Altium Designer® 21: A Better Way To Design

David Haboud
|  Created: December 15, 2020  |  Updated: April 12, 2021

The design process often requires repetitive work with tedious tasks. Altium Designer 21 represents a better way to design by revitalizing long-standing functionality and improving the user experience, as well as performance and stability, based on the feedback from our users. These improvements streamline existing design tasks and empower you to complete sophisticated rigid and rigid-flex designs with realistic 3D modeling.

In addition, Altium 365® continues to play an increasingly significant role with the newest release of Altium Designer. Come take a look.

Join us to learn some of the ways Altium Designer 21 delivers a better way to design:

  • SPICE Simulation Enhancements
  • Rigid-Flex Design: Board Planning & Layerstack Definition
  • High-speed Design: Trombone & Sawtooth Tuning
  • Schematic Improvements: Generic Components & Net Properties
  • Altium 365: Project History, Conflict Prevention, and Comments

Welcome, everyone. I'm David Haboud. Today, we're going to review the new capabilities of Altium Designer 21. The design process often requires repetitive work with tedious tasks. Altium Designer 21 represents a better way to design by revitalizing long-standing functionality and improving the user experience as well as performance and stability; this is all based on the feedback from our users, so these improvement improvements streamline existing design tasks and empower you to complete sophisticated rigid and rigid-flex designs with realistic 3d modeling, in addition, Altium 365 continues to play an increasingly significant role with the newest release of Altium Designers so let's take a look we will begin with the overhaul of the spice engine that started in Altium Designer 20. Increased model support and the guided simulation dashboard create an intuitive experience so you can understand your design like never before. Next, we will move through the advances of board shape definition to create even the most complex rigid-flex designs; we'll then follow up with high-speed length tuning and design rule enhancements. Lastly, we will review Altium designer functionality empowered by Altium 365. keep in mind that this webinar will cover the overall capabilities of Altium designer 21. we will have dedicated webinars for each of the topics, so keep an eye out for registration

In Altium Designer 20, we introduced a new spice engine. Altium realizes the importance of spice simulation and the importance to engineers, focusing on improved spice simulation and functionality in l team designer 21. this release we are introducing the simulation dashboard providing a guided setup for your simulations with the new simulation dashboard you get a simple user interface and intuitive simulation flow to make it easier to learn so you can understand your design the simulation dashboard shows any errors that might come up during the verification setup and analysis process of the simulation and it provides you guidance on where the error might have occurred and how to fix it to make things even simpler the new simulat the new simulation generic components library provides a comprehensive collection of common simulation parts for your initial concept verification we include a large list of ready-to-use generic simulation models including models from ti microchip and in the near future infineon as well we also have the ability to import lt spice schematics to get started quickly you can import your simulation models harnessing improvements to the orcad schematic and model import engine dedicated simulation tools in your schematic editor allow you to stay in the same familiar environment without having to switch tools or user interfaces to run a simulation going back to the new simulation dashboard you can set up manage and run simulations from one place you also can run several simulations and review the results to make necessary adjustments to your components and their parameters when reviewing the results you can load the simulation parameters or you can simply delete them from your results list one of the biggest changes is the new simulation stimulus source interface for voltage and current sources in addition there is an area for probe definition each probe has its own properties to show the associated net name simulation results preview and the ability to set trace color the quick simulation cycle ensures your schematic and selected components work according to specifications in turn you can greatly reduce or eliminate physical testing of board prototypes and perform comprehensive parametric studies best of all you can review previous results to analyze any changes in the circuitry

We have increased the number of supported models to improve the usability of the spice engine the comprehensive spice model support allows you to create unified component definitions directly in Altium Designer with minimal effort to link external models from vendors so to start off we have a new spice model library extension and it's called dot lib so lib files are recognized as combined sub-circuit models allowing direct spice model library file processing in the components panel you can also directly place spice model files and an automatic component generation occurs the most frequently used models are supported including analog p spice and lt spice as well as digital x spice we also support full spice 3 p spice and lt spice digital support is under development the simulation has multi-syntax support so models are recognized and combined in the native Altium Designer environment when the model is placed the model file syntax is validated to ensure smooth simulation together these improvements make it easier to arrange your model configuration plus there is extended pin mapping support to solve the issue when your schematic pins do not match the number of model nodes if you can't find models you can place generic component models to closely approximate your die.

If you can't find models, you can closely place generic component models to approximate your design simulations. Generic models take simulation parameters such as resistance values and tie them to a placeholder symbol. You can then go from simulation to layout in seconds, replacing the generic component with an existing component definition.

Okay we've now switched to Altium Designer i have here open a hartley oscillator project this schematic here we're going to is going to be used for simulation so you can see here i'm going to open up the simulation dashboard you can go to simulate simulation dashboard to open it up so as we talked about the simulation dashboard allows you to have a guided setup we're going to start here with the verification of the design so as soon as we do that we do it does an electrical rule check and it checks for all your simulation models as you see here we are missing models for everything but as we mentioned you have the ability to apply generic models so you see here it says would you like to auto assign models so i can click assign and update the verification and we see that all of the models have been added except for j2 so we can click add model and it's going to pop up here and you know that you have the option to get models from your server local files we mentioned the dot lib files so we'll be doing that next you have generic models and you can actually click Octopart as well and browse through the collection of components here in Octopart and anything that has models you can actually select it but we're not going to do that today. As I mentioned, the doc lib we have is local, so I'm going to do a browse. It showed up on my other screen.

As I mentioned, this is a p spice library that is being read in. We have all of the simulation models. We'll go into more detail about this in a little bit, so I'm going to select right here. The information is filled in the pin model information is synchronized here, and when we go to the model file, we see the model here since it is a library file, you can see a lot of models here.

we also see the format types we have mixim lt spice pspice and as i mentioned that will be growing in the coming months to support more digital models as of right now we support mostly analog models so now that we have added a model we're going to click okay and we see once again we update the verification anytime there is a change you must run the verification again so we come over to the preparation section as we talked about you have all of your sources in one area you can add more sources you can add probes as you see fit through here from here we're not going to actually add anything today but you see here you have the four different simulation types the the each simulation type allows you to actually have different setup conditions as you can see we also separated things such as monte carlo simulation since that is essentially used to supplement these types of simulations so i'm going to start off by running the operating points right and you see here it starts running it but when we actually go back what you can see is the voltage right because i said display on schematic voltage across the entire design here as we run through the other simulations you can do dc sweep come back transient and lastly ac sweep so you have all of those results as you see here the results can be once again clicked on and they will open up once again so let's say you need to make some changes and rerun the analysis you can kind of see the differences if you look here you can see show results load profile or delete the results if you would like

For the next section, what I'm going to show is we mentioned the dot lib files, so if I open up the components panel, we can see all of our component definitions that are in our workspace, but if we come down, I have the local.lib file, so we have all of these defined here automatically based on the models from the PSpice library, and what we see here is if you actually start making if you place it from the models, it will automatically generate a symbol for you, so we're working on you know making the symbols a little bit more realistic and usable so in the future this type of symbol will look more like this and we'll do that by recognizing the type of components, but for now, you have this type of symbol available to you

Now let's talk about rigid-flex a bit. The global market for rigid-flex PCB was valued at 3.835 billion in 2017 and is estimated to double by 2025. talking to our user base and analyzing the use of rigid-flex has shown that there's increasing utilization of rigid-flex materials and designs, especially in advanced healthcare devices and high-end consumer electronics. To help with the new design challenges our users face, we have dedicated a significant effort to revitalizing and expanding rigid-flex design capabilities.

We focus this release on allowing the design of flexible boards with any popular fabrication technology. The first step was working on enabling complex geometries. You can now edit flexible and rigid regions independently using any freeform shape. With the new board planning mode, you can create overlapping and branching regions to create intricate board shapes with ease, such as selective bonding and bookbinding. You can even create a rigid-flex stack up surrounded by cutouts. Additionally, creating and managing bending lines has been improved. The bending lines can be applied to any edge, including cutouts in the board. The bending line definitions remain even after making changes to the board shape definition.

many rigid flex designs often require rigid stiffeners where flex tails plug into connectors and adhesive layers to attach multiple flex stack ups together this release adds a workflow for creating stiffeners and adhesives to enable creation of completely new types of rigid flex designs we have defined a materials library for layer stack definition use pre-defined layers for flex stacks featuring their own specific behaviors and visual representation for a more complete and realistic physical model of flexible pcbs plus you no longer have to individually manage sub stacks you can link independent layer stacks to create a continuous board definition predefined materials have different impedance profiles and dielectric constant information to realistically model your design we're going to start off with a stiffener design you can see here we have i switched to board planning mode as i mentioned earlier the board planning is divided by regions now or defined by regions so you see the individual regions here defined you can have overlap between the regions and that is determined by priority which you can see right here we'll go into a little bit more detail there in a little bit one nice thing that has been added is because of these independent regions you can now utilize snapping you can see right here that in order to get the two edges to meet up you see the little snapping icon right there that little circle so if i want to make it flush it's really easy to make it flush so let's go into a little bit more detail in the layer stack manager i can press dk and open that up we see here r2 with we we named it r2 plus stiffener if you click this new add functionality you can see i can add the stiffener or adhesive so here i'm going to add a stiffener and you can see that it is added into the layer stack right there in addition you can see i if you haven't worked too much with this new layer stack document type that was introduced a couple of releases ago you see that in the properties panel you can do stuff like define whether the area is a flex area or not coming back here we now have this new layer stack associated here r2 plus stiffener if i want to change the color of any region i simply click here and it gives me a better visibility of the board overall i mentioned that if you have a realistic stack up it's a little bit easier to convey design intent so here we have a draftsman document of this pcb documents you can see here all of the different layer stacks available for us and it'd be really easy for for someone to be able to read this and understand the differences between the different layer stacks moving on to another design here we have been talking about the overlapping regions and how that is defined by priority so if i click here you see that there are many regions i'm going to select region f5 which is encompassed by this area here and this little curve and you can see that i have associated layer stack f5 it has priority zero we can see over here some more priorities and and the way that this is defined if the a higher priority means that it will take precedent over the other ones if it if they are at the same priority level the the the stack up with the most number of layers will win out so coming through here we have the bend lines as we talked about these are now persistent so if you make any edits to the board shape you are still able to see these bend lines they will stay there and then you can move them over associate them to the required area here in the properties panel you can define which stack regions are utilizing this bending line so we see here we just have f7 for another one over here we would have f6 and so on the the different regions will are really easy to identify in that manner if we switch over to 2d we see the the whole design with the these connectors we come over to 3d and as i move this over here i can hit 5 and it will show us the fully flexed board we see here there are the overlapping regions and the ben lines as they are defined by region type even though these are overlapping we were very easily able to associate the bend line to the different layers and have this split one more design we have here

we have this region defined within another region, so this whole big region is r1, and you can see here the layer stack is rigid priority zero, and then when we click again, we can select f3, and we see that this is actually a flexible layer stack because it has priority five that will have a higher priority than the original rigid layers which are priority zero we see the same thing in areas like over here we can see the different regions and what's nice is being able to see the different definitions really quickly defined and I can change these individual shapes if I need to the right let's say I need to make this longer or shorter and it's not going to destroy these bending lines that's one of the things that was was really difficult to deal with before when you were defining rigid-flex designs the bending lines would disappear when you change the shape, so that's no longer an issue if we switch over to 3d view and once again press 5 to flex the design

we'll zoom out a little bit, and you see here the area that is overlapped is flex, and we have the cutout here that perfectly cuts out the remaining area of the zone, so we defined a square here within the big rectangle and then the cutouts to define that specific area so I'll flex it once again, and we see over here

we have certain materials that split up based on the stacks we've defined and you can see in certain areas

The defined rigid and the flexible area, so if I actually flatten this out again, you see this rigid and then this flat area. When I flatten it out, you're actually able to tell in the layer stack you have the rigid area, and then you have the flexible area, so by, you know, working with the priorities in the properties panel, you're able to define shapes that would have been incredibly difficult to define in the past and very easily define them and work with the different types of layer stacks we also looked at adding the adhesives in the layer stack manager similar to rigid-flex designs high-speed capabilities are becoming essential for designs clock rise and fall times are faster than ever, so the shorter times make signal switching a serious concern.

As mentioned, PCB length tuning is a critical element of high-speed design, which is usually made by careful adjustment of critical net lengths. Altium Designer 21 focuses on improving the existing accordion tuning pattern while adding two new patterns, trombone, and sawtooth tuning. These new tuning patterns are rendered within a tuning sleeve, making it easy to slide the pattern along a route and around corners. All patterns can be applied to single tracks as well as to differential pairs.

if you're working with lower speed or lower frequency signals, you can get away with trombone tuning you'll notice that there are multiple 90 and 180 degree turns in this trace configuration using curves for these bends is preferable to using hard right angles in that it creates a smaller impedance discontinuity there are a number of different movement and size change behaviors available depending on where you click and hold on the sleeve

the sawtooth tuning uses a similar polygonal area within which the pattern is built here we haven't used any smooth bends along the trace these dimensions are used to minimize any impedance discontinuities along the length of the trace they are great in places where building an accordion is almost impossible due to the large number of objects near the track accordion tuning and trombone tuning are similar and that they both use a serpentine routing pattern but accordions help you maintain tighter coupling along the length of the traces accordion tuning does not offset the serpentine pattern off to the side of the trace instead it can be routed along the length of the desired signal trace making accordions a better choice than trombone length matching for high speed differential pair signals however in some cases there is not enough space to build an accordion to combat the issue of limited space Altium Designer 21 allows you to rotate the meander construction zone to better utilize space these three tuning patterns help you to take advantage of specific types of geometries frequently used for high-speed designs using these tuning patterns allows you to fully utilize your layout space quickly and efficiently this release extends routing and glossing improvements implemented in Altium Designer 20 with a strong focus on differential pairs the first major improvement is differential pair coupling as you route or drag your differential pairs they will remain together the diff pair will move around vias and design objects with ease additionally entry and exit points for differential pairs are guaranteed to be symmetrical the pcb editor enhancements allow you to take full advantage of the new length tuning capabilities to maximize your routing channels

previously you would start with a rule type and begin to apply the rule this made it very difficult to see every rule pertaining to a design object the new design rule concepts alleviate this issue by associating rules to individual design objects such as nets differential pairs and components in addition a new document type has been created to manage and visualize design rules and constraints the new document allows new functionality with new properties increased rule visibility and object driven design enabling reuse as well as rule validation we're also able to use the document to provide future changes and greatly improve functionality at a faster development base the new mode allows you to add all critical design elements components nets etc to a table and then assign a specific list of rules and constraints to each element this new mode simplifies the design process with greater interactivity between the schematic and PCB editing environments if desired you can choose to revert to the legacy DRC dialog view at any time

let's see here we have the mini pc project i've made a couple of changes to it with some different design rules so we're going to start off by making sure the properties panel is open it's really important to use the properties panel while tuning so the first thing we're going to do is we're going to come down here to the bottom of this bga and we see a lot of single-ended traces here this will be a good area to start showing some of the new tuning you can see up here in the active bar you have two types of tuning you have interactive length tuning and differential pair tuning so of course right now we're working with single-ended traces so we're going to click here and you can see creating the the tuning sleeve very quickly i'm going to create it like that and you could automatically start seeing some of the changes here we have the accordion as i mentioned there are different options available now we're going to start off by moving this around just to see the new changes to the glossing engine this the changes began to be implemented in 80 20 and they are further improved now so we can see you can actually modify the boundaries as you see fits here let's say you want to rotate this is one of the the biggest differences here you can hold the control key and actually rotate the full boundary as we're working through this you can hit three and four right to make the changes to the the width in between and and this is this has been possible for for many years but just in case you weren't aware of that three four there we go so in addition to that if you hit space it's going to change the style which you can see down here

we can make those changes as need be, and it will automatically change, but again if while you're dragging it, if you hit space, it will automatically make those changes, so I'm going to delete that pattern, and we will switch over to the trombone tuning I mentioned earlier that trombone tuning is pretty similar the major difference here if I hit tab I can come over here without changing the environment, so I'm going to hit trombone the major difference here between accordion and trombone is spacing situations a lot of times you're going to want to generally you would be using the accordion functionality but let's say you have limited space like right here you can see here the accordion tuning is very similar, but it will allow us to utilize our space better here let me create that right there

we can move it to one side if we would like to see here moving from one side to the other, and once again, I'm going to hit tab to come over here, and I'm going to do a single side, so this allows it to force the system to only use one side so you can see left or right and we come over here it will very easily go around the corners and automatically follow that we can change the boundaries as we see fit if we want to make this a little bit bigger or a little bit smaller we have that capability and this single side is really important because it helps you control exactly how you do this length tuning so lastly we are going to look here at sawtooth so I'm going to make just a couple changes I'm going to make the angle 1 70 degrees and make this 1, and I'm going to make the actual height 1 millimeter once again we have the single sided option, and you can do fixed size if you would like so I'm going to start off with the single sided option

And you see where we can go around some corners if we would like, and the fact that we're single-sided just kind of makes it a little bit easier to see the sawtooth pattern right here along the edge. This is going to be pretty helpful throughout your design process. Some people like to synchronize the sawtooth with the fibers of their design so so that is something that is possible now because you can make this whatever angle necessary for your design.

So now that we have this place here, we are going to add a couple more. We're going to come over here and switch over to trombone tuning.

and we add it here, and then lastly, we are going to add one last tuning

for the accordion

so you can see them kind of interacting with each other making sure that they optimize the space with each other and since you can move them independently as i believe i mentioned earlier these are called tuning sleeves you can see how they interact with each other and make it make you they'll allow you to fully optimize the space here you still have the ability to to drag things over as need be to make things a little bit easier to fully utilize the space of your board so we're going to leave those there and we're going to look at some differential pairs all of the tuning capabilities available for single-ended are available for differential pairs so we're going to start off by selecting this trace right here and you can see i'm selecting the inside trace however it is keeping them coupled together so and this is going to go across these vias and it's going to keep those together you still have the push and shove capabilities as you can see here but you have that ability to stay coupled so if we come to the properties panel here you see in this corner the keep coupled i can disable that if i would like and now when i move it it just moves one at a time of course that you know that's that's not always ideal but in the situation where you need to separate them a little bit you have that functionality and of course if you're selecting the outside because of the push functionality of the glossing engine you will see that it will push over the the left one okay from here we will look at interactive routing for differential pairs it's the same concept of course but with the added functionality of coupling you are able to better utilize these different tuning patterns so we see here i can move it down as i mentioned you can hit control and rotate it and you'll notice how fluid this is because of these these glossing engine changes it's really easy to move these tunes around with previous releases it was a little bit more cumbersome but now that we have these these glossing engine improvements introduced in Altium Designer 20. it's just going to keep getting advancing every single year

So we will look at some of the different tunings. First, we had an accordion. I'm using short keys U > P for the differences hitting the trombone tuning we have that, and of course, if you would like, you can combine them along the same trace, and you see here with these accordions it's really nice that you have it's coupled, and it's symmetrical right one thing we mentioned is the entry and exits of pads are now guaranteed to be symmetrical with this keep coupled functionality that I mentioned in the properties panel so you can see that the tuning sleeves come in and they interact with each other so you don't step in on each other's territory so you can see both of them here.

We began changes to the schematic editor in Altium Designer 20. we can briefly go over the most impactful changes for this release. New and improved tools simplify the task of analyzing the connectivity in a schematic project. The Altium Designer connectivity insight functionality displays an instant view of the connection relationships within a PCB design project.

Shown as a document tree with optional schematic previews, these selectable elements provide a quick and visual way to navigate through a project's connectivity structure. You can effortlessly view and modify net properties for all of your electrical primitives, including the ability to set the voltage for power nets and frequency for high-speed nets. The improved net details simplify net analysis and make it easy to understand connectivity across sheets. Hover the mouse over a net to examine both the logical and physical net name.

Alt-click on the net to highlight that net throughout the project and alt double click on the net to display a tree of all sheets that that net is on, then click to check out that net in one of those sheets. Adding to this capability is a new hover feature enabled by holding the alt and control keys together, which opens a selectable tree view when the cursor is over an object belonging to a signal net. You can also view page references for off-sheet connectors.

It can be challenging to pick the right components when working on a new schematic, plus it isn't always necessary for early stages of development to expedite the process of laying out the early stages of the design. We've introduced the concept of generic components, which can be quickly placed in a design without the need to find and choose a specific manufacturer part from the available component sources.

Generic components are intended as placeholders that are easily replaced by a suitable component later in the design process. They can also be considered as virtual or parametric components. Note that generic components are based on managed component templates in Altium 365, giving you full control over their default properties along with the ability to add additional generic components easily. Each type of generic component has a unique symbol for easy identification and replacements. When you have completed your prototype, you can replace individual components with the properties panel or a set of components of the same type with an ActiveBOM.

most modern microcontrollers have multiple package options supporting remappable pins this release introduces flexible pin to pad mapping capabilities for managed components enhancements to the single component editor and the introduction of the new pins panel allow component symbol pins to be mapped to any component footprint pad or any number of footprint pads the pins panel allows the default one-to-one pin mapping to be changed to a custom relationship such as one pin being connected to multiple footprints or any other non-aligned pin to pad number relationship pin to pad cross probe highlighting is supported for multiple common footprint pads and a custom footprint mapping configuration is indicated by its associated icon a place component with custom pin to pad mapping is fully supported during schematic pcb synchronization for pin and part swapping and by the component pin editor dialog we're going to start with the comma fmu project and the cpu schematic we're going to look right here you see this this label it indicates that it should be the name of this wire however sometimes it could be difficult to follow when you have a lot of different nets if i hover over it i am able to see the net name and the physical name clicking on it we open the properties panel we see the physical name which is the name on the pcb and the net name which is the logical name on the schematic itself if we have certain nets like a power net or a high speed net you can put additional information there for them if i want to change the color i can use the this option and change any the color as need be if you have a more complicated connection like this fmu harness i can click it alt click and i am able to see all of the associated connections here if i want to see if this type of harness or connection in general is connecting to another sheet i can alt double click and we get a navigable schematic tree here i'm going to navigate over to this other schematic sheet and once again all connections associated with fmu are shown here you can see everything has been dimmed out so it's very easy to actually see everything connected to it if i hold control and alt at the same time i get that same type of tree dialogue here so once again i go to fmu and i can see the the different places i can navigate through and that's going to make it really easy to navigate between connections on the sheets and understand the connections from here i want to change it up a little bit i have the generic components here they can be seen in the all category so i'm going to place a resistor here going to click on it to open up its properties and we have different parameters here that we can fill out in this case i'm going to fill out the value parameter and i'm going to set it to 1k and i'm going to copy this a couple times

and paste it okay so from here there is a way to annotate so i'm just going to do that quickly quietly annotate it it'll give me some some reference designators for that so there's two ways to make changes to these generic components after you have finished up your design i can replace an individual component in the properties panel with the under design item id if i click here i get the pop-up to replace a component but when you have several components that have the same type of information we can also come through the ActiveBOM document and see all of the components here we see there's no manufacturer part number so now i want to change this i go to operations change resistor i want to find an actual part that can be manufactured i i can acquire from a manufacturer i have several options here you'll notice that it takes the parametric values i have set and filters for them so in this case i just put 1k but if i fill in more parameters it will also filter by that if i do control click and i select multiple components i can compare them to make a better selection choice red are differing parameters and white are the same in this case i see there are a lot the stock is much greater for this top component so i'm going to select it and i get an eco that to replace the parameters that are being taken from that component definition i execute it and i come back over and we see that the components have their parametric information filled out we have everything here

we also have the footprints

2D and 3D, so we're able just to layout whatever we need with these generic components, test out our circuitry, and then replace it with a known component at a later time. The last thing I want to show them is to go back to the components panel. I'm going to place this component.

I'm going to place a couple, so you'll notice here that you have two pins, but you have two numbers here that mean that that pin is mapping up to different.

Different pads on the footprints, so if I click into the properties of this component, I can see that there are a couple of options for footprints, so if I go through and change it to the other footprints we have, we can see that each one is providing a different type of pin mapping the different direction of pin mapping and you can see if we come down to the datasheet opened on the other monitor we come down to the datasheet, and we can see that that is because of this each one has a different type of connection. Therefore, we can use one symbol and map it to the different footprints in order to get effectively different components here different configurations of the same component.

Our last topic for today is new functionality enabled by connecting to Altium 365. remember that access to Altium 365 is provided with your subscription. When you store your designs in an Altium 365 Workspace, you can get powerful tools to enable collaboration.

Let's start off by discussing project history designs stored on your workspace benefit from built-in version control. The version control system or VCS allows us to create a progressive timeline of all major events in your design process. You can see event markers for who did what, when, and why. Additionally, the system automatically calculates differences between events to analyze changes. Every event can be searched to easily identify and review changes, for example, changes to specific components throughout the design process.

When you are done with the design, you can complete a design release the release creates a full snapshot of all design files and outputs so that you can always know which files you sent to manufacturing. Any changes created after release can be reviewed quickly with the automatically calculated design differences. If you would like to revert to a previous revision of any events, you can click on the little dots and select revert to, and your entire project will be reverted to that design snapshot.

The automatically calculated differences can also be seen in the web UI. Currently, you get a visual comparison of your Gerber changes to analyze changes directly on your board layout. You can click on the differences on the left column, and they will highlight in the graphics. This functionality is currently in beta and will be updated and expanded.

When you are collaborating on a design, you often have to work on the same design files. A lot of work is cross-domain, making comments on the design more difficult we have implemented notifications for file locking to simplify conflict prevention when you open the file. It automatically applies the file lock for all other users you can see when someone has begun changes to the design so that you don't make any contradictory changes if one collaborator ignores the file lock notifications, version control notifies all other collaborators of the file status when one collaborator edits a document the other collaborators are informed of the change whether or not they have the document open.

You no longer have to rely on emails to communicate thoughts on your design. When your projects are connected to your Altium 365 Workspace, you can add comments directly in the context of your design, enabling clear communication while reducing discrepancies and time spent on managing design changes. Assign comments to the designated user, and they will see all associated comments on the thread. Each comment thread has its own number for the organization, and easy traceability comments can be added at any point of the design and allow you to select design objects. You can also select an area for the comment to cover freehand drawings that can be added to supplement the comments to provide more clarity. When reviewing comments, you can toggle the visibility of comment threads in the comments panel to clear up your design environment. You're also able to filter through comments by user resolution status and current documents.

For our final demonstration we're going to come back to this Kame_FMU project and right-click on the project name and select history this is going to bring up our progressive timeline of events you can see all the different commits of the project here the automatically calculated differences are shown underneath the comment for the commits you see here addition removal modification of all of these different design objects for example we see components here i can search through them let's say i want to know when a component has been changed in my design here i put c2 and we could see all of the components that have c2 within their their reference designator this will also work for file names net information anything that is being covered in the automatic differences can be searched here as you can see also the comments are being searched through if i go to any individual event and click on these options i can open up a snapshot of the entire design or i could revert to that snapshot so the entire project will change back to this snapshot.

we have the release here all of the associated files with this you can open the snapshot compare gerber files between revisions i mentioned earlier that the the comparison functionality is under development and will continue to grow so currently you can compare gerbers and in the future you'll be able to compare more design information in the web ui you also have some an ability to clone and clone projects and download the project files themselves this is going to allow managers manufacturing people who don't actually use ltm designer to interact with the files in you know a native environment on the web ui and they can access it from anywhere at any time coming back to the projects panel we have a couple new icons to introduce right here we see for this file power schematic it says open and vincent mazer is open it is editing it as i open the file i can see vince here in the corner i can see that he's editing the the design if i ignore that and i try and make a change i am warned once again i can abort the changes or i could ignore the lock and continue with my changes so in this case i'm just to abort changes and i'll be able to see the schematic again if let's say i ignored the lock and i continued to make changes when i save the vcs system would notify vince and any other users that that change has been made by me there are another couple icons to show for this of course it's a little bit difficult because you need multiple users to be interacting with everything but i i would say this is the the most critical one to understand the last thing we're going to look at is the comments panel so we have the comments panel here this has been updated pretty pretty significantly if you've used comments in the past this comment panel now includes an addition to place a component directly on the schematic from from the comments panel itself so if i click place a comment you can see here i can select any design object and if i click and drag it will add a comment for the area itself we see here we have

one comment here associated directly this to this design object let's say that some change occurs with this object whenever you make a comment, a snapshot of the original design is included to ensure that your communication is in the context of the design right in case any changes have been made you are guaranteed to have the original snapshot, so we see here I tagged Chris, and he got back over to me over here we have filtering options let's start with the visibility so you can hide the visibility of these objects here you see right here the visibility changes let's say you have a lot of comments on your design you can just quickly toggle that so that you don't have an issue the filter options I can

Remove all resolved comments. If I undo it, you could see a resolved comment here. I had assigned this comment to Arthur, and he resolved it for me. This is going to give us traceability of changes and actions and just overall feedback on a design.

You could also filter by current documents you can filter from, so I could say, who did you know I need to see all the comments from Chris, and I can select that right there and get that information.

That's the end of our presentation. Thank you, everyone, for your time. I will open it up to questions now.

About Author

About Author

David Haboud is a Product Marketing Engineer at Altium. He studied electrical engineering with an emphasis in computer architecture and hardware/software design at the University of Southern California. David began his career as an embedded software engineer in the aerospace industry and has always strived to make it easier for hardware and software engineers to communicate. During his tenure as an embedded software engineer, he focused on firmware development and data acquisition for auxiliary power units. In his spare time, David hosts and performs in improvisational and stand-up comedy nights in San Diego, California.

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