Parent page: Workspace Content Types
The Explorer panel gives access to data stored in a Workspace.
The Explorer panel provides a direct interface to your connected Workspace. From the Explorer panel, you can perform many activities, including:
- Create and manage the organizational structure used in the Workspace
- Create any number of Items, each representative of a design object
- Review and manage the lifecycle of Item revisions
- Interrogate the usage of a particular Item revision (Where-Used)
- Browse and manage supply chain information for Component Items
The Explorer panel can be accessed in the following ways:
The Explorer panel is delivered through a purpose-made extension – the Explorer extension.
The Explorer extension.
Choosing the Browsable Workspace
The Explorer panel can only interface to one Workspace at a time. The field at the top-left of the panel indicates the currently active Workspace – the Workspace whose content you will be able to browse and modify. To select a different Workspace, click on the Workspace name and choose a different Workspace from those currently connected.
Access controls for changing the browsable Workspace.
If you are signed in to your Altium account and are attempting to open the Explorer panel but you are not currently connected to a Workspace, the panel will present a list of known Workspaces, which you may choose from to connect and ultimately view the contents of the panel.
If you are not signed in to your Altium account nor connected to a Workspace, you will be asked to sign in with your Altium account or register one to view the contents of the panel. Select Sign in to open the Sign In dialog, where you can sign in to your Altium account. Select register to be redirected to the Altium 365 registration page, where you may register or sign in with your AltiumLive credentials.
The Content Vault replaced with Manufacturer Part Search dialog opens if Learn more is selected from the Looking for Altium Content Vault? window in the top-left corner.
As the dialog states, items in the Content Vault are now part of the Manufacturer Part Search panel. Click Proceed with Search to open the panel and search for the required item. You can read about the Manufacturer Part Search panel by clicking Learn More.
Organizing a Workspace
Maintain order within a Workspace by creating a tree of folders for the various Items stored in the Workspace. A number of folder types are available. Use these folders to categorize the Workspace content. Right-click in the Server Folders region of the panel to add folders and define a storage structure of folders and sub-folders that suits your organization.
The right-click menu includes commands for defining a folder hierarchy. Note that the options change depending on where you click.
Workspace Folder Types
You have full control over the folder type and it can be changed at any time by right-clicking on a folder then selecting Properties to open the Edit Folder dialog.
Workspace Folder Properties
When you add or edit a folder, the Folder Properties dialog will appear in which you can define the properties of the folder. The content of the dialog is the same whether a top-level or sub-folder is being added.
Four variations of the Folder Properties dialog: Edit Folder, Add Folder, Edit Folder (with Components Folder Type), and Add Folder (with Components Folder Type)
The dialog presents the following folder-related properties:
Moving Folders and Items
One or more Workspace folders, or Items within a folder, can be quickly moved using the drag and drop technique:
- Folders – select the folder(s) to be moved (using standard Ctrl+Click, or Shift+Click techniques), then click, drag, and drop the selected folder(s) at the required place in the structure, as indicated by a horizontal indicator.
- Items – select the Item(s) to be moved (using standard Ctrl+Click, Shift+Click, or Ctrl+A techniques), then click, drag, and drop the selected Item(s) onto a different folder in the structure.
Ability to Copy-Paste Workspace Folder Structure
Adding greater flexibility to the management of your Workspace content, the Explorer panel provides the ability to copy and paste a folder (and its descendant structure). This essentially allows you to quickly clone areas of your Workspace folder structure, which can prove a real time-saver when readying your Workspace for a deluge of component data, for example, where the structure is similar to a parent folder and sub-folders for the various domain models.
To use this feature:
- Select a folder in your existing folder structure, whose structure you wish to copy.
- Right-click and choose the Operations » Copy Folder Structure command from the context menu.
- Select the folder under which you want the cloned folder structure to be pasted.
- Right-click and choose the Operations » Paste Folder Structure command from the context menu.
Once pasted, you can make adjustments to the cloned folder structure as required.
Your Workspace provides you with flexible functionality for removing content from that Workspace directly from within Altium Designer, from the Explorer panel. This allows you to quickly delete:
- Folders of content
- One or more specific items
To delete a folder or project, right-click on that folder's entry in the panel and choose the Delete Folder command from the context menu. To delete a specific item, right-click on that Item's entry in the panel and choose the Delete Item command from the context menu. The Delete Items dialog will appear, in which to confirm the deletion. The action is actually a 'soft delete', whereby the folder/Item will be moved into the Trash area of the Workspace. The Trash is essentially a recycle bin into which any Item within your Workspace can be moved (through a soft delete action). It is isolated from the rest of the Workspace.
Example soft deletion of a Workspace project.
Example soft deletion of a Component Item, along with its associated Symbol and Footprint Items. All Items will be moved to the Workspace's Trash area.
To proceed with the deletion, click the button. The item will be removed and a Deletion Summary dialog will confirm the successful deletion. If there was an issue with deletion, this will be flagged to you.
All items deleted in this manner can be found on the Trash page of the Workspace's browser interface. Note that you can only view items that you have personally soft deleted. Administrators will be able to see the full content of the Trash page – so all items that have been soft deleted.
Things to consider in relation to a soft-deleted item:
- The item will not be available from your design software, or from within the browser interface.
Anywhere the item was being used will reflect that the item has been deleted.
Example of a soft deleted component being flagged as such elsewhere in the software.
An item can be restored, or permanently deleted from the Trash page, provided you have editing rights. Permanent deletion is only possible provided it is not being used by a parent item (on a managed schematic sheet, or within a design).
Navigating a Workspace
You can navigate the content in a Workspace in several ways:
- Click on a folder whose contents you want to peruse.
- Use the Address Bar at the top of the panel. The Address Bar reflects the current folder being browsed along with the hierarchical path to that folder.
- Use a Workspace's search feature. Enter a keyword-based on a comment or description then press Enter or click the magnifying glass icon. The entire Workspace will be scanned and the results of the search listed in terms of matching Items.
Each entity that is stored in the Workspace is called an Item. To support the need to be able to update an Item over time, what is actually stored in the Workspace is a series of Item Revisions that are specific revisions of that Item whose name is based on the chosen Revision Naming Scheme. Each new Item is created in a folder and once you have defined the required folders within a Workspace, you can create new Items in the selected folder in the Item region of the panel.
For each Item revision in a Workspace, the Explorer panel allows you to browse different aspects of that revision, where applicable. This is done using one or more views for that revision by using the tabs at the bottom of the panel.
The default-level view is the Preview. Click additional tabs to view more information (the available tabs will depend upon the type of Item that is currently selected):
Browse different aspects of an Item revision using its associated views.
Further improving the usability of Workspaces, the Explorer panel supports clickable URLs. This functionality can be found in a variety of relevant areas, including:
- Clicking on a component parameter whose value is a URL, opening the target page in an external web browser.
- Clicking on a URL in the supply chain data for a component, opening the target page in an external web browser.
- Clicking on a document in the Released Documents region – from the Preview aspect view tab for a revision of a PCB Fabrication Data Item, PCB Assembly Data Item, or PCB Project Design Item – to open that document.
For a released component in a Workspace, the Preview aspect view tab presents a region for that component's parameters. For a parameter whose value is a URL – such as a datasheet, package specification, or manufacturer's website - click the URL to open it in an external web browser.
Example clickable Parameter URLs on the Preview aspect view tab for a Component Item in the Explorer panel.
Each released component in a Workspace can have defined supply chain data, in the form of Part Choices. These are presented on the Part Choices aspect view tab. The actual supply chain intelligence is sourced from the Workspace's local Part Catalog and the relevant Part Source – either the aggregate parts database of the Altium Parts Provider (which itself interfaces to, and gathers the parts from, enabled Suppliers), or a linked local parts database (a Part Source configured as a Custom Database Parts Provider, and where supported by your specific type of the Workspace). Clickable URLs associated with each part choice are:
- Manufacturer Name and Manufacturer Part Number – a clickable link to the manufacturer site, providing detailed information on that manufacturer part.
- Supplier part number (in an SPN tile) – a clickable link to that part on the supplier's site.
Click a URL to open it in an external browser.
Example clickable URLs associated with a defined Part Choice for a component in the Workspace.
You can configure the revisions that are displayed in the panel by clicking the icon to access a drop-down of revision choices.
- Load all pages – select to load all revisions.
- Show Hidden Revisions – select to show any hidden revisions.
- Show only latest – select to only show the latest revisions.
- View – select whether you'd like to view the items in Classic View or interpreted view (Components View/Project View).
Folder Content Loading
When you click on any folder within the Server Folders structure region of the Explorer panel, only a portion of that folder content will be initially loaded, where applicable to do so. This greatly decreases the folder's initial load time. As you scroll to the end of the initial content, an additional portion of the folder content will be loaded.
Showing Hidden Revisions
Related page: Defining Lifecycle Definitions for a Workspace – Controlling Item Revision Visibility and Applicability
For an Item Revision entering a lifecycle state that has its Visible in Vault panels attribute disabled, that revision will, by default, not be displayed in the Explorer panel. And if it is the latest revision of the Item, then the entire entry for that Item will effectively be hidden from view. This visibility state – defined at the state level – can be overridden globally for all Items.
To display all Item Revisions that are currently not visible, click the control, at the top-right of the Items region of the panel, and enable the Show Hidden Revisions option, on the associated menu.
Displaying hidden Item Revisions while browsing content in the Explorer panel. Hover over the image to see the result.
Showing only the Latest Item Revisions
Over time, the content in your Workspace may undergo changes as they evolve, with each change resulting in a new revision to accommodate the modified data. When browsing Items, it is typically only the latest revision that is required. All other previous revisions tend to become a level of noise, cluttering the designer's field of view. To alleviate this, the Explorer panel defaults to show only the latest revisions of Items.
To display all revisions of Items in the Explorer panel, click the control, at the top-right of the Items region of the panel, and disable the Show only latest option from the associated menu.
By default, the Explorer panel shows only the latest revisions of Items. Hover over the image to see an example of the command disabled.
The panel also offers two special, interpreted views that apply to Components and Projects. The view will automatically switch to this style when a Component or Project is selected unless the panel display option has been changed to the Classic View mode.
The Classic or interpreted view (Component View / Project View) options are available from the view menu when one of the special item types has been selected.
- Classic View – select to show just Items and their Revisions.
- Components View – select to show revisions and interpreted component data. See Component View below for more information.
- Project View – select to show a structured graphic version of the project that includes access to Project Release data and project Parameters. See Project View below for more information.
Item Revision Comparison
Using the power of Altium Designer's native file format comparison technology, the Workspace supports the visual comparison of two revisions – of the same, or different Items – for a range of supported content types, directly from within the Explorer panel. Revisions of Items of the following content types can be compared:
- Component Item
- Symbol Item
- Footprint Item
- Managed Schematic Sheet Item
- Schematic Template Item
- PCB Fabrication Data Item
- PCB Assembly Data Item
- PCB Project Design Item
Within the Explorer panel, browse to the relevant folder, select the two Item-Revisions that you wish to compare, then right-click and choose Operations » Compare from the context menu.
When comparing two Component Item revisions, after clicking Compare a sequence of events takes place:
- The referenced Footprint Item revisions are compared.
- The referenced Symbol Item revisions are compared.
- The parametric data for the two Component Item revisions are compared.
The results of the comparison are presented in the Compare component revisions dialog.
Example comparison of two revisions of a component.
The dialog is divided into three distinct sections, showing the results of comparison for the parametric data, footprints, and symbols. If values for parameters are not identical, they will be highlighted with a reddish background. For footprints and symbols, the text will either state they are Identical or Not identical.
When comparing two revisions of Symbol Items, after clicking Compare a graphical comparison is made and any differences that are detected will be listed in the Differences panel. The SchLib documents for the two revisions are opened within the design space – by displaying them side by side in the design editor window, you can peruse the differences graphically. Clicking on a top-level folder for a detected difference will highlight that difference on both documents simultaneously.
Example comparison of two revisions of a symbol.
When comparing two revisions of Footprint Items, after clicking Compare a graphical comparison is made and the differences detected are listed in the Compare Components dialog.
Example comparison of two revisions of a footprint. The source libraries are not opened in the design space – previews of the footprints are included here to show the differences that actually exist.
The footprint is divided up into square cells and each cell has been analyzed for the differences. Cells where differences exist are shown in full color, with the differences highlighted. The layer tabs show how many primitive objects have differences for each layer that was compared, and clicking on a tab allows you to browse the differences more thoroughly.
When comparing two revisions of Managed Schematic Sheet Items, after clicking Compare a graphical comparison is made and the differences detected are listed in the Differences panel. The SchDoc documents for the two revisions are opened within the design space – by displaying them side by side in the design editor window, you can peruse the differences graphically. Clicking on a top-level folder for a detected difference will highlight that difference on both documents simultaneously.
Example comparison of two revisions of a Managed Schematic Sheet Item.
When comparing two revisions of Schematic Template Items, after clicking Compare a graphical comparison is made and the differences detected are listed in the Differences panel. The SchDot documents for the two revisions are opened within the design space – by displaying them side by side in the design editor window, you can peruse the differences graphically. Clicking on a top-level folder for a detected difference will highlight that difference on both documents simultaneously.
Example comparison of revisions of two different Schematic Template Items.
When comparing two revisions of a PCB Fabrication Data Item, PCB Assembly Data Item, or PCB Project Design Item, the results of the comparison will be presented in the Compare Project Revisions dialog. This will simply be a comparison of the generated file structure, and a check of the files within that structure. Color-coded options are used to show files that have changed, or not changed, and those that have been added, or removed. Enable/disable to toggle the display of these entries.
Example comparison of two revisions of a PCB Assembly Data Item.
Export of Grid Data
The Explorer panel supports the export of data from grid views, to a csv- or xls-formatted file. Examples of where this functionality is available include:
- Component Items grid (both Classic and Component views).
- Items grid.
- Linked models grid on the Preview aspect view tab (for a selected Component Item).
- Search results grid.
- Item grid on the Where-used aspect view tab.
- Item grid on the Children aspect view tab.
Right-click within a grid and choose the Operations » Export Grid command from the context menu. The Select columns for data export dialog will appear. Enable/disable the desired data you want to export by using the checkboxes in the column list or by clicking the Select All / Deselect All buttons. The dialog contains all possible columns for the grid, with those that are currently displayed in the panel enabled for export by default. After clicking OK, the standard Windows Save As dialog will appear. Use the dialog to define where, and with what name, the exported file is to be saved. Use the Save as type field to choose the format of the file – either Comma-Separated Values Files (
*.csv) or Excel Files (
An example of exporting data – the linked models for a selected Component Item revision – to an Excel-formatted file.
Working with Items
General Item Commands
Along with the view options, the panel's options area also includes the Add <item> command button, which applies to the currently selected type of folder.
Batch Lifecycle State Changes
Related page: Defining Lifecycle Definitions for a Workspace
All of the design Items stored in your Workspace have a Lifecycle State. The lifecycle state is used to reflect the readiness of that Item for use, for example, an Item might be
New From Design,
In Production, or
Deprecated. The lifecycle state of multiple Items can be changed in a single batch process.
To perform a batch change:
- Select the required Items in the Explorer panel.
- Right-click and choose the Operations » Change state command from the context menu.
- The Batch state change dialog will open. The Next State column will default to the next lifecycle state for each Item involved. This can be changed on an individual Item basis, but editing of multiple selected entries in the column is also supported, for quickly setting the required state across Items.
- Once the Next State has been set as required, click the Process button to effect the lifecycle state changes.
- A Confirm dialog will appear, enter a comment if required (this is stored as part of the Item History) and click Yes to complete the batch lifecycle state change.
An example of quickly changing the lifecycle state of two components.
- Grid - displays information about the selected items designated to be updated in the batch process. Click on the link for an item under the Next State column to access a drop-down from which you can select an alternate Next State option.
- Add - select to open the Choose Item Revisions dialog to add additional items.
- Remove - select to remove selected items.
- Process - click to change the Lifecycle state of all the listed items. A confirmation dialog will open; enter a comment if required (this is stored as part of the Item History) then click Yes to complete the batch Lifecycle state change.
- Load linked
- Load Children - select to load Lifecycle state information from an item's children into that item.
- Load Parents - select to load Lifecycle state information from an item's parents into that item.
- Add - select to open the Choose Item Revisions dialog to add additional item(s).
- Remove - select to remove selected items.
- Validate transitions - select to validate the status of all items. If an item fails validation, the reason will be listed under the Status column. If an item passes validation, the Status changes to Valid.
- Columns - use the sub-menu to select or deselect columns to display.
Ability to Clone Workspace Content
The Explorer panel provides the ability to clone a variety of Workspace Items. So rather than creating that required component, domain model, schematic sheet, or template from scratch, you can simply clone it. Direct Editing ensures any required changes – to a copy of the source data from the original Item Revision – is a streamlined affair, with the resulting changes released into an initial revision of a new Item of the same type. Done and dusted in record time, you can quickly expand your Workspace content without facing a blank canvas.
The following content types can be cloned:
- Simulation Model
- Component Template
- Managed Schematic Sheet
- Schematic Template
- Project Template
- Draftsman Document Template
- Draftsman Sheet Template
The command to clone one of the supported content types is accessed from the Explorer panel in the following ways:
- By right-clicking over the entry for the source Item-Revision, and choosing the Operations » Clone command from the context menu.
- By selecting the entry for the source Item-Revision and using the Ctrl+D keyboard shortcut.
The Clone command is available throughout the Explorer panel, wherever the applicable Item-Revision is presented, including:
- The main Item listing within a folder.
- Children aspect view tab (when viewing a Managed Schematic Sheet Item).
- Where-used aspect view tab (when viewing a Component Item, Symbol Item, Footprint Item, Simulation Model Item, Component Template Item, or Schematic Template Item).
- Preview aspect view tab (when viewing a Component Item, Managed Schematic Sheet Item, or Schematic Template Item).
Once the required source Item-Revision has been located, and the Clone command launched, the process flow is as follows:
- A direct editing session is launched, with a copy of the source document – stored with the chosen Item-Revision – opened in the associated (and temporary) editor. For a Project Template Item revision, the temporary editable copy of the project will be opened in the Projects panel, ready for editing.
- Make changes as required.
- Save the document locally.
Click the button on the Quick Access Bar, to save the document to the Workspace (shortcut Ctrl+Alt+S). For a Project Template, choose the Save to Server command, available from the right-click context menu for the project's entry in the Projects panel. Alternatively, use the Save to Server control next to the document entry in the Projects panel. The Create New Item dialog will appear. By default, the clone Item will adopt the same revision naming and lifecycle definition schemes as the original Item, and will be created in the same folder. These properties can be changed if required. Be sure to give the new Item a Name and Description.
- Once the Item properties are set as required, click OK. The new Item and its initial revision will be created, the document released, and the temporary editor closed. Browse the fruits of your cloning labor back in the Explorer panel.
Drag & Drop Placement
Placement of certain Workspace Items into a PCB design project in Altium Designer is streamlined with the ability to drag & drop revisions of these Item types onto the active (and applicable) document, directly from the Explorer panel. Support is available to drag:
- A revision of a Component Item onto the active schematic document (or PCB document). The applicable model for the chosen domain will appear floating on the cursor accordingly.
- A revision of a Managed Schematic Sheet Item onto the active schematic document. A sheet symbol that references the sheet will float attached to the cursor.
- A revision of a 3D Model Item onto a PCB or PCB Library document, creating a 3D Body object that references that Item Revision.
Browse your Workspace for the required Item to be placed. Placement involves a specific revision of that Item, so be sure to expand the main Item entry to list all of its available revisions (click the button at the top-right of the panel and disable the Show only latest option to see all previous revisions). Then click on the required revision and drag an instance of it onto the design document.
In addition, Altium Designer supports access to, and placement of components from, the Components panel.
The panel's interpreted Project View displays the selected project in a process-orientated view that provides direct access to the relevant project data and its releases.
The Project View will show a preview of the project, core descriptions, parameters, and releases.
The Releases region will display a compilation of the Project Release(s) associated with the selected project, which includes a summary of each release and its constituent packages. Click the button in this region to open the Batch state change dialog, which you may use to change the lifecycle state of multiple items related to the same release, at once in a single batch process.
Controls at the top-right of the project view include:
- Open – use to open to the target project in Altium Designer.
- Open in Web – use to open the project in the Workspace's browser-based interface.
- Share – use to open the Share dialog, which supports the ability to share your design projects with others, anywhere around the world, directly from within the software.
- – click the button to access the following commands:
- Clone – use to open the Create Project Copy dialog, which is used to copy a project, which is then stored in the connected Workspace. By default, the original project name will be used with the suffix
' - Copy'.
- History – use to open the History view for a project is gained from the detailed CAD-centric management page for that project.
- Delete – use this to delete the project, its folder, and all project content. Before the deletion is complete, you'll be asked to confirm.
Working with Component Folders and Items
Component Folder Type Controls
When a folder of the
Components type has no components in it yet, a number of controls will be presented here to assist you in populating the folder with components.
Use these controls to perform an appropriate action:
- Import Library – click to open the standard Windows Open dialog and select a database or file-based library saved on your local or network folder. After opening a library file, the Library Importer in its Simple mode will launch with the selected library loaded.
- Create Component – click to open the Component Editor in its Single Component Editing mode ready to define a new component.
- Create Other Item Type – click to open the Create New Item dialog and create a new item of any type.
Irrespective of if there are components in the folder or not, these actions can also be performed using the options of the menu associated with the Add Component button at the top-right of the panel.
Library Health View
When browsing the content of a connected Altium 365 Workspace, the Explorer panel provides access to the Library Health view from where you can run health checks and inspect component health issues. Select the Library Health entry in the Server Folder region of the panel to access this view in the panel.
The Library Health view accessed from the Explorer panel
The top region of the view provides a summary of the health of your components, since last running a health check. Below are the health check analyses that are supported, gathered into various Issue Themes. Clicking on a health check analysis tile will provide a more detailed description of the check with steps to resolve (where available), as well as a detailed listing of all components failing that health check.
Components type folder supports two viewing modes – the Classic View and the Components View. The latter, which is the default view for this folder type, allows you to browse the parametric data associated with all components in the current folder. What's more, you can set up the view exactly how you like it for different folders of components, and those configurations will remain between sessions.
To toggle between these two viewing modes, browse to a Components folder in the Explorer panel, click the button at the top-right of the components listing, and choose either the View » Classic View, or View » Components View command from the associated menu.
Access the Components View for a Components-type folder, presenting the components in terms of their parametric data. Hover over the image to see the result of switching back to the Classic View.
Take a look at the following sections for more information on working with the Components View.
The order of the columns is customizable. Click on a column's header and drag it horizontally to the required new position. Valid positions are highlighted by vertical positional arrows.
Components can be grouped based on any of the visible column headings. To do this, click and hold on a column header, then drag and drop it onto the text that says
Drag a column header here to group by that column.
An example of customized grouping (by the
Parameters can be sorted by a specific column by clicking on that column's header. Click once to sort in ascending order (based on the content of that column). Click again to sort in descending order.
You can sort by multiple columns. With the parameters already sorted by a specific column, Shift+Click on another column to 'sub-sort' by the content of that column.
Support for Multi-Part Components
When viewing the symbol for a multi-part component, the Preview aspect view tab will present each part – each with its own distinct symbol graphic – as a separate tab. In addition, the Place menu will present a sub-menu of all applicable parts that can be placed for that component.
Browse to the multi-part Component Item of interest, in the Workspace, and ensure the Preview aspect view tab is active. Each distinct part's symbol can be browsed in the symbol viewing region. Click on a tab along the bottom to switch between parts.
Browsing the parts of a multi-part component, at the component level.
Double-click on the entry for the child symbol to browse the constituent parts for the component at the symbol level. Again, ensure the Preview aspect view tab is active.
Browsing the parts of a multi-part component, at the child symbol level.
When placing a revision of a multi-part component onto a schematic sheet, right-clicking on the revision's entry and hovering over the Place command on the menu will present a sub-menu containing all parts for that component. Select the required part to place.
A placement sub-menu offers all parts in a multi-part component.
Controlling Parameter Visibility when Placing Components
When placing components directly from the Explorer panel, control over the visibility of parameters associated with those components – or more specifically, their values – is performed from within the properties dialog for the parent folder.
Right-click on the parent folder and choose the Properties command. The Edit Folder dialog will appear. Enable the Configure Parameters Visibility on Add option on the right-hand side. The parameters, taken from all components in the folder, will appear listed in the region. Use the Visible On Add checkbox associated with each parameter to control its visibility, when a component that has that parameter is placed on a schematic sheet.
Determine, at the folder level, which parameters should be visible when components that use them are placed in a design.
Copying Component Parameter Information to the Clipboard
Parametric information for a revision of a component can be copied to the clipboard for subsequent use elsewhere in the design, or for pasting to an external application (such as Microsoft Excel). When browsing the Preview aspect view tab for a Component Item revision, select the required parameters – in the Parameters region of the view – and either use the Ctrl+C keyboard shortcut or right-click in the region and use the Copy command on the context menu.
Copy a Component Item revision's parametric information to the clipboard, for use elsewhere as required.
Changing a Released Component Type On-the-Fly
It is possible to change the component type for one or more components after release to a completely different type, on-the-fly. In the Explorer panel, select the component revision(s) that you want to change, then right-click and choose the Operations » Change component type command from the context menu. The Choose component type dialog will appear from which you can select the new component type.
An example of changing the component type for selected revisions of Component Items that have already been released – with the wrong type to begin with, to underline the feature!
Searching for Components
The Explorer panel caters for powerful searching functionality. You can either perform generic-level searching, or targeted searching through the use of saved search configurations. The latter allows you to search, with respect to your components, by a particular component type and also use ranged searching – a nice aspect of searching facilitated through unit-aware component parameter data types (supported through a referenced component template). Additionally, you can add a keyboard shortcut to your saved searches that allows you to quickly perform a search from wherever you are within the Explorer panel.
Prerequisites for Search
Related pages: Component, Component Template
To be able to fully appreciate and use all aspects of the Explorer panel's search facility when searching across your components, you need to meet the following requirements:
Accessing the Search Facility
The interface for the search facility – the Search view – is accessed through the Explorer panel by clicking the Search tab at the bottom-left of the panel. The view is comprised of three key elements, as shown in the following image and detailed thereafter.
The Search view – a dedicated user interface within the Explorer panel.
- Generic Search field – facilitating standard-type searching. Enter a search string and press Enter.
- Saved Searches – facilitating targeted searches that can be saved for reuse. These types of searches can target components by their type and also cater for enhanced searches based on the values of unit-aware parameters.
- Search Results.
Creating a Saved Search
To create a new saved search, right-click in the Saved Searches region and choose New from the context menu. The New Search dialog will appear, in which to define the search.
Creating a new saved search.
Use the dialog to configure a component search as follows:
Give the search a meaningful name (e.g.
Resistors) using the Saved Search Name.
- Define an optional keyboard Shortcut for quick access to the search (populate the field by clicking inside it, then performing the required shortcut on the keyboard).
Set the Content Type field to
Component. The drop-down listing includes all supported content types for the Workspace (allowing other searches to be created based on other content types).
Select Component in the Content Type field drop-down for searching by components in the Workspace.
- Use the Parameters region to configure search parameters as required. All parameters detected for the
Component content type will be listed. For each parameter, the following three options can be defined:
- Show Filter – enable to show a corresponding filter field for the parameter, above the Search Results region on the Search tab. It is through such a field that you can fine-tune your searches, based on value criteria stipulated for that parameter.
- Default Visibility – enable to have a column for the parameter presented by default in the Search Results region on the Search tab. Columns for parametric data can be hidden, or made visible at any stage, directly from the view.
- Parameter - the name of the parameter. This could be a system parameter or a user parameter. Remember that in order to use range searches, parameters must be defined through an assigned component template and be unit-aware (of a specific data type).
- Type - the data type for the parameter. For ranged searches, the parameter should be set to a unit-aware data type. This can be done only through a component template that is then assigned to the component library prior to releasing the component definitions.
Default Value – use this field to constrain use of a parameter to a particular value, or range.
Example defined search parameters.
- If you want any user of your Workspace to see and use your saved search, leave the Public option enabled. If you want the search private to only yourself, disable this option.
With the search defined as required, click the Add button. The search will be saved as an entry under
Generic Search in the Saved Searches region of the view.
Applying a Saved Search
A saved search can be applied in the following ways:
- After clicking Add for a newly defined search, or Save after modifications to an existing search, the search will be automatically applied.
- Select the search in the Saved Searches region, then press Enter.
- Use the assigned shortcut to switch to the required saved search, then press Enter.
- Double-click on the entry for the saved search.
Filtering of components will be performed based on the defined search criteria, and the results presented in the corresponding results region. If any parameters have their option to Show Filter enabled, as part of the applied saved search, dedicated fields for those parameters will be available above the results list.
Example results after application of a defined saved search –
Resistors. The search has four parameters that have their Show Filter option enabled, so fields for those parameters are presented as part of the search interface.
For those parameters whose filter fields are shown:
- If the parameter has a default value specified as part of the search, its field will initially be prefilled with that value, and that value will be applied when the search itself is applied.
- A new value (specific or ranged) can be specified for the parameter by direct entry in the field.
Make any adjustments as necessary and press Enter to apply the revised filtering.
Editing a Saved Search
To modify an existing saved search, select it in the Saved Searches region, right-click and choose Edit from the context menu. The Edit: [<SavedSearchName>] dialog will appear, from where to make any changes to the search as required.
Once changes have been made, click the Save button – the search will be applied in accordance with its new settings.
Deleting a Saved Search
To remove an existing saved search, select it in the Saved Searches region, right-click and choose Delete from the context menu. Click Yes in the subsequent confirmation dialog – the search will be removed from the listing of saved searches.
Various commands are available from right-click menus in the panel. The exact listing of commands will depend on the region of the panel in which you right-click and the entity currently in focus within that region. The following sections cover the commands available.
Commands for the Server Folders Region
- Add Top Level Folder – use to add a new top-level folder into the Workspace folder structure. A sub-menu offers folder types
Generic Folder, and
Other Folder Type. To browse and choose a different folder type, click Other Folder Type. The Add Folder dialog will appear in which you can define the new folder properties.
- Add Subfolder – use to add a new sub-level folder of type of the selected folder into the Workspace folder structure. To browse and choose a different folder type, click Other Folder Type. The Add Folder dialog will appear in which you can define the new folder properties.
- Operations – use to access a sub-menu of commands including:
- Copy Folder Structure – use to copy the selected folder's structure.
- Paste Folder Structure– use to paste a copied folder's structure.
- Add To Content Cart (for a
Generic Folder type folder) – use to add all Components in the selected folder to the Content Cart using the Content Cart dialog.
- Expand – use this command to fully expand all folders in the Workspace folder structure.
- Collapse – use this command to fully collapse all folders in the Workspace folder structure.
- Move Folder – use this command to access the Move Folder dialog, which can be used to change the currently selected folder's location within the overall Workspace folder structure.
- Delete Folder – use this command to delete the currently selected folder.
- Refresh – use this command to refresh the connection with the Workspace currently being browsed.
- Properties – use this command to access the Edit Folder dialog in which related properties for the currently selected folder can be viewed and modified.
Commands for the Items Region
Commands for the Lifecycle View
The commands available when right-clicking a cell in the Explorer panel's Lifecycle aspect view are the same when right-clicking on a lifecycle cell in the detailed Item view for a design item. For information on these commands, see Lifecycle Cell Commands.