Altium NEXUS Documentation

PlaceString

Modified by Susan Riege on Jul 16, 2018

Parent page: PCB Commands

The following pre-packaged resource, derived from this base command, is available:


Applied Parameters: UpdateCaption=False

Summary

This command is used to place a String object onto the active document. A string is a primitive design object. It places text on the selected layer in a variety of display styles and formats, including popular barcoding standards. As well as user-defined text, a special type of string referred to as a special string, can be used to display board or system information, or the value of user-parameters on the board.

In addition, true multi-line text support simplifies the task of adding substantial sections of text into PCB layouts, such as that often included to provide technical, mechanical, and assembly notes on board mechanical layers.

For detailed information about this object type, see String.

Access

This command can be accessed from the PCB Editor and the PCB Library Editor by:

  • Choosing the Place » String command from the main menus.
  • Locating and using the String command () on the Active Bar.
  • Clicking the  button on the Wiring toolbar (PCB Editor) and the PCB Lib Placement toolbar (PCB Library Editor).
  • Right-clicking in the workspace then choosing the Place » String command from the context menu.

Use

After launching the command, the cursor will change to a cross-hair and you will enter string placement mode. A string will appear "floating" on the cursor:

  1. Position the cursor then click or press Enter to place a string.
  2. Continue placing further strings or right-click or press Esc to exit placement mode.
Press the Tab key to access the Properties panel, from where properties for the string can be changed on-the-fly. Pressing Tab pauses placement, allowing you to interact with the panel (or other area of the software) directly. To resume, click the pause symbol that appears over the workspace, or press Esc.

Additional actions that can be performed during placement are:

  • Press the Spacebar to rotate the string counterclockwise or Shift+Spacebar for clockwise rotation. Rotation is in accordance with the value for the Rotation Step defined on the PCB Editor – General page of the Preferences dialog.
  • Press the X or Y keys to mirror the string along the X-axis or Y-axis respectively.
  • Press the L key to flip the string to the other side of the board.
  • Press the + and - keys (on the numeric keypad) to cycle forward and backward through all visible layers in the design respectively, to change placement layer quickly.
While attributes can be modified during placement (Tab to bring up the Properties panel), keep in mind that these will become the default settings for further placement unless the Permanent option on the PCB Editor – Defaults 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.

Tips

  1. The default text for a newly-placed string object is String. Once placed (unless changed before or during placement), change this text as required using the text entry window when viewing the properties for the string through the Properties panel. Keep in mind that text will not be automatically wrapped, so all text entered on the same line will appear on that single line only. To add a new line, use the Shift+Enter keyboard shortcut while in the text entry window.
  2. While string objects can be used to place user-defined text on the current PCB layer, it is not just user-defined text that can be placed. To assist in producing documentation, the concept of "special strings" is used. These act as placeholders for design, system or user information that is to be displayed on the PCB at the time of output generation:
    1. A special string is denoted by the string starting with a . (dot) character (e.g. .Layer_Name, .Net_Count, etc).  If a string starts with ".", the entire string is treated as a 'special' string. This syntax is also used when referencing a user-parameter, the parameter name is preceeded by the "." (dot) character.
    2. There is a default set of predefined special strings provided for use with new PCB documents. You can also add your own custom special strings by defining additional parameters at the project-level; these parameters are defined in the Parameters Tab of the Options for Project dialog.
    3. To include more than one string in a 'special' string, use apostrophe ( ' ) to enclose each string. Example:  '.PcbDoc' '.PcbName'.
    4. Spaces and/or special characters can also be used inside 'special' strings. Example: '.PcbDoc #1'.
    5. To use a special string on a PCB, place a string object and access the properties for the string through the Properties panel. Clear the text entry window, then click the  button - a list of special strings you can use will pop-up.
    6. The values of some special strings can only be viewed when the relevant output is generated. Most special strings can be viewed directly on-screen however.
  3. Three Stroke-based fonts are available – Default, Sans Serif and Serif. The Default style is a simple vector font which supports pen plotting and vector photoplotting. The Sans Serif and Serif fonts are more complex and will slow down vector output generation, such as Gerber.
  4. When using TrueType fonts, TrueType and OpenType (a superset of TrueType) fonts found in the \Windows\Fonts folder will be available for use. The feature also offers full Unicode support. Note that only detected (and uniquely named) root fonts will be available for use. For example, Arial and Arial Black would be available but Arial Bold, Arial Bold Italic would not.
  5. The ability to place barcode symbols directly onto a PCB on any layer is provided allowing barcodes to be easily imprinted on a PCB as part of the manufacturing process. To use a Barcode font, set the Font Type (in the Properties panel) to BarCode, and define the display options as required. BarCode ISO Code 39 (US Dept of Defense standard) and Code 128 (global trade identification standard) are supported and the actual text string that the barcode is derived from can also be displayed.

 

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