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


Download the latest in PCB design and EDA software

  • Altium Designer

    Complete Environment for Schematic + Layout

  • CircuitStudio

    Entry Level, Professional PCB Design Tool

  • CircuitMaker

    Community Based PCB Design Tool


    Agile PCB Design For Teams

  • Altium 365

    Connecting PCB Design to the Manufacturing Floor

  • Altium Concord Pro

    Complete Solution for Library Management

  • Octopart

    Extensive, Easy-to-Use Component Database

  • PDN Analyzer

    Natural and Effortless Power Distribution Network Analysis

  • See All Extensions

    World-Renowned Technology for Embedded Systems Development

  • Live Courses

    Learn best practices with instructional training available worldwide

  • On-Demand Courses

    Gain comprehensive knowledge without leaving your home or office

  • 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


    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


    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

    What Materials to Include in Your Bill of Materials

    Altium Designer
    |  September 8, 2017

    Printer with load paper tray

    As an electrical engineer, I am constantly impressed with the brilliant designs my colleagues come up with. I’m also constantly shocked to see how mismanaged most of their BOMs are. I’ve been on projects with a huge range of practices for handling a bill of materials. On one end of the spectrum, there was my senior design project, with no BOM at all, just a series of sticky notes my group placed on the front cover flap of our notebooks. Protip for those just starting out, this makes version control basically impossible.

    On the other end of the spectrum was the first project I did when working as an engineer. My boss had a really tough time with most software tools, and modern technology in general. At times, even email was questionable. When it came to BOM management, I was his digital-to-analog converter. I would print the latest version of the BOM for him and bring approximately a dozen pages to every single meeting or design review. It would get marked up with red sharpie, and then I’d stay late to update all the changes. Waiting until the next morning was not an option in case someone else got in before me and made changes that conflicted with the boss’s guidance.

    As awful as it was to be the digital-to-analog converter for information reaching my boss, I did get a good look at what needs to go into a BOM to make sure it’s complete and accurate for production.


    It’s obvious that when you prepare a BOM you’ll want to include all of your components. However, there may be more to that list than you think. In our final modules, we had a small tuning circuit where components could be added later if needed. During the main production run, these components were all listed as NP or “not placed.” We still needed to order them, though, so all the components on a module came from the same supplier.

    The other BOM items that surprised me were consumables. Items like solder, glue, and wires needed to be included to make sure a production run had every material required for fabrication and assembly.

    A tube of solder coil
    Even consumables like solder, wire, or glue should be included on the BOM.


    When I was neurotically manually updating our BOM so my manager didn’t have to get trained on the software, we checked the accuracy of each item against several criteria.

    • Part numbers (PNs): Getting your part numbers night, even all the suffixes, is really important for ordering everything correctly. If you have similar components on the board, like different colored LEDs, or capacitors with the same packaging but different values, you should be sure the PNs are all present in their entirety.

    • Packaging: Sometimes, you’ll use the same component more than once, but with different packages or sizes. It’s important not to let an overzealous intern (*cough, cough*) combine them and unintentionally eliminate you actually need. Many part numbers specify the packaging, but you should track it separately to be certain it’s not lost later in the process.

    • Tolerance: Depending on your application, tolerances might be absolutely critical for you, or a great opportunity to cut costs. Make sure to specify that in your , so you’re managing your money and assembly as effectively as possible.

    • Quantity: When you use reels, manufacturers often require extra components to compensate for losses due to loading. You want to account for those losses in your initial order, rather than be surprised when they can’t finish a manufacturing run.

    Spreadsheet filled with numbers
    There is a lot of information to manage in a , so you should be sure you’re keeping track effectively.

    Hopefully, you’ll never have to simultaneously manage a both manually and in software. It’s so much better to work with software that makes BOMs so easy, your boss can do it. Altium software has a great BOM tool. Its version control and interfaces are easy and intuitive. It even helps you source your components, so you can ensure quality controls throughout your product life cycle.

    Have a question about using BOM software? Contact an expert at Altium.

    About Author

    About Author

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

    most recent articles

    Back to Home