Altium Designer Documentation

Object Class Explorer

Modified by Phil Loughhead on Jun 19, 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 Object Class Explorer dialog.

Summary

This dialog allows the designer to browse, and manage, the defined object classes for the current PCB document. Classes are a logical collection of a particular type of design object. For example, a group of related components could be grouped into their own Component Class which could then be used as the basis for creating a targeted rule.

Access

The dialog is accessed from the PCB Editor, by choosing the Design » Classes command, from the main menus.

Options/Controls

The dialog is composed of a static pane on the left, and a main editing region on the right, that changes in context with the selection on the left.

Left-Hand Pane

In the folder-tree pane on the left side of the dialog, each of the supported object class types are listed under the Object Classes folder. The following class types are supported:

  • Net Classes
  • Component Classes
  • Layer Classes
  • Pad Classes
  • From To Classes
  • Differential Pair Classes
  • Design Channel Classes
  • Polygon Classes
  • Structure Classes
  • xSignal Classes

Click on this root folder to access a summary listing - in the main editing region of the dialog - of all specific classes that have been defined, across all object class types.

Click on a child object class type folder to access a summary listing of all specific classes that have been defined for that type. The following default classes are created across the various class types for a new PCB document:

  • Net Classes - <All Nets>.
  • Component Classes - <All Components>, <Bottom Side Components>, <Inside Board Components>, <Outside Board Components>, <Top Side Components>.
  • Layer Classes - <All Layers>, <Component Layers>, <Electrical Layers>, <Signal Layers>.
  • Pad Classes - <All Pads>.
  • From To Classes - <All From-Tos>.
  • Differential Pair Classes - <All Differential Pairs>.
  • Polygon Classes - <All Polygons>.
  • xSignal Classes - <All xSignals>.
Default (system classes) are distinguished by their names being enclosed in <>. These classes cannot be renamed, nor can they be deleted.
Whenever an applicable design object is created/placed in the design, it is added to the default <All> class for the respective class type.

Click on the entry for a specific class in the folder-tree pane (or double-click on its entry in a summary list) to access controls for managing the object membership of that class.

Right-Click Menu

The following commands are available from the right-click context menu for the pane:

  • Add Class - use this command to add a new class of the currently selected class type. The class will be added, initially devoid of members, and with a default name of New Class.
  • Delete Class - use this command to delete the currently selected class.
  • Rename Class - use this command to rename the currently selected class.
Remember that you cannot rename or delete, the default (system) classes.
You can also rename a class by clicking once to select it, then clicking again to enter editing mode.

Main Editing Region

This region of the dialog changes in accordance with what is currently selected in the left-hand pane. It presents two different views:

  • Summary Listing - if the root Object Classes folder, or any of the child object class type folders are clicked in the left-hand pane, this region will present a summary listing of all defined classes, or all classes of the selected class type, respectively. Each class is listed in terms of its Name, and Class Type.
  • Membership Management - if a specific class is selected in the left-hand pane, this region will present controls for managing its member objects.
    • Non-Members - this region lists all primitives of the applicable type, that are currently not members of the class. Use the mask field above the list to quickly filter the latter's content.
    • Members - this region lists all primitives of the applicable type, that are currently members of the class. Use the mask field above the list to quickly filter the latter's content.
As you type within one of the mask fields above a list, the list is filtered to only show strings that match the mask string. You can use the ? (any single character) and * (any characters) wildcards in the mask string -for example, "*" to display all primitives, or "D?" to display all primitives that start with the letter D.
A design object of a particular type can belong to (be a member of) any number of classes defined for that object type.
  • Component Class Generator - this button is only available when editing a component class. Click it to access the Component Class Generator dialog, which can be used to quickly generate the membership for the component class, based on defined search criteria.
  • Membership Management Buttons - the region provides the following buttons to cater for moving primitives quickly between the two lists:
    •  Add All - click this button to quickly transfer all primitives from the Non-Members list, over to the Members list.
    •  Add Selected (in dialog) - click this button to quickly transfer those primitives currently selected in the Non-Members list, over to the Members list.
    •  Remove Selected (in dialog) - click this button to quickly transfer those primitives currently selected in the Members list, over to the Non-Members list.
    •  Remove All - click this button to quickly transfer all primitives from the Members list, over to the Non-Members list.
    •  Add Selected (in workspace) - click this button to quickly transfer those primitives currently selected in the design workspace, from the Non-Members list over to the Members list.
    •  Remove Selected (in workspace) - click this button to quickly transfer those primitives currently selected in the design workspace, from the Members list over to the Non-Members list.

 

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