Altium Designer Documentation

Cartesian Grid Editor

Modified by Phil Loughhead on Jun 16, 2017


Example local Cartesian grid definition, using the Cartesian Grid Editor dialog, and resulting appearance in the workspace.

Summary

This dialog allows the designer to view and modify properties for the selected Cartesian grid. This can be either the default global snap grid, or a customized local grid. The latter is used for object placement and movement in a specific area of the board, while the former is used in any area of the board not covered by a dedicated local grid.

Access

The dialog can be accessed from both the PCB Editor, and PCB Library Editor. From the Grid Manager dialog (Tools » Grid Manager), right click and select Add Cartesian Grid from the context menu. Double click the newly added grid to access this dialog.

The keyboard shortcut - Ctrl+G - can also be used in either editor to quickly access the dialog. Again, this accesses the dialog with the default global snap grid definition loaded.

Options/Controls

For the default global snap grid, only the Steps and Display regions - detailed below - will be presented in the dialog.

Settings

  • Name - use this field to give the grid a more meaningful name. For example, you might name the grid using a format that reflects its purpose (e.g. Grid for Component-Side Memory).
  • Unit - use this field to specify the measurement units used for the grid – Imperial or Metric.
  • Rotation - use this field to specify whether the grid is to be rotated (about the specified origin point), and by how much.

Steps

  • Step X - use this field to define the distance between grid lines in the X plane. Type the required step size directly, or select from a range of common sizes available in the associated drop-down list.
  • Step Y - use this field to define the distance between grid lines in the Y plane. Type the required step size directly, or select from a range of common sizes available in the associated drop-down list.
By default, the two fields are linked, as indicated by the continuous chain depicted on the button to the right of the fields - . In this state, whatever you specify for the Step X field will be copied and used for the Step Y field. To break this link and enter step sizes individually, simply click this button. The button will now depict a broken chain, and the Step Y field will become available for editing in its own right.

The following controls are also available that allow you to define the X and/or Y step sizes directly from within the PCB workspace. In each case, you will be taken to the workspace to specify two 'calculating' locations, and the resulting step size will be calculated accordingly.

  • Set Step X in PCB View - the resulting size is taken as the hypotenuse of the triangle formed by the chosen points in the workspace.
  • Set Step Y in PCB View - the resulting size is taken as the hypotenuse of the triangle formed by the chosen points in the workspace.
  • Set Step X from Delta X - the resulting size is taken using just the difference in the X coordinate.
  • Set Step Y from Delta Y - the resulting size is taken using just the difference in the Y coordinate.
  • Set Both Steps from Delta - the resulting sizes are taken using just the differences in the X and Y coordinates respectively.
Note that when Step Y is following Step X (chain linked), only the Set Step X in PCB View and Set Step X from Delta X controls will be available.

Origin

  • Origin X - use this field to specify the X coordinate for the center point of the grid in the workspace.
  • Origin Y - use this field to specify the Y coordinate for the center point of the grid in the workspace.
  • Set Origin in PCB View - click this control to be taken to the PCB workspace, from where you can click to define the centerpoint for the grid's origin. The resulting coordinate values will be loaded into the Origin X and Origin Y fields respectively.

Display

  • Fine - use the associated drop-down to define the markers used for the fine-level display of the grid in the workspace, either Lines or Dots. The step size used for the markers is that defined in the Steps region. Click on the associated color swatch to access the standard Choose Color dialog, from where you can specify the color to be used for the fine-level display grid in the workspace. You can always reset the color back to its default using the Reset to Default link.
  • Coarse - use the associated drop-down to define the markers used for the coarse-level display of the grid in the workspace. Again, choose from either Lines or Dots. The coarse-level display grid is simply the fine-level display grid with an increased step size, in accordance with the entry selected in the Multiplier field. If you don't want to use the coarse-level display grid, simply choose the option Do Not Draw.

Click on the associated color swatch to access the standard Choose Color dialog, from where you can specify the color to be used for the coarse-level display grid in the workspace. You are free to choose a completely different color to that used for the fine-level display grid. Alternatively, you can quickly employ a lighter or darker shade of the color currently used for the fine-level display grid, using the available Lighter or Darker links respectively. Again, you can reset the color back to its default using the Reset to Default link.

  • Multiplier - use this field to specify the required multiple of the grid's step size, either 2x Grid Step, 5x Grid Step, or 10x Grid Step.
The default display colors – assigned to Fine and Coarse display grids when the Reset to Default link is clicked – are defined in the System Colors region, on the Board Layers And Colors tab of the View Configurations dialog (shortcut L). Specifically, the default fine-level display grid color is specified using the Default Grid Color - Small option, and the default coarse-level display grid color is specified using the Default Grid Color - Large option.

Extents

  • Width - use this field to define the width of one quadrant of the grid.
  • Height - use this field to define the height of one quadrant of the grid.
By default, the two fields are linked, as indicated by the continuous chain depicted on the button to the right of the fields - . In this state, whatever you specify for the Width field will be copied and used for the Height field. To break this link and enter values individually, simply click this button. The button will now depict a broken chain, and the Height field will become available for editing in its own right.

Controls are also available that allow you to define the width and/or height directly from within the PCB workspace. In each case, you will be taken to the workspace to specify two 'calculating' locations, and the resulting width and/or height will be calculated accordingly.

  • Set Width in PCB View - the resulting width is taken using just the difference in the X coordinate between the chosen points in the workspace.
  • Set Height in PCB View - the resulting height is taken using just the difference in the Y coordinate between the chosen points in the workspace.
  • Set Width and Height in PCB View - the resulting width and height are taken using just the differences in the X and Y coordinates respectively.
Note that when Height is following Width (chain linked), only the Set Width in PCB View control will be available.

Quadrants

Use this region to specify which quadrants the grid is to occupy. The grid area is the same for all enabled quadrants, as defined by the setting for Width and Height in the Extents region of the dialog.

 

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