Altium Designer Documentation

Working with a Rectangle Object on a Schematic Sheet in Altium Designer

Created: September 27, 2019 | Updated: September 28, 2019
All Contents

Parent page: Schematic Objects

A placed Rectangle

Summary

A rectangle is a non-electrical drawing primitive. It is a graphic element that can be placed on a schematic sheet and can be filled or unfilled.

Availability

Rectangles are available for placement in both Schematic and Schematic Library Editors:

  • Schematic Editor - the following commands are available:
    • Choose Place » Drawing Tools » Rectangle from the main menus.
    • Click the  button in the graphic objects drop-down on the Active Bar located at the top of the workspace. (Click and hold an Active Bar button to access other related commands. Once a command has been used, it will become the top-most item on that section of the Active Bar.)
    • Right-click in the workspace then choose Place » Drawing Tools » Rectangle from the context menu.
    • Click the  button on the Utility Tools drop-down () of the Utilities toolbar.
  • Schematic Library Editor - the following commands are available:
    • Choose Place » Rectangle from the main menus.
    • Click the Rectangle button () in the graphic objects drop-down on the Active Bar menu located at the top of the workspace. (Click and hold an Active Bar button to access other related commands. Once a command has been used, it will become the top-most item on that section of the Active Bar.)
    • Right-click in the workspace then choose Place » Rectangle from the context menu.
    • Click the  button on the Utility Tools drop-down () of the Utilities toolbar.​

Placement

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

  1. Click or press Enter to anchor the first corner of the rectangle.
  2. Move the cursor to adjust the size of the rectangle then click or press Enter to complete placement.
  3. Continue placing further rectangles or right-click or press Esc to exit placement mode.

Additional actions that can be performed during placement while the rectangle is still floating on the cursor and before its first corner is anchored are:

  • Press the Tab key to pause the placement and access the Rectangle mode of the Properties panel from where its properties can be changed on-the-fly. Click the workspace pause button overlay () to resume placement.
  • Press the Alt key to constrain the direction of movement to the horizontal or vertical axis depending on the initial direction of movement. 
  • Press the Spacebar to rotate the rectangle counterclockwise or Shift+Spacebar for clockwise rotation. Rotation is in increments of 90°.

While attributes can be modified during placement (Tab to access the Properties panel), keep 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.

Graphical Editing

This method of editing allows you to select a placed rectangle object directly in the workspace and change its size, shape or location graphically.

When a rectangle object is selected, the following editing handles are available:

A selected Rectangle

  • Click and drag A to resize the rectangle in the vertical and horizontal directions simultaneously.
  • Click and drag B to resize the rectangle in the vertical and horizontal directions separately.
  • Click anywhere on the rectangle away from editing handles then drag to reposition it. While dragging, the rectangle can be rotated (Spacebar/Shift+Spacebar) or mirrored (X or Y keys to mirror along the X-axis or Y-axis).
If attempting to graphically modify an object that has its Locked property enabled, a dialog will appear asking for confirmation to proceed with the edit. If the Protect Locked Objects option is enabled on the Schematic – Graphical Editing page of the Preferences dialog, and the Locked option for that design object is enabled as well, then that object cannot be selected or graphically edited. Click the locked object to select it then disable the Locked property in the List panel or disable the Protect Locked Objects option to graphically edit the object.

Non-Graphical Editing

The following methods of non-graphical editing are available:

Via the Rectangle Dialog or Properties Panel

Panel page: Rectangle Properties

This method of editing uses the associated Rectangle dialog and the Properties panel mode to modify the properties of a rectangle object.

 The Rectangle dialog, on the left, and the Rectangle mode of the Properties panel on the right

After placement, the Rectangle dialog can be accessed by:

  • Double-clicking on the placed rectangle object.
  • Place the cursor over the rectangle object, right-click, then choose Properties from the context menu.

During placement, the Rectangle mode of the Properties panel can be accessed by pressing the Tab key. Once the rectangle is placed, all options appear.

After placement, the Rectangle mode of the Properties panel can be accessed in one of the following ways:

  • If the Properties panel is already active, by selecting the rectangle object.
  • After selecting the rectangle object, select the Properties panel from the Panels button in the bottom right section of the workspace, or by select View » Panels » Properties.
If the Double Click Runs Interactive Properties option is disabled (default) on the Schematic - Graphical Editing page of the Preferences dialog, when the primitive is double-clicked or you right-click on a selected primitive then choose Properties, the dialog will open. When the Double Click Runs Interactive Properties option is enabled, the Properties panel will open. 
While the options are the same in the dialog and the panel, the order and placement of the options may differ slightly. 

The Rectangle properties can be accessed prior to entering placement mode, from the Schematic - Defaults page of the Preferences dialog. This allows the default properties for the rectangle object to be changed, which will be applied when placing subsequent rectangles.

Editing Multiple objects

The Properties panel supports multiple object editing, 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 that is not shown as an asterisk (*) may be edited for all selected objects.

The panel with two Rectangle objects selected.

Via a List Panel

Panel pages: SCH List, SCHLIB List, SCH Filter, SCHLIB Filter

List panel displays design object types from one or more documents in tabular format, enabling quick inspection and modification of object attributes.

Used in conjunction with appropriate filtering – by selecting object types (using the panel's Include options), or 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. The properties for the listed objects may then be edited directly in the List panel.

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