Parent page: System & Environment Panels
This panel displays all projects that are currently open. Any open documents that have not been created as part of a project or added to an existing open project also will be listed.
The Projects panel is accessed in the following ways:
In Altium Designer, you may open and edit multiple projects, and if desired, save the collective set projects as a Project Group (.DsnWrk). This may be of particular advantage when the set of projects are related or linked, such as a product design that is composed of multiple PCBs. Creating a Project Group that includes all the relevant projects allows you to open, manipulate and save multiple projects as a single entity. In the Projects panel, the uppermost entry displays the current Project Group – either the default one or one you have created or opened.
Project Group 1.DsnWrk). The same method can be used to close the current Project Group file.
Project Group 1.DsnWrk), or one you have created or opened.
Altium Designer also supports the concept of projects that are stored and managed entirely within an Altium Server. Projects can be created as, or converted to, Managed Projects that are hosted in a secure version-controlled repository within the server. This approach greatly simplifies the process of managing project storage, versioning, lifecycle, and implementing design collaboration. Managed Projects will be stored in the Projects panel under the server they are hosted on, rather than the Project Group, as non-managed projects are. If your self-managed content server is active, the server icon () will appear. If the server is non-active, a greyed out server icon () will appear. If signed into an Altium 365 Pro or Standard account, the server icon () will appear. If that server is non-active, a greyed out server icon () will appear.
|This icon appears next to the .PrjPcb document file while signed in to the server in which the managed project resides.|
|This icon appears next to the .PrjPcb document file when not signed in to the server in which the managed project resides.|
To access the right-click commands menu regarding your server, right-click on your server name. These commands include:
When signed out of a server, right-click the server you want to sign in to, and click the Sign in command.
► To learn more about managed projects, visit the Managed Projects page.
When you open an existing project or create a new one, its entry will appear in the Projects panel. Any existing documents that are part of a project (and any new ones that have been added) will appear under sub-folders according to their purpose and/or type. For example, the following common folders and content document types can appear under a project:
The right-click options listed below are pertinent only to files found within the specified project document sub-folders:
In the panel's main tree, the active project is highlighted. When there are no documents open in the design editor window, a project is made active by selecting it from a list of all currently open (loaded) projects in the panel. As soon as a project document is opened (in an editor/viewer), the parent project of that document automatically becomes the active project. The active document in the design editor window will also be highlighted in the panel.
With numerous documents open in the design editor window, changing the active document using the editor's document tabs will cause the Projects panel to update accordingly, i.e. to reflect both the active document and the active project (if the document made active does not reside in the same project as the previously active document). Conversely, clicking on the entry for a document that is already open (and that belongs to a non-active project) will make the parent project of that document the active project.
Only one project and document may be active at any given time, however, the panel allows you to focus and perform actions on any project or document. Right-clicking on the entry for a non-active project or a non-active document will bring up an associated menu with commands targeting the focused project or focused document, respectively.
In the case of focusing a document, the document will only become focused if it is closed, otherwise, it will become the active document and its parent project will become the active project. For example, in the image below, the active project
MiniPC.PrjPcb and the active document
DDR4.SchDoc. The focused document is
Ethernet-HPS.SchDoc (distinguished in the panel by a dotted outline box).
|This command is used to save the currently focused item.|
|This command is used to validate all source documents of the focused project.|
|This command is used to open an instance of Windows Explorer at the location where the focused item is stored.|
|This command is used to access Project Options - Options dialog in which you can set up project-specific options for the focused project.|
|This command is used to quickly access controls relating to the behavior of the Projects panel. Descriptions of the controls are located on the System - Projects panel page of the Preferences dialog.|
There are several right-click menu options that appear within the quick access controls section of the Projects panel. When not actually right-clicking on one of the quick access control buttons, but merely around blank areas of the panel that do not house icons or documents, the following options appear:
Various items may be edited directly from the Projects panel thanks to a managed content server that provides a flexible and secure method of centralizing the storage and management of all types of design data used in Altium Designer. Direct editing avoids the need to work with a separate version-controlled source data, since it allows you to edit a supported Item type using a temporary editor loaded with the latest source direct from the managed content server itself. Once editing is complete, the entity is released (or re-released) into a subsequent planned revision of its parent Item, and the temporary editor closed. There are no permanent files on your hard drive, no questioning whether you are working with the correct or latest source, and no having to maintain separate version control software. The server handles it all, with great integrity, and in a manner that greatly expedites changes to your data.
The following items are supported with respect to Direct Editing:
When these items are being edited within the Projects panel, they will be listed under the server in which they reside. Right-clicking on these items provides various options:
When a product needs to be designed and produced as a number of variations of that product, say where each has different options or capabilities, the ability to implement Design Variants avoids the need to create a unique version of the design for each variation.
In practice, a design variant uses the same base design, but the PCB assembly is loaded with the set of components specified by the variation. A variation may then be nominated when generating the design’s manufacturing output (BOM, P&P, Assembly drawings, etc), which will in turn determine how the product is assembled.
To examine design variations, double click on the required variant in the Projects panel and switch to a compiled (physical design) tab of the schematic. The compiled tab displays a different Active Bar at the top of the design space, which includes variant-specific buttons. These buttons are only available when a variant is selected in the Projects panel. See the picture below for an example of these options.
The right-click options on the Variant sub-folder includes:
Left-clicking on a specific variant within the Variant sub-folder displays the desired variant. You may also utilize the Set as current command to display the desired variant, which is available when right-clicking on the desired variant within the Variant sub-folder.
► To learn more about design variants, visit the Design Variants page.
You can also make an unmanaged project (regular project, or a project currently under version control) available to the Workspace - essentially 'registering' the project with the Workspace and creating a 'mirror' of it. This allows you to enjoy the collaborative features available through the Altium 365 platform while keeping your original project right where it is. To do this, open the existing unmanaged project as normal in Altium Designer, then right-click on its entry in the Projects panel and select Make Project Available Online from the context menu, giving access to the Make Available Online dialog.
Use the Make Available Online dialog to change the project Name and add a Description. By default, the name will be that of the original project.
Check the Enable Formal Version Control option to add the project under the Workspace's own built-in VCS (Git). This option is unchecked by default, where the project files will simply be stored in the Workspace for basic access and to enable sharing with others for viewing and commenting only - a less formal Simple Sync as it were. It is recommended to enable formal version control, as by doing so you will have access to the maximum functionality offered through, and by, the Workspace and the Altium 365 platform.
Click the Advanced link to expose the Folder field. This field is used to specify where the folder for the mirrored project - within the Workspace's folder structure - is to be created. The default path for new
projects is specified on the Admin - Settings - Projects page of the Workspace's browser interface (by default, this will be
Projects\<ProjectName>). Click the button to browse to and select a different server folder, if required.
With the properties for the mirrored project defined as required in the Make Available Online dialog, click OK. Projects that have been made available online - in the Workspace - will be shown in the Altium Designer Projects panel as follows:
The mirrored project will subsequently be available from the Projects page of the Workspace's browser interface.
Where an unmanaged project is made available online to the Workspace using the Simple Sync approach (not using the Workspace's formal version control), the current state of the synchronization between local and server-side projects is presented in the Projects panel through a range of icons. These icons, and their meaning, are as follows:
|Synchronized||The local project and the mirrored project in the Workspace are synchronized.|
|Sync-in-progress||Changes made to the local project are being synchronized to the mirrored project in the Workspace. For a local project not under external VCS, this occurs when saving a local file. For a local project under external VCS, this occurs when saving and committing local file changes to the external design repository.|
|Project is Read-only||The project has been shared with you, but you have Read-only access to it. Under the Simple Sync methodology, the design project can be edited by a single person only (the owner of that project - the one who made it available online to the Workspace).|
|Not Synchronized||Changes have been made locally, but these have not been synchronized yet with the mirrored project in the Workspace. This can happen, for example, when the same project is open for editing by the owner/author on two computers (PC1 and PC2). On PC1, the Workspace is subsequently disconnected. On PC2, connection to the Workspace remains and changes are made. On saving the local file(s) the project remains unsynchronized. If you attempt to close the project on PC2, the Closing unsynchronized projects dialog will appear alerting you to this fact. If you choose to close the project, changes will not be available on PC1. To remedy the situation, disconnect from and then reconnect to, the Workspace on PC2. The project will be synchronized with the Workspace. The synchronized data will be reflected on PC1 once the Workspace is connected there too.|
There is a conflict between the data for the local project and the data for the mirrored project in the Workspace. This can happen, for example, when the same project is opened for editing by the owner/author on two computers (PC1 and PC2). On PC1, the project is opened and the Workspace subsequently disconnected. Changes are then made and local files saved. Later, on PC2, the same project is opened and, while still connected to the Workspace, changes are made and saved. Later still, connection is made to the Workspace back on PC1. A conflict exists because there are changes locally on PC1, but the Workspace contains the updated data from changes made and synced on PC2.
To remedy the situation, on PC1 right-click on the project and choose the Resolve Conflicts command. The Resolve Conflicts dialog will appear. You have the option to Use Server files (the data from the mirrored project in the Workspace will be used and local modifications will be lost), or Use Local files (the data from the local project will be used and synced to overwrite the current data for the mirrored project in the Workspace).
A project shared with an Altium Designer user is accessed from the Shared With Me location option in the Open Project dialog. The user is not required to be a member of the Workspace team.
A project that has been opened from shared access is indicated by an associated Shared with me label. The project can be saved and committed back to the server if editing rights have been granted for the shared project, or saved/committed locally if the project has been shared with view-only permissions. To open the project the Altium Web Viewer, select the Show in Web Browser option from the project entry's right-click context menu in the Projects panel.
Document entries in the panel are accompanied by icons that indicate their open/modified/version control status. This provides a quick visual summary of which documents are modified, saved, whether they are managed or non-managed, and their version control status. The document icons and meanings are listed below.
|[blank]||The document is closed.|
|Open – The document is open as a tabbed document in the design editor window.|
|Open/Modified – The document is open and has been modified (yet to be saved).|
|The document file is open and locked by this instance of Altium Designer.|
|The document file is open and has been locked by another instance of Altium Designer.|
|[blank]||N/A||The file is not under version control in a VCS repository,|
|No modification||The local copy of the file matches the file in the repository and is up to date.|
|Scheduled for Addition||A file has been added to version control but not yet Committed (checked in) to the VCS repository.|
|Modified||The local copy of the file has been modified and saved to the working folder. Commit the file to create a new revision in the repository.|
|Out of date||The local copy of the file (in the working folder) is older than its counterpart in the repository and is therefore out of date. Use the Version Control Update option to retrieve the latest file from the repository or save the file, which will create a Conflict condition.|
|Conflict||The file has been committed by another user before you have committed your own edited and saved version of that file. Use the Version Control Update or Resolve command to determine which version of the file will become the latest revision in the repository.|
|Ahead of server (Git)||The file in the local working repository is newer than its counterpart in the remote Git repository. This occurs when a local file has been modified, saved and committed to the local repository, but not yet Pushed to the remote repository.|
|Scheduled for Deletion||The project file has been removed from version control and will be deleted from the VCS repository and database during the Version Control Commit process. This icon also is also when a file is missing from the local working folder (it has been deleted, renamed or moved), which is resolved by re-populating the folder from the repository with the Version Control » Update command.|
|Locked||The file has been locked by you or another user. A locked file cannot be updated to a new revision in the repository by another user unless it is forced to be unlocked. This state can be associated with other icons, such as those for Modified
or No Modification, when these status conditions also apply. When locked by you, the file cannot be updated to a new revision in the repository by another user (unless it is forced to be unlocked).
While a single icon type is used to flag a locked file, its associated text will indicate who has locked the file –
Right-clicking on a project file in the panel provides access to additional options and commands in the right-click menu.
Right-click selections include:
Right-click on a document file in the panel to open a pop-up context menu offering a range of document-specific options and commands.
Several right-click options are basically the same as when right-clicking on a Project, outlined above. Others include:
*.SchLib), PCB 2D/3D Component Model Library (
*.PcbLib), or an Integrated Library (