Altium Designer Documentation

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

Created: July 27, 2015 | Updated: September 26, 2016
Now reading version 16.1. For the latest, read: Line for version 21
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Parent page: Schematic Objects

Use Lines to annotate and enhance the schematic.


A line is a non-electrical polyline drawing primitive. Lines are used for adding reference information to a document, such as building graphical symbols, custom sheet borders and title blocks, and annotating the schematic.

A line is purely a drawing object. To make an electrical connection between points in your schematic, use the Wire object.


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

  • Schematic Editor - the following commands are available:
    • Choose Place » Drawing Tools » Line from the main menus.
    • Click the  button on the Utility Tools drop-down () of the Utilities toolbar.
  • Schematic Library Editor - the following commands are available:
    • Choose Place » Line from the main menus.
    • Click the  button on the Utility Tools drop-down () of the Utilities toolbar.


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

  1. Click or press Enter to anchor the starting point for the line.
  2. Position the cursor and click or press Enter to anchor a series of vertex points that define the shape of the line.
  3. Use the Backspace or Delete keys to remove the last line segment placed.
  4. After placing the final vertex point, right-click or press Esc to complete placement of this line.
  5. Continue placing further line objects, or right-click or press Esc to exit placement mode.

While attributes can be modified during placement (Tab to bring up associated properties dialog), bear in mind that these will become the default settings for further placement unless the Permanent option on the Schematic – Default Primitives 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.

Placement Modes

When placing a line there are 5 placement modes. The mode specifies how corners are created when placing lines and the angles at which lines can be placed. During placement:

  • Press Spacebar to cycle through the 90 Degree Up, 90 Degree Down, 45 Degree Up, 45 Degree Down and Any Angle modes. You can change modes at any time during line placement.
  • In all modes other than Any Angle, the line segment attached to the cursor is a look ahead segment. The segment you are actually placing precedes this look ahead segment

Graphical Editing

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

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

Selected Line, ready for graphical editing.

  • Click and drag A to reposition the end points of the line.
  • Click and drag B to move a line vertex. The end points will remain anchored.
  • Click and drag on a line segment to grab that segment and reposition it. The end points and other vertices will remain anchored.
  • Right-click on a vertex point and choose the Edit Line Vertex n command to access the Vertices tab of the PolyLine dialog, with the entry for the nth vertex selected ready for editing.
  • Click and hold on a line segment, then press Insert on the keyboard to add a vertex at that point.
  • Click and hold on a vertex, then press Delete on the keyboard to remove that vertex.

With the line selected, click on a segment to individually select that segment. This line 'sub-selection' is distinguished by the associated editing handles becoming red in color.

Individual segment sub-selection.

The associated vertices for the segment can then be edited directly using the Inspector or List panel, with any changes appearing immediately on the schematic.

To move an entire line line, click and hold on the un-selected line, then move to the new location.

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. Double click on the locked object directly and disable the Locked property 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 an Associated Properties Dialog

Dialog page: PolyLine

This method of editing uses the PolyLine dialog to modify the properties of a line object.

Edit the properties of the Line in the PolyLine dialog.

The PolyLine dialog can be accessed prior to entering placement mode, from the Schematic – Default Primitives page of the Preferences dialog. This allows the default properties for the line object to be changed, which will be applied when placing subsequent lines.

During placement, the dialog can be accessed by pressing the Tab key.

After placement, the dialog can be accessed in one of the following ways:

  • Double-clicking on the placed line object.
  • Placing the cursor over the line object, right-clicking and choosing Properties from the context menu.
  • Using the Edit » Change command and clicking once over the placed line object.
The PolyLine dialog includes a Vertices tab, where you can edit the individual vertices of the currently selected line object.

Using a Line as an Arrow or Marker

The PolyLine dialog provides several options which can be used to change the style of a line. Using the Start Line Shape, End Line Shape, Line Shape Size, Line Width and Line Style options, a large variety of arrow and marker designs can be achieved.

Some examples of Arrow and Marker
designs that can be achieved.

Via an Inspector Panel

Panel pages: SCH Inspector, SCHLIB Inspector, SCH Filter, SCHLIB Filter

An Inspector panel enables the designer to interrogate and edit the properties of one or more design objects in the active document. Used in conjunction with appropriate filtering - by using the applicable Filter panel, or the Find Similar Objects dialog - the panel can be used to make changes to multiple objects of the same kind, from one convenient location.

Via a List Panel

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

List panel allows the designer to display design objects from one or more documents in tabular format, enabling quick inspection and modification of object attributes. Used in conjunction with appropriate filtering - 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 – allowing the designer to target and edit multiple design objects with greater accuracy and efficiency.


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