Altium Designer Documentation

Browsing Pad & Via Templates for the Active PCB using the PCB Pad Via Templates Panel in Altium Designer

Modified by Jason Howie on Jul 13, 2021
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Parent page: PCB Panels


The PCB Pad Via Templates panel.

Summary

The PCB Pad Via Templates panel is a specialized panel that lists the pad/via templates that are assigned to the current PCB document (Local), or those available from Pad Via Libraries that have been installed or included within the current design project (Available libraries).

Panel Access

  • To display the PCB Pad Via Templates panel, click the PCB button at the bottom-right of Altium Designer when the PCB Editor is active and select the PCB Pad Via Templates entry from the pop-up menu.
  • Alternatively, you can access the panel through the View » Workspace Panels » PCB » PCB sub-menu.
Panels can be configured to be floating in the editor space or docked to sides of the screen. If the PCB Filter panel is currently in a group of panels, use the PCB Filter tab located at the bottom of the panels to bring it to the front.

Panel Sections

The two sections presented in the panel can be summarized as:

  • Available Pad and Via Libraries – Loaded or installed Pad Via Libraries (file-based collections of Pad/Via templates). The upper section of the panel lists templates contained in the currently selected Pad Via Library.
  • Local Pad/Via Library – The collective term for Pad/Via Templates that are used for the current board design, including any that have been sourced or added from a Pad Via Library. The lower section of the panel list templates that apply to the current board design.
Pad & Via templates in a library are base definitions for instances of Pad and Vias placed in a board design. They are not literally Pad and Vias, but pre-configured recipes that are used to create a pad or via as it is placed.

Local Pad & Via Library

The entries listed in the lower Local Pad & Via Library section of the panel represent the pad/via configurations (templates) assigned to the current board design. A preview of the selected template is shown at the bottom of the section.

The templates listed here represent Pads and Vias saved within the PCB file, and are not contained in a separately defined 'library' as such. A selected template can be reused in the current board as a new pad or via instance by dragging it onto the layout, or by selecting Place from its right-click context menu.


Placing a local Pad template instance.

Since template names listed in the Local Library are derived from Pads and Vias in the current PCB layout, if all instances of a particular pad/via configuration have been deleted from the board, its corresponding template will be removed from the Local List.

However, if a placed Pad or Via has been sourced from a Pad Via Library, its template will be retained in the Local list when all instances of that pad/via have been deleted from the board – or changed to a different template type. Instances of Pad Via Library templates that are no longer required can be removed from the local ‘database’ record with the Remove Unused Pad/Via button.

Pad & Via Template Libraries

The upper section of the panel, Available Pad/Via template Libraries, applies to the templates contained in the selected Pad Via Library – see below for more information. Templates from the selected library can be applied to the PCB by dragging, or via the right-click menu, as outlined above.


The contents of a selected Pad Via Library file.

When placed in a board design, a Pad or Via will adopt the configuration and name of its source library template, and is marked as linked to the source library. The presence of the link forces the Pad/Via parameters that are defined by the template to be read-only, since if they were to be changed, the Pad/Via parameters would no longer match those in the source library template.

As with similar library panels, the current library file can be selected from the Library name drop down menu list, and a Library’s contents navigated through the associated Filter field.

Pad Via Library Template to Local

Library based Pad/Via templates can also be added directly to the Local library list by right-clicking on the template name and selecting Add to Internal Library from the context menu, or by simply dragging the template from the panel’s Pad/Via library section to a blank area the Local library section.

This is equivalent to placing a pad/via sourced from Pad Via Library template, then deleting it from the board – thereby registering that template as locally available.  To replace a local template, rather than add one to the local list, see Replace a Local Template further below.


A Pad Via Library Template added to the Local library becomes available for configuring project design options.

Pad Via Library sourced templates that are available to the local document can be applied to Rules, configurations and defaults for the current project. When placing Via Stitching for example, the placed via characteristics are defined by the template selected in the Add Stitching to Net dialog – Tools » Via Stitching/Shielding » Add Stitching to Net.


Local Pad/Via templates sourced from a Pad Via Library become available for configuration options.

Replace a Local Template

A library based Pad/Via template can also replace a Local template, which will update Pads or Vias on the board that use the (local) template.

To do so, drag the desired library template from the Pad/Via Library section of the panel to the Local Pad & Via Library section of panel, but in this case, drop the library template on top of the existing local template entry. Any instances of free or component pads/vias that use the template will be updated to the new library template style.

In the below animated image, note that the design's C4 and C5 component pads physically change to the type determined by the 'dropped' library template – from r32_36 to r30_50, as also indicated by the Local library list.


Drop a library template on top of a local template entry to replace it for all instances in the design.

Update from Pad Via Library

The Update button in the PCB Pad Via Templates panel's Local section provides a method to update the Pad or Vias templates in the current design from their source.

For example, in the case of a Pad that has been placed from a Pad Via Library template and the source Library template has been subsequently updated, the Update function will pull in those template changes to the PCB – thereby updating all Pads that use the Library template.

The template update is configured by the Update Pad or Via dialog that opens when an update is instigated. This lists the details of the detected change(s) that will be applied.


Pad/Via Templates that are detected as differing to their source library version can be updated from the Library to the PCB design.

Three update options are offered by the dialog to control the update process:

  • Update locked objects – this will force a Pad/Via object’s template to be updated, regardless of its Locked status.
  • Update free objects – update only Pad/Via templates that apply to free Pads and Vias.
  • Update component objects – update only Pad/Via templates that apply to the Pads and Vias used in components.

This synchronization behavior is established by the Library link property of Pad and Vias, as seen in the Pad/Via properties dialog. An indication that differences exist between the local version of the template and the source template is provided in the Changed column of the Pads/Vias section in the Pad & Via Templates mode of the PCB panel – see below.

Even if the template name has changed in the source Pad Via Library, the link to where it is applied to a Pad/Via in the PCB design is maintained by the template's GUID reference, stored in the board design data.

Loading a Pad Via Library

An existing Pad Via Library is added to the project or Installed by clicking on the button to the right of the panel's Library name selector menu, which opens the Available Libraries dialog.

Use the Installed tab option to load an existing library (*.PvLib) that will be available for all projects, and the Project tab to add an existing library to the current project.


Install an external Pad Via Library, or use the Project tab to add an existing library to the current project.

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