Altium Designer Documentation


Created: June 7, 2017 | Updated: October 19, 2017
Now reading version 18.0. For the latest, read: PlaceCompileMask for version 21
Applies to Altium Designer versions: 18.0, 18.1, 19.0, 19.1, 20.0, 20.1 and 20.2

Parent page: Schematic Commands

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

Applied Parameters: None


This command is used to place a Compile Mask object onto the active document. A compile mask is a design directive. It is used to effectively hide the area of the design it contains from the Compiler, allowing you to manually prevent error checking for circuitry that may not yet be complete and you know will generated compile errors. This can prove very useful if you need to compile the active document or project to check the integrity of the design in other specific areas, but do not want the clutter of compiler-generated messages associated with unfinished portions of the design.

For detailed information about this object type, see Compile Mask.


Compile masks are available for placement in the Schematic Editor, by:

  • Choosing Place » Directives » Compile Mask from the main menus.
  • Locating and using the Compile Mask command () on the Active Bar.
If the command has been recently used from the Active Bar, it will become the active/visible button. Where other commands are available, this is indicated by a triangle at the bottom-right corner of the button. Click and hold on the active button to access a menu of all associated commands for that grouping.
  • Right-clicking and choosing Place » Directives » Compile Mask from the context menu.


After launching the command, the cursor will change to a cross-hair and you will enter compile mask placement mode. Placement is made by performing the following sequence of actions:

  1. Position the cursor and click or press Enter to anchor the first corner of the mask.
  2. Move the cursor to adjust the size of the mask, such that it completely encapsulates the area of the design that you want hidden from the Compiler, then click or press Enter to anchor the diagonally-opposite corner and thereby complete placement of the mask. Design objects falling completely within the bounds of the mask will become grayed-out.
  3. Continue placing further compile masks, or right-click or press Esc to exit placement mode.
Press the Tab key during placement to access the Properties panel, from where properties for the compile mask can be changed on-the-fly. Pressing Tab pauses placement, allowing you to interact with the panel (or other area of the software) directly. To resume, click the pause symbol that appears over the workspace.


  1. While compile masks can be rotated or mirrored along the X or Y axis, this has no effect on the orientation of the design circuitry within.
  2. For information on how a placed compile mask object can be modified graphically, directly in the workspace, see Graphical Editing.
  3. While attributes can be modified during placement (Tab to bring up the Properties panel), bear in mind that these will become the default settings for further placement unless the Permanent option on the Schematic - Defaults page of the Preferences dialog is enabled. When this option is enabled, changes made will affect only the object being placed and subsequent objects placed during the same placement session.


Found an issue with this document? Highlight the area, then use Ctrl+Enter to report it.

Contact Us

Contact our corporate or local offices directly.

We're sorry to hear the article wasn't helpful to you.
Could you take a moment to tell us why?
200 characters remaining
You are reporting an issue with the following selected text
and/or image within the active document: