Additional Enhancements and Improvements (New Feature Summary)

Created: May 11, 2016 | Updated: April 11, 2017

Altium Designer 17.0 includes a number of significant enhancements that include (but are not limited to): more concise mouse wheel configuration settings, easier management of export outputs, streamlined and consolidated menus, and FPGA commands access. The enhancements with this version are described in the following sections.

Mouse Wheel Configuration Settings

Settings for the Mouse Wheel have been combined onto one page in the DXP » Preferences. You can use one Preferences dialog to configure your settings for Draftsman, the schematic, and the PCB Editor. Settings that affect only the schematic are listed in the Action column of the System - Mouse Wheel Configuration page of the Preferences dialog as (Schematic Only), while settings that affect only the PCB Editor are listed as (PCB Editor Only)

Action items that do not specify a specific editor will configure mouse wheel operations in all editors, including Draftsman.

New System - Mouse Wheel Configuration page of the Preferences dialog

Export Outputs in an OutJob

When configuring your export output from the Outputs Editor, you now can specify which type of export you desire directly from the Outputs Editor. Right-clicking on [Add New Export] in the Export Outputs region brings up a menu of available options. As before, once the new type of export is selected, click the available selection (e.g., [PCB Document], [Project], etc.,) from the resulting drop-down. You can configure the output by right-clicking on the new export and clicking Configure to open the Export dialog associated with that particular export type.

Display of Path Cleared when Using Command For xSignal class in PCB Panel

When selecting an xSignal or xSignal class in the PCB panel, the objects (traces, pads, vias) highlight and a path shows the ordering defined for the xSignal. The Clear command in the panel now clears the highlighted path as well as the selection. It is no longer necessary to use the Nets section of the PCB panel to clear the path.

Ignore Locked Primitives Option Added to Confirmation dialog

When a mixed group of traces and vias are selected for deletion, the confirmation dialog that appears now includes the option Ignore locked primitives. This prevents the locked primitives from being deleted once Yes is selected. This new option is checked by default as shown in the following image.

Consolidation of Main Menus 

A number of commands in the main menus have been consolidated and similar items have been grouped together to give you greater ease when building your design. A few examples are outline below.

The Auto Route menu now is called the Route menu and routing commands from the Place menu and Tools menu have been relocated into the Route menu. All Auto Route commands now are grouped into the Auto Route sub-menu of the Route menu.

Annotation and Templates commands in the schematic Tools and Design menus have been reorganized and streamlined. In the Tools menu, all Annotation commands now are listed together and in the Design menu, all Templates commands have been grouped together.


Soldermask Expansion for Board Cutout

Soldermask expansions now are available and visible in 3D view. 

Schematic Symbol Generation Tool Installs Automatically

The Schematic Symbol Generation Tool now installs as a default extension during the installation of Altium Designer. Manual installation of the tool is no longer necessary.

Net Names in PCB Panel

Net names are now fully visible in the PCB panel as shown in the following image with no need to widen the column each time the panel is opened.

Ability to Lock/Unlock components on the PCB Panel

Components now can be locked/unlocked in the PCB panel by clicking on the lock icon (shown in the image below) to unlock (the lock icon will disappear) and by clicking in the blank column to lock (the lock icon will appear in the column after clicking). 

PDF/A Output Support

OutJobs now support PDF/A for use as an Output Container. To use a PDF/A document as an output container, enable PDF/A Compliance from Advanced mode of the PDF Settings dialog. PDF/As are 100% self-contained and do not rely on external sources for information and therefore allow electronic documents to be reproduced exactly using various software. All information necessary to the document is embedded in the file itself, including (but not limited to), text, images, fonts, and color information.

Routing Enhancements

The Swap to Opposite Route Point feature has been added to Multi-Route and Diff Pair Route. This enables you to see if the connections are crossing each other and then decide how to optimize the escape routes so the traces can be routed without having to add extra vias.

Export STEP Enhancements

You can now choose to export the STEP file as a single part or as one model per component by enabling the Export As Single Part option in the Export Options dialog (File » Export » STEP 3D then click Save in the resulting Export File dialog). When this new option is enabled, the STEP file will be saved as a part and not as an assembly.

The Export As Single Part option of the Export

Options dialog.
The Export As Single Part option of the Export

If a component contains several 3D bodies, they now are saved as one part during the STEP file export. In this case, there are no other options and therefore, the Export As Single Part option on the Export Options dialog will not be accessible.

Flex sections that include board cutouts no longer remain unfolded and are displayed fully flat.

Additional Special String

An additional special string is now available for use in the Schematic and PCB editing domains. This shows the current revision number of the Project, which is incremented whenever a full commit of the project (i.e. including the project file) is performed.

  • Schematic - from the Annotation dialog, simply choose the =VersionControl_ProjFolderRevNumber entry from the drop-down listing associated to the Text field.
  • PCB - from the String dialog, simply start typing .(dot), then select the .VersionControl_PrjFolderRevNumber entry from the drop-down listing associated to the main text entry field.

Availability of the special string for the project version number from the schematic (left) and PCB (right).Availability of the special string for the project version number from the schematic (left) and PCB (right).

FPGA commands and technologies are now available only if the FPGA extension is installed. 

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