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Altium Software-The Features Ultimate Guide

Schematic Capture in Altium

Altium’s schematic capture tools allow you to quickly create circuit diagrams. Key features include:

Multi-Sheet Schematics

Break up complex designs into multiple schematic sheets for better organization. Altium supports hierarchical multi-sheet designs with cross-probing between schematics and layout.

Extensive Part Libraries

Access an extensive library of schematic symbols and footprints. You can also create custom parts and import existing libraries.

Real-Time Design Rule Checking

Altium checks your schematic against configurable design rules in real-time, flagging any errors or warnings. This helps catch issues early before moving to PCB layout.

SPICE Circuit Simulation

Simulate your circuits directly in Altium using the integrated SPICE engine. Analyze circuit behavior, waveforms, and perform what-if analyses.

PCB Layout in Altium

Altium offers a robust set of PCB layout features to tackle simple to complex multilayer designs:

Powerful Routing Tools

Route your PCB with a full suite of interactive and automatic routing modes:

Routing Mode Description
Interactive Manually route traces with dynamic pushing/shoving of objects
Active Route Optimized interactive routing with real-time cost-based path finding
Auto-Interactive Assisted routing that automatically completes trace segments
Auto-Route Fully automated routing of nets

High-Speed Design

Altium includes tools tailored for High-speed PCB design:

  • Length tuning and matching
  • Differential pair routing
  • Impedance control
  • Termination tools

Flexible Design Rule Checks

Configure design rule checks (DRC) to check your PCB against manufacturing constraints and design standards. Altium includes an extensive set of electrical, routing, mask, plane, and manufacturing checks.

Real-Time 3D PCB View

Visualize your PCB in 3D as you work to check mechanical clearances and component placement. The 3D view updates in real-time with your 2D layout.

Manufacturing Outputs

Altium streamlines generating the deliverables needed for PCB fabrication and assembly:

Documentation Tools

Easily create comprehensive documentation for your PCB with Altium’s document generator. Quickly annotate your schematics and layouts, create drill tables/drawings, and publish complete document sets.

Intelligent BOM Management

Altium’s BOM tools integrate tightly with your design to generate accurate bills of materials. Manage part information, sourcing, and costing details directly in Altium.

Output Job Files

Set up output jobs to automatically generate comprehensive manufacturing files in a variety of formats:

Output File Formats
Gerber RS-274X, RS-247D, ODB++
Drill Excellon, Sieb & Meyer
Pick and Place CSV, TXT

Collaboration in Altium

Altium makes it easy to collaborate with your design team and external stakeholders:

Version Control Integration

Manage your design files and collaborate with Git version control, integrated directly into Altium. Perform branch/merge operations and resolve conflicts graphically.

MCAD Collaboration

Collaborate seamlessly with mechanical designers using Altium’s MCAD tools. Import/export 3D STEP models, participate in MCAD ECO processes, and verify mechanical fit.

Real-Time Design Collaboration

Share your schematic and PCB designs for real-time collaboration with your team. Colleagues can view and comment on your designs directly in a web browser.

Altium 365 Cloud Platform

Altium 365 is Altium’s cloud platform for PCB design, data management, and collaboration. It extends Altium with:

  • Cloud-based storage and file sharing
  • Web-based schematic and PCB viewers
  • Supply chain intelligence for part sourcing
  • Real-time collaboration tools
  • Lifecycle and project management

Altium 365 allows you to access your design data anywhere and share it easily with your team, manufacturers, and clients.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What operating systems does Altium support?

Altium is supported on Microsoft Windows 10 and Windows 11, 64-bit edition. Some older versions also support Windows 7 and 8.1.

What file formats can Altium import/export?

Altium can import and export a wide variety of CAD/EDA file formats:

  • Schematics: OrCAD Capture, PADS Logic, Protel 99/98
  • PCB: PADS Layout, OrCAD/Allegro, EAGLE, KiCad
  • Images/Graphics: SVG, DXF, JPEG, BMP, PNG

Does Altium support multi-user editing?

Yes, Altium 365 enables multi-user collaboration on schematics and PCBs. Team members can work on the same design simultaneously with real-time syncing and change tracking.

What kind of part libraries does Altium include?

Altium includes an extensive set of part libraries with over 300,000 ready-made schematic symbols, PCB footprints, and 3D models. It also integrates with online part search engines like Octopart to access millions of manufacturer parts.

How does Altium handle design reuse?

Altium supports design reuse through snippets, device sheets, and reusaBLE Modules. You can create reusable circuit blocks and layout modules to quickly populate new designs. Altium also supports schematic and layout templates for standardized design elements.