Schematic Capture and Design Tool Integration in Altium Designer
Once your ready to start laying out your actual PCB, you’ll need to take the data in your electronic schematic and capture it as an initial Printed Circuit Board layout. Later, you’ll need to generate documentation and deliverables for your manufacturer when it’s time to produce your device. Instead of risking incompatibility between free schematic and layout tools, you need to use the only PCB design package that includes all your tools in a single package. You won’t have to worry about being blocked by a paywall or being stopped in your tracks by mystery compatibility errors.
TOPICS IN THIS SOLUTION
A PCB design package that helps you lets you build and capture your schematics.
Your PCB schematic is like the foundation of a new house. Everything in your PCB is built on top of this critical document. It details which components appear in your device, how they must connect to each other, and how your device accesses power and ground. With this document playing such an important role in your PCB, you need the best software that can take your PCB schematic and generate your initial layout.
Your PCB design software should include tools that quickly and easily capture your schematic as an initial layout, with all your connections mapped and your component footprints accurately displayed in a CAD document. You’ll be able to define your board shape and start arranging your traces between components. The best PCB layout tools make it easy to implement a strong routing strategy that conforms to standard design rules for a board with any number of layers.
Free schematic capture software is hit-or-miss. Some free schematic capture tools interface directly with a layout tool, but this is not always the case. Some tools just export a CAD file and leave you on your own to figure out the rest. Other tools block you behind a paywall as soon as you try to save your data. You’re forced to find multiple tools with different workflows and inconsistent features, with the paywall problem always looming in these programs.
Your schematic software needs to interface directly with your layout tools, design rules, and component libraries if you want to remain productive while designing your next device. When your layout and schematic tools are built into the same package, you can easily capture your device and start routing within the same program. This prevents incompatibility problems that can inevitably arise when moving between free tools.
Your schematic tools also need to access data directly from your component libraries and check your device against standard design rules. You’ll also need to check your design data against custom design rules. Using this type of adaptable design software is the best way to remain productive and ensure that your devices meet standard design guidelines.
Keep Your Productivity High with Integrated Design Features
Using a schematic capture software tool that interfaces directly with your layout tools ensures that your device will comply with basic design rules. Nobody has time to memorize every design rule or constantly rebuild schematics when moving between schematic and layout. A capture tool that interfaces directly with your CAD features automatically places your components where you need them, and you won’t have to build your device twice.
- Building your layout directly from your schematic is a critical step in any PCB design platform. The best schematic design practices, capture tools, and design rules checking features can help you avoid errors when creating your layout.
Learn how to capture your electronic schematic in your PCB layout.
- The best CAD layout tools will help you meet your design requirements without getting stuck behind a paywall.
See why modern PCB design requires the best CAD layout software.
- Even if your schematic meets standard design guidelines, you might find that your board is unroutable. Fortunately, some simple design choices and powerful routing tools can help you create a board that is easy to route and meets your design requirements.
Learn how design choices can help you solve difficult layout challenges.
Schematic creation in Altium Designer
As you move into your layout and start arranging components on your board, you may find that you need to add or replace a component. If you make changes in one document, your changes need to appear in the other document; your layout and schematic need to stay in sync. Keeping your schematic and your layout synchronized keeps you from rebuilding a schematic each time you update your board.
Free PCB design software oftentimes will leave you without the schematic entry or layout editor for your printed circuit design tool. Utilize a circuit board design software with an easy-to-use user interface, without a high learning curve, and that can optimize your design process from PCB footprints to manufacturing output. Your schematic design and PCB layout tools should also synchronize with other features, such as your simulation and analysis features, automated routers, bill of materials generation tools, and design rules checking features. When all of these features work together, you’ll have the power to design advanced PCBs within a single design environment.
Keeping Your Schematic and Layout Synchronized
Free schematic capture software that works as a standalone tool can’t keep your design data in sync. Free software is completely separate from the critical layout features you need to build the best PCBs, and you’ll be lucky if you can overcome compatibility problems when using multiple programs. The best PCB design software doesn’t just synchronize your schematic and layout, it enforces all harmony across all of your design data.
- Great PCB design software makes it easy to create project libraries directly from your schematic. You should be able to reusing your old circuit diagrams and include them as part of hierarchical schematics.
Learn more about creating project libraries from schematics.
- Your design software should make it easy quickly capture your schematic as a PCB layout and start arranging components on your board.
Learn more about best practices for schematic capture.
- Moving updates between you schematic and layout shouldn’t require building your device twice. Your design software should easily synchronize component or routing changes in your layout with your schematic, and vice versa.
Learn more about back annotation to the schematic.
A schematic and layout in Altium Designer
Most PCB design programs separate your schematic, layout, analysis, and deliverable generation utilities into different programs with different workflows. PCB design software that unifies these tools into a single interface allows your tools to pass data between each other, ensuring communication between these utilities is error-free. This improves your productivity as you won’t have to flip back-and-forth between different programs.
You’ll need more than just a great CAD interface to build a great PCB, you need tools that integrate every aspect of the PCB design and analysis process into a single program. A fully integrated design package links your schematic, layout, analysis, and deliverable generation tools into a single software package. It’s never been easier to design revolutionary electronic devices.
Let Altium Designer Unify Your Design Workflow
Plenty of other software programs claim to be unified, but they still separate design tools into different programs that force you to adopt a different workflow. Free schematic capture software and many online design tools offer a limited feature set, and you may not even be able to use all the features without jumping over a paywall. Instead of fiddling with free and online design tools, you need the best design, analysis, management, and deliverable generation features.
Only Altium Designer unifies your schematic, layout, analysis, and a host of other tools into a single software program. You need the most powerful design, verification, documentation, and management tools all in one place. You’ll be able to move through the entire design process and on to production painlessly when all your tools are placed in a single design environment. Altium Designer helps you ensure consistent communication between design teams, your manufacturer, and your design tools.
- Before designing your actual PCB, you’ve probably put together a basic circuit diagram. Wiring up a schematic and capturing it in a CAD document is the first step in laying out your PCB.
Learn more about schematic capture in Altium Designer.
- As you start designing your schematic, you’ll need to access data from your component libraries. Altium Designer makes it easy to search for the parts you need and import them into your design.
Learn more about searching and managing components in Altium Designer.
- You can easily manage every aspect of design releases when your design tools are integrated with your documentation and management tools.
Learn more about managing design releases in Altium Designer.
Altium Designer takes all of the best schematic, layout, data management, and analysis tools and packages them into a unified design platform. You won’t have to rely on a “free” schematic capture program to start laying out your device. Instead, you can immediately start laying out your PCB after capturing your schematic. You can rest assured that your schematic and layout remain synchronized, and passing updates between the two is easy.
If you’ve never worked with unified design software, Altium gives you the resources you need to get started. It’s easy to start designing as soon as you load up the program. If you need help getting started, you’ll have access to resources like an extensive knowledge base, the AltiumLive forum, and webinars and podcasts provided by industry experts. Altium gives you the tools you need to design successfully.
Altium Designer can help you easily capture your schematic as an initial layout and move through the rest of the design process. The powerful layout tools are built on the same rules-driven design engine as the rest of your tools, ensuring that your device will operate as intended. Only Altium Designer incorporates your all your design tools in a single interface and enforces a consistent workflow. Instead of looking for free schematic tools and risking being stuck behind a paywall, try using the only unified design platform: try Altium Designer.