Altium Designer Documentation

NFS_AD17_0_AV3_0New Document Defaults from Vault and Enhanced Preferences Release_AD

Created: October 27, 2016 | Updated: December 14, 2017

Altium Designer 17, in conjunction with the Altium Vault (3.0 or later) offers the ability to apply Vault-based document files to Altium Designer’s New Document Default preferences, and in turn, Preferences file can be released to the Vault and reloaded at will.

In addition, the Vault based Preferences can be added to an Environment Configuration, which will assign those preferences to Altium Designer User groups (Roles) to constrain their design environment to the specified Preference settings.

To define the default files used for all new Altium Designer documents, documents links are added to the System – New Document Defaults page of the Preferences dialog (DXP » Preferences).  The saved Preferences, and the defined default documents, will be applied whenever new design documents are created.

Add a New Default Document

In Altium Designer, the documents applied to the default Preferences entries can be sourced from a local or network-based folder, or as version controlled and lifecycle managed Binary type Item revisions from the Altium Vault.

Within the Preferences dialog, individual document files are added to the File Templates list in the New Document Defaults page by selecting a document kind (type), and then the browse icon () at the right of the document field. Selecting the From Vault option will open the Choose item dialog, where an existing Binary file revision can be selected, or the target Binary Item for a new document created.

Create target Item

To add a Schematic document for example, select a suitable Vault folder (or create one) in the Choose item revision for template dialog, and then create a new Binary type Item using the Add an Item link, or the right-click menu, in the Item area. When Binary File Items already exist, use the right-click Create Item » Binary File command.

Add a new Binary File target that will host an uploaded Schematic document.
Add a new Binary File target that will host an uploaded Schematic document.

When creating a new Item, the Revision Naming Scheme and Lifecycle Definition for the selected Content Type (here, Binary File) are set to defaults that should suit most situations.  A range of alternative Schemes/Definitions are available from the drop down menus for each field, and full access to the Schemes and Definitions is available through their buttons.

Upload File

Add relevant Comment and/or Description entries before closing the Create Item dialog. The new Binary File Item, in a Planned state, will be added to the Vault. To add the desired document to the new Item revision, select the Upload option from its right-click context menu to open the Release File dialog.

Add or drag and drop a file, or even multiple files, into the Release File dialog for uploading to the selected Binary File revision.
Add or drag and drop a file, or even multiple files, into the Release File dialog for uploading to the selected Binary File revision.

Use the  button to browse for and select the file to upload (in this example case, a Schematic document), or simply drag and drop a local file onto the dialog's Sources area. Dismiss the dialog (OK) to upload (release) the selected file to the target revision, which will changed to a Released state – you may need to refresh the Choose Item revision dialog to see that change.

Close the dialog (OK) to register the Binary File document as the new default Schematic document in Altium Designer's Preferences dialog – note that the new default is shown as a path to the Vault Item. Close the Preferences dialog to save the new default document entry.

A new Schematic Binary File Item, created through the Preferences dialog as a default document, is added as a link to the New documents default entry.
A new Schematic Binary File Item, created through the Preferences dialog as a default document, is added as a link to the New documents default entry.

The new Schematic document released to the Vault Binary File revision will be used as the default document for new Schematics in Altium Designer, as now defined in the Preferences.

A new schematic document will adopt the default document applied in the Preferences – here with added text for demonstration purposes.
A new schematic document will adopt the default document applied in the Preferences – here with added text for demonstration purposes.

An Altium Designer user must be signed in to the Vault to access the vault-based New Documents Defaults documents, which must also be shared with a compatible user Role. However, note that if an equivalent Template document (in this case a Schematic Template) is available in the Vault, this will overrule the defined New Document Default document.

See Automatic Schematic Template reuse for more information.

The released Schematic document is also accessible through the Vaults panel.

The Details option in the Vaults dialog will list the file included in the Binary File Item Revision.
The Details option in the Vaults dialog will list the file included in the Binary File Item Revision.

...read more about Binary File storage in an Altium Vault

Add multiple Documents to the Vault

As an alternative to creating Vault Binary Items and uploading documents via the New Document Defaults page of the Preferences dialog, the Vaults panel can be used to perform those actions in advance. Once a set of default documents (of multiple types) have been released to the vault, the New Document Defaults preferences page in Altium Designer can be used to simply choose the appropriate Item revisions from the Vault.

To release a series of local documents to the vault – say, Schematic, PCB, OutJob, and Draftsman documents – use the Vaults panel to create a sequence of Binary File Items, and upload the files.

Create a target Item by right clicking in the Item space and selecting Create Item » Other Item Type, and then choose the Binary File option in the Content Type menu. Add a Description/Comment and upload a suitable document file, in the same way as outlined above.

When adding a Binary File Item directly in the Vaults panel, the Item type is not assumed and must be nominated accordingly.
When adding a Binary File Item directly in the Vaults panel, the Item type is not assumed and must be nominated accordingly.

The assembled collection of default documents stored in the Vault are then available for addition to Altium Designer's New Default Documents settings, when and where they are needed.

A collection of default document types can been uploaded to the Vault, then linked as New Doument Defaults in Altium Designer's Preferences at a later time.
A collection of default document types can been uploaded to the Vault, then linked as New Doument Defaults in Altium Designer's Preferences at a later time.

Managed Preferences

The New Document Defaults page of the Preferences dialog allows file or Vault sourced files to be loaded for all types of Altium Designer documents.  The current Preferences can be saved and loaded at will, and importantly, released to the Altium Vault as Managed Preferences for reuse by others. The range of preference settings (beyond the New Document Defaults) that are included when the Preferences released to the Vault depends on the options selected during the release process.

Preferences released to the Vault are version controlled and lifecycle managed by the Vault infrastructure, and can be manually loaded in to Altium Designer or automatically applied through the Vault’s Environment Configuration service.

Release Preferences to the Vault

The current Altium Designer Preferences, including the New Document Defaults settings, can be released to a target Item in the Vault via the Release To Vault option in the Preferences dialog’s Save drop down menu. Select the Choose option in the following Link Preferences to Vault Item dialog to navigate to and select an Altium Designer Preferences target Item in the Vault.

In the subsequent Choose Item dialog, select an existing preferences Item as the target, or use the Add an Item link or the right-click context menu to create a new Altium Designer Preferences Item as the target – the release must target an Item in its initial Planned state. When the dialog is closed (OK), the selected Item will then populate the Link Preferences to Vault Item dialog.

The Preferences to be released are initially linked to a suitable target Item in the Vault.
The Preferences to be released are initially linked to a suitable target Item in the Vault.

The way in which the range of Altium Designer Preferences are released to the Vault Item is managed through the following Release preferences dialog, which offers three applicable modes for how preferences option groups (pages in the Preferences dialog) will be applied to Altium Designer when a User signs in to the Vault:

  • Apply and Lock – The Preferences group will be loaded in Altium Designer as read only (un-editable) options.
  • Apply First Time – The Preferences group will be loaded in Altium Designer as initial settings, which can be edited by the User – the Preferences will not be reloaded when the User next signs in.
  • Do Not Apply – The Preferences group will not be loaded in Altium Designer, allowing the existing settings to remain.

The preferences modes can be set for individual option groups (pages) or entire preferences sections (for example, the PCB Editor section). The Apply options will set all preference groups to a nominated mode.

The Mode in which each group of Preferences is released will determine their accessibility when the Managed Preferences are used.
The Mode in which each group of Preferences is released will determine their accessibility when the Managed Preferences are used.

The released Preferences are subsequently available, as an Item revision in a Released state, in the Altium Vault as reusable Managed Preferences.

Apply Managed Preferences

To load a Managed Preferences revision from the Vault to Altium Designer, select the Load From Vault option from the Load drop down menu in the Preferences dialog, and then choose the desired Preferences Revision in the Vault Choose Item dialog.

Add to an Environment Configuration

In a suitably licensed Altium Vault, the Vault-based Team Configuration Center allows Managed Preferences to be included as part of an Environment Configuration profile, which when applied to Altium Designer on a User Role basis, will constrain Altium Designer’s environment to those Preferences.

Applied Managed Preferences that include New Document Defaults for example, will automatically load those preference options when an Altium Designer User signs in to the Vault as a member of the assigned Configuration Role. Ultimately, the User’s New Document Defaults are centrally determined by an Administrator of the Altium Vault, through an Environment Configuration defined in the Team Configuration Center.

To add a Managed Preferences revision to an Environment Configuration, first open the Vault browser interface and navigate to the Team Configuration Center page (ADMIN » CONFIGURATIONS). Select a Configuration Name to edit that profile, or use the  button to create a new Configuration.

The Vault's Team Configuration Center allows the definition of Environment Configurations that can be 'loaded' with Altium Designer configuration Items, such as Managed Preferences.
The Vault's Team Configuration Center allows the definition of Environment Configurations that can be 'loaded' with Altium Designer configuration Items, such as Managed Preferences.

Item Sharing

A Managed Preferences Item will only be available to a User if it is specifically shared with them, or shared with a Role that includes that User.

To edit the sharing permissions for a Managed Preferences Item, right click on its entry (in the VAULTS tab) and select the Share option. Use the Add Users or Add Roles links for individual or group User sharing access, respectively.

...more information about Item Sharing.

In the selected Environment Configuration page (see above), configuration Items are added to the available categories through their associated button, which for the Preferences category will open a Vault Explorer dialog for choosing a suitable Managed Preferences revision. Navigate to and select the desired Preferences revision by activating its checkbox.

The selected Preferences revision will be added to the Configuration. You can view its included Preferences options groups by selecting the Show details info link, and delete the entry with the Remove link. Finally, save the Configuration to confirm new new addition.

Added Items, such as a Managed Preferences revision, will be applied to Altium Designer Users who are members of the nominated Roles.
Added Items, such as a Managed Preferences revision, will be applied to Altium Designer Users who are members of the nominated Roles.

The Configuration page will offer a warning if the added Preferences Item is not Shared with the Roles nominated in the current configuration. In that case the Sharing settings should be edited, as outlined above.

Load from an Environment Configuration

When an Altium Designer User, who is a member of a Role assigned to the Environment Configuration, signs in to the Vault, the Managed Preferences will be loaded in to Altium Designer.

Altium Designer’s existing Preferences settings will be replaced by those enabled in the Managed Preferences, as determined by the Preferences release options – those that were set Apply First Time or the read-only Apply and Lock option. Preferences that were set to Do Not Apply during release are unaltered in Altium Designer when the Configuration is loaded.

If Preference options were set to Apply First Time when the preferences were originally released to the Vault, they will only be applied once when those Managed Preferences are subsequently loaded in Altium Designer by the Vault Configuration Manager. When the signed in User then changes those preference options, they will not be overwritten the next time the user signs in to the Vault.

When Altium Designer’s Preferences are currently defined by Managed Preferences loaded through an Environment Configuration, the Preferences dialog (DXP » Preferences) will indicate this with a configuration icon () and a reference to the loaded Configuration Name. Note that the Preferences management menus (at the bottom of the dialog) are disabled, with the exception of the Save commands.

Preferences that have been loaded from an applied Environment Configuration are indicated by a Configuration Name and Icon in the Preferences dialog.
Preferences that have been loaded from an applied Environment Configuration are indicated by a Configuration Name and Icon in the Preferences dialog.

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