Manufacturer Part Search Panel

Now reading version 2.1. For the latest, read: Manufacturer Part Search Panel for version 4

This documentation page references Altium NEXUS/NEXUS Client (part of the deployed NEXUS solution), which has been discontinued. All your PCB design, data management and collaboration needs can now be delivered by Altium Designer and a connected Altium 365 Workspace. Check out the FAQs page for more information.


The fundamental design task of searching for and choosing the most suitable component parts for PCB designs can be performed in a single, advanced panel available from within Altium NEXUS – the Manufacturer Part Search panel. As a replacement for the Part Search panel, the Manufacturer Part Search panel offers a sophisticated search feature based on categories and parametric filtering that allows you to zero in on the exact manufactured components you need, and also select a preferred supplier of that physical part based on cost and availability.

Panel Access

To open the Manufacturer Part Search panel, select View » Panels » Manufacturer Part Search from the main menu or the Manufacturer Part Search option from the button menu at the lower right of the main screen. When vertically docked, use the  to toggle the panel layout between full screen (wide) mode and its narrow docked mode.

The panel harnesses the manufacturer and supplier data resources of the Altium Parts Provider service to source the most pertinent and up to date component data. A selected manufactured part can be downloaded as a library or acquired to a managed content server, or its parameters and datasheets added to an existing part in the design space. The preferred supplier(s) of that manufactured part may also be selected and added, as Supplier Link parameters, to an existing design part.

Each listed manufacturer part in the panel is associated with a colored stripe tag that indicates its fundamental suitability for use, based on the part's deduced Lifecycle state – for example, a component flagged as Obsolete (red) is not recommended over one rated for Volume Production (green). Hover over a colored stripe to see its Manufacturer Lifecycle state.

► See Interpreting Lifecycle in BOM Management for more information.

Manufacturer and Supplier Data

The panel’s advanced search engine allows it to be used in a straightforward search mode, by entering a query in the main Search field, or in its advanced parametric mode by progressively refining the search criteria using component type category choices and smart Filters – or indeed, by using both capabilities together.

Click the icon to show or hide the Filters pane, and use the selection options in the categories drop down menu ( ) to restrict the list to a particular component type.

When using the parametric search options, which is ideal for researching suitable manufactured parts for a design, the panel's filter options will dynamically adapt to the most relevant parameter choices based on the existing category/Filters selections. This allows you to quickly narrow the listed choices to the most suitable manufactured parts, which in turn are ordered by a combination of model availability, supplier stocks and price. Note that multiple options may be selected for a given (checkbox-based) filter attribute, and the filters also include unit-aware (text to number) search options for specifying a range of acceptable parameter values.

The currently selected filter options are shown above the parts list and may be removed (via their associated X icon) to modify the active search filtering. Similarly, individual choices in the Filters list may be removed by unchecking an entry or deselecting an option button.

Component entries listed with an associated symbol are matched to a corresponding Managed Component in the Altium Content Vault, and are therefore ready to be placed in a design.

To restrict the listing to those components that have associated model data, select the Yes option for the Has Model parameter in the Filters pane.

A selected manufacturer part in the list is summarized by its column data, where all available parameter columns are active by default.  Within the component listing, the content that is included may be managed by:

  • setting the component listing sort order – Click a column heading to sort the component listing by that column data. Click the heading again to reverse the sort order.
  • setting the order of the displayed columns – Drag and drop a column heading to a new position.
  • specifying which parameter columns are shown – Right click in a column header and choose Select Columns to open the Select Columns dialog, then toggle a parameter column’s visibility and move its positional order with the Up/Down buttons.
  • filtering the listing by a specific column entry – Select the     icon in a column header to display a list of its unique parameter entries, then select one or more entries to constrain the listed components to those that include the specified parameter (eg: the Case/Package code). Select the All option to reset the filter.

Parts with associated models are ready for use in designs and may be attained by:

  • downloading the selected component(s) to a zipped Integrated Library Package – click the button in the Details area, or select the Download option on the entry’s right click context menu.
  • acquiring the selected component(s) to a local managed content server – choose the Acquire option from the button menu, or select the Acquire option on the entry’s right click context menu.

Parts located through the panel are normally downloaded or acquired and then reused in designs as library components or Managed Components. Alternatively, a part may be placed in an active design directly from the panel using the Place option in the right click menu or button menu. Note that with this approach however, the placed component’s data source will be the Altium Content Vault rather than your own library/server.

Supplier data

Each part entry in the list also includes a link to the online manufacturer's data, and a link to a tabular list of supplier choices – again ordered by their price/availability suitability.

The supplier entries provide a snapshot of the current (live) stock level, pricing and supplier part number. Right click on a supplier cell to add the associated Supplier Link to a component part in the schematic editor, via the mouse cursor (Add Supplier Link to Part). The alternative Add Supplier Link and Parameters to Part option also adds all parameters for that manufacturer component to the schematic part.

Use the panel’s button (top right) to set supplier data options such as specifying the displayed Currency and restricting the supplier cells to those that contain valid data. When the Exclude invalid SPNs option is checked, only cells that show suitable Stock levels and up-to-date data are included.

When a Schematic Library is the active document, drag and drop a Supplier cell onto an entry in the SCH Library panel, or onto the editor space, to add that component Supplier Link. Alternatively, right click on the Supplier cell to add the link and/or the part parameters to the component selected in the SCH Library panel, or choose the Import into... option to add that component data as a new library entry.

Right-click Menu

  • Place - use to place a part in the active design.
  • Download - use to download the selected component(s) to a zipped Integrated Library Package.
  • Acquire - use to acquire (save) the selected component(s) to a local managed content server.


  • Submit Request - use to access the active part request process definitions. If no active process definitions are available for the Part Requests process theme, the Submit Request button will be grayed out (not available). You may need to sign out of the server and back in again or restart Altium NEXUS to refresh.
  • Find Similar - use to find similar parts located in the server.
  • Refresh - use to refresh the panel's contents. 
  • Copy - use to copy all or selected parameter data as a tab-delimited text list.
  • Copy With Header - use to copy and paste the selected component into an external spreadsheet such as Microsoft Excel.
  • Select Columns - use to open the Select columns dialog to choose which columns to show or hide in the panel.
  • Preferences - click to open the Data Management - Parts Providers page of the Preferences dialog to configure parts providers.

Part Details

Full details of the selected manufacturer part, including models if available, are presented in the panel’s Details section pane – on the right in the panel’s full screen mode. Use the panel's  button (top right) to toggle the visibility of the Details pane.

The information and options presented in this section depend on the available component data, where a part may be downloaded, acquired or placed ( menu) if associated models are available, and datasheets viewed from the menu or from the pane's Datasheets list.


The drop down menu offers options to Acquire the component to an available managed content server (via the Create new component dialog and Component Editor) or Download the component locally as a Integrated Library Package in a zip archive. Alternatively, if models are not available for the selected component – it cannot be matched as a manufacturer part in the Altium Content Vault – the Part Request option is offered (if enabled at a server level).

Select multiple part entries to download or acquire those parts in a single session. The Download option will include all selected components in the saved Integrated Library Package, while the Acquire option will open the components for processing in the Component Editor’s batch mode. Right click on a selected component entry to access the Download or Acquire command.

Further options in the part Details section include:

  • Add selected parameters to a schematic component part using mouse cursor targeting (drag and drop, or from right click menu).
  • Copy all or selected parameter data as a tab delimited text list – right click menu options.
  • View alternative part suggestions in a list ordered by a suitability rating (Alternatives), where each entry links to its online part data.
  • Select multiple component entries to enable the data comparison feature, where the parameter differences between the selected parts are highlighted as red text.

Data Sources

The search engine behind the Manufacturer Part Search panel will source parts data from the Altium Parts Provider service – available when its extension is installed and enabled through the Extension and Updates view – and where possible, access matching schematic, PCB and Sim models from the Altium Content Vault.  The match between a part listed in the Manufacturer Part Search panel and models from the content server is based on the manufacturer name and the manufacturer part number. In an Altium server, this is determined by the Part Choices associated with a managed component part.

Parts data may also be sourced from a local company parts database if this has been configured as a Custom Database Parts Provider in a connected managed content server.

In the example shown below, models from the Altium Content Vault are sourced by the panel because that particular LED component can be found in the content server, based on its Part Choices entry. All other data is sourced live from the Altium Parts Provider, giving you the latest Manufacturer and Supplier information for the selected component.

Since the selected component is available as an Altium Managed Component (indicated by its associated symbol), it is ready to be downloaded or acquired to your local component resources.

Parameter data

When a component part is Downloaded/Acquired from the Manufacturer Part Search panel the component data (both models and parameters) are sourced from the Altium Content Vault. In practice, the found component is matched to an Altium Managed Component, which will include its parameters when placed.

As an adjunct to this, the panel offers a rich source of parameter data with each part entry, courtesy of the Altium Parts Provider service – see the parameter list in the selected part Details section. These parameters represent the current manufacturer data for that part, and therefore relevant, up to date information that can be added to a component in a library/server or board design.

For example, use the right-click menu in the panel's parameters list to add selected parameters to a schematic component, or choose the Add Supplier Link and Parameters to Part option (as outlined above) when adding supplier data to a component. Note that parameters sourced from the panel are added to the schematic component's existing parameters.

Part Search dialogs

The search engine and view used in the Manufacturer Part Search panel is also applied in other Altium NEXUS applications where component data is sourced. The Part Search functionality is included in these (modal) dialogs, along with an OK confirmation button and minor variations in the available action commands.

Manufacturer Part Choices:

Supplier Links:


Compare Feature

The Compare feature allows you to compare parameters of two selected parts. This feature is accessed by selecting two parts in the grid region with the  icon enabled (blue). The Selected Part Details region opens to the right of the grid region. The upper region (region 1 in the image below) displays the selected parts side-by-side. Click the Datasheet button to open the manufacturer's datasheet (if available) for the associated component. 

The lower region (region 2 in the image below) displays a side-by-side view of the components' parameters, with differences highlighted in red text for easy comparison.

The Compare feature and functionality is also available in the Components panel
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