Altium Designer Documentation

Defining Schematic Object Default Preferences for Altium Designer

Created: June 7, 2017 | Updated: November 6, 2018
Now reading version 18.1. For the latest, read: Schematic - Defaults for version 21
Applies to Altium Designer versions: 18.0 and 18.1

The Schematic - Defaults page of the Preferences dialog showing the Arc primitive as an example.
The Schematic - Defaults page of the Preferences dialog showing the Arc primitive as an example.


The Schematic – Defaults page of the Preferences dialog provides controls and information related to primitives in the schematic.


The Schematic – Defaults page is part of the main Preferences dialog that is accessed by clicking the  control in the upper-right corner of the workspace then selecting the Defaults entry under the Schematic folder.


  • Primitives - use this field to filter the presented listing of primitives. Choose from: All, Drawing ToolsOtherWiring ObjectsLibrary PartsHarness Objects,  and Sheet Symbol Objects.
  • Primitive List - a list of primitives that can be used on a schematic sheet (filtered in accordance with the chosen entry for the Primitives field above). Click on the below listed Primitives to change the available default values as described.
All primitive default values are saved in the Advsch.dft and Advsch.MMsdft files. These files are located in the \Users\<ProfileName>\AppData\Roaming\Altium\Altium Designer <GUID> folder of the installation.

To view and edit the settings and options for each primitive, click on the desired entry in the Primitive List. Information for each primitive can be found at the following links:  

Additional Controls

  • Permanent - If this option is enabled, the default properties of all object types are locked and are not changed if you edit an object's properties during placement. If this option is disabled, any changes you make to a particular object during placement (by pressing the Tab key while the object is floating on the cursor before placement to open the Properties panel) are used to update the default properties for that particular object type.
  • Save as - click to save the current default object properties to a custom properties file (*.dft). You will be asked for a name and directory for the file. When the schemtic editor server is started, the current defaults are read and any changes you make to the defaults are stored in this file when you exit. Use the Load button to load a previously saved set of default properties.
  • Load - click to load a previously saved set of default object properties. You will be asked to navigate to and select a previously saved properties file (*.dft).
  • Reset All - Click to reset the properties of all objects to the system defaults.
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