Modern PCB design software employ an ever growing collection of features and functionality. One of the leaders in this area is Altium Designer, which provides users with a single, unified platform that includes Schematic capture, PCB layout, Native 3D™ PCB, Signal Integrity, SPICE simulation, Embedded Software development, and more.
This “one-stop-shop” approach to PCB design provides engineers with all the tools they need, all at their fingertips. However, since there’s so much going on in the Altium Designer package, it can get overwhelming. How can you manage this plethora of functionality effectively? The answer is to adapt the Altium Designer design environment to your specific needs and workflow. There are a variety of ways to do this. Let’s take a look.
Altium Designer Experience Tip 1: Customizing Your Desktop Layout
A convenient way to streamline your workflow is with the Altium Designer GUI desktop panel. Altium Designer has a total of 55 different panels, each with its own individual functionality. For each panel, you can choose to dock it, pin it, or leave it floating. With such a wide variety available, some panels you’ll use frequently, while others you might not use at all. Therefore, it is advantageous to organize them according to your personal preferences, so you can access each panel quickly and easily whenever you need it.
Altium Designer Experience Tip 2: Using Shortcut Keys
Another important productivity feature to streamline your workflow is the shortcut keys. The Altium Designer shortcut system is designed to be simple and intuitive. If you look closely at the menu bar at the top of the GUI, you will see one letter underlined for each option; this is the first keystroke of the shortcut. Then, in the menu that follows, there is another underlined letter, for the following function.
There’s Always More to Learn
Customizing Altium Designer to your needs can significantly boost productivity and eliminate the everyday irritations inherent in the PCB design process, by automating manual iterative processes and checks. The benefits of customization particularly become apparent when working on several designs simultaneously.
Ready to learn more about how to streamline your first-time Altium Designer experience? Download a free white paper now for more tips and tricks.
About the Author
Jelle is an engineering specialist at Altium and specializes in supporting EMEA customers with technical issues. He studied smart design at Saxion University of Applied Sciences in The Netherlands. He has experience designing electronics and boards, and is now focused on FPGA development.More Content by Jelle Laarman