Altium Designer Documentation

Exporting a Design to PADS Logic from Altium Designer

Created: February 27, 2016 | Updated: November 20, 2017
Now reading version 16.0. For the latest, read: Exporting a Design to PADS Logic for version 23
Applies to Altium Designer versions: 16.0, 16.1, 17.0 and 17.1

Altium Designer includes a software extension for exporting design project schematics to a PADS® Logic 5.0 format. The PADS Logic Exporter extension creates outputs compatible with PADS Logic 5.0 using a text file format, which should also be supported by future versions of PADS.

Altium Designer also offers a PADS Logic Importer. The Importer is included with Altium Designer by default, but is not necessarily enabled. To enable the importer, go to DXP » My Account » Extensions & Updates and click Configure in the top right corner. Under Importers\Exporters area, select PADS option and click Apply.


The PADS Logic Export extension is included in the Altium Designer installation, and can be found under the Extensions & Updates section of the Admin page. Though the extension is included by default, the extension will still need to be installed.

To do so, first select DXP » My Account » Extensions & Updates and choose the Purchased tab. Under the Software Extensions section, scroll through the extensions list or use the Search bar to locate the PADS Logic Exporter extension. Click the icon in the top right corner of the extension's box to install the PADS Logic Exporter. For the exporter to become accessible, Altium Designer must be restarted after installing the extension.

Make a schematic the active document to enable access to the extension, which can be found under File » Export » PADS Logic 5.0 on the main menu. The command will open a file browser for setting the save location (and/or file name) for the exported PADS file, and will be followed by an Export settings dialog for choosing between exporting the whole project (all sheets) or just the selected (active) sheet.

The Export settings dialog.
The Export settings dialog.

Another dialog will follow to confirm a successful export – the exported file is then available in the nominated save location.

The exporter may also produce a corresponding log file ([project_name].log) if schematic export errors are encountered. Note that a Warning! xxx not connected! log entry (where xxx is a component/pin name) indicates that the component pin is connected directly to another component pin or net, rather than connected via an intervening Wire object.

Export restrictions

  • The extension does not support Harness export because PADS does not have a compatible entity.
  • Multi-level hierarchies are not supported because PADS only allows one level.
  • All exported Pins will have the same length regardless of source data. Pins have a parameterized length in Altium Designer, while PADS pins are standalone objects whose lengths are defined as graphics coordinates.
  • As PADS does not support junction points over Buses, a T connection for two Buses is not compatible. Only single Nets are supported.
  • Repeat modifiers in sheet Symbols are not supported because PADS does not have a compatible entity.
  • Ports set directly to Buses are not compatible, however Ports set to corresponding Nets will be exported.
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