Text Frame

Now reading version 1.1. For the latest, read: Text Frame 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.


Parent page: Schematic Objects

 A placed Text Frame

A placed Text Frame


A text frame is a non-electrical drawing primitive that is used to define an area on a schematic to contain textual information. The frame is a re-sizeable rectangular area that can contain multiple lines of text and can automatically wrap and clip text to keep it within the bounds of the frame.


Text frames are available for placement in both the Schematic and Schematic Library editor using the following commands:

  • Choose Place » Text Frame from the main menus.
  • Click the Text Frame button () in the graphic objects drop-down on the Active Bar located at the top of the workspace. (Click and hold an Active Bar button to access other related commands. Once a command has been used, it will become the top-most item on that section of the Active Bar.)
  • Right-click in the workspace then choose Place » Text Frame from the context menu.
  • Click the  button on the Utility Tools drop-down ( ) of the Utilities toolbar.


After launching the command, the cursor will change to a cross-hair and you will enter text frame placement mode. Placement is made by performing the following sequence of actions:

  1. Position the cursor and click or press Enter to anchor the first corner of the text frame.
  2. Move the cursor to adjust the size of the text frame then click or press Enter to complete placement.
  3. Continue placing further text frames or right-click or press Esc to exit placement mode.

Additional actions that can be performed during placement while the text frame is still floating on the cursor and before its first corner is anchored are:

  • Press the Tab key to pause the placement and access the Text Frame mode of the Properties panel from where its properties can be changed on-the-fly. Click the workspace pause button overlay ( ) to resume placement.
  • Press the Alt key to constrain the direction of movement to the horizontal or vertical axis depending on the initial direction of movement.
  • Press the Spacebar to rotate the text frame counterclockwise or Shift+Spacebar for clockwise rotation. Rotation is in increments of 90°.
  • Press the X or Y keys to mirror the text frame along the X-axis or Y-axis.

While attributes can be modified during placement (Tab to access the Properties panel), keep in mind that these will become the default settings for further placement unless the Permanent option on the Schematic – 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.

Graphical Editing

This method of editing allows you to select a placed text frame object directly in the workspace and change its size, shape or location graphically.

When a text frame object is selected, the following editing handles are available:

 A selected Text Frame.

A selected Text Frame.

  • Click and drag A to resize the text frame in the vertical and horizontal directions simultaneously.
  • Click and drag B to resize the text frame in the vertical and horizontal directions separately.
  • Click anywhere on the text frame away from editing handles then drag to reposition it. While dragging, the text frame can be rotated (Spacebar/Shift+Spacebar) or mirrored (X or Y keys to mirror along the X-axis or Y-axis).

The textual content of a text frame can be edited in-place by:

  1. Single-clicking the text frame to select it.
  2. Single-clicking again (or pressing Enter) to enter the in-place editing mode. Sufficient time between each click should be given to ensure the software does not interpret the two single-clicks as one double-click (which would open the Properties panel).
  3. To finish editing in-place text, either click away from the text frame or press the green tick button (). If you decide the change made is not needed, press the red cross button () to discard the change.
This feature is available only if the Enable In-Place Editing option is enabled on the Schematic - General page of the Preferences dialog.

The available right-click menu provides standard editing commands such as Cut, Copy, Paste, and Delete. In addition, if the Word Wrap option is disabled in the Properties panel, a horizontal scroll bar will also be available when editing the text in place.

Example of in-place editing, with word wrapping enabled (top)
and disabled (bottom).

If attempting to graphically modify an object that has its Locked property enabled, a dialog will appear asking for confirmation to proceed with the edit. If the Protect Locked Objects option is enabled on the Schematic – Graphical Editing page of the Preferences dialog, and the Locked option for that design object is enabled as well, then that object cannot be selected or graphically edited. Click the locked object to select it then disable the Locked property in the List panel or disable the Protect Locked Objects option to graphically edit the object.

Non-Graphical Editing

The following methods of non-graphical editing are available:

Via the Properties Panel

Panel page: Text Frame Properties

This method of editing uses the associated Properties panel mode to modify the properties of a text frame object.

The Text Frame mode of the Properties panelThe Text Frame mode of the Properties panel

During placement, the Text Frame mode of the Properties panel can be accessed by pressing the Tab key.

After placement, the Text Frame mode of the Properties panel can be accessed in one of the following ways:

  • Double-click on the placed text frame object.
  • Place the cursor over the text frame object then right-click and choose Properties from the context menu.
  • If the Properties panel is already active, select the text frame object.
The text frame properties can be accessed prior to entering placement mode from the Schematic – Defaults page of the Preferences dialog. This allows the default properties for the text frame object to be changed, which will be applied when placing subsequent text frames.

Editing Multiple Objects

The Properties panel supports multiple object editing, where the property settings that are identical in all currently selected objects may be modified. When multiples of the same object type are selected manually, via the Find Similar Objects dialog or through a Filter or List panel, a Properties panel field entry that is not shown as an asterisk (*) may be edited for all selected objects.

Wrapping and Clipping Text

In addition to providing a Word Wrap option, the Text Frame mode of the Properties panel provides a Clip to Area option. This option comes into play if word wrapping is disabled. With this option enabled, text will be kept within the bounds of the frame. When disabled, text will spill out of the frame onto the schematic sheet.

Specifying Text Margins

Specify a single value to apply equally to left, top, right, and bottom margins for the current frame using the Text Margin property in the Properties panel.

To benefit from the text margin functionality within the area of the frame, ensure that the Clip to Area option is enabled. Ideally, the Word Wrap option should also be enabled.
Negative margins also are possible by using the minus prefix (-).

When editing text in-place directly within the text frame (as opposed to using the Properties panel), the defined margins are not present. They will be reapplied after editing is complete and the text changes applied.

Via a List Panel

Panel pages: SCH List, SCHLIB List, SCH Filter, SCHLIB Filter

List panel allows you to display design objects from one or more documents in tabular format, enabling quick inspection and modification of object attributes. Used in conjunction with appropriate filtering - by using the applicable Filter panel, or the Find Similar Objects dialog - it enables the display of just those objects falling under the scope of the active filter – allowing you to target and edit multiple design objects with greater accuracy and efficiency.


  1. While text frames can be rotated or mirrored along the X or Y axis, this has no effect on the orientation of the text within.
  2. For simple one line text annotations, consider using the Text String object.


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