Altium Designer Documentation

Working with a Design View Object on a PCB in Altium Designer

Created: 27.07.2015 | Updated: 20.04.2017

Parent page: PCB Objects

Place a Design View to show a specific area of the board. The one shown here has been scaled to 200%.
Place a Design View to show a specific area of the board. The one shown here has been scaled to 200%.

Summary

The PCB Design View object is a graphic snapshot of any rectangular shaped region of the current board, or another board. It can be placed anywhere in the workspace and scaled to any size.

Availability

A Design View can be placed in the PCB editor workspace by selecting Place » Design View from the main menu, which opens the Design view dialog to define the snapshot properties.

Placement

Select Place » Design View from the PCB Editor menus to place a Design View in the current PCB workspace.

This opens the Design View dialog which allows the board snapshot area to be defined in two ways:

  • By clicking the Define area button, which returns you to the workspace with a cross-hair cursor, and then using click-drag to define the rectangular region of the view.
  • By manually entering in the Width, Height and lower-left X and Y coordinates in the fields located within the image area of the dialog,

Once the area has been defined, click OK to place the Design View in the workspace. Once the View has been placed you will return to the Design View dialog, ready to place another. Click Cancel (or Esc) to stop placing more Design Views.

Note that a Design View placed in the workspace will not be visible unless enabled with the Show Design Views option in the Show/Hide tab of the View Configurations dialog. Right-click in the workspace and select Options » Board Layer & Colors from the context menu to open the View Configurations dialog. A Design View that is hidden is still included in a printout or PDF.

The Design View's scale (size), title and other options can be defined during placement by entering their properties in the Design view dialog. See the Design View dialog page (and below) for more information.

Including a Design View in Printed or PDF Output

Design Views are included in printed and PDF output. The Design View retains its own layer visibility settings in the output, allowing it to present as the designer requires in the printed/PDF output. Note that the primitives on layers used in the Design View continue to obey the display settings defined in the Layer Properties dialog for that layer in the PCB Printout Properties settings defined for that output. For example, if the Top Overlay is displayed in the Design View, and the Top Overlay is configured to display tracks in Draft mode for that output in the Output Job, then the Top Overlay tracks in the Design View will also present in Draft mode.

Note that Design Views are not included in Gerber or ODB++ output.

Graphical Editing

Once a Design View has been placed in the workspace, you can interactively adjust the position, scale, size and focus of the View.

  • Change the positionClick+Drag the Design View object to a new location on the PCB workspace.
  • Adjusting the Scale – click once to select the Design View, then Click+Drag on a corner handle to scale the Design View up (drag out) or down (drag in).
  • Adjusting the View Size – click once to select the Design View, then Ctrl+Click+Drag on a corner handle to resize the Design View.
  • Changing the Focus – Ctrl+Click+Drag anywhere within the Design View to slide the currently viewed area around within the Design View window.

Ctrl+Click+Drag to slide and adjust the area currently being viewed in the Design View.
Ctrl+Click+Drag to slide and adjust the area currently being viewed in the Design View.

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 PCB Editor – General 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. Double-click on the locked object directly and disable the Locked property or disable the Protect Locked Objects option, to graphically edit the object.

Non-Graphical Editing

The following methods of non-graphical editing are available:

Via the Design View Properties Dialog

This method of editing uses the following dialog to modify the properties of a design view object.

The dialog is active during Design View placement and can be used to edit all object properties after placement.
The dialog is active during Design View placement and can be used to edit all object properties after placement.

After a Design View object has been placed, the Design view dialog can be accessed to edit the the object's properties. It can be opened in one of the following ways:

  • Double-clicking on a Design View object.
  • Placing the cursor over the Design View, right-clicking and choosing Properties from the context menu.
  • Using the Edit » Change command and clicking once over the placed Design View.
Quickly change the units of measurement currently used in the dialog between metric (mm) and imperial (mil) using the Ctrl+Q shortcut. This affects the dialog only and does not change the actual measurement unit employed for the board, as determined by the Measurement Unit setting in the Board Options dialog (Design » Board Options).

Within the Design view dialog:

  • The Location settings in the dialog can be used to accurately position the Design View once it has been placed.
  • The Title settings (including its Font, Height and Color) define the Design View's associated title text – note that its color must contrast the workspace background color.
  • The Scale defines the object size as a multiplying factor.
  • The document Properties settings allows a Design View to be placed from a different document, as defined through the  (browser) button under the Specify Document option.
  • The Layers tab provides board layer check boxes that can be configured to show specific layers in the Design View.
  • The Mirrored option will enable a flipped (mirrored) image of the board area in the Design View.

Note that the Design View's default properties can be defined from the PCB Editor – Defaults page of the Preferences dialog. Once edited, the new default properties will be applied when placing subsequent Design View objects.

Editing via an Inspector Panel

Panel pages: PCB Inspector, PCBLIB Inspector, PCB Filter

An Inspector panel enables the designer to interrogate and edit the properties of one or more design objects in the active document. Used in conjunction with appropriate filtering - by using the PCB Filter panel or the Find Similar Objects dialog - the panel can be used to make changes to multiple objects of the same kind, from one convenient location.

Editing via a List Panel

Panel pages: PCB List, PCBLIB List, PCB Filter

A List panel allows the designer to display design objects from one or more documents in tabular format, enabling quick inspection and modification of object attributes. Used in conjunction with appropriate filtering - by using the PCB Filter panel or the Find Similar Objects dialog - it enables the display of just those objects falling under the scope of the active filter – allowing the designer to target and edit multiple design objects with greater accuracy and efficiency.

 

 

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