Altium Designer Documentation


Created: June 8, 2017 | Updated: June 19, 2017

The String dialog.


The String dialog allows the designer to enter a string and edit the String properties. Strings are a standard element of a PCB design, as well as being used to add detail and human-readable information, they are also used to add machine-readable information as a barcode.


This dialog can be accessed during placement by pressing the Tab key.

After placement, the dialog can be accessed in the following ways:

  • Double-click on the placed object.
  • Place the cursor over the object, right-click and choose Properties from the context menu.


  • Width - Specify the width of the String.
  • Height - Specify the height of the String.
  • Rotation - Specify the Rotation of the String. The minimum angular resolution is 0.001 degrees.
  • Location X/Y - Specify the Location of the String.


  • Text - Enter the content of this String. The software also supports a defined set of special strings that act as placeholders for PCB design or system-based information, such as layer names, hole counts, legends and so on, special strings can be selected via the drop-down. To learn more about special strings, read the String object article.
  • Layer - Specify the Layer the String is located on.
  • Locked - Enable this option to lock the string.
  • Mirror - Enable this option to mirror the string.
  • Font - use the drop-down associated to this field to select the required font style, the lower section of the dialog will present different options based on the chosen style. Supported styles are:
    • TrueType Font - gives access to all of the Windows TrueType fonts installed on this PC.
    • Stroke Font - stroke fonts are built into the software and cannot be changed.
    • BarCode Text - gives access to two types of Barcodes; Code 39 and Code 128.

Select TrueType Font

  • Font Name - Select the TrueType font you wish to use from the Font Name list. TrueType and OpenType fonts are found in the \Windows\Fonts folder (OpenType being a superset of TrueType). 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.
  • Bold - Use this option to make the string Bold.
  • Italic - Use this option to make the string Italic.
  • Inverted - Use this option to have the text displayed as inverted, with control over the size of the border around the text.
    • Size (Width/Height) - Width and Height of the border rectangle.
    • Justification - Location of the string within the border rectangle.
    • Margin Border - Specify the size of the margin border surrounding the string.
    • Text Offset - Amount the string is offset back from the edge/corner that it is justified against. Has no effect when the Center justification mode is chosen.

Select Stroke Font

  • Font Name - Select the Stroke font type you wish to use from the Font Name list. Font options include Default, Serif, and Sans Serif. All three fonts have the full IBM extended ASCII character set which supports English and other European lanugages.

Select Barcode Text

  • Type - Select the barcode ISO coding you wish to use.
    • Code 39 - US Dept of Defense standard for barcodes, often referred to as Code 3 of 9. Also used in the automotive industry.
    • Code 128 - The global trade identification standard for barcodes, supports any of the ASCII 128 character set (all digits, character and punctuation marks).
  • Render Mode - Choose a render mode for barcode display, Min Single Bar Width or Full BarCode Width. If Min Single Bar Width is chosen, the width is specified in the Min Width field.
  • Full Width - Specify the overall width of the bar code.
  • Full Height - Specify the overall height of the bar code.
  • Min Width - Specify the minimum width of the bar code. This field is only available when the Render Mode is set to Min Single Bar Width.
  • Font Name - Choose a font for the bar code text, which will be displayed if the Show Text option is enabled.
  • Left/Right Margin - If the Inverted option is enabled, a margin or border is added around all sides of the barcode, this field defines the size of the margin on the left and right edges.
  • Top/Bottom Margin - If the Inverted option is enabled, a margin or border is added around all sides of the barcode, this field defines the size of the margin on the top and bottom edges.
  • Show Text - Display the actual text string that the barcode is derived from (the string entered into the Text field).
  • Inverted - the bars are inverted, and a border is added on all 4 sides.

Special Strings

As well as using a string object to place user-defined text on the current PCB layer, the string object can also be used to display design, system or user information on the PCB. This is done by placing what is known as a special string, which is a pre-defined string preceeded by the . (dot) character. Refer to the String object page for more information about special strings.

A special string is denoted by the string starting with a . (dot) character (e.g., .Layer_Name.Net_Count, etc.). This syntax is also used when referencing a user-parameter, the parameter name is preceded by the . (dot) character.

If a string starts with ".", the entire string is treated as a 'special' string. To include more than one string in a 'special' string, use apostrophe ( ' ) to enclose each string. Example:  '.PcbDoc' '.PcbName'. You can also use spaces or special characters inside 'special' strings, for example: '.PcbDoc #1'. 

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