Altium Designer Documentation

Folder Structure Settings

Created: July 28, 2015 | Updated: June 17, 2017

   

The Advanced and Basic versions of the Folder Structure settings dialog

Summary

This dialog allows the user to manage and configure the properties of the folder structure of generated files.

Access

The Folder Structure settings dialog is accessed by right-clicking on a Folder Structure in the Output Containers region of an OutJob file, then choosing Properties

When this dialog is first accessed, the Basic version will open; click Advanced to open the Advanced version of the dialog.

Options/Controls

Output Management

Use this region to setup the location for this output container. You can specify a base path, include a folder related to the container, and specify the container's file name. 

  • Release Managed - click to open a pop-up in which you can specify folder management.

  • Release Managed - select to make the file available to the PCB release system.
  • Manually Managed - select to set the file to be manually managed and stored in a local folder. 
  • File Location textbox - click  to browse for a target folder for the file. This option is available only when Manually Managed is selected. 
  • Use relative path - enable this option to use a relative path in the File Location textbox. This option is available only when Manually Managed is selected. 
  • Done - click to complete the configuration.
  • None - click to open a pop-up in which you can configure the container folder.

  • Do not include any container folder - select to not include a container folder.
  • [Container Name] (Folder Structure) - select to use Folder Structure as the folder name.
  • [Container Type] (Generated Files) - select to use Generated Files as the folder type.
  • Custom Folder Name - select to customize the folder name. Click the drop-down arrow to open a list from where you can choose a naming string for the folder. You can also directly enter the folder name in the textbox. 
  • Done - click to complete the configuration.
  • Output Type - click to open a pop-up to configure the output folder. 

  • Do not include any output folder - select to not include an output folder.
  • Output Name - select to use the output name as the output folder name.
  • Output Type - select to use the output type.
  • Custom prefix_[Output Type] - select this option to specify a custom prefix in the textbox.
  • Custom Folder Name - select to customize the folder name. Click the drop-down arrow to open a list from where you can choose a naming string. You can also directly enter the custom name in the textbox.
  • Done - click to complete the configuration.
  • Output Name - click to open a pop-up in which you can configure the output file name.

  • Use standard output file name - select to use a standard output file name.
  • Use custom output file name - select to use a custom output file name. Click the drop-down arrow to open a list from where you can choose a naming string. You can also directly enter the custom name in the textbox.
  • Done - click to complete the configuration.
  • Preview - this region shows a preview of the folder structure. As changes are made in the above pop-up dialogs, the preview window is updated so you can immediately see how your changes affect the folder structure. 

Advanced Version Commands

Output Options

  • Open generated outputs - enable to open the outputs after generation.
  • Add generated files to project - enable to add the generated files to your project. The files will appear in the Projects panel under the Generated sub-folder.
  • Use the Output Name as the file name instead of the default - enable to use the specified output name rather than a default name. 
  • Timestamp folder - enable to create a timestamp folder. The date and time will be in the same format as your system settings.

CAMtastic Auto-Load Options

Enable the following output types if you want to auto-load the related outputs into CAMtastic. The enabled output types will be auto-loaded into a new CAMtastic document whenever a batch generation is performed. 

  • ODB++ Output
  • Gerber Output
  • NC Drill Output
  • IPC-356-D Output
Once the above options are defined they will persist. This means that the next time you run the Output Generators, the resulting output would be loaded into another new CAM Editor document. If you wish to be able to update only the existing CAM document, enable the Reset auto-load options after generation option. This results in the clearance (disabling) of all auto-load options after the initial generation. You can then gain access to the CAM Editor's Rescan and Reload commands (in the CAMtastic panel which is available whenever a *.Cam document is active), which perform time-stamp comparison of generated and existing (imported) files and loading of data into existing layers, respectively.
  • Reset auto-load option after generation - enable to reset the auto-load option after generation of outputs. 

Advanced/Basic

 Click to toggle between the Advanced and Basic versions of the dialog.

Setting up Folder Structure

Setting up the folder structure is the same in either the Folder Structure settings dialog or PDF settings dialog. In the dialog, click in the first region to open a drop-down. Select (Release Managed) or (Manually Managed). If (Manually Managed) is selected, you can either search for the desired folder or enter the desired name in the textbox.

  

Naming the folder Output.

Select the other folder names in the same way, clicking each region and using the drop-down to specify the folder name, etc. 

Setting the Custom Folder Name to =OutputName.

In the following image, the output and folder naming works as follows:

  • The outputs are stored in a manually named folder called Output.
  • The Containing Folder (the folder for all outputs from the Jobs allocated to the output container currently being configured) is named from the Variant that is being used to generate the outputs. In this example it is Bluetooth Deluxe1.
  • The Output Folders (the folder for the individual outputs) are named from the designer-defined Name of each job. In this example, it is Bluetooth_Example.
  • The individual outputs are named using a concatenation of the ProjectName, the VariantName and the value of a Variant Parameter. In this example, the Variant Parameter is named VarRevNo.

Expression-based names can be defined when custom output file names are generated.

Concatentation Rules

The user-defined output name is built up by concatenating the required elements. The concatenation process obeys the following rules:

Element Function Example Returns
= (equals) Indicates that the following string is an expression that must be interpreted. =ProjectName DB31 for the example Altium Designer project named DB31.PrjPcb
+ (plus) Used to concatenate the elements required in the output name. =ProjectName + '-' + ProjectRevision + '.PDF' DB31-07.PDF for the example Altium Designer project named DB31.PrjPcb
' ' (single quotes) Used to include a fixed string anywhere within the output name. Illegal characters are listed below. ='AcmeEngineering' +_+ ProjectName + '.PDF' AcmeEngineering_DB31.PDF for the example Altium Designer project named DB31.PrjPcb

Illegal Characters and Syntax Errors

The following characters are not permitted in user-defined output names:

< > : " \ | ? *

If there is a syntax error in an expression, for example an unbalanced quote such as =ProjectName+.PDF' instead of =ProjectName+'.PDF', this will give the result #NAME. When you see this, look carefully for missing quotes or invalid or mistyped special strings.

Supported Parameters

User-defined Project-level parameters and variant parameters are supported. Project parameters are defined in the Parameters tab of the Options for Project dialog (Project » Project Options). Variant parameters can be defined for each variant in the Variant Management dialog (Project » Variants).

Parameter names cannot include spaces. For example, the parameter PartNumber can be used, however, the parameter Part Number can not.

Supported Special Strings

Special Strings is the term used in Altium Designer to define interpreted strings. Most of these strings can be interpreted on-screen by placing a text string with a value of =SpecialStringName, for example =CurrentDate. They are always interpreted during output generation.

Currently supported Special Strings that can be used in Output filenames include:

Special String Returns
CurrentDate The current date, as retrieved from the Operating System, in the ISO 8601 format yyyy-mm-dd. Example: 2016-01-25
CurrentTime The current time, as retrieved from the Operating System, in the format hh_mm. Example: 14_55.
DataSource The Data Source used for this Output in the Output Job file.
OutputName The user-defined name of this Output in the Output Job file. Only functions when the Separate File for Each Output option is selected in the Output file naming settings.
ProjectName Displays the actual name of the project, excluding the extension.           
VariantName The name of an assembly variant defined for this project in the Variant Management dialog. The value used depends on the Variant chosen in the Output Job for the Output whose filename is being defined.
ProjectParameterName The value of the Project Parameter named <ProjectParameterName>.
VariantParameterName The value of the Variant Parameter named <VariantParameterName>.

Naming Collated Output Files

For collated output files, only those special strings that are not restricted to a specific output can be used. For example OutputName cannot be used for a collated output file as it applies to a specific output in the Output Job file. VariantName and DataSource also cannot be used. Use of one of these special strings in a collated output file will result in the actual string being used as the filename.

If the expression fails to be analyzed, save, close and reopen the Output Job file to refresh the expression analysis engine.

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