Altium Designer Documentation

Working with a Harness Connector Object on a Schematic Sheet in Altium Designer

Created: 26.09.2019 | Updated: 09.04.2021
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Parent page: Schematic Objects

A placed Harness Connector A placed Harness Connector


A Harness Connector object is an electrical drawing primitive. It is essentially a container to group various signals together to form a Signal Harness including buses and wires. A Harness Connector is defined by the Harness Type.


Harness Connectors are available for placement in the Schematic Editor:

  • The following commands are available:
    • Click Place » Harness » Harness Connector from the main menus.
    • Click the Harness Connector button () in the graphic objects drop-down on the Active Bar located at the top of the design space. Click and hold an Active Bar button to access other related commands. Once a command has been used, it will become the topmost item on that section of the Active Bar.
    • Right-click in the design space then click Place » Harness » Harness Connector from the context menu.
    • Click the  button on the Wiring toolbar.
A harness connector can also be defined textually in a Harness Definition File (*.Harness). Such a defined harness connector can be placed in the design using the Place » Harness » Predefined Harness Connector command from the main menus.
Harness Definitions are automatically generated when a Harness Connector is constructed with Harness Entries. When the Harness Connector is modified, the corresponding Harness Definition is updated to reflect the modifications.
The Harness Definition can be protected by manually locking the Harness Definition. This is achieved by typing Locked; before each Signal Harness Definition. This means that the Harness Definition will not be updated when the Harness Connector is modified and any new Harness Entries added to the schematics will not be added to the Harness Definition.
If a Harness Definition is locked and a new Harness Entry is added to the graphical representation, the Conflicting Harness Definition violation will be displayed upon compilation.


After launching the command, the cursor will change to a cross-hair and you will enter Harness Connector placement mode. Placement is made by performing the following sequence of actions:

  1. Click or press Enter to anchor the tip of the Harness Connector.
  2. Move the cursor to adjust the size of the Harness Connector, then click or press Enter to anchor the corner and thereby complete placement of the Harness Connector.
  3. Continue to place other Harness Connectors or right-click or press Esc to exit placement mode.

Additional actions that can be performed during placement while the harness connector is still floating on the cursor and before its tip is anchored are:

  • Press the Tab key to open the Harness Connector mode of the Properties panel from where properties for the harness connector can be changed on the fly.
  • Press the X or Y keys to mirror the harness connector along the X-axis or Y-axis respectively.

While attributes can be modified during placement (Tab to open the Properties panel), keep in mind that these will become the default settings for further placement unless the Permanent option on the Schematic – Defaults page of the Preferences dialog is enabled. When this option is enabled, changes made will affect only the object being placed and subsequent objects placed during the same placement session.

Graphical Editing

This method of editing allows you to select a placed harness connector object directly in the design space and change its size, shape or location graphically.

When a harness connector object is selected, the following editing handles are available:

A selected Harness Connector.

  • Click and drag A to resize the harness connector in the vertical and horizontal directions simultaneously.
  • Click and drag B to resize the harness connector in the vertical direction.
  • Click and drag C or anywhere on the harness connector away from editing handles to reposition it. While dragging, click the X or Y keys to mirror the harness connector along the X-axis or Y-axis.
  • The Harness Connector Type text for a harness connector object can be edited in-place by:
    1. Single-clicking the text to select it.
    2. Single-clicking again (or pressing Enter) to enter the in-place editing mode. Sufficient time between each click should be given to ensure the software does not interpret the two single-clicks as one double-click (which would open the Properties panel).
    3. To finish editing in-place text, press the Enter key or use the mouse to click away from the text.
This feature is available only provided the Enable In-Place Editing option is enabled on the Schematic - General page of the Preferences dialog.
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 Schematic – Graphical Editing 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. Click the locked object to select it then disable the Locked property in the List panel 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 Harness Connector Dialog or Properties Panel

Panel page: Harness Connector Properties

This method of editing uses the associated Harness Connector dialog and the Properties panel mode to modify the properties of a harness connector object.

 The Harness Connector dialog, on the left, and the Harness Connector mode of the Properties panel on the right

After placement, the Harness Connector dialog can be accessed by:

  • Double-clicking on the placed harness connector object line.
  • Placing the cursor over the harness connector object line, right-clicking then choosing Properties from the context menu.

During placement, the Harness Connector mode of the Properties panel can be accessed by pressing the Tab key. Once the harness connector is placed, all options appear.

After placement, the Harness Connector mode of the Properties panel can be accessed in one of the following ways:

  • If the Properties panel is already active, by selecting the harness connector object.
  • After selecting the harness connector object, select the Properties panel from the Panels button in the bottom right section of the design space or select View » Panels » Properties from the main menu.

The Harness Connector properties can be accessed prior to entering placement mode, from the Schematic - Defaults page of the Preferences dialog. This allows the default properties for the rectangle object to be changed, which will be applied when placing subsequent rectangles.
If the Double Click Runs Interactive Properties option is disabled (default) on the Schematic - Graphical Editing page of the Preferences dialog, when the primitive is double-clicked or you right-click on a selected primitive then choose Properties, the dialog will open. When the Double Click Runs Interactive Properties option is enabled, the Properties panel will open. 
While the options are the same in the dialog and the panel, the order and placement of the options may differ slightly. 

Editing Multiple objects

The Properties panel supports multiple object editing, where the property settings that are identical in all currently selected objects may be modified. When multiples of the same object type are selected manually, via the Find Similar Objects dialog or through a Filter or List panel, a Properties panel field entry that is not shown as an asterisk (*) may be edited for all selected objects.

Via a Panel

Panel pages: SCH List, SCH Filter

The SCH List panel allows you 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 SCH 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 you to target and edit multiple design objects with greater accuracy and efficiency.


  1. By default, newly-placed Harness Connectors are given the Harness Type Harness.
  2. The Harness Type can be hidden from view or moved to save space in your design. Click  in the Properties panel to hide the Harness Type.
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