Parent page: System & Environment Panels
The Libraries panel enables you to browse and place components from the libraries currently available in Altium Designer. The panel has direct access to libraries that are part of an opened project or those installed as persistent libraries.
To display the Libraries panel, click View » Workspace Panels » System » Libraries.
In Altium Designer, components, footprints and other models can only be used from available libraries, which are those libraries that:
Once libraries have been made available, the contents of one of those libraries is presented in the Libraries panel where is can be browsed and used to place components.
All three of the methods of making a library available are configured in the Available Libraries dialog – click the button at the top of the panel to open the dialog. The Available Libraries dialog has three tabs, which are described in the following sections.
This tab lists all of the libraries that are part of the active project (the project currently selected in the Projects panel).
To add a library to the project, click the Add Library button. The Open dialog will appear in which you can browse to and select a library file that you wish to add to the project.
The following types of library files are supported as project libraries:
Use the Move Up and Move Down buttons to define the search order of the libraries.
This tab lists all of the installed libraries. This list is an Altium Designer environment setting. Any libraries added to the list will be available for all projects and the list is persistent across design sessions. Project libraries can be added to this list but are not initially part of it.
Click the Install button to run the Open dialog in which you can browse to and select a library that you wish to add to the list.
The following types of library files are supported as installed libraries:
Use the Move Up and Move Down buttons to define the search order of the libraries.
This tab lists all libraries that have been found along the Library Search Paths for the project. These paths are defined in the Search Paths tab of the Options For Project dialog. Clicking the Paths button will take you directly to this tab where you can define further search paths or modify existing ones as required.
Use the Refresh button to update the search paths and ensure that the library list is current.
The following types of library files are supported as search path libraries:
Libraries in this tab are searched in the order they appear. Click the Paths button to define the order.
The process of adding Vault folders into the Libraries panel begins in the same way that any library is made available in Altium Designer - by clicking in the Libraries panel to open the Available Libraries dialog.
To install Vault folders into the Libraries panel, ensure the Installed tab of the Available Libraries dialog is the active tab. Click the Install button and select Install from Vault (as shown in the image above) to open the Vault Library dialog.
This dialog is used to:
Once you have defined a name and added the required folders into the Vault Library dialog, click OK to return to the Available Libraries dialog. The image below shows how the Vault folders present. Note that the Path region of the dialog includes a line for each folder you included in your 'Vault library'.
The panel is divided into a number of controls and regions.
The panel's upper dropdown menu lists the libraries that are available for use with the active project. Select a library in the list to make it the active library in the panel.
Depending on the panel's Browse mode setting (see below), the following types of library files may be listed:
The types of libraries shown in the drop-down list will change, depending on the panel browse mode selected. The mode itself is determined using the options accessed by clicking at the far right of the drop-down field:
Any combination of browse modes may be enabled at any given time. The drop-down list will update accordingly. Since integrated libraries can include all types of components/models, separate entries for those libraries will be listed for each browse mode enabled.
When Altium Designer is first installed, the Libraries panel will display Component Name, Description and Library for each component. The columns displayed and the order in which they are displayed can be changed.
To change which columns are displayed, right-click on one of the column headers (or a component name) and choose Select Columns from the context menu, which opens the Select Parameter Columns dialog.
In the Select Parameter Columns dialog, select the required parameter column and use the Add or Remove buttons to transfer between the Known Parameters and Selected Parameters lists. You can also double-click on an entry to move it from one list to the other. The list of parameters is derived from all parameters across all components in the available libraries.
Once you have located the required component, use one of the following techniques to place the component on the active document:
The component will appear, floating on the cursor. While it is floating:
For a PCB component footprint, press the L key to flip the footprint to the other side of the board.
After placing the component, another will appear on the cursor ready for placement. Continue to place further instances of this component, or right-click (or Esc) to stop placing this component. When using the click-and-drag placement method, only a single instance of the part is placed and the board does not remain in placement mode.
If you know which library contains the component you need, you can simply add that library through the Available Libraries dialog.
To find a component within the current library, either scroll to find it in the list of components or use the filter field to perform a string search on the component Name field.
Incremental search is the name given to searching as you type. To do this in the current library, click on the first entry in the list of components, then start typing the name of the component you want to search for. The list will automatically jump to the component whose name matches the string you are typing. To perform an incremental search on the contents of a different column, drag and drop that column to be the left-most column.
When you do not know which library contains the component, or if it is even available, you can search for it. To search for a component, click the Search button at the top of the panel, which opens the Libraries Search dialog.
The searching process can be summarized as follows:
The Filters region is used to define text strings that are to be applied to searching. There are three regions that must be configured:
There are essentially two approaches to searching:
Searching will return all items of the chosen search type (Components/Footprints/PCB3D Models) found in all libraries that fall under the defined Scope (Available Libraries/Libraries on the specified search path). For example, if you wanted to find a component that you think is in a library within specific folders on the hard disk and that library was not currently listed in the Available Libraries, you would define the search as follows:
In the default mode, the Libraries Search dialog converts the Filters settings to a query, which is then applied to the libraries currently targeted by the Scope. You can see this query, as well as manually enter your own, by clicking Advanced to switch the dialog to the Advanced mode as shown in the image below.
The top section of the dialog, which is referred to as the Query Editor section, allows you to construct filters through the entry of logical queries. In this mode, you can type a query directly into the field. For help with query keywords, click Helper to open the Query Helper dialog.
Notes on using queries and the Query Helper dialog:
Once the search criteria have been defined, click on the Search button to begin the search. The Libraries Search dialog will close and the results of the search will be listed in the Libraries panel under a new entry in the libraries dropdown list titled Query Results as shown in the image below.
The right-click pop-up menu for the panel provides the following commands:
Valid students can get their very own 6-month Altium Designer Student License for FREE! Just fill out the form below to request your Student License today.