Parent page: Working with Items
You can navigate the content in a Workspace in several ways:
The content of the selected folder will be shown in the Items region of the panel.
For each Item revision in a Workspace, the Explorer panel allows you to browse different aspects of that revision, where applicable. This is done using one or more views for that revision by using the tabs at the bottom of the panel.
The default-level view is the Preview. Click additional tabs to view more information (the available tabs will depend upon the type of Item that is currently selected):
Browse different aspects of an Item revision using its associated views.
Further improving the usability of Workspaces, the Explorer panel supports clickable URLs. This functionality can be found in a variety of relevant areas, including:
- Clicking on a component parameter whose value is a URL, opening the target page in an external web browser.
- Clicking on a URL in the supply chain data for a component, opening the target page in an external web browser.
- Clicking on a document in the Released Documents region – from the Preview aspect view tab for a revision of a PCB Fabrication Data Item, PCB Assembly Data Item, or PCB Project Design Item – to open that document.
For a released component in a Workspace, the Preview aspect view tab presents a region for that component's parameters. For a parameter whose value is a URL – such as a datasheet, package specification, or manufacturer's website - click the URL to open it in an external web browser.
Example clickable Parameter URLs on the Preview aspect view tab for a Component Item in the Explorer panel.
Each released component in a Workspace can have defined supply chain data, in the form of Part Choices. These are presented on the Part Choices aspect view tab. The actual supply chain intelligence is sourced from the Workspace's local Part Catalog and the relevant Part Source – either the aggregate parts database of the Altium Parts Provider (which itself interfaces to, and gathers the parts from, enabled Suppliers), or a linked local parts database (a Part Source configured as a Custom Database Parts Provider, and where supported by your specific type of the Workspace). Clickable URLs associated with each part choice are:
- Manufacturer Name and Manufacturer Part Number – a clickable link to the manufacturer site, providing detailed information on that manufacturer part.
- Supplier part number (in an SPN tile) – a clickable link to that part on the supplier's site.
Click a URL to open it in an external browser.
Example clickable URLs associated with a defined Part Choice for a component in the Workspace.
You can configure the revisions that are displayed in the panel by clicking the icon to access a drop-down of revision choices.
- Load all pages – select to load all revisions.
- Show Hidden Revisions – select to show any hidden revisions.
- Show only latest – select to only show the latest revisions.
- View – select whether you'd like to view the items in Classic View or interpreted view (Components View/Project View).
Folder Content Loading
When you click on any folder within the Server Folders structure region of the Explorer panel, only a portion of that folder content will be initially loaded, where applicable to do so. This greatly decreases the folder's initial load time. As you scroll to the end of the initial content, an additional portion of the folder content will be loaded.
Showing Hidden Revisions
Related page: Defining Lifecycle Definitions for a Workspace – Controlling Item Revision Visibility and Applicability
For an Item Revision entering a lifecycle state that has its Visible in Vault panels attribute disabled, that revision will, by default, not be displayed in the Explorer panel. And if it is the latest revision of the Item, then the entire entry for that Item will effectively be hidden from view. This visibility state – defined at the state level – can be overridden globally for all Items.
To display all Item Revisions that are currently not visible, click the control, at the top-right of the Items region of the panel, and enable the Show Hidden Revisions option, on the associated menu.
Displaying hidden Item Revisions while browsing content in the Explorer panel. Hover over the image to see the result.
Showing Only the Latest Item Revisions
Over time, the content in your Workspace may undergo changes as they evolve, with each change resulting in a new revision to accommodate the modified data. When browsing Items, it is typically only the latest revision that is required. All other previous revisions tend to become a level of noise, cluttering the designer's field of view. To alleviate this, the Explorer panel defaults to show only the latest revisions of Items.
To display all revisions of Items in the Explorer panel, click the control at the top-right of the Items region of the panel, and disable the Show only latest option from the associated menu.
By default, the Explorer panel shows only the latest revisions of Items. Hover over the image to see an example of the command disabled.
The panel also offers two special, interpreted views that apply to Components and Projects. The view will automatically switch to this style when a Component or Project is selected unless the panel display option has been changed to the Classic View mode.
The Classic or interpreted view (Component View / Project View) options are available from the view menu when one of the special item types has been selected.
- Classic View – select to show just Items and their Revisions.
- Components View – select to show revisions and interpreted component data. See Component View for more information.
- Project View – select to show a structured graphic version of the project that includes access to Project Release data and project Parameters. See Project View for more information.
Item Revision Comparison
Using the power of Altium Designer's native file format comparison technology, the Workspace supports the visual comparison of two revisions – of the same, or different Items – for a range of supported content types, directly from within the Explorer panel. Revisions of Items of the following content types can be compared:
- Component Item
- Symbol Item
- Footprint Item
- Managed Schematic Sheet Item
- Schematic Template Item
- PCB Fabrication Data Item
- PCB Assembly Data Item
- PCB Project Design Item
Within the Explorer panel, browse to the relevant folder, select the two Item-Revisions that you wish to compare, then right-click and choose Operations » Compare from the context menu.
When comparing two Component Item revisions, after clicking Compare a sequence of events takes place:
- The referenced Footprint Item revisions are compared.
- The referenced Symbol Item revisions are compared.
- The parametric data for the two Component Item revisions are compared.
The results of the comparison are presented in the Compare component revisions dialog.
Example comparison of two revisions of a component.
The dialog is divided into three distinct sections, showing the results of comparison for the parametric data, footprints, and symbols. If values for parameters are not identical, they will be highlighted with a reddish background. For footprints and symbols, the text will either state they are Identical or Not identical.
When comparing two revisions of Symbol Items, after clicking Compare a graphical comparison is made and any differences that are detected will be listed in the Differences panel. The SchLib documents for the two revisions are opened within the design space – by displaying them side by side in the design editor window, you can peruse the differences graphically. Clicking on a top-level folder for a detected difference will highlight that difference on both documents simultaneously.
Example comparison of two revisions of a symbol.
When comparing two revisions of Footprint Items, after clicking Compare a graphical comparison is made and the differences detected are listed in the Compare Components dialog.
Example comparison of two revisions of a footprint. The source libraries are not opened in the design space – previews of the footprints are included here to show the differences that actually exist.
The footprint is divided up into square cells and each cell has been analyzed for the differences. Cells where differences exist are shown in full color, with the differences highlighted. The layer tabs show how many primitive objects have differences for each layer that was compared, and clicking on a tab allows you to browse the differences more thoroughly.
When comparing two revisions of Managed Schematic Sheet Items, after clicking Compare a graphical comparison is made and the differences detected are listed in the Differences panel. The SchDoc documents for the two revisions are opened within the design space – by displaying them side by side in the design editor window, you can peruse the differences graphically. Clicking on a top-level folder for a detected difference will highlight that difference on both documents simultaneously.
Example comparison of two revisions of a Managed Schematic Sheet Item.
When comparing two revisions of Schematic Template Items, after clicking Compare a graphical comparison is made and the differences detected are listed in the Differences panel. The SchDot documents for the two revisions are opened within the design space – by displaying them side by side in the design editor window, you can peruse the differences graphically. Clicking on a top-level folder for a detected difference will highlight that difference on both documents simultaneously.
Example comparison of revisions of two different Schematic Template Items.
When comparing two revisions of a PCB Fabrication Data Item, PCB Assembly Data Item, or PCB Project Design Item, the results of the comparison will be presented in the Compare Project Revisions dialog. This will simply be a comparison of the generated file structure, and a check of the files within that structure. Color-coded options are used to show files that have changed, or not changed, and those that have been added, or removed. Enable/disable to toggle the display of these entries.
Example comparison of two revisions of a PCB Assembly Data Item.
Export of Grid Data
The Explorer panel supports the export of data from grid views, to a csv- or xls-formatted file. Examples of where this functionality is available include:
- Component Items grid (both Classic and Component views).
- Items grid.
- Linked models grid on the Preview aspect view tab (for a selected Component Item).
- Search results grid.
- Item grid on the Where-used aspect view tab.
- Item grid on the Children aspect view tab.
Right-click within a grid and choose the Operations » Export Grid command from the context menu. The Select columns for data export dialog will appear. Enable/disable the desired data you want to export by using the checkboxes in the column list or by clicking the Select All / Deselect All buttons. The dialog contains all possible columns for the grid, with those that are currently displayed in the panel enabled for export by default. After clicking OK, the standard Windows Save As dialog will appear. Use the dialog to define where, and with what name, the exported file is to be saved. Use the Save as type field to choose the format of the file – either Comma-Separated Values Files (
*.csv) or Excel Files (
An example of exporting data – the linked models for a selected Component Item revision – to an Excel-formatted file.
The panel's interpreted Project View displays the selected project in a process-orientated view that provides direct access to the relevant project data and its releases.
The Project View will show a preview of the project, core descriptions, parameters, and releases.
The Releases region will display a compilation of the Project Release(s) associated with the selected project, which includes a summary of each release and its constituent packages. Click the button in this region to open the Batch state change dialog, which you may use to change the lifecycle state of multiple items related to the same release, at once in a single batch process.
Controls at the top-right of the project view include:
- Open – use to open to the target project in Altium Designer.
- Open in Web – use to open the project in the Workspace's browser-based interface.
- Share – use to open the Share dialog, which supports the ability to share your design projects with others, anywhere around the world, directly from within the software.
- – click the button to access the following commands:
- Clone – use to open the Create Project Copy dialog, which is used to copy a project, which is then stored in the connected Workspace. By default, the original project name will be used with the suffix
' - Copy'.
- History – use to open the History view for a project is gained from the detailed CAD-centric management page for that project.
- Delete – use this to delete the project, its folder, and all project content. Before the deletion is complete, you'll be asked to confirm.