Altium Designer Documentation

Browsing Pad & Via Templates for the Active PCB using the PCB Pad Via Templates Panel in Altium Designer

Created: January 11, 2018 | Updated: March 10, 2018
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Parent page: PCB Panels

The PCB Pad Via Templates panel


The PCB Pad Via Templates panel is a specialized panel that lists the pad/via templates that are assigned to the current PCB document (Local) or those available from Pad Via Libraries that have been installed or included within the current design project (Available libraries).

Panel Access

To display the PCB Pad Via Templates panel, click the Panels button at the bottom-right of the workspace when the PCB Editor is active then select the PCB Pad Via Templates entry from the pop-up menu or click View » Panels » PCB Pad Via Templates.

Panels can be configured to be floating in the editor space or docked to sides of the screen. If the panel is currently in a group of panels, use the PCB Pad Via Templates tab located at the bottom of the panels to bring it to the front.

Panel Sections

The two sections presented in the panel can be summarized as:

  • Available Pad/Via Libraries – loaded or installed Pad Via Libraries (file-based collections of pad/via templates). The upper section of the panel lists templates contained in the currently selected Pad Via Library.
  • Local Pad & Via Library – the collective term for Pad/Via Templates that are used for the current board design including any that have been sourced or added from a Pad Via Library. The lower section of the panel list templates that apply to the current board design.
Pad and Via templates in a library are base definitions for instances of pads and vias placed in a board design. They are not literally pads and vias; they are pre-configured recipes that are used to create a pad or via as it is placed.

Local Pad & Via Library

The entries listed in the lower Local Pad & Via Library section of the panel represent the pad/via configurations (templates) assigned to the current board design. A preview of the selected template is shown at the bottom of the region.

The templates listed here represent pads and vias saved within the PCB file and are not contained in a separately defined 'library' as such. A selected template can be reused in the current board as a new pad or via instance by dragging it onto the layout, or by selecting Place from its right-click context menu.

Placing a local Pad template instance.

Since template names listed in the Local Library are derived from pads and vias in the current PCB layout, if all instances of a particular pad/via configuration have been deleted from the board, its corresponding template will be removed from the Local List.

However, if a placed pad or via has been sourced from a Pad Via Library, its template will be retained in the Local list when all instances of that pad/via have been deleted from the board or changed to a different template type. Instances of Pad Via Library templates that are no longer required can be removed from the local ‘database’ record with the Remove Unused Pad/Via button.

Pad & Via Template Libraries

The upper section of the panel, Available Pad/Via template Libraries, applies to the templates contained in the selected Pad Via Library – see below for more information. Templates from the selected library can be applied to the PCB by dragging or via the right-click menu, as outlined above.

When placed in a board design, a pad or via will adopt the configuration and name of its source library template and is marked as linked to the source library. The presence of the link forces the Pad/Via parameters that are defined by the template to be read-only since if they were to be changed, the Pad/Via parameters would no longer match those in the source library template.

As with similar library panels, the current library file can be selected from the library name drop-down menu list, and a Library’s contents navigated through the associated filter field.

Pad Via Library Template to Local

Library based Pad/Via templates can also be added directly to the local library list by right-clicking on the template name then selecting Add To Internal Library from the context menu, or by dragging the template from the panel’s Pad/Via library section to a blank area the Local library section.

This is equivalent to placing a pad/via sourced from a Pad Via Library template then deleting it from the board, registering that template as locally available. To replace a local template rather than add one to the local list, see Replace a Local Template below.

Pad Via Library sourced templates that are available to the local document can be applied to Rules, configurations and defaults for the current project. When placing Via Stitching for example, the placed via characteristics are defined by the template selected in the Add Stitching to Net dialog (click Tools » Via Stitching/Shielding » Add Stitching to Net from the main menus).

Replace a Local Template

A library based Pad/Via template can also replace a Local template, which will update Pads or Vias on the board that use the (local) template.

To do so, drag the desired library template from the Pad/Via Library section of the panel to the Local Pad & Via Library section of panel, except in this case, drop the library template on top of the existing local template entry. Any instances of free or component pads/vias that use the template will be updated to the new library template style.

Update from Pad Via Library

The Update button in the PCB Pad Via Templates panel's Local Pad & Via Library section provides a method to update the Pad or Vias templates in the current design from their source.

For example, in the case of a Pad that has been placed from a Pad Via Library template and the source Library template has been subsequently updated, the Update function will pull in those template changes to the PCB - updating all Pads that use the Library template.

The template update is configured by the Update Pads/Vias dialog that opens when the Update button is clicked. The dialog lists the details of the detected change(s) that will be applied.

Pad/Via Templates that are detected as differing to their source library version can be updated from the Library to the PCB design.

Three update options are offered in the dialog to control the update process:

  • Update locked objects – this will force a Pad/Via object’s template to be updated regardless of its Locked status.
  • Update free objects – update only Pad/Via templates that apply to free Pads and Vias.
  • Update component objects – update only Pad/Via templates that apply to the Pads and Vias used in components.

This synchronization behavior is established by the Library property of Pad and Vias listed in the Properties panel in the associated mode. An indication that differences exist between the local version of the template and the source template is provided in the Changed column of the Pads/Vias section in the Pad & Via Templates mode of the PCB panel.

Even if the template name has changed in the source Pad Via Library, the link to where it is applied to a Pad/Via in the PCB design is maintained by the template's GUID reference stored in the board design data.

Loading a Pad Via Library

An existing Pad Via Library is added to the project or installed by clicking on the  button to the right of the panel's library name selector menu to open the Available Libraries dialog. Use the Installed tab to load an existing library (*.PvLib) that will be available for all projects; use the Project tab to add an existing library to the current project.

Install an external Pad Via Library or use the Project tab to add an existing library to the current project.

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