Altium Designer Documentation

Defining PCB Editor Object Default Preferences for Altium Designer

Created: December 16, 2020 | Updated: September 11, 2021

The PCB Editor - Defaults page of the Preferences dialog showing the Angular Dimension primitive as an example.
The PCB Editor - Defaults page of the Preferences dialog showing the Angular Dimension primitive as an example.


The PCB Editor – Defaults page of the Preferences dialog provides numerous controls relating to the default settings within the PCB design space.


The PCB Editor – Defaults page is accessed by clicking Defaults under the PCB Editor folder in the main Preferences dialog (accessed by clicking  in the top right corner of the design space).


  • Primitives - use this field to filter the presented listing of primitives. 
  • Primitive List - a list of primitives that can be used in the PCB editor (filtered in accordance with the chosen entry for the Primitives field above). Click on the listed Primitives to change the available default values as described.
All primitive default values are saved in the ADVPCB.DFT file. This file is located in the \Users\<ProfileName>\AppData\Roaming\Altium\Altium Designer <GUID> folder of the installation.​
To view and edit the settings and options for each primitive, click on the desired entry in the Primitive List. Information for each primitive can be found at the following links: 

Additional Controls

  • Save as - click to save the current default object properties to a custom properties file (*.dft). You will be asked for a name and directory for the file. When the PCB editor server is started, the current defaults are read and any changes you make to the defaults are stored in this file when you exit. Use the Load button to load a previously saved set of default properties.
  • Load - click to load a previously saved set of default object properties. You will be asked to navigate to and select a previously saved properties file (*.dft).
  • Reset All - Click to reset the properties of all objects to the system defaults.
  • Permanent - If this option is enabled, the default properties of all object types are locked and are not changed if you edit an object's properties during placement. If this option is disabled, any changes you make to a particular object during placement (by pressing the Tab key while the object is floating on the cursor before placement to open the Properties panel) are used to update the default properties for that particular object type.
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