Altium Designer Documentation

Find Similar Objects (PCB)

Created: July 28, 2015 | Updated: June 17, 2017

The Find Similar Objects dialog.

Summary

This dialog allows the designer to set up search criteria for the Find Similar Objects (FSO) process. This process uses the attributes of a target object as a reference for finding several other objects with similar characteristics.

Access

The dialog is accessed from the PCB Editor or PCB Library Editor in the following ways:

  • Use the Edit » Find Similar Objects command, from the main menus, then click on an object in the workspace. This object will be used as the template for finding similar objects.
  • Press Shift+F, then click on an object in the workspace to use as the template.
  • Right-click over the required template object in the workspace, then choose the Find Similar Objects command from the context menu.

Options/Controls

The dialog is divided into two primary sections; the upper section consists of a grid that lists the attributes of the template (or reference) object, and the lower section consists of a group of check boxes that define what will happen once the Apply or OK button is clicked.

Use the Apply button to test and fine tune search criteria to yield the desired results without closing the dialog.

Attribute Grid

The grid of attributes for the reference object is divided into three columns:

  • Left Column - lists the names of all the attributes of the reference object.
  • Center Column - lists the value of those attributes taken from the reference object.
To search for objects with different values, enter the search pattern into the attribute value column directly; the '*' character can be used as a wildcard for finding any group of characters - i.e., C* will find C1, C2, C20, C397, Cap5, etc. Edits made to the attribute value in the dialog will not alter the attributes of the reference object.
  • Right Column - provides a drop-down list of options used for specifying how the associated attribute should be used to find similar objects. The options are:
    • Any - find similar objects with any value for this attribute.
    • Same - find similar objects with the same value set for this attribute, as that of the reference object.
    • Different - find similar objects with a different value set for this attribute, to that of the reference object.

Scoping and Highlighting Options

The dialog provides the following highlighting options:

  • Zoom Matching - enable this option to have all objects matching the search criteria zoomed and centered (where possible) in the workspace.
  • Select Matched - enable this option to have all objects matching the search criteria selected in the workspace.
  • Clear Existing - enable this option to clear any existing selection or editing mask before performing the search. Disable this option if doing successive Find Similar Objects searches, and it is desirable for the results to accumulate.
  • Create Expression - enable this option to create an expression that matches the criteria specified by the Find Similar Objects dialog, and enter it into the editor's Filter panel. The Filter panel will be opened if it is not already (PCB Editor only). This option makes it possible to use the Find Similar Objects dialog as a quick way of constructing complicated filtering operations.
  • Filtering Drop-Down - use this field to set the style of filtering applied in the workspace. Choose one of the following options:
    • Normal - choose this option to have those objects matching the search criteria appear fully visible in the workspace. The appearance of non-matching objects remains unchanged.
    • Mask - choose this option to have those objects matching the search criteria appear fully visible in the workspace, with all non-matching objects being made monochrome. With this option applied, non-matching objects will be unavailable for selection and editing.
    • Dim - choose this option to have those objects matching the search criteria appear fully visible in the workspace, with all non-matching objects retaining their colors, but being shaded (dimmed). With this option applied, non-matching objects will still be available for selection and editing.
  • Run Inspector - enable this option to display the editor's Inspector panel after running a search using the OK button. For this option to produce meaningful results, it will be necessary to have the Select Matched option set, since the Inspector panel will only show attributes from currently selected objects.
  • Whole Library - this field is available when accessing the dialog from the PCB Library Editor. It allows you to determine the scope of the filtering, either within the active component only (disabled) or across all components in the library (enabled).

Tips

  1. Control the masking or dimming level using the relevant slider control, available by clicking the Mask Level button, located at the bottom-right of the main design window.
  2. Quickly clear applied masking in the workspace by using the Clear button, also located at the bottom-right of the main design window.

 

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