Applied Parameters: ObjectKind=Project|Action=ItemManager
This command is used to access the Item Manager dialog. The Item Manager is a powerful tool providing two key abilities in relation to components and sheets of re-usable schematic circuitry in a board design project:
- Migration - firstly, it facilitates the migration of a design project from using components and schematic sheets based on older component management methodologies, to using vault-based entities (managed components and managed sheets). In this respect it can be thought of as providing 'Update to Vault' functionality.
- Synchronization - secondly, once your designs have been 'converted' to using managed (vault-based) Items, it facilitates the synchronization of instances of those managed components and sheets in a design project, with any changes to the source Items in the vault(s). In this respect, it can be thought of as providing 'Update from Vault' functionality.
This command is accessed from the Schematic Editor by choosing the Tools » Item Manager command, from the main menus.
After launching the command, the Item Manager dialog will appear. The dialog presents all components and sheet symbols found in a single schematic sheet (free document), or the set of schematics in the active design project. Use the controls available in the dialog to replace unmanaged items with managed ones, or to keep existing managed items synchronized with their source items in an Altium Vault, as required.
- Migration - you need to replace the unmanaged entities with managed ones from a vault. For both components and sheet symbols, this can be done by manually choosing vault Items to use. When you click on an entry in the grid, the Choose button becomes available at the bottom-right of the grid. Clicking this will give you access to a dialog, from where you can browse within any of your currently connected vaults and select the required Item, and specific revision of that Item. The choice of Item is reflected in the New Settings region of the grid, back in the Item manager.
For design components, this can also be performed in a more automated fashion, using the manager's auto-matching feature - taking the unmanaged design components and attempting to match each one with a managed Component Item in a connected vault. The matching process takes the Design Item ID of an unmanaged design component and compares it against the Comment property of managed Component Items in a vault. When a match is found, that managed Component Item will be proposed for the update. To run this process, simply click the Auto-Match Unmanaged button. The Link Unmanaged Components To Vault dialog will appear, with the results of the matching process.
For a successful match, the Messages field will display
Success: No Errors. If there is an error preventing a successful match, an alternative message will be displayed. If more than one Item-Revision exists in a vault with the same value for its Comment property, the Messages field will display Warning: Multiple components matched. While a match is still proposed, selecting a component entry with this message will enable the Choose Alternative Component From Vault button. Use this to choose the specific Item-Revision as required, if the proposed match is not suitable. Click OK to accept the links – the information in the New Settings region of the Link Unmanaged Components To Vault dialog will be copied to the New Settings region back in the Item Manager.
- Synchronization - when the Item Manager is opened it automatically compiles the schematic project, detects and lists all components, flagging if they are managed or not, and then compares the Item-Revision of each managed component on the schematics against the available revisions of that Item in the Vault. If there are Items that have a newer revision available in the Vault, these are flagged in the Revision Status column of the Item Manager, which will state Out of date for those Items.
To bring out of date items up to date they must first be selected. Once they are selected, right-click and choose Update to Latest Revision from the menu. The New Settings region of the dialog will then show the detail of each new Item-Revision.
Once changes have been set up as required, those changes need to be implemented. This is done through an Engineering Change Order (ECO). The drop-down menu associated with the ECO button, at the bottom of the Item Manager, provides two ways in which to effect an update:
- Generate ECO - use this command to generate and execute an ECO through the Engineering Change Order dialog. Using the dialog, you are able to browse the actions that will be taken to implement those changes. You can disable any actions as required - you always have full control of what gets changed. When ready, execute the ECO and the changes will be effected.
- Apply ECO - use this command to directly create and execute an ECO quietly - without the Engineering Change Order dialog appearing.
Verification that replacement has indeed been successful can be performed at the individual component/sheet symbol level within the schematic sheets of the board design project. Simply access the associated properties dialog for an item, which will now show a link back to the corresponding source vault Item. Alternatively, verification can be performed quickly back in the Item Manager, which updates to reflect the new settings for the items in the board design project, in the Current Settings region of the grid.
- The New Settings region simply presents information about the proposed change. It has the same fields as the Current Settings region.
- For multiple instances of the same component used in a design, you can select a group of components and manually choose the required vault-based Item - the choice will be applied to all components in the selection. Standard multi-select features (Ctrl+click, Shift+click) can be used to select the grouping.
- The auto-matching process is very effective, since the act of creating the source component definitions in Component Library files from source Schematic Library files - at the time when you migrated the components to a vault - uses the Design Item ID for each schematic component and writes this to the Comment parameter for the corresponding component definition. In other words, by migrating the components to a vault using the exact source libraries that were used to place the components in the board design project, matching is guaranteed.
- When using the component auto-matching feature, if a Component Item has multiple revisions, the first revision detected will be used. This will mean the proposed Item Revision is out of date to begin with. This situation will be reflected back in the Item Manager, through the Release State field in the New Settings region. So if the proposed Item Revision is not suitable, and is not dealt with through the Link Unmanaged Components To Vault dialog, it can still be modified through the manual choosing process back in the Item Manager.