Include IC Pin Numbers in Your Altium Designer Parts Data

Zachariah Peterson
|  Created: December 7, 2020
Include IC Pin Numbers in Your Altium Designer Parts Data

When you create components, you’ll really be creating 3 different CAD models: a schematic symbol, PCB footprint, and 3D model. Integrated circuits need multiple pieces of information, including courtyards, IC pin numbers, designators, and electrical simulation models to be most effective in your PCB design and analysis tools. If you’re working with most CAD tools, you won’t have the features you need to perform all of these tasks.

Enter Altium Designer, which has by far the best set of design tools for designing PCBs with any level of complexity. The CAD tools in Altium Designer let you create parts models that can be easily placed in your design documents, reused in new projects, and shared with collaborators on the Altium 365 platform. When you need to find or create parts with accurate IC pin numbers, use the complete set of component management tools in Altium Designer.


The only PCB design package with a complete set of component creation features for your PCB layout.

Have you ever downloaded CAD data for a component from a parts website, only to find that the CAD models were totally wrong? Even worse, have you ever opted not to use a desired component because you couldn’t find CAD models? Even today, when the electronics industry is more digitized than ever, this remains a major problem for PCB designers. No PCB layout will make it off a computer screen and onto a fab line without accurate component models.

One common problem with component models is getting models with accurate IC pin numbers. Sometimes, the pin numbers are done by someone who is inexperienced, or the IC pin numbers have incorrect names. This creates plenty of confusion that PCB designers can’t afford. Today’s ECAD vendors have stepped up to solve this long-standing problem with sourcing utilities and CAD tools for creating components. Altium Designer gives you these features and many more in an easy-to-use interface.

How to Build Components with Accurate IC Pin Numbers

All ICs have a package outline with electrical leads for making connections to other components on the PCB. Every component needs to have some important features that help designers quickly understand and place the component in schematics and a PCB layout:

  • Geometrically correct pinout with pad locations and shapes
  • Pin numbers placed on the PCB footprint pads and schematics
  • A clear silkscreen outline and courtyard outline
  • A 3D model imported from a STEP file
  • A SPICE model for circuit simulations

Everything you need for these component creation tasks can be found in Altium Designer. Once you find your datasheets on Octopart, you can manually enter IC pin numbers and pin names in your schematic symbols, such as in the example shown below. You can then save your new component data in your libraries and start adding your custom part models to your design.

New schematic symbol with IC pin numbers

The Altium Designer Symbol Wizard helps you quickly create a schematic symbol with IC pin numbers and pin names.

Complete Your Component Libraries with PCB Footprints

Schematic symbols are needed for circuit diagrams, but a real circuit board layout needs PCB footprints for components. When you have a component and you need to create a PCB footprint, Altium Designer’s component creation tools let you create a PCB footprint in the same utility as your schematic symbol. Everything will be synchronized in your component library, and IC pin numbers from the schematic can be placed directly in the new PCB footprint.

PCB footprint IC pin number

When nets are assigned to IC pin numbers, the pin numbers and net names will show up in your Altium Designer PCB layout.

Reliable Component Sources Can Give You CAD Models

There are instances where a designer doesn’t have time to create PCB footprints, and the manufacturer may not have supplied CAD data for their components. As a result, a designer may opt to go with an alternative component that has CAD models available. Altium has stepped up to the plate to help designers get accurate CAD models for electronics that are verified by professional designers and parts manufacturers. In addition to CAD models, Altium Designer provides the data design teams need to get a new board into manufacturing.

Get Sourcing Data for Your PCB Components

Your components form the cornerstone of your next circuit board, but your boards won’t get produced if you can’t provide sourcing information for components. When you’re searching for components for your PCB, Altium Designer gives you access to component data packages verified by manufacturers. This integration saves you time and helps keep your designs error-free.

Altium Designer component sourcing

The ActiveBOM tool in Altium Designer helps you source components for your design.

Create and Find Component Data in Altium Designer

Whether you need to create custom footprints and assign IC pin numbers, or if you need to find component data from manufacturers, Altium Designer gives you everything you need for success. The CAD tools in Altium Designer let you design everything from PCB footprints to a circuit board layout. In addition, the Manufacturer Part Search Panel and sourcing tools in ActiveBOM help you find all the data you need to place, source, and purchase components for your next circuit board.

Altium Designer Keeps Your ECAD Data Error Free

Altium Designer’s rules-driven design engine always keeps your design data free from errors thanks to its rules-driven design engine. This powerful engine for your design tools ensures your components and PCB layout obey basic electrical rules and allows your design tools to work together in a single program. Take the guesswork out of component creation and sourcing with the complete set of circuit board design tools in Altium Designer.

Footprint editor and IC pin numbers

You can easily share your component data with accurate IC pin numbers using the Altium 365 platform.

When you use Altium Designer, you can create accurate PCB footprints and schematic symbols with a comprehensive set of CAD tools. Once you’ve created your components, it’s easy to share your component libraries and design data with collaborators using the Altium 365 platform. Integration with sourcing services like Octopart gives you a simple way to add new components to your design, including components with existing CAD data.

Altium Designer on Altium 365 delivers unprecedented integration to the electronics industry until now relegated to the world of software development, allowing designers to work from home and reach unprecedented levels of efficiency.

We have only scratched the surface of what is possible to do with Altium Designer on Altium 365. You can check the product page for a more in-depth feature description or one of the On-Demand Webinars.

About Author

About Author

Zachariah Peterson has an extensive technical background in academia and industry. He currently provides research, design, and marketing services to companies in the electronics industry. Prior to working in the PCB industry, he taught at Portland State University and conducted research on random laser theory, materials, and stability. His background in scientific research spans topics in nanoparticle lasers, electronic and optoelectronic semiconductor devices, environmental sensors, and stochastics. His work has been published in over a dozen peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, and he has written 1000+ technical blogs on PCB design for a number of companies. He is a member of IEEE Photonics Society, IEEE Electronics Packaging Society, American Physical Society, and the Printed Circuit Engineering Association (PCEA), and he previously served on the INCITS Quantum Computing Technical Advisory Committee.

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