Selection & Display Improvements (New Feature Summary)

Created: May 11, 2016 | Updated: August 7, 2018

Altium Designer 17.0 brings new functionality, as well as numerous enhancements, to selection and display of objects within the Schematic and PCB design domains. This includes a new Lasso Selection feature, that enables you to select (and deselect) objects through a defined free-form lasso, and Smart Drag Selection, where selection functionality changes depending on the direction of a dragged rectangular selection area. Collectively, these enhancements allow you to select the design objects you need in quick time, and with minimal effort.

PCB Lasso Select

New to both the PCB Editor and PCB Library Editor, the Lasso selection feature enables you to quickly select design objects as if you were casting, well, a Lasso! Accessed by choosing the Edit » Select » Lasso Select command from the main menus (or using the S, E keyboard sequence to access from the Selection pop-up menu), the feature provides two modes of operation:

  • Free-form - like a true lasso, you can draw a free-hand selection area to incorporate the design objects required.
  • Polyline - providing a polygonal 'lasso', this mode may be preferable to the free-form mode when there is a need to select objects more  precisely. This mode is quite useful on designs that have components rotated at 45 degrees, or when working on flex when the design isn’t always orthogonal.
You could even use a combination of both modes, to get the selection area exactly the way you want it.

Casting a free-form lasso around required design objects - on a PCB document - to select them.
Casting a free-form lasso around required design objects - on a PCB document - to select them.

After launching the command, the cursor will change to a cross-hair, and you will enter lasso selection mode. Selection is made by performing the following sequence of actions:

  1. Click, or press Enter, to anchor the starting point for the lasso.
  2. The current mode is reflected in the Status Bar. Press the Spacebar to change between Free-form and Polyline modes.
  3. In Free-form mode, simply move the cursor to create the outline for the required selection area. Once the shape is as required, click, or press Enter, to have the software complete the shape from the last cursor position, back to the starting point.
  4. In Polyline mode, simply click to anchor a set of vertex points to define the shape of the polygonal selection area. Once the shape is as required, press Enter to have the software complete the shape from the last vertex, back to the starting point.
  5. All objects that fall completely within the boundary of the defined lasso area will be selected, and you will exit lasso selection mode.

You can exit lasso selection mode at any stage by right-clicking, or pressing the Esc key.

If you wish subsequent selection of additional objects to be cumulative, ensure that the Click Clears Selection option is disabled, on the PCB Editor - General page of the Preferences dialog. Alternatively, leave this option enabled and hold the Shift key while using the command again.
Hold the Ctrl key while using the command to target the primitives of a component object.

PCB Lasso Deselect

Complementing the new Lasso selection feature in the PCB domain is the converse Lasso deselection feature. Accessed by choosing the Edit » DeSelect » Lasso Deselect command from the main menus (or using the X, E keyboard sequence to access from the Deselection pop-up menu), the feature behaves functionally the same as its counterpart described previously, but of course deselecting objects falling completely within the boundary of the defined lasso area, instead of selecting them.

Schematic Lasso Select

Lasso selection is also available in the Schematic Editor and Schematic Library Editor, accessed by choosing the Edit » Select » Lasso Select command from the main menus (or using the S, E keyboard sequence to access from the Selection pop-up menu). Unlike in the PCB domain, lasso selection on the schematic is only of the free-form variety (so no polygonal lasso mode).

Casting a free-form lasso around required design objects - on a schematic document - to select them.
Casting a free-form lasso around required design objects - on a schematic document - to select them.

After launching the command, the cursor will change to a cross-hair, and you will enter lasso selection mode. Selection is made by performing the following sequence of actions:

  1. Click, or press Enter, to anchor the starting point for the lasso.
  2. Move the cursor to create the free-form outline for the required selection area.
  3. Once the shape is as required, click, or press Enter, to have the software complete the shape from the last cursor position, back to the starting point.
  4. All objects that fall completely within the boundary of the defined lasso area will be selected, and you will exit lasso selection mode.

You can exit lasso selection mode at any stage by right-clicking, or pressing the Esc key.

If you wish subsequent selection of additional objects to be cumulative, ensure that the Click Clears Selection option is disabled, on the Schematic - Graphical Editing page of the Preferences dialog. Alternatively, leave this option enabled and hold the Shift key while using the command again.

Schematic Lasso Deselect

Complementing the new Lasso selection feature in the Schematic domain is the converse Lasso deselection feature. Accessed by choosing the Edit » DeSelect » Lasso Deselect command from the main menus (or using the X, E keyboard sequence to access from the Deselection pop-up menu), the feature behaves functionally the same as its counterpart described previously, but of course deselecting objects falling completely within the boundary of the defined lasso area, instead of selecting them.

Smart Drag Select

This release sees drag-to-select functionality - directly within the workspace for Schematic, Schematic Library, PCB, and PCB Library Editors - made even smarter. How the feature behaves, and what gets selected, now depends on the direction in which you drag the selection rectangle:

  • Drag the selection window from left-to-right - you will select all objects that fall completely within the bounds of the selection area. This behavior is the same as using the Edit » Select » Inside Area command (on a Schematic, or PCB).
  • Drag the selection window from right-to-left - you'll select all objects that fall completely inside the selection area, or are touched by its boundary. This behavior is the same as using the Edit » Select » Touching Rectangle command (on a Schematic, or PCB).

Coloring is used to visually distinguish which mode of selection is being used. By default, dragging left-to-right uses a blue rectangle, while dragging right-to-left uses a green rectangle.

Smart Drag Selection in action on a schematic.
Smart Drag Selection in action on a schematic.

Smart Drag Selection in action on a PCB.
Smart Drag Selection in action on a PCB.

On the PCB, you can control the selection colors used. Color assignment is performed on the Board Layers And Colors tab of the View Configurations dialog:
  • Left-to-right drag - uses the color assigned to the Area Selection Color system color.
  • Right-to-left drag - uses the color assigned to the Touching Rectangle Selection Color system color.

New Shortcut for Selecting Overlapping Objects

The Edit » Select » Select Overlapped command has had its default shortcut changed. Previously the Tab key, the shortcut to invoke this command is now Shift+Tab.

And while using the Shift key to add additional objects to a current selection, you can use Shift+Tab to cycle through selection of the overlapping objects, without losing your original selection.

Enhancements to the Select Next Command

With an initial object selected in the design, the Edit » Select » Select Next command is used to extend the selection to include the next higher-level object (or objects), based on logical hierarchy. With Altium Designer 17.0, this feature has been enhanced, with the following cyclic logical selection 'flows' now supported:

  • Track Segment ---> All Connected (Contiguous) Track on the Same Layer ---> All Connected Copper ---> All Electrical Objects in the Associated Net
  • Connected Pad ---> All Connected (Contiguous) Track on the Same Layer ---> All Connected Copper ---> All Electrical Objects in the Associated Net
  • Unconnected Pad ---> All Electrical Objects in the Associated Net
  • Via ---> All Connected (Contiguous) Track on Layers Associated with Via ---> All Connected Copper ---> All Electrical Objects in the Associated Net
  • Copper (Region/Polygon Pour/Fill) ---> All Connected Copper ---> All Electrical Objects in the Associated Net
  • Free Pad/Via ---> All Connected (Contiguous) Track on the Same Layer as Pad, or on Layers Associated with Via---> All Connected Copper ---> All Electrical Objects in the Associated Net.

In addition, the feature now caters for selection extension across multiple objects, selected across different nets in the design.

The Select Next feature now supports extending the selection for objects across multiple nets.
The Select Next feature now supports extending the selection for objects across multiple nets.

This feature works very well after having selected multiple connections, or track segments - quickly extending the selected connections/routed track, in readiness for using the ActiveRoute or Glossing tools.

Selection of Connections on the PCB

The ability to select unrouted connections on the PCB is a welcome addition, and facilitates the use of the ActiveRoute tool. Selection can be performed in the following ways:

  • Holding the Alt key while clicking on a connection.
  • Holding Shift while clicking on connections in sequence, to select cumulatively.
  • Holding Alt while dragging a selection rectangle from right-to-left. All connections falling inside or being touched by the selection rectangle will become selected.
ActiveRoute will route selected connections, so if you have multiple connections on a net, you will need to either area select all of them, click on all of them, or use Tab on a selected connection to extend it to the whole net.

Single Layer Mode Routing Enhancement

In previous versions of Altium Designer, while interactively routing in Single Layer mode it was possible to inadvertently select a copper object that did not reside on the current layer. The current layer would then change to that object's associated layer, and routing would commence from that unintentional object, and on the incorrect layer! This would be even more surprising when using Single Layer mode and objects on all other layers were being hidden - so clicking in assumed free space was not so 'free'. In Altium Designer 17.0, this ability to select objects on other layers while interactively routing has been disabled, allowing you to route in truly free space on the current layer, while using Single Layer mode.

 

Found an issue with this document? Highlight the area, then use Ctrl+Enter to report it.

Contact Us

Contact our corporate or local offices directly.

We're sorry to hear the article wasn't helpful to you.
Could you take a moment to tell us why?
200 characters remaining
You are reporting an issue with the following selected text
and/or image within the active document: