Altium Designer Documentation

Differences between

Modified by Susan Riege on Mar 6, 2018

The Differences between dialog

Summary

The Differences between dialog allows you to browse through differences that have been detected between documents chosen for comparison. For each difference, you can decide whether to update one of the documents or not, ultimately creating an Engineering Change Order, in order to synchronize the documents as required.

The Synchronizer is bi-directional. This means you can specify updates to both documents in the same ECO. In order to synchronize compared documents, the aim is to determine, for each difference, whether or not to take action and in which direction the change is made - specifying which document should be updated in order to remedy the difference.

Access

The dialog is accessed after clicking OK to run a comparison between chosen documents in the Choose Documents To Compare dialog. The Comparator will adhere to the setup defined for it on the Project Options - Comparator dialog and, if any differences are detected whose associated comparison types are not set to be ignored, those differences will appear listed in the Differences between dialog.

Options/Controls

The dialog is essentially divided into three main regions - DifferencesUpdate and Change Order.

Differences

This region of the dialog lists all differences that the Comparator has found between the chosen documents. Each difference is listed in the corresponding column for the document in which it resides. Differences are grouped by comparison type as listed and enabled on the Comparator tab of the Project Options dialog. The entry at this group level reflects the number of differences of that type.

Double-click on an entry to crossprobe to the object on the relevant source document.

Use the Expand All and Contract All commands on the right-click menu to quickly expand or contract all entries. You also can expand or contract individual comparison type groupings using the +/- controls to the left of each entry.
When comparing the design hierarchy of a project to its PCB document, the column for the project side will be labeled with the name of the top-level schematic sheet.

Update

Use this region of the dialog to specify which document should be updated in order to remedy the difference. By default, all Decision entries initially have a decision of No Change applied to them.

Even if differences are detected, you are under no obligation to take action on them. The software will only synchronize the elements you specify.

The update decision for each difference can be individually determined by clicking on the associated entry in the Decision column then selecting the required update action in the subsequent ECO Decision dialog. Simply choose the direction of the update (which of the compared documents to update) or No Updates at all.

The ECO Decision dialog provides an indication of whether or not the update in a particular direction is valid. If valid, the corresponding arrows are enabled. If a change is not supported, the corresponding button for that update direction is grayed out.

Change Order

This region of the dialog lists (for each difference that you decide to act upon) the action to be taken, the object affected by the action, and the document upon which the action will be carried out. It is this information that is used to compile the subsequent ECO that will be used to create the updates. Common actions that will be listed in this area are:

  • Remove - where the update is in the direction of the document that contains the object causing the difference; the object will be removed.
  • Add - where the update is in the direction of the document that does not contain the object causing the difference; the object will be added.
  • Update - where both documents contain the same object that differs in some way; the object changed depends on the direction chosen.
If the Update Decision is No Change, there will be no action taken as reflected in the Change Order entry No Action.

Right-click Menu

  • Create Change Order - use to create an Engineering Change Order (ECO).
  • Generate Report - use to generate a report for the differences found by the Comparator. The update decisions you have decided to make and the actions will be included in the generated ECO. The report will be loaded into the Report Preview dialog. Use this dialog to browse the report, before ultimately exporting it to one of various supported formats or printing it directly.
  • << Update All in - use to set the update direction for all differences to the left-hand document (where applicable).
  • Update All in >> - use to set the update direction for all differences to the right-hand document (where applicable).
  • Reverse Direction For All - use to quickly reverse the update direction for all differences (where applicable). If it is not valid to change the direction for a difference, the entry will be set to No Change.
  • Set No Action For All - use to quickly set the update decision for all differences to No Change.
  • << Update Same Kind in - use to set the update direction for all differences of the same comparison type as the currently focused difference to the left-hand document (where applicable).
  • Update Same Kind in >> - use to set the update direction for all differences of the same comparison type as the currently focused difference to the right-hand document (where applicable).
  • Reverse Direction For Same Kind - use to quickly reverse the update direction for all differences of the same comparison type as the currently focused difference, where applicable. If it is not valid to change the direction for a difference, the entry will be set to No Change.
  • Set No Action For Same Kind - use to quickly set the update direction for all differences of the same comparison type as the currently focused difference to No Change.
  • << Update Selected in - use to set the update direction for all selected differences to the left-hand document (where applicable).
  • Update Selected in >> - use to set the update direction for all selected differences to the right-hand document (where applicable).
  • Reverse Direction For Selected - use to quickly reverse the update direction for all selected differences (where applicable). If it is not valid to change the direction for a difference, the entry will be set to No Change.
  • Set No Action For Selected - use to quickly set the update decision for all selected differences to No Change.
  • Invert Selection - use to select all differences not currently selected in the list or deselect those that are.
Multiple differences can be selected in the list using standard multi-select techniques (Ctrl+click, Shift+click).
An update in a particular direction will only be set if it is valid to do so.

Additional Controls

The following buttons are available at the bottom of the dialog:

  • Create Engineering Change Order - click this button to generate an ECO. The Engineering Change Order dialog will appear from where you can validate and execute the updates in order to synchronize the documents.
  • Report Differences - click this button to generate a report for the differences found by the Comparator. The update decisions you have decided to make and the actions will be included in the generated ECO. The report will be loaded into the Report Preview dialog. Use this dialog to browse the report before ultimately exporting it to one of various supported formats or printing it directly.
  • Explore Differences - click this button to investigate further the differences found by the Comparator prior to generating an ECO. The Differences between dialog will close and you will be returned to the main workspace with the Differences panel open. The panel will contain all of the differences listed by the Comparator and in the same categories. Use the panel to cross probe to an object responsible for a difference on its parent document.
Exploring differences in this way will cause any update decisions you have made in the Differences between dialog to be lost. You will need to open the dialog again and redefine updates as required. Alternatively, you can cross probe to an object directly from within the Differences between dialog. Double-click the object's entry in the Differences region of the dialog. Since the Differences between dialog remains open, it is a good idea to have the source and target documents open and the dialog placed so that your view is not obscured.
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