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Parent page: PCB Design Objects
The component footprint defines the space and connection points needed to mount the physical component on the printed circuit board. It is a group object made up of a collection of simple primitive objects, which could include pads, lines and arcs, as well as other design objects. The pads provide the mounting and connection points for the component pins. Additional design primitives, such as lines and arcs, are often included to define the outline of the component shape on the component overlay (silkscreen) layer.
The component footprint can also include optional 3D body objects, which define the physical space or envelope of the actual component that is mounted on the board. If the physical component has been defined using 3D body objects or imported STEP models, three-dimensional component clearance checking can be performed.
Component footprints are created in the PCB Library Editor by placing suitable design objects to create the shape required to mount and connect the component. The component reference point is the origin of the Library Editor design space, which can be set in the Library editor to: pin 1, the geometric center, or a user-defined location on the component.
To learn more about footprint creation, refer to Creating a PCB Footprint.
Component footprints are created in the PCB Library editor and placed in the PCB editor. PCB component footprints are automatically placed from the available libraries when the design is transferred from the schematic editor to the PCB editor. This is called Design Synchronization, which is a process to detect and resolve the differences between the schematic and the PCB.
Alternatively, a component can be placed directly in the PCB editor. To do this:
The process used to locate the required component footprint will depend on the method chosen to perform placement. Once the required footprint has been chosen for placement and is floating on the cursor:
To place from the Components panel:
With the part selected in the panel, placement of the component can be made in the following ways:
Graphical component editing is limited to moving, rotating, and flipping. When a component is selected in the design space it is highlighted in the current selection color as shown in the image below. To graphically manipulate a selected component:
When you click and select a component, the selection bounding box appears. Traditionally, the default bounding box behavior has been to use the smallest rectangle that encloses all of the primitives in that component, excluding the designator and comment strings.
To provide better support for more complex component shapes, the
PCB.ComponentSelection Advanced Setting was added (click Advanced Settings on the System – General page of the Preferences dialog). This option gives the designer control over which layers are used to define the bounding box. After changing the
PCB.ComponentSelection value in the Advanced Settings dialog, you will need to restart Altium Designer in order for the change to take effect.
The advanced option supports three modes (enter the value
2; the default mode is
0 - legacy mode- this mode uses geometries on the Courtyard Layer Type; or when this layer type is not present, combines geometries from all layers, except the Designator and Comment strings.
1 - by layer mode- use the geometries from the first of the layers listed below that contains objects, with the following priority:
2 - by graphic mode- this mode uses geometries on the Courtyard Layer Type; or when this layer type is not present, combines geometries on the Silkscreen, 3D Body objects and Copper layers. Strings are excluded.
The following methods of non-graphical editing are available.
Properties page: Component Properties Panel
This method of editing uses the associated Component dialog and Properties panel mode to modify the properties of a Component object.
During placement, the Component mode of the Properties panel can be accessed by pressing the Tab key. Once the Component is placed, all options appear.
After placement, the Component dialog can be accessed by:
After placement, the Component mode of the Properties panel can be accessed in one of the following ways:
The Properties panel supports editing multiple objects, where the property settings that are identical in all currently selected objects may be modified. When multiples of the same object type are selected manually, via the Find Similar Objects dialog or through a Filter or List panel, a Properties panel field entry can be edited for all selected objects. If values of a property are different for objects in the selection, the appropriate field will be shown as an asterisk (
*) – a new property value will be applied to all selected objects.
A List panel allows you to display design objects from one or more documents in tabular format, enabling quick inspection and modification of object attributes. Used in conjunction with appropriate filtering – by using the applicable Filter panel, or the Find Similar Objects dialog – it enables the display of just those objects falling under the scope of the active filter – allowing you to target and edit multiple design objects with greater accuracy and efficiency.
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