The Altium Web Review feature provides universal access to PCB project documents through a standard web browser. Much more than just a web-based viewer, Web Review's advanced browser technology allows users to navigate through the project structure, interact with design documents, extract information about elements in the design and highlight areas or objects for commenting notes.
When viewing documents the visual quality of schematics and PCBs are not compromised by its web format, which also provides full pan and zoom capabilities, and in the case of PCB documents, a high-quality interactive 3D view of the board.
Altium's Web Review functionality provides an immersive and interactive experience for reviewing the source schematic and PCB documents in your design project. Shown here is a schematic - hover over the image to see the PCB.
As an independent browser based view platform, the Web Review feature offers interactive read-only access to design documents without the need to open the project in the design editing environment. Others that are working on the design, such as the engineer who 'owns' it, will not be affected by actions in the Web Review space – except for any related comment notifications.
Web Review Access
The Web Review interface is utilized in the following instances:
As an integral part of the Projects Management interface, when managing a specific project. This view is for the latest version of the source project data, rather than a specified release from that project, and so could be considered to be a work-in-progress (WIP) view.
As a standalone entity in your web browser, when wanting to review the source schematics and PCB in a released design package.
As a trimmed-down variation when viewing the Fabrication and Assembly data for a released design package, through the Manufacturing Portal.
The following sections detail how each of these instances is accessed.
Web Review of Design Project Source
In this instance, the Web Review interface is presented through the Design view of the Projects Management page. The latter can be accessed in the following ways:
From the Projects page of Concord Pro's browser interface by selecting the required project and clicking the control above the listing of projects, or by double-clicking directly on the required project entry in the list. The page will open in a new browser tab.
Accessing the CAD-centric Projects Management page for a project from the Projects page of Concord Pro's browser interface. Web Review functionality is presented through the page's Design view.
When browsing the project through Altium Designer's Explorer panel - configured in its default Project View rather than Classic View - access to the Projects Management page is made by clicking the button.
Accessing the CAD-centric Projects Management page for a project from Altium Designer's Explorer panel. Web Review functionality is presented through the page's Design view.
The Projects Management page can also be accessed in two additional ways from within Altium Designer. For the active managed project, use the Project » Show in Web Browser command, from the main menus. Alternatively, right-click on the entry for the project in the Projects panel and choose the Show in Web Browser command from the context menu.
Note that if you Ctrl+click on a document entry in the Navigator pane of the Web Review interface, that document will open in a new instance (new tab) of the Web Review interface. This instance will be a standalone instance - not another instance of the Projects Management page. You can however open multiple instances of the Projects Management page for the same project - from the selected project on the Projects page of the browser interface - should you wish.
Web Review of Design Project Source (Released)
In this instance, the Web Review interface is presented as a standalone entity in your default web browser. Access is made from Altium Designer's Explorer panel as follows:
In the Server Folders tree on the left-hand side browse to, and select, the folder for the required project.
In the Project view on the right-hand side, make the Releases tab the active tab.
Click to select the required release, in the list of releases.
Click the control, to the far right of the panel.
Accessing Web Review functionality to inspect the source project snapshot contained within a specific release of a design project. In this case, Web Review is presented as a standalone entity within your default web browser.
Web Review of Fabrication and Assembly Data for a Released Design Package
In this instance, the Web Review interface - or a trimmed variant of it - is presented through the Fabrication and Assembly views of the Manufacturing Portal, for the chosen release package of the managed project actively being inspected. To access the portal:
From the Projects page of Concord Pro's browser interface, select the required project and click the control above the listing of projects, or double-click directly on the required project entry in the list.
On the Projects Management page, switch to the Manufacturing view.
Click to select the required release package, then click the associated control to access a dedicated Manufacturing Portal browser tab.
Accessing Web Review functionality through the Manufacturing Portal, to inspect the fabrication and assembly data contained within a specific release package of a design project.
From the Manufacturing Portal, switch between Fabrication and Assembly views to interact with those elements through the Web Review interface:
Fabrication - the PCB fabrication view applies the Web Review interface to show a 2D rendering of the board layout. Standard review features include Layer Visibility selection, Comment markup, object search and object property data.
Assembly - the PCB assembly view applies the Web Review interface to show a 3D rendering of the board layout. The view may be zoomed, panned and angled to provide a realistic graphical view into the PCB and its constituent objects.
Web Review Features
The Web Review interface offers a range of integrated capabilities that allow detailed access to the design's data and layout. Other features such as the Comments system communicate directly, and in real-time, with Altium Designer.
Setting the Interface Theme
The Web Review interface offers a choice of two GUI themes - Dark (which is the theme applied by default) and Light. Switch themes from the interface's settings menu - accessed by clicking the control, at the top-right.
Switch the shell look and feel for the interface by choosing from one of two themes. The Dark theme (shown) is enabled by default. Hover over the image to see the Light theme.
Choosing a Variant
When using the Web Review interface to inspect the design project source (either the source project or a release from it), if that project includes defined variants, you will be able to inspect them too. The control for doing so can be found to the right of the active page title, in the banner of the interface. By default, this will be set to [No Variations] - presenting the base design.
Accessing the control to choose a variant of the design.
Choose a defined variant from the list of all variants defined for the project - the view will update to reflect that variant, including the visual options enabled for not fitted components.
The interface caters for variants. By default, the base design ([No Variations]) will be presented (shown here). Use the highlighted control to switch to a different variant (hover over the image to see an example).
If you have many variants defined for the project, use the filter field at the top of the list to quickly get to the required variant - the list will dynamically filter as you type.
The interface's Navigator pane on the left allows the selection of a project design document for display and analysis. All schematic source documents and PCB document(s) are presented.
Use the control - in the interface's left-hand border - to collapse/expand the Navigator pane.
The Navigator pane presents the schematic and PCB documents for your design project and is where you come to select which document to analyze next.
Click on a document entry to have it loaded within the main viewing area of the interface. If the project contains a sizeable number of documents, use the filter field at the top of the pane to quickly get to the required document - the list will dynamically filter as you type.
The document being actively inspected is reflected in the interface's banner, which presents in the form:
Web Review - <Project> - <ActiveDocument> - <ActiveVariant>
The <ActiveVariant> part will only present if the project indeed has defined variants.
To navigate within the design document display:
Hold the right mouse button and drag to pan.
Use the mouse wheel to zoom.
Select the icon in the interface's banner to fit the document within the window.
When viewing a PCB in 3D mode hold the left mouse button and drag to alter the viewing angle.
When inspecting a PCB document, click the control (in the interface's banner) to switch to the 3D view of the board. To switch back to viewing the board in 2D, click the control.
A PCB document is, by default, presented in 2D viewing mode, as shown here. Using the highlighted control you can quickly switch to 3D viewing mode. Hover over the image to see the result and the highlighted control that can be used to take you back to 2D viewing mode again.
If you Ctrl+click on a document entry in the Navigator pane, that document will open in a new instance (and on a new tab) of the Web Review interface. This instance will be a standalone instance.
In-Document Navigation of Design Hierarchy
When inspecting a schematic document that is part of a hierarchical design project, the rendered document display itself can provide interactive navigation between the levels in the project structure hierarchy:
Double-click on a sheet symbol object to load the target schematic document (hover over the image to see the result).
Double-click on a sheet entry object within a sheet symbol to be taken to the corresponding port on the target child schematic below (hover over the image to see the result).
Double-click on a port object to be taken to the corresponding sheet entry of the sheet symbol in the parent schematic above (hover over the image to see the result).
Hover the mouse over any object to see a pop-up information summary, or hints for optional actions.
The Web Review interface supports cross-probing between schematic and PCB documents. This functionality, which is enabled by default, can be controlled from the interface's settings menu - accessed by clicking the control, at the top-right.
Cross-probing only works provided the relevant source and target documents are both open in separate Web Review instances (on separate browser tabs). It can be useful to have the browser tabs separated and docked side by side on your desktop. In addition, the PCB Viewing mode must be 2D.
Click to select an object on a schematic source document to have the corresponding object selected on the PCB document, and vice-versa. The following are examples:
Schematic Part <--------> PCB Component
Schematic Pin <--------> PCB Pad
Schematic net (e.g. click a Wire/Port/Power Port) <--------> PCB net (selects all track in that net)
The relevant object(s) on the target document will be zoomed and centered (where possible) within the main viewing area of the interface.
An example of cross-probing in action. Here, the part U3 is selected on a source schematic document. Hover over the image to see the result of the cross-probe, whereby the corresponding component U3 is selected on the PCB document.
The last object you choose is the one displayed/highlighted. Cross-probe filtering is not cumulative.
Along with hover summary information associated with a selected design object (when viewing a schematic), the Web Review interface also provides a more comprehensive data listing for that selected object in its Properties pane, which is presented on the right-hand side.
Use the control - in the interface's right-hand border - to collapse/expand the Properties pane.
The Properties pane presents a detailed listing of the properties for the currently selected object.
When viewing the properties for a selected part on a source schematic document, you can switch to viewing all of that part's pins by clicking the control, at the top of the panel.
For a selected schematic part, switch between viewing the part's properties, and its pins.
When viewing a PCB document, getting at an object can sometimes be a little tricky. The Web Review interface provides a couple of features to help you with this:
Collocated Objects - where objects overlay each other, such as when they occupy the same 2D space on different layers, clicking on the layout will open a listing of collocated objects so the desired object may be selected. As you move the mouse over an entry in the list, the potential object is highlighted, so that you can see exactly what will be selected.
Where objects are collocated, use the pop-up list of objects to choose the right one. As you move the cursor over the list, the potential selection will highlight in the main view.
Layer Visibility - click the control to open the list of PCB layers used in the board design. Click on a layer entry in the list to toggle its visibility. To quickly toggle visibility for all layers On or Off, use the Toggle all Layers entry at the top of the list.
Toggle layer visibility to get at the object(s) you need. Here, getting at components for this project is made easier by enabling the display of just the relevant Courtyard layer.
The Web Review interface includes an advanced search capability that can be used to find any object in the design, including objects with a specific parameter. This is performed from the Search pane - which is presented on the left-hand side.
Use the control - in the interface's left-hand border - to collapse/expand the Search pane.
The Search pane facilitates powerful searching of your design project to find any object contained on a source schematic or the PCB.
Notes on working with the search feature:
Click in the search field to see a list of object types that are included in a search.
Select an entry from the list of object types to include it as a prefix in your search string, and therefore constrain the search results to just that object type.
As you type within the search field, a dynamic listing of matching objects will be presented below. Each entry in the results list highlights the matching string, what type of object it is (along with an accompanying icon), and on which document it resides. The total number of objects found, based on the current search string, will be indicated below the field.
Use the pane's and controls to switch the search scope between all project documents and just the active document.
Click an entry in the results list to zoom to the selected object. If the object does not reside on the active document (the document currently being viewed), its parent document will be opened automatically, and will become the active document.
The Web Review interface supports commenting of your design documents. Comments correspond to, and interact with, the Comments system in Altium Designer. A comment is a user-added note that is assigned to a specific area, object or point on a schematic or PCB document, and may be replied to by other users. Comments promote collaboration between users without altering the project itself, or its constituent documents, because comments are stored by Altium Concord Pro independently of the design project. Comments are accessed through the Active Comments pane.
Use the control - in the interface's right-hand border - to collapse/expand the Active Comments pane. This pane can be opened concurrently with the Properties pane.
Example comments overlayed on a child schematic sheet of a managed project. The Active Comments pane reflects all comments for the sheet.
A comment markup, which defines where or what the comment note applies to, is added by selecting one of the available types from their respective controls located in the banner area of the interface:
Comment on object - click the control and then click on an object on the active document being reviewed (schematic or PCB) to automatically create a comment area that applies to that object.
Comment on area - click the control and then hold the left mouse button and drag to define an area that the comment will apply to.
Freehand comment - click the control and then use the mouse to draw line shapes on the schematic. Hold the left mouse button and drag to create a freehand line, and then repeat as needed.
When a markup has been placed, a comment icon () will appear next to it in the view and a blank text window will open in the Active Comments pane, ready for your comment note. Type your comment, then click the button beneath. The comment will be committed, appearing in the pane. Back in the document view, the comment icon will become linked to the markup by a reference line.
Hover over a comment icon () to access a pop-up with information showing the original comment that started the thread, the date and time on which that first comment was made, and an indicator of how many comments are currently in the thread.
Comments applied in the Web Review interface become available in Altium Designer, and vice-versa, and all changes to comments are reflected in both spaces.
Any comments made through the Web Review interface will appear directly in Altium Designer.
The following points relate to working with comments and the Web Review interface's Active Comments pane:
When a comment is added, it is seen instantly by all other users that have that same managed project and document open - either in a Web Review instance, or in their Altium Designer instance.
The Active Comments pane will track the entire thread of a specific comment, whereas only the first comment in that thread is displayed in the document view - hover the cursor over the comment icon () to see this.
Within a comment thread on the Active Comments pane, the latest reply is always added to the bottom of that thread. Where multiple comment threads are present in a document, the latest thread is presented at the top of the panel.
The active/selected comment on the Active Comments pane is highlighted. In the document view, the markup that is the focus of the active/selected comment is zoomed and centered in the view (where applicable). For an object or area type comment, its markup area color becomes a darker shade. For a freehand comment markup, a bounding box is placed around it.
You can move a comment around in the document view, only in terms of the location of its associated comment icon (). The initial defined markup cannot be modified. The reference line extends from that markup to the comment icon.
To reply to a comment, select that comment in the Active Comments pane and click the button. Type your text in the field provided, then click the control to commit. To exit without replying, click the control.
A comment can be edited or deleted, through the pane only, using the and controls respectively, that present once the comment is selected. Note that these controls will only be available for a comment that you yourself have made - you cannot edit or remove a comment made by another user. If you edit an existing comment, type your text in the field provided, then click the control to commit. To exit without replying, either click the control.
Resolving and Reopening Comments
To resolve a comment, select it, then click the drop-down arrow of the button, and choose the Resolve option from the menu. The comment will be removed from the Active Comments pane and the document view.
Resolving a comment essentially closes it, removing it from both the Active Comments pane and document view.
Resolved comments can still be displayed on the Active Comments pane. To do so, click the control at the top-right of the pane, and switch from Active to Resolved in the Comments section. All comments that have previously been resolved will be displayed on the pane. You also have the ability to resurrect comments that have been resolved. To do so, click the button associated to a resolved comment you want to bring back. The comment will be reinstated, both on the Active Comments pane and in the document view.
Accessing previously resolved comments, and reinstating (re-opening) a resolved comment.
Comment Viewing Scope
The Active Comments pane can display only the comments associated with the active document, or all comments, across all schematic and PCB documents in the managed project. To do so, click the control at the top-right of the pane, and switch between Project and Document in the Context section.
Example showing the ability to switch context between viewing comments for the active document only (left), and all comments across the source documents in the project (right).
If you are viewing comments across the entire project, bear in mind that if you click on a comment that is not associated with the active document being viewed, the document on which that comment was made will automatically be opened, and made the active document in the view.
Controlling Comment Display in the Main Document View
Visibility of comments in the document view can be controlled directly from the Active Comments pane. To do so, click the control at the top-right of the pane, and switch between Visible and Hidden in the Visibility on canvas section.
Controlling the visibility of comments on the document view.
The Web Review interface provides the ability to view any ERC and DRC reports that have been generated for the design project from within Altium Designer. This is performed from the Reports pane - which is presented on the left-hand side.
Use the control - in the interface's left-hand border - to collapse/expand the Reports pane.
The Reports pane facilitates viewing of ERC and DRC reports generated for the project through Altium Designer. Shown here is an example ERC report. Hover over the image to see an example DRC report.
Use the controls at the top of the pane to switch between the two report types:
ERC Reports - the pane will present the results from the last time the project was compiled in Altium Designer, listing any compiler violations detected. Violations are grouped by type, and the following color-coding is used:
- Fatal Error
- No Report
Expand a type to see the individual violations. Hover over an entry to see the full violation as a tool tip.
DRC Reports - the pane will present the results from the last time a batch DRC was run for the PCB document in Altium Designer, listing any violations detected. Click on an entry in the list to have the offending object(s) zoomed and centered (where possible) within the document view. If the PCB document is not the currently active document, it will be made so automatically.
If the project contains a sizeable number of violations, use the filter field at the top of the pane to quickly get to the required violation - the list will dynamically filter as you type.
Ensure that you are viewing the reports for the project () rather than for the active document ().
Updating with New Data
When using the Web Review interface to inspect the documents of the latest source project (not a release of it), the data will update automatically whenever the project is committed back to the design repository in Altium Concord Pro. Notification will appear within the interface shortly after the commital. Once the new data has been generated, click the button to update the view with that latest data set.
If you make changes to the design, then the Web Review interface will automatically detect and make the new data available to you open, once those changes have been committed back to the design repository in Concord Pro.
Logging Out of the Interface
The settings menu of the Web Review interface - accessed by clicking the control, at the top-right - offers a Log out command. Note that if you are using the Web Review interface through the Design view of the Projects Management page of Concord Pro's browser interface, you will be logged out of the browser interface entirely.