Altium Designer Documentation

OLE Object

Created: June 30, 2017 | Updated: June 30, 2017
Applies to Altium Designer version: 17.1

The OLE Object dialog allows users to manage properties for OLE objects.
The OLE Object dialog allows users to manage properties for OLE objects.


This dialog allows users to define properties for OLE Objects.

Objecting Linking and Embedding (OLE) capabilities allow for the placement of objects supplied by other Windows OLE applications to be embedded in a PCB design while actively linking back to the source application. In many cases, this allows the embedded PCB data to be edited from within the application that created it.

Typical objects that might be placed in a PCB document include common Excel documents, Word documents or graphics objects from a suitable OLE image application. The supported file types include universal formats such as CSV and XLS format spreadsheets, DOC and RTF Word documents, and 8-bit BMP and JPG image files.

For more information, see the OLE Objects page.


The dialog can be accessed during placement by selecting Place » Object From File from the toolbar and then pressing the Tab key. After placement, the dialog can be accessed by double-clicking on an OLE Object or by right-clicking on the object and selecting Properties from the context menu.


  • Rotation - Define the degree of rotation, if any, for the OLE object.
  • Location X/Y - Define or edit the X and Y axis of the OLE object to set its placement location.
  • Layer - Select a layer from the dropdown menu on which to place to OLE object.
  • Edit Data - Open the object for editing in its matching OLE application. When the file is saved in the application, the results will be reflected in the embedded PCB object. For example, if the OLE Object is an XLS file, the file will open in Microsoft Excel. After making and saving changes in Excel, those changes will be reflected on the PCB.


When editing a embedded OLE spreadsheet object (CSV, XLS, etc) in its source application (Excel), note that while the cell contents can be successfully updated, a change in the number of cells will not transfer to the OLE object in Altium Designer.

An OLE Object can also be converted to a collection of free primitive objects using the Tools » Convert » Explode OLE Object to Free Primitives command. This will break the object into appropriate Regions and/or Text objects.

A convert to free primitives option is also offered if the matching OLE application cannot be found when attempting to edit an OLE Object.

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