Altium Designer Documentation

Board Options

Modified by Phil Loughhead on Jun 16, 2017


The Board Options dialog.

Summary

The Board Options dialog allows the designer to control special drawing features for PCB Sheets.

Access

The Board Options dialog can be accessed in the following ways:

  • From the PCB Editor, select Design » Board Options from the toolbar.
  • Right-click in the PCB Editor and select Options » Board Options from the context menu.
  • Right-click in the PCB Library Editor and choose Library Options from the context menu.
  • Right-click in the PCB Editor and select Options » Sheet from the context menu.

Options/Controls

Measurement Unit

  • Unit - Select the default measurement units for the current PCB document here. Click to select from either metric (mm) or imperial (mil) units. Default units are used to display any distance related information on screen or in reports.

    The default units are always used if a units suffix (mm or mil) is not entered when specifying any distance related information in any dialog editing fields. Many dialogs feature a direct units toggle at the top-left corner (also accessed through CTRL + Q) that will convert between metric and imperial measurement in that dialog.

Designator Display

It can be difficult positioning the designator strings in a multi-channel design, as they can end up being quite long. As well as choosing a naming option that results in a short name, another option is to display just the original, logical component designation instead. For example, C30_CIN1 would display as C30. This would of course necessitate some other notation being added to the board to indicate the separate channels, such as a box being drawn around each channel on the component overlay. Use this field to determine how designators are to be displayed. The following options are available:

  • Display Physical Designators - choose this option to display the physical designators. These are the designators displayed on the compiled tab views of the schematic source documents. For multi-channel designs, designator format is determined by the Designator Format field, on the Multi-Channel tab of the Options for Project dialog. Physical designators are unique, e.g. R1_CH1.
  • Display Logical Designators - choose this option to display the logical designators. These are the designators displayed on the Editor tab views of the schematic source documents. Logical designators are not unique, for example the R1_CH1 physical designator will become simply R1.
If you choose to display the logical designators for components in a multi-channel design, these will be displayed on the PCB and in any output generated such as prints and Gerber's. The unique physical designators, however, are always used when generating a Bill of Materials.

Route Tool Path

  • Layer - use this field to choose the mechanical layer (from all those currently enabled for use in the design) on which to define the route tool path for the board. Controlling the display of this path when viewing the board in 3D is performed using the Show Route Tool Path option, on the Physical Materials tab of the View Configurations dialog (accessed by pressing the L key when in 3D viewing mode).

UniqueID

The current unique identifier for the board. The Unique ID (UID) is a system generated value that uniquely identifies this board. A new UID value can be entered directly into this field.

  • Reset - click this button to have the system generate a new UID for the board.

Sheet Position

This region of the dialog provides controls relating to the PCB Sheet. The PCB Sheet is a special drawing feature used to represent the printed page in 2D Layout Mode. The sheet is not a design object, rather it is a display feature designed to work with objects placed on a mechanical layer (such as dimensions, notes, and title blocks). When you create a new PCB file, a default sheet is automatically created. It is not shown initially, but when enabled appears as the white shape behind the design objects present in the workspace.

  • X - Enter a X (horizontal) coordinate for the bottom left corner of the sheet here. This distance is measured from the absolute origin, which is the bottom left corner of the workspace.

    The distance can be defined in either metric or imperial units regardless of the default units (which are determined by the Measurement Unit setting). To specify the units when entering a size, add the mm or mil suffix to the value.

    The PCB position does not change with sheet position as the PCB position is referenced from the absolute origin. Enable the Origin Marker checkbox to see the absolute origin reference point. This Origin Marker is accessed from the View Options page of the View Configurations dialog (Design » Board Layers & Colors).

  • Y - Enter a Y (vertical) coordinate for the bottom left corner of the sheet here. This distance is measured from the absolute origin, which is the bottom left corner of the workspace.

    The distance can be defined in either metric or imperial units regardless of the default units (which are determined by the Measurement Unit setting). To specify the units when entering a size, add the mm or mil suffix to the value.

    The PCB position does not change with sheet position as the PCB position is referenced from the absolute origin. Enable the Origin Marker checkbox to see the absolute origin reference point. This Origin Marker is accessed from theView Options page of the View Configurations dialog (Design » Board Layers & Colors).

  • Width -  Enter a width for the sheet here. The sheet provides an area that emulates the traditional drawing sheet and is useful for placing information such as dimensions, notes and title blocks on. Information placed on mechanical layers can be linked to the sheet so that they only display when the sheet is being displayed. 
    Sheet size can be defined in either metric or imperial units regardless of the default units (which are determined by the Measurement Unit setting). To specify the units when entering a size, add the mm or mil suffix to the value.
  • Height - Enter a height for the sheet here. The sheet provides an area that emulates the traditional drawing sheet and is useful for placing information such as dimensions, notes and title blocks on. Information placed on mechanical layers can be linked to the sheet so that they only display when the sheet is being displayed. 
    Sheet size can be defined in either metric or imperial units regardless of the default units (which are determined by the Measurement Unit setting). To specify the units when entering a size, add the mm or mil suffix to the value.
  • Display Sheet - Enable to display the sheet. The sheet provides an area that emulates the traditional drawing sheet and is useful for placing information such as dimensions, notes and title blocks on. Information placed on mechanical layers can be linked to the sheet so that they only display when the sheet is being displayed. 
     You can set sheet size using the Width and Height fields and sheet position, relative to the absolute origin, using the X and fields. 
    You can set the sheet related colors and layers linked to the sheet in the Board Layers And Colors page of the View Configurations dialog (Design » Board Layers & Colors).
  • Auto-size to linked layers - Enable this option to automatically size the sheet to linked layers.

Polygon Auto Naming Template

After auto naming has been enabled for each Polygon at the lower level (by using the Polygon Pour dialog, the PCB Inspector panel, or the Polygon Manager), use the Board Options dialog to set the auto naming template. Polygons will then be named according to the selected template.

Select a naming system from the dropdown menu. There are four choices of naming templates:

  • NET NAME_LXX_PXXX
  • LXX_NET NAME_PXXX
  • NET NAME_LAYER NAME_PXXX
  • LAYER NAME_NET NAME_PXXX

where:

  • NET NAME - name of the net that the polygon is connected to. If the polygon is not connected to a net, the name NONET is used.
  • LAYER NAME - user-defined name of that layer, from the Layer Stack Manager.
  • LXX - system assigned copper layer number based on the current order of layers in the Layer Stack Manager, where Top Layer is L01. This value is updated whenever the order of copper layers is changed.
  • PXXX - system-assigned numerical index, unique for each polygon on the board.
Design changes, such as moving a layer in the layer stack, renaming a net or changing the naming scheme will result in the automatic name changing. Affected design rules are automatically updated.

Snap Options

  • Snap To Grids - enable this option to allow the cursor to snap to the default Cartesian grid defined for the board.
  • Snap To Linear Guides - enable this option to allow the cursor to snap to manually placed linear Snap Guides.
  • Snap To Point Guides - enable this option to allow the cursor to snap to manually placed point Snap Guides.
  • Snap To Object Axis - enable this option to allow the cursor to snap to dynamic alignment guides created through proximity to the hotspot(s) of placed objects.
    • Advanced/Simple - use this control to accessed advanced options for this feature.
  • Snap To Object Hotspots - use this option to toggle whether the cursor can snap to the hotspot of placed objects when it is simultaneously close (on both the X and Y axes) to such a hotspot.
    • Range - use this field to define the electrical grid range. This value determines how close you need to get to an electrical object's hot-spot before the cursor will snap to it, even if the object is not on the Snap Grid. In general, you would set the Electrical Grid range to a setting somewhat less than the Snap Grid. For example, if the Snap Grid is set to 50mil, an appropriate Electrical Grid range would be 30mil. Enter a value directly, or choose one of the predefined values available from the field's drop-down.
    • Snap On All Layers - enable this option to allow the cursor to snap to any electrical object on any visible layer. When this option is disabled, the cursor will only recognize and snap to objects placed on the currently selected layer.
When in Single Layer mode, the Electrical Grid will only apply to electrical objects on the current layer.
  • Snap To Board Outline - enable this option to allow the cursor to snap to the board outline. This option can be useful for dimensioning a PCB, particularly when the board corners or vertices are off the Snap Grid.
  • Snap To Arc Centers - enable this option to allow the cursor to snap to the centers of placed arc objects.

Advanced Options - Snap To Object Axis

  • Near Range - use this field to specify the distance the cursor can be from an enabled object, inside which that object's hotspot will cause the cursor to snap to a system-generated dynamic alignment guide.
  • Near Objects - Enable this option, and the required design objects to be used as snap point sources as the cursor is moved near to them.
  • Far Objects - enable this option, and the required design objects to be used as snap point sources when the cursor is further away from an object, beyond the specified Near Range. An enabled object's hotspot will continue to cause the cursor to snap to a system-generated dynamic alignment guide, at this greater distance.

Additional Buttons

  • Grid - click this button to access the Grid Manager dialog, from where to manage the default and user defined snap grids for the board.
  • Guides - click this button to access the Snap Guide Manager dialog, from where a range of manual snap guides and snap points for the board can be defined and managed.

Link To Vault

This version of the dialog can only be accessed from the PCB Library Editor.

  • Target Vault - Choose the vault which the PCB Library will be released to.
  • Target Folder -  Choose the folder in the target Vault where the PCB Library will be released.
  • Lifecycle Definition - Make sure which Lifecycle definition will be used when the PCB Library is released to the Vault.
  • Revision Naming - To determine which naming scheme will be used when the PCB Library is released to the Vault.
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