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Migrating From Cadence OrCAD® To Altium Designer®

Mike Moore
|  Created: May 24, 2017  |  Updated: November 10, 2020
Migrating From Cadence OrCAD® To Altium Designer®

This guide is intended for understanding Cadence OrCAD to Altium conversion. Even if you opened Altium Designer the first time and are not familiar with working with this software yet, this guide will allow you to significantly speed up exploring its basic features. The guide was written by highly experienced experts of Cadence OrCAD / Allegro PCB Designer and Altium Designer features who studying these widely used software systems for years. Considering your experience with Cadence design software you can easily switch to Altium Designer which has significant advantages over other solutions.

The guide is built so that way you can compare Cadence OrCAD and Altium at all stages of the design process – from creating a project and libraries to generating manufacturing data. The guide covers the following topics:

  • Altium Designer user interface
  • Basic settings
  • Creating component libraries
  • Creating footprint libraries
  • Integrated library compilation
  • Schematic capture
  • Schematic post-processing
  • PCB template configuration
  • Placement and routing
  • Design rule check
  • Manufacturing data generation

Each section considers related Altium Designer and Cadence OrCAD PCB Designer tools together. Of course, such questions as Bill of Materials report generation, Annotation, Search and Navigation, and how to import OrCAD to Altium will be covered.

The main advantage of Altium Designer over other design software is the unified design environment, which allows any design editor you need to be launched. The software implements a common approach to the management of schematics and layout design objects. This fundamental difference from other design software such as Cadence OrCAD / Allegro or Mentor PADS helps you quickly master Altium Designer tools and move to practice. Handy controls, such as Active Bar and the Properties panel, implemented in SCH and PCB editors, make Altium Designer an incredibly convenient and intuitive PCB design software.

Today, Altium Designer is the only PCB design software affordable for organizations of any level, as well as for individual designers. Altium Designer has all the features required for designs of any complexity. Even if you had been working for a long time in other software solutions, you can easily migrate your work to Altium Designer with excellent importers built into Altium Designer. Added to this is perfect integration into electromechanical design workflow in MCAD systems. The powerful 3D environment in Altium Designer has high performance and high-quality visualization. You can even create multi-board projects where several PCBs are interconnected electrically.

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About Author

About Author

Mike has been an Applications Engineer/Account Manager/Field Applications Engineer for 20 years in the EDA industry. He started in 1996 at OrCAD in Technical Support. He stayed on as they were acquired by Cadence. He also went on to work for EMA Design Automation (Cadence VAR). He became proficient at OrCAD and Cadence Allegro, plus a variety of additional industry tools. He then transitioned to an Account Manager role at EMA and subsequently worked for Oasis Sales (Mentor Reseller). Mike joined Altium as an FAE in the Summer of 2015 and is based at his home office in Texas.

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