Altium Designer Documentation

Component

Modified by Phil Loughhead on Jun 16, 2017
This documentation page references Altium Vault, which is no longer a supported product. Altium Vault and its component management features have migrated to Altium Concord Pro.


The Component dialog.

Summary

The Component dialog allows a designer to edit the properties of selected component.

Access

From the PCB editor, the dialog can be accessed in the following ways:

  • Prior to entering placement mode, from the PCB Editor - Defaults page of the Preferences dialog (DXP » Preferences). This allows you to change the default properties for the object, which will be applied when placing subsequent Objects.
  • During component placement, press the Tab key.
  • Double-click on an object footprint.
  • Right-click an object and selecting the Properties item from the context menu.
  • Run command Edit » Change, then click on an existing object.

Options/Controls

Component Properties

  • Layer - Sets the layer that the component is placed on. Components can be assigned to the Top layer or Bottom layer; click to select a different layer. Changing the layer status swaps all of the component primitives to each layer's respective opposite layer. For example, moving a Top layer component to the Bottom layer means: single layer pages are swapped from the Top to the Bottom layer; primitives on the Top Overlay are reassigned to the Bottom Overlay; and primitives on a paired mechanical layer are swapped to the other mechanical layer in that pair. The orientation of the component will be flipped along the X-axis and the component overlay text will read from the bottom. To flip a component during placement, press the L key while the component is floating on the cursor.
  • Rotation - The component's angle of rotation (in degrees), measured anti-clockwise from zero (the 3 o'clock horizontal). Edit to change the rotation of the component. Minimum angular resolution is 0.001°.
  • X-Location - The current X (horizontal) coordinate of the reference point of the component, relative to the current workspace origin. Edit to change the X position of the component. The value can be entered in either metric or imperial, include the units when entering a value whose units are not the current default. The current units used in the dialog can be toggled by pressing the Ctrl+Q shortcut. The reference point for a component footprint is set in the Library Editor.
  • Y-Location - The current Y (vertical) coordinate of the reference point of the component, relative to the current origin. Edit to change the Y position of the component. The value can be entered in either metric or imperial, include the units when entering a value whose units are not the current default. The current units used in the dialog can be toggled by pressing the Ctrl+Q shortcut. The reference point for a component footprint is set in the Library Editor.
  • Type - Select one of the following component types for the component footprint here. The available types are:
    • Standard - These components possess standard electrical properties, are always synchronized between the schematic and PCB (the footprint, pins/pads and net assignments must all match), and are included in the BOM. An example is a standard electrical component, such as a resistor.
    • Mechanical - These components do not have electrical properties, are not synchronized (you must manually place them in both editors), and are included in the BOM. An example is a heatsink.
    • Graphical - These components do not have electrical properties, are not synchronized (you must manually place them in both editors), and are not included in the BOM. An example is a company logo.
    • Net Tie (in BOM) - These components are used to short two or more different nets together, they are always synchronized between the schematic and PCB (the footprint, pins/pads and net assignments must all match), and are included in the BOM. They differ from a Standard component in that connectivity created by copper within the footprint is not checked - it is this copper that allows the nets to be shorted. Note: enable the Verify Shorting Copper option in the Design Rule Check dialog to verify that there is no unconnected copper within the component.
    • Net Tie - These components are used to short two or more different nets together, they are always synchronized between the schematic and PCB (the footprint, pins/pads and net assignments must all match), and are not included in the BOM. They differ from a Standard component in that connectivity created by copper within the footprint is not checked - it is this copper that allows the nets to be shorted. Note: enable the Verify Shorting Copper option in the Design Rule Check dialog to verify that there is no unconnected copper in the component.
    • Standard (No BOM) - These components possess standard electrical properties, are always synchronized between the schematic and PCB (the footprint, pins/pads and net assignments must all match), and are not included in the BOM. An example is a testpoint component, that you wish to exclude from the BOM.
    • Jumper - These components are used to include wire links in a PCB design, for example on a single-sided PCB that cannot be fully routed on one layer. For this component type the component footprint and pins are synchronized between the schematic and PCB but the net assignments are not, and the component is included in the BOM. As well as selecting this option at the component level, both of the pads in the component must have their JumperID set to the same non-zero value. Jumper type components do not need to be wired on the schematic, they only need to be included on the schematic if they are required in the BOM. If they are not required in the BOM they can be placed directly in the PCB, where the Component Type is set, the JumperIDs are set, and the Nets manually assigned for the pads. 
  • Height - A height field for the component, this field was used before the introduction of the 3D Body object, which provides a superior method of defining the component height.
  • Lock Primitives - Enable this option to lock all the primitives of the component, so that it can be treated as a single object (default is on). Clear this checkbox to modify the individual primitives that make up the component. After editing, the component primitives should be re-locked. Note: component pad properties can be modified without unlocking the primitives by double-clicking directly on the pad.
  • Lock Strings - Enable this option to lock the designator and comment strings of the component. When this option is enabled the designator and comment cannot be interactively moved or edited (default is off).
  • Locked - Enable this option to lock the component in the PCB editor workspace. A locked component cannot be single-click selected or graphically edited. To interactively select and edit that specific object, double click directly on the locked object and disable the Locked property.
  • Hide Jumpers - When a component is configured as a jumper (has a Type of Jumper, and pads with a non-zero, matching JumperID), a curved line is drawn between the pads to represent the jumper wire. Enable this checkbox to hide the curved jumper line.

Designator/Comment

  • Text - Designator (Comment) of this component, an alphanumeric string of up to 255 characters. Each component must have a unique Designator string.
  • Height - The current height of the Designator (Comment) characters. The character width (not the stroke width) is automatically proportioned to the height. A typical minimum height of 36mil (0.9mm) will allow the string to be legibly photoplotted, check with your fabricator before using a smaller size. The text height can range between 0.01 to 10000mil, the value can be defined in either metric or imperial units (include the units if entering a dimension that is not in the current board units).
  • Width - Stroke width, or thickness, of the Designator (Comment) text. The width can range between 0.001 to 255mil, and the value can be defined in either metric or imperial units (include the units if entering a dimension that is not in the current board units).
  • Layer - Layer that the Designator (Comment) is displayed on, the text can be assigned to any available layer.
  • Rotation - The current text rotation angle in degrees, measured anti-clockwise from the zero-degree point of the first quadrant (the 3 o'clock, horizontal right position). Text rotation can be set independently of the component rotation. Minimum angular resolution is 0.001°.
  • X-Location - X coordinate of the text relative to the current workspace origin, the reference point is the bottom left corner of the string.
  • Y-Location - Y coordinate of the text relative to the current workspace origin, the reference point is the bottom left corner of the string.
  • Autoposition - Automatically locate the text in the selected location, if the component is rotated the text will remain in this position.
  • Hide - Hide the text string.
  • Mirror - Mirror the text string.

To toggle the units of measurement used in the open dialog between metric (mm) and imperial (mil), press the Ctrl+Q shortcut. This affects the dialog only and does not change the actual measurement unit currently employed for the board.

Swapping Options

  • Enable Pin Swaps - Check this option to allow the Pin Swap function (eg. GPIO of FPGA).
  • Enable Part Swaps - Check this option to allow the Part Swap function (eg. 4 parts of a 74 series IC).

Designator Font

  • True Type - Check this option to set the designator font as a True Type font. True Type fonts are the fonts installed on your computer. Note that the list will only include entries for detected (and uniquely named) root fonts. For example, Arial and Arial Black will be listed but Arial Bold, Arial Bold Italic, etc will not. Use the Bold and Italic options to add emphasis to the text. This feature also offers full Unicode support. 
    • Font Name - Select the desired font from the drop down.
    • Bold - Enable this option to bold the typeface.
    • Italic - Enable this option to Italicize the typeface.
    • Inverted - Enable this option to invert the typeface. A border can be entered around the text, by typing the desired border thickness in the adjacent text box.
  • Stroke - Check this to set the designator font as a Stroke font. Stroke fonts include DefaultSans Serif, and Serif fonts for selection. The Default style is a simple vector font which supports pen plotting and vector photo plotting. The Sans Serif and Serif fonts are more complex. The provide a more natural looking text display but they will slow down vector output generation such as Gerber. Stroke-based fonts are built into the software and cannot be changed. All three fonts have the full IBM extended ASCII character set that supports English and other European languages.
  • Font Name - Select the desired Stroke font style from the drop-down list.

Comment Font

  • True Type - Check this option to set the designator font as a True Type font. True Type fonts are the fonts installed on your computer. Note that the list will only include entries for detected (and uniquely named) root fonts. For example, Arial and Arial Black will be listed but Arial Bold, Arial Bold Italic, etc will not. Use the Bold and Italic options to add emphasis to the text. This feature also offers full Unicode support. 
    • Font Name - Select the desired font from the drop down.
    • Bold - Enable this option to bold the typeface.
    • Italic - Enable this option to Italicize the typeface.
    • Inverted - Enable this option to invert the typeface. A border can be entered around the text, by typing the desired border thickness in the adjacent text box.
  • Stroke - Check this to set the designator font as a Stroke font. Stroke fonts include DefaultSans Serif, and Serif fonts for selection. The Default style is a simple vector font which supports pen plotting and vector photo plotting. The Sans Serif and Serif fonts are more complex. The provide a more natural looking text display but they will slow down vector output generation such as Gerber. Stroke-based fonts are built into the software and cannot be changed. All three fonts have the full IBM extended ASCII character set that supports English and other European languages.
  • Font Name - Select the desired Stroke font style from the drop-down list.

FPGA

  • Color Overlay - For an FPGA part, make a selection from the dropdown list to define color overlay for IO bank/CLK pin/Diff Pair/IO pin.

Embedded properties

  • Flipped on layer - The direction an embedded component is orientated on the layer. This overrides the nominal orientation setting defined by the Orientation specified for that copper layer in the Layer Stack Manager.

Axes

Axes can be used as a reference when aligning a 3D Body to another PCB object, such as a component footprint. An axis is essentially a dashed line drawn between the points defined by the Origin and Direction X, Y, Z locations. Note that Origin 0, 0, 0 is located on the base of the object, at the geometric center of the component footprint when looking down at it in 2D display mode.

  • Add - Attach a new Axis.
  • Delete - Remove the currently selected axis.
  • Origin X, Y & Z - Click to edit the values of the co-ordinates of the starting point for the axis.
  • Direction X, Y & Z - Click to edit the location in space that defines another point that the axis passes through.

Footprint 

Detailed information for the selected footprint.

  • Name - Name of the component footprint.
  • Library - Library that the component footprint was sourced from.
  • Description - Description of the footprint, as defined in the PCB Library editor.
  • Default 3d model - Legacy field for an older 3D view system.
  • Vault Name - If the component has been placed from an Altium Vault, this field reflects that and displays the name of that vault (e.g. Altium Content Vault).
  • Item Revision - If the component has been placed from an Altium Vault, this field displays the full Item-Revision ID for the referenced PCB 2D/3D Component Item.

Schematic Reference Information

Schematic reference information that is transferred from the schematic to the PCB editor when the design is initially transferred. To refresh this data at a later stage, click the Perform Update button in the Component Links dialog.

  • Unique ID - The unique identifier (UID) of the schematic component that this PCB component has been matched with.
  • Designator - The designator of the schematic component that this PCB component has been matched with.
  • Hierarchical Path - Shows where in the hierarchical structure of the schematic this component can be found.
  • Description - Description of the schematic component.
  • SCH Library - Name of the schematic library the schematic component was sourced from. If the component was placed from an Altium Vault, this field reflects that, displaying the name of that vault (e.g. Altium Content Vault).
  • Library Ref - Name of the schematic library component that this PCB component has been matched with. If the component has been placed from an Altium Vault, this field will display the full Item-Revision ID for the Component Item.
  • Channel Offset - When a design is first transferred from schematic to PCB, each component on each schematic sheet is given a unique channel offset.

Parameters

The  button in the bottom left region of the dialog opens the PCB Parameters dialog, which lists the User Parameters associated with the currently selected component. PCB component Parameters are read-only string objects transferred from the matching Schematic components by an Engineering Change Order (Design » Update PCB Document...) instigated in the Schematic Editor.

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