Altium Designer Documentation

Working with an Ellipse Object on a Schematic Sheet in Altium Designer

Created: April 9, 2021 | Updated: September 16, 2021
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Parent page: Schematic Objects

A placed Ellipse

Summary

An ellipse is a non-electrical drawing primitive that can be placed on a schematic sheet. It can be filled or unfilled.

Availability

Ellipses are available for placement in both Schematic and Schematic Library Editors:

  • Schematic Editor - the following commands are available:
    • Choose Place » Drawing Tools » Ellipse from the main menus.
    • Click the Ellipse button () in the graphic objects drop-down on the Active Bar located at the top of the design space. (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 design space then choose Place » Drawing Tools » Ellipse from the context menu.
    • Click the  button on the Utility Tools drop-down () of the Utilities toolbar.
  • Schematic Library Editor - the following commands are available:
    • Choose Place » Ellipse from the main menus.
    • Click the Ellipse button () in the graphic objects drop-down on the Active Bar menu located at the top of the design space. (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 and choose Place » Ellipse from the context menu.
    • Click the  button on the Utility Tools drop-down () of the Utilities toolbar.

Placement

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

  1. Click or press Enter to anchor the center of the ellipse.
  2. Move the cursor to adjust the horizontal radius of the ellipse, then click or press Enter to set it.
  3. Move the cursor to adjust the vertical radius of the ellipse, then click or press Enter to set it and complete placement.
  4. Continue placing further ellipses or right-click or press Esc to exit placement mode.

Additional actions that can be performed during placement while the ellipse is still floating on the cursor and before the center point of the ellipse is anchored are:

  • Press the Tab key to pause the placement and access the Ellipse mode of the Properties panel, from where its properties can be changed on the fly. Click the design space 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 arc counterclockwise or Shift+Spacebar for clockwise rotation. The action can also be performed while dragging the object. Rotation is in increments of 90°.
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 ellipse object directly in the design space and change its size, shape or location graphically.

When an ellipse object is selected, the following editing handles are available:

A selected Ellipse

  • Click and drag A to change the horizontal radius.
  • Click and drag B to change the vertical radius.
  • Click anywhere on the ellipse – away from editing handles – and drag to reposition it. While dragging, the ellipse can be rotated (Spacebar/Shift+Spacebar) or mirrored (X or Y keys to mirror along the X-axis or Y-axis, respectively).
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.

Editing via the Ellipse Dialog or Properties Panel

Panel page: Ellipse Properties

This method of editing uses the associated Ellipse dialog and the Properties panel mode to modify the properties of an ellipse object.

The Ellipse dialog, on the left, and the Ellipse mode of the Properties panel on the right The Ellipse dialog, on the left, and the Ellipse mode of the Properties panel on the rightThe Ellipse dialog, on the left, and the Ellipse mode of the Properties panel on the right

After placement, the Ellipse dialog can be accessed by:

  • Double-clicking on the placed ellipse object.
  • Placing the cursor over the ellipse object, right-clicking, then choosing Properties from the context menu.

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

  • If the Properties panel is already active, by selecting the ellipse.
  • After selecting the ellipse, select the Properties panel from the Panels button at the bottom right of the design space or select View » Panels » Properties from the main menu.
If the Double Click Runs Interactive Properties option is disabled (default) on the Schematic - Graphical Editing page of the Preferences dialog, when the primitive is double-clicked or you right-click on a selected primitive then choose Properties, the dialog will open. When the Double Click Runs Interactive Properties option is enabled, the Properties panel will open. 

While the options are the same in the dialog and the panel, the order and placement of the options may differ slightly. 

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 (*) can be edited for all selected objects.

Editing via a List Panel

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

List panel displays design object types from one or more documents in tabular format, enabling quick inspection and modification of object attributes. Used in conjunction with appropriate filtering – by selecting object types (using the panel's Include options), or 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. The properties for the listed objects may then be edited directly in the List panel.

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