Altium Designer Documentation


Created: July 27, 2015 | Updated: June 6, 2017
Now reading version 17.1. For the latest, read: ChooseComponentAlternatePart for version 21
Applies to Altium Designer versions: 15.1, 16.0, 16.1, 17.0 and 17.1

Parent page: Schematic Commands

The following pre-packaged resource, derived from this base command, is available:

Applied Parameters: ContextSensitive=True


For the component under the cursor, this command is used to choose an 'Alternate Part' for that component, in the chosen variant of the design. This allows you to specify a component to be used for that variant, that is entirely different to that used in the base design.


This command is accessed in the Schematic Editor. With a defined variant chosen, and the compiled document view active, right-click over a placed component and choose the Part Actions » Choose Alternate Part command from the context menu.


After launching the command, the Edit Component Variation dialog will appear. Use the dialog to browse and locate the required alternate part component. All of Altium Designer's component storage models are supported, such as independent libraries, database libraries, and Vault components.

After selecting an alternate part, the software checks for pin-compatibility between the chosen alternate component, and the original base design component. To be pin-compatible, the alternate must have the same number of pins as the original component, and those pins must be identical in their location, and electrical type. No equality in the graphical primitives used in the symbols for the two components is required. If the software detects that the alternate component is not pin-compatible, a Confirm dialog will appear, requiring your OK to proceed with the replacement. While you can proceed with the use of a pin-incompatible alternate component, bear in mind the potential impact on the wiring, and that you may also encounter an error violation when performing a subsequent compilation of the design.

You can check the chosen alternate component back in the workspace. The Schematic Editor will use the symbol graphics for the chosen alternate component. If the component is pin-compatible and graphically similar, you should see very little change. The tell-tale sign for the use of a different component is the different comment for the alternate part.


  1. If an alternate component is not already used somewhere in the design, then the symbol graphics for the alternate component are stored in a dedicated file - <ProjectName>.PrjPcbVariants. This file is stored in the same location as the project file itself. Parameters changes for the alternate components are defined in the Variant Management dialog, and saved in the project file. Using the .PrjPcbVariants file keeps the project independent from the source libraries that were used to create the design.
  2. If a base component uses a graphical display mode other than the default Normal, and it has an alternate component defined in a variant, then the alternate component will also attempt to use the same number Alternate graphical display mode. If the alternate component does not include this graphical display mode, then the Normal mode is used.


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