Working with Design Object Parameters

Now reading version 23. For the latest, read: Working with Design Object Parameters for version 24

Parameters are general purpose text strings that are child objects of a parent object. They identify and add additional information to that parent object and are accessed directly in the Properties panel when selected in a schematic sheet.

For example, schematic components make extensive use of parameters. General-purpose component parameters can be used for a variety of functions, including component detail, such as Wattage, Voltage, etc., supplier detail, including the supplier name and part number, library component design detail, such as the revision number of the symbol; and documentation detail, such as a URL that links to a component datasheet.

Using the Parameter Manager

User-defined design attributes are added to your design using parameters. Parameters can be added and edited individually, or you can use the Parameter Table Editor dialog (Parameter Manager) to add and edit parameters across the entire design or across an entire library. These are parameters that are 'owned' by various object kinds in the source schematic documents of the active project, or components in the active library. This provides a fast, efficient way to bring all parameters together in a single place for editing, with the ability to create an Engineering Change Order to implement any parameter changes you make directly to each affected 'owner' design object.

When you open the dialog, it gathers all parameter data for the entire design and presents it in a table-like grid. The Parameter Table Editor dialog is launched from a schematic by selecting Tools » Parameter Manager from the main menus. After running the command, the Parameter Editor Options dialog opens. In this dialog, select the type of parameters you want to be loaded into the Parameter Table Editor dialog. As an example, if you are working on component parameters, disable all options in the Include Parameters Owned By region except for Parts. You can further refine the scope of object inclusion using the drop-down field in the center of the dialog. Choose to include all objects, only objects with existing parameters, or only objects with existing parameters that are actually used.

Another example is if you are working on document parameters, enable only the Documents option. Note that the Exclude System Parameters option includes things like component model settings, document parameters that were defined in the template, and so on. Explore this option when you are more familiar with managing parameters.

Should you wish to edit the parameters for only specific objects in the design, select these objects as required and enable the Selected Objects Only option. Only objects in your selection will be included, provided the relevant object kind has been enabled in the Include Parameters Owned By region of the dialog.

After selecting the options needed, click OK to open the Parameter Table Editor dialog (Parameter Manager).

Use this dialog to add, edit and remove parameters across the entire project. The dialog can be used to directly edit existing parameters in the project or to configure parameter updates from a linked database (linked via a DbLink, DbLib or SvnDbLib file). Note that these database library link type files include options that control if a parameter is to be updated or not. Changes are then implemented through an Engineering Change Order, that you create from this dialog.

Adding a Parameter

To add a new parameter, click the button (or right-click anywhere in the main grid and choose the Add Column command from the context menu). The Add Parameter dialog will open. To just create the new parameter and not assign any values to any of the objects, simply enter the required name for it and click OK. If you want to add the parameter to all objects along with a specific value, enable the Add to all objects option, enter the required value, then click OK. A column for the new parameter will be added at the end of the existing columns (to the far right of the listing).

Renaming a Parameter

To rename a parameter, right-click in a cell in the column you want to rename then select Rename Column from the drop-down menu. The Rename Existing Parameter dialog opens. Enter the new name in the Enter the new name for the parameter field then click OK. Note that the column heading will have changed and now has a small blue triangle next to the name. This icon indicates that the value of this cell has changed.

The Rename Existing Parameter dialog
The Rename Existing Parameter dialog

Adding a Parameter to Select Components

To add a parameter to components, select the cells in the Parameter Table Editor dialog editor using Shift+Click or Ctrl+Click key combinations, right-click then choose Add from the drop-down menu. After selecting Add, a small green plus symbol appears in each cell. This indicates that a new parameter has been added.


Now that the parameter has been added, you can define the component type for each component. The Parameter Table Editor dialog supports standard table editing shortcuts. You can press F2 to edit a cell then press Enter to apply the edit. Multiple cells can be edited by selecting the cells then right-click and choose Edit from the menu. Enter the new value then press Enter to apply the edit to all selected cells.

Applying the Parameter Changes

The parameter edits that have just been completed are currently held in the Parameter Table Editor dialog and have not been applied to the components on the schematic sheets. To apply these changes to the components, you need to generate an Engineering Change Order (ECO) then apply the ECO to the design. In the Parameter Table Editor dialog, click the Accept Changes (Create ECO) button. The Parameter Editor Table dialog will close and the Engineering Change Order dialog will open.

Click the Validate Changes button to check that the changes can be applied. If the changes are valid, a green check displays in the Check column.

Click Execute Changes to apply the parameter changes to the components. Once the changes have been applied, close the Engineering Change Order dialog.

If you find an issue, select the text/image and pressCtrl + Enterto send us your feedback.

The features available depend on your Altium product access level. Compare features included in the various levels of Altium Designer Software Subscription and functionality delivered through applications provided by the Altium 365 platform.

If you don’t see a discussed feature in your software, contact Altium Sales to find out more.