 2019 – Version: 19.0.14 (build 431)
Released: 18 April 2019 – Version: 19.0.15 (build 446)

Release Notes for Altium Designer Version 19.0

This latest update to Altium Designer continues to deliver new features and enhancements to the software's core technologies, while also addressing many issues raised by customers through the AltiumLive Community's BugCrunch system. Along with delivering a range of new features that develop and mature the existing technologies, it also incorporates a large number of fixes and enhancements across the software as a whole, helping designers continue to create cutting-edge electronics technology.

To access a set of videos showing the new features in action, click here.
It is not possible to update to Altium Designer 19.0 from an earlier version; a new installation is required. You have the choice to continue with your current version, or to install Altium Designer 19.0 to access the latest features. Alternatively, you can have both installed side-by-side and use the version that best suits your needs.

Feature Summaries

Advanced Layer Stack Management

Defining the layer stack for a multi-layer high-speed PCB is an art in itself, juggling layer order, materials, thicknesses, and via configurations, to achieve the impedances required to fulfill the design requirements.

Appreciating this, the Layer Stack Manager has been completely re-designed to support all aspects of layer stack configuration:

  • Define the stackup - configure layer details manually with detailed, user-definable layer property information, or select materials directly from the extendable Materials Library.
  • Configure the impedances - define the single-sided and differential impedance requirements for each layer, define and use impedance profiles, use the forward and reverse calculator to explore what-if scenarios as values are adjusted.
  • Configure the via types - visually define the via spans allowed in the layer stack, then reference those via spans by name in the design.
  • Configure the back drilling requirements - visually define the required back drills, these are automatically in accordance with the applicable Stub Length design rule.
  • Comprehensive editing type functionality - configure the column visibility and order, enforce materials library compliance and stack symmetry, explore what-if scenarios with full Undo and Redo, and examine the completed stackup with the built-in visualizer.

Enhanced Interactive Routing Tools

  • Routing-friendly Move Component - move a component and its fanouts, connected routes are automatically recreated when the move is complete. 
  • Glossing Pushed Routes - pushed routes are automatically glossed to ensure no acute angles are created.
  • Follow Mode during interactive routing - click an existing contour and the interactive route path follows the shape. Works for single-sided and differential pairs.
  • Other Routing Improvements:
    • Gloss Selected - better able to resolve glossing of multiple routes, including differential pairs.
    • Zipping up of differential pairs, reducing un-paired distance.
    • Junction smoothing - prevents Z corners.
    • Loop removal on-off toggle.
    • Via spanning diagram displayed during interactive routing layer changes (Properties panel).

Support for µVias

Already common inside components using flip-chip and chip-scale packaging, microvias (µVias) are becoming more popular in high-density board design. 

 

With their exceptionally small feature sizes, µVias offer higher design density and can help reduce potential signal integrity issues.

 

µVias are defined in the new, visual, Layer Stack Manager, as either adjacent or Skip µVias. Like traditional vias, µVias are automatically used during interactive routing, based on the layer change and the applicable design rules.

 

During a layer change the current µVia (or µVia stack) is detailed on the Status bar, press the 6 shortcut to cycle available µVias/vias. Stacked µVias are placed when the layer change is across multiple layers.

 

Object-Level Pad & Via Thermal Connections

Rules-driven design is ideal for controlling the overall specifications of the design. However, rules become cumbersome when handling localized requirements, such as configuring the polygon thermal connections for specific pads and vias.

 

This release sees the introduction of pad & via-level thermal relief specification. Use Altium Designer's powerful Properties panel to edit the Thermal Relief settings for one or many pads / vias, in a single edit action.

 

Structural Electronics Design - Printed Electronics

An exciting evolution in the design and development of electronic products is the ability to print the electronic circuit directly onto a substrate, such as a plastic molding that becomes a part of the product.

 

This release sees the beginning of support for designing printed electronics; including definition of the stack of conductive and non-conductive layers, and interactive or automatic definition of the dielectric patches.

 

Draftsman Enhancements

Along with performance improvements and user interface refinements, Draftsman offers a range of new features that add to the information and data included in board production documents .

  • Board Realistic View – place rendered 3D board views in production documents.
  • Board Layers in Fabrication and Assembly views – add mechanical and/or signal layer overlays on board Assembly and Fabrication views.
  • Board Region View – place a view that indicates a board design’s different layer stack regions, as represented in the PCB editor’s Board Planning Mode view.
  • Center Mark – add configurable Center Mark indicator objects to Circle and Arc objects.
  • Format Painter – use the format of an existing Text object to define the format of multiple text objects.
  • Transmission Line Structure Table – include routing impedance calculations and data from the PCB Layer Stack into a configurable Draftsman table.
  • Move Callout and Dimension target – drag and drop the starting point/node of a Linear Dimension or Callout to a new binding location.
  • Solder and Glue joint Symbols – add GOST defined symbols for glued and soldered mechanical joints to drawings.
  • Special Strings in Table cells – special/smart string parameters included in Table cells will be processed to display their corresponding Value.

Components panel

Developed as an advanced replacement for the existing Libraries panel, the new Components panel provides direct access to all available components, including Managed Components hosted on a connected managed content server. The panel features all related data for a selected component, including models, parameters, datasheets, and for Managed Components, its Part Choices and Where User data.

 

For server-based Managed Components, the Components panel also includes the new parametric search capability applied in the Manufacturer Part Search panel. Based on contextual dynamic filters, the panel’s search capability allows you to quickly locate the exact part you need from your company's component resources.

 

New Part Search panel

With this release, the process of researching, selecting and sourcing the right parts for a PCB design can now be achieved in a single, multifunction Manufacturer Part Search panel. The new panel replaces the Part Search panel, and combines the data resources of the Altium Parts Provider extension and the Altium Content Vault to offer the most suitable component parts through its new parametric search engine.

 

The Manufacturer Part Search panel provides a rich set of data for listed component parts, which includes manufacturer parameters, associated models, datasheets, price/availability summaries and part supplier links. To make finding the exact part you need easier, the panel’s search engine offers an adaptive range of parameter filters (including unit-aware parameter value specifiers) and a graded listing based on factors such as stock levels, model availability and price.

 

 

ActiveBOM Becomes Manufacturer-Centric

This release of Altium Designer sees ActiveBOM complete the transition from supplier-centric component selection features, to manufacturer-centric component selection. Using the Manufacturer Part Number (MPN) as the core component reference ensures full access to the real-time supply chain information delivered by the cloud-based Altium Parts Provider, including supplier stock levels, price, and lifecycle status.

 

Search for parts in the new Manufacturer Part Search panel, or create and edit Manufacturer Links via the new Add Part Choice dialog. Both of these interfaces share a similar interface; with navigation by Category, parametric filtering, and a powerful faceted Search engine.

 

This release of ActiveBOM also supports:

  • Change a component in the BOM, and push that change back to the project via an ECO.
  • Rank the Part Choices, these rankings are then used for the solutions in the BomDoc.
  • Perform BOM Check validations from the OutputJob.
  • Tight integration to the new BOM Report Manager.

New BOM Report Manager

Being easier to use and having a more configurable interface, the new BOM Report Manager simplifies the BOM generation process. The new Report Manager partners well with ActiveBOM, having similar interface controls and layout.

 

The Report Manager:

  • Supports BOM Sets defined in the BomDoc, use this feature to quickly switch between different BOM layouts.
  • Generate Excel-format output files without requiring Microsoft Excel® to be installed.

 

Faster & More Accurate Multi-board Design

This release sees the introduction of MCAD-like editing functionality to the Multi-board Assembly editor, built on the powerful, new 3D graphics engine.

This includes support for:

  • Rigid-flex PCB designs, presented in their final fold-state
  • Ability to Mate objects, with:
    • Object Mating based on two chosen surface locations
    • Manipulation of Mates as a single object
    • Separating Mates by a specific distance, in X, Y or Z directions
  • Enhanced, fast and accurate Section View
  • Substantially faster collision checking
  • Export to STEP and Parasolid

These new Multi-board features are delivered by a new 3D engine. This requires an update to the Multi-board file format, so existing Multi-board designs must re-import the child PCB assemblies (Design » Import Changes).

 

Other New Features and Enhancements

  • Unlimited PCB mechanical layers - add any number of mechanical layers, define the Layer Number, and set the Layer Type.
  • New Sign In menu – sign in to your Altium Account and an available Altium managed content server from one location.

  • New Open Project dialog – search, browse and open Managed or unmanaged Projects through a single dialog.

  • Improved management of Component Types – the list of available server Component Types is now managed through the software Preferences.

  • Ability to export your PCB layout to an ANSYS EDB file, for use with the ANSYS Electronics Desktop - courtesy of the new ANSYS EDB Exporter extension.

  • ...plus more.

 

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