Make the Switch from AutoCAD to Altium Designer
If you’re set in your ways with using your current CAD software for PCB design, but your productivity is still lacking, then it might be time for an upgrade. If you’re worried about taking your current projects with you to your new PCB software, there’s no need to fret. A fully integrated PCB design platform like Altium Designer allows you to use your existing CAD files with the best PCB design and analysis tools. Don’t limit yourself to sub-standard design software, try working in Altium Designer’s unified environment.
TOPICS IN THIS SOLUTION
A PCB design package that helps you import projects from other design programs.
You’ve probably been in that familiar groove with your existing design program for a while. You’ve got the workflow figured out, you have dozens of finished projects, and ready-made templates that you spent hours designing. Unfortunately, your current design software package does not include all the features you need. What is the entrepreneur designer to do?
A lot of file formats used by different pieces of design software are proprietary, and you won’t always be able to transfer your electronics design data into your new software’s file format. In some cases, you’ll have to rely on a 3rd party format converter and hope that your converted files aren’t crippled with bugs and errors.
Thankfully, you’ll be able to continue using those projects you spent so much time building when you switch to Altium Designer. Your CAD files transfer easily into a new format that is easily usable within Altium’s unified design interface. The best part is you can start using Altium’s top-notch design tools on your existing electronics projects, making them that much more powerful.
If you’ve started a schematic in your other design software, Altium includes powerful design tools that allow you to take these schematics and use them in new PCBs. The extensive component libraries in Altium Designer make it easy to define or components in your schematic, expanding your capabilities. Any changes you make in your schematic synchronize with your layout, and vice versa, at the click of your mouse.
Use the Best Design Software to Build and Layout PCBs
Any CAD program that can interface with a component library will let you build a schematic of your device. You can also route traces in your layout with CAD software, giving you a realistic view of your PCB. But tradition CAD software for mechanical design does not unify these features into a single workflow, and even most PCB design platforms segment these features into separate interfaces.
Instead of using CAD programs to build electronic circuits or design software that claims to integrate your design tools into a unified platform, your PCB design software should include tools that are built to work together and create a consistent workflow throughout the design process.
- Your CAD software should do more than just produce a drawing of your next PCB, it requires critical features that help ensure your board will function properly.
- Using a schematic capture tool is an excellent way to get started laying out your PCB and enforce synchronization between your PCB and schematic.
Learn more about starting your layout with schematic capture.
- Altium Designer unifies ECAD and MCAD capabilities for PCB design with other design tools, giving you the most accurate view of your next PCB.
Learn more about design software that unifies ECAD and MCAD.
All the features you need can be found in Altium Designer
Collaboration is aided when your design software generates consistent documentation with a standardized format in a single environment. The right design software helps formerly segmented teams design the best devices with ease. This is accomplished with tools that unify features needed by each team in a single design interface. Collaboration thrives in an integrated design environment, where all the design, analysis, and documentation tools are built together and speak the same language.
The Best PCB Design Software Makes Collaboration Easy
If you work in a large organization, changes to your board must be communicated to the rest of your design team in a standardized format. A single design environment eases collaboration among design teams and prevents design errors due to lack of communication. Your electrical and mechanical designers should have access to the same realistic 3D view without resorting to exporting and importing between programs.
Your typical CAD program does not have these capabilities because it was not built with the PCB industry in mind. Instead, the best PCB design software helps align mechanical and electrical design teams that are normally siloed. Everyone involved in the design process should have standardized, consistent information in an intuitive interface. The right PCB design software package plays a critical role in streamlining collaboration among design teams.
- When you work in a large organization with multiple stakeholders, the collaboration between and within design teams is critical to ensuring success.
See how your PCB design software makes collaboration easy.
- PCB design software that enables collaboration also allows you to implement a data management and design release strategy.
- Once you’re ready to produce your PCB, your manufacturer will need a bill of materials and other documentation. Your PCB design software should include tools to generate this documentation, instead of leaving you to write it by hand.
MCAD/ECAD unification in Altium Designer
In the past, design, simulation, component management, and data management required a number of different programs. Some design software companies have added some of these features to their design products, but only Altium Designer places all these tools into a single interface and enforces a unified workflow.
When all these tools are built into a single interface with a consistent design engine and workflow, you won’t get stuck using difficult features or moving between programs. Only Altium Designer offers the best design features in single, consistent interface. These tools are built using a rules-driven design engine, ensuring consistent communication between all your tools. You’ll be able to spend more time designing and less time fiddling with incompatible programs.
Building complex PCBs takes more than a great CAD interface, it takes tools that integrate every aspect of your board into a single project. Design programs that are not focused on PCB design can’t do this properly, and they don’t include proper verification features to ensure your design works properly. An integrated PCB design package links your design and verification tools into a single program, making it easy to communicate your design intent.
Let Altium Designer Replace Your Old CAD Software
Don’t let CAD software that doesn’t include industry-standard PCB design features hold you back. When you need to build a PCB for your new electronic device, you need the most powerful design, analysis, documentation, and management tools all in one place. Altium Designer links all of these design features into a single interface using a unified, rules-driven design engine. You’ll have full control over every aspect of your design.
When your design tools are built to work together and communicate with each other in a consistent language, you can do it all from a single program. You won’t be left switching between multiple programs just to finish simple design tasks. Best of all, Altium Designer’s version control and component library features allow you to implement the management strategy that works for your organization. You can ensure consistent communication between design teams when you use Altium Designer.
- Altium Designer lets you import your designs from AutoCAD and export designs into AutoCAD’s file format.
Learn more about importing and exporting to AutoCAD.
- Integrated 3D visualization tools help you get an accurate view of your PCB and help you design mechanical packaging.
- You can manage every aspect of design releases when your design tools are integrated with your documentation and management tools.
Learn more about design release management in Altium Designer.
Altium Designer takes all of these features and packages them into a single, unified design platform. Anyone on your team will have access to the best CAD, simulation, and documentation tools in an intuitive interface. Your projects from your other CAD programs like AutoCAD will easily transfer to Altium Designer, allowing you to improve your projects with the latest and greatest design tools in a unified environment.
If you’re using CAD software for PCB design, switching to a dedicated PCB design platform like Altium Designer might seem unnecessary. Rest assured, Altium’s dedicated PCB design tools help designers maximize their productivity. If you need help getting started, you’ll have access to resources like the AltiumLive forum, an extensive knowledge base, and webinars and podcasts from industry experts.
Altium Designer makes switching away from CAD software easy. PCB design software with strong CAD tools ensures that your next PCB will be designed to meet critical industry and manufacturing standards. The tools in Altium Designer are built within a rules-driven design engine, ensuring your next PCB will work as designed. It’s time to invest in yourself and your next PCB projects, it’s time to try Altium Designer.