Free Trials

Download a free trial to find out which Altium software best suits your needs

How to Buy

Contact your local sales office to get started on improving your design environment

Downloads

Download the latest in PCB design and EDA software

  • PCB DESIGN SOFTWARE
  • Altium Designer

    Complete Environment for Schematic + Layout

  • CircuitStudio

    Entry Level, Professional PCB Design Tool

  • CircuitMaker

    Community Based PCB Design Tool

  • NEXUS

    Agile PCB Design For Teams

  • CLOUD PLATFORM
  • Altium 365

    Connecting PCB Design to the Manufacturing Floor

  • COMPONENT MANAGEMENT
  • Altium Concord Pro

    Complete Solution for Library Management

  • Octopart

    Extensive, Easy-to-Use Component Database

  • PRODUCT EXTENSIONS
  • PDN Analyzer

    Natural and Effortless Power Distribution Network Analysis

  • See All Extensions
  • EMBEDDED
  • TASKING

    World-Renowned Technology for Embedded Systems Development

  • TRAININGS
  • Live Courses

    Learn best practices with instructional training available worldwide

  • On-Demand Courses

    Gain comprehensive knowledge without leaving your home or office

  • ONLINE VIEWER
  • Altium 365 Viewer

    View & Share electronic designs in your browser

  • Altium Designer 20

    The most powerful, modern and easy-to-use PCB design tool for professional use

    ALTIUMLIVE

    Annual PCB Design Summit

    • Forum

      Where Altium users and enthusiasts can interact with each other

    • Blog

      Our blog about things that interest us and hopefully you too

    • Ideas

      Submit ideas and vote for new features you want in Altium tools

    • Bug Crunch

      Help make the software better by submitting bugs and voting on what's important

    • Wall

      A stream of events on AltiumLive you follow by participating in or subscribing to

    • Beta Program

      Information about participating in our Beta program and getting early access to Altium tools

    All Resources

    Explore the latest content from blog posts to social media and technical white papers gathered together for your convenience

    Downloads

    Take a look at what download options are available to best suit your needs

    How to Buy

    Contact your local sales office to get started improving your design environment

    • Documentation

      The documentation area is where you can find extensive, versioned information about our software online, for free.

    • Training & Events

      View the schedule and register for training events all around the world and online

    • Design Content

      Browse our vast library of free design content including components, templates and reference designs

    • Webinars

      Attend a live webinar online or get instant access to our on demand series of webinars

    • Support

      Get your questions answered with our variety of direct support and self-service options

    • Technical Papers

      Stay up to date with the latest technology and industry trends with our complete collection of technical white papers.

    • Video Library

      Quick and to-the-point video tutorials to get you started with Altium Designer

    PCB Design Software Upgrades: Progressive Releases Build Confidence

    Altium Designer
    |  May 23, 2018

    Progressive design with powerful PCB software releases

    There is pain and pleasure when anticipating new technology. All of us have been through steep learning curves that wear down the elation to use technology that’ll do something cool. Soon we abandon newly-adopted technology given its lack of delivery on the promise. There are some gadgets, however, that not only perform but are easy to use. Ease of use with powerful features is a pleasure. When powerful features evolve we’ve got a home run!

    Each feature in PCB layout tools has taken its own development road. When tools are powerful, processes to develop them can seem long, given intricate details to sort out. Most of the tools have developed in separate environments, with the integrating tools an afterthought. As time marches on, users and the developers who study them, have realized that a piecemeal approach to integrating the tools has only added inefficiencies.

    That’s why I get excited when I hear my software vendor is releasing new features that will help integrate powerful tools, like a newly designed graphical user interface (GUI).

    Releases Show Lack of Progression in Design Features

    The new release came with a newly designed graphical user interface (GUI). A new GUI meant more time away from core work to learn about the GUI. It would have been preferable to build on the old user-interface to avoid a steep learning curve. But the new GUI was touted as the platform for building needed features into the tool.

    Imagine my disappointment when I found out that the only update to this expensive version was the new GUI. Once I’d learned the new tool, I anticipated moving onto new features we’d been waiting for inclusion in the toolset. The PCB software vendor had been promising progressive development to meet user feedback in the chat rooms. The release is showing little progress.

    Other than the new user interface, the version has been broken into three instantiations: a standard, a plus, and a professional version.

    PCB layout should be more sophisticated than chalk talks

    New versions of the tool remain primitive

    Each instantiation costs more than the next. Advanced features are more expensive. As we’d been waiting for the advanced features, our management decided to purchase the professional version for us. However, after familiarizing ourselves with the new GUI, we found that there was very little change to the features we already had.

    Steep Learning Curve With No Return on Investment

    When the new version of the layout tool became available, I went to work learning the new commands. As I began seeking newly anticipated commands, I found very little in terms of performance. Most of the change was housekeeping through the organization of a new GUI. Imagine my disappointment, after sinking loads of time into learning a new graphical user-interface, in finding that there has been no discernable progression in features.

    I suspect the vendor is needing the release to support future development. In meantime, my corporation is investing in tools that are not keeping up with industry. The insult continues when finding out that to get any significant features, more money will be needed to purchase upgraded versions and the features are still lacking in performance. Although there are three possible versions, most of the new, progressive features come in the most expensive version.

    Logical Command Organization Progresses Performance

    It would be so much better to have feature improvement built onto existing programs. By building on existing programs, I don’t have to learn new tools. Instead, I can use familiar tools to access progressive features. Using progressive features grows the company’s ability to design innovative technology. Innovative technology keeps designers, departments, and clients happy.

    Innovative technology with powerful tool updates also keeps workflow efficient. Efficient workflow keeps my confidence in the company’s long-term investment. Confidence in the long-term means I’ll be recommending my company’s products with more vigor. Confidence also builds my feeling that the software vendor we’ve chosen will continue to provide solid future improvements.

    Well organized hierarchy unifies PCB layout development

    Unified performance uses hierarchy progressively

    Having access to powerful PCB development tools enables elegant processes to innovate layout. With development tools progressing in the same environment, new features are adopted quickly. Quick adoption saves time and the process is not only sophisticated but efficient. Future improvements are not a problem with Altium Designer® refined hierarchical command structure.

    Using this new command structure enhances the user’s experience given its efficient arrangement of command menus and tools. There is a new interactive properties panel and output environment. Interactive properties help transition supply chain information to the procurement team. Improvements to Draftsman® facilitates the creation of fabrication and assembly drawings for board design production.

    You don’t need to have endless promises of improvement when it comes to your PCB design software. If you’d like to progress your designs with a great tool, call an Altium Expert today.

    Start the journey to switch over to Altium Designer today.

    About Author

    About Author

    PCB Design Tools for Electronics Design and DFM. Information for EDA Leaders.

    most recent articles

    Back to Home