Altium Designer

Welcome to Altium Designer, which is a complete, end-to-end design environment for electronic printed circuit board design. Altium Designer enables you to bring your ideas to life with the most efficient and collaborative PCB design environment available. From a tiny, foldable rigid-flex board that goes into a hearing aid, to a large, 20+ layer high-speed network router, Altium Designer works with you to deliver a successful design.

Altium Designer combines a multitude of features and functionality, including:

  • Advanced routing technology
  • Support for cutting-edge rigid-flex board design
  • Powerful data management tools
  • Powerful design reuse tools
  • Real-time cost estimation and tracking
  • Dynamic supply chain intelligence
  • Native 3D visualizations and clearance checking
  • Flexible release management tools

All of this functionality is delivered through, and the entire design process is performed within, a single Unified Design Environment - the only one of its kind, and it is engineered to deliver optimal productivity.

The unified nature of Altium Designer allows for seamless movement of design data from one design realm to the next. At the start, the perceived steep learning curve can appear to be a formidable blockade to this productivity-enhancing landscape, and the wealth of features it contains. This, the core space for documentation specific to Altium Designer, provides all the information needed to quickly get you up and running with the software. From high-level overviews and stepped walk-throughs, to full coverage of all the nuts and bolts resources delivered through the software's intuitive interface, the Altium Designer documentation provides a tree of knowledge at your fingertips.

Jumping into PCB Design (and Altium Designer)

Altium - Jumping into PCB Design

New to board design and/or Altium Designer, and wondering where to begin? This tutorial will take you from a blank schematic sheet all the way to generating the files needed to fabricate the bare board for a simple nine-component circuit.

The design you will be capturing then designing a printed circuit board (PCB) for is a simple astable multivibrator. The circuit - shown to the left - uses two general purpose NPN transistors configured as a self-running astable multivibrator.

Exploring Altium Designer

Altium - Exploring Altium Designer

Altium Designer includes all the editors and software engines needed to perform all aspects of the electronic product development process. All document editing, compiling, and processing is performed within the Altium Designer environment. Underlying Altium Designer is the X2 Integration Platform, which brings together Altium Designer's various features and functionality - depending on your purchased license - and provides a consistent user interface across all the tools and editors. Providing further flexibility, this environment is fully customizable, allowing you to set up the design space to suit the way you work.

You can explore Altium Designer's features and interface by experimenting with the software, diving in to create a new design project, or better yet, by first scanning through this documentation to give you a head start.

Altium Designer Features

  • Design Review Use Case. Design reviews are critical to being successful. Capture design discussions through contextual commenting in the web browser or in Altium Designer to ensure feedback is recorded and actioned effectively.

  • Electronic Collaboration Use Case. Work together with other engineers, anywhere in the world. With Git based version control and visual differencing capabilities, you can ensure designers remain in sync at all times.

  • Customer Interaction Use Case. Keep your customer up to date with progress by sharing design snapshots or work in progress, accessible in the web browser, from anywhere, on any device.

  • Manufacturer Collaboration Use Case. Release your fabrication and assembly data with confidence and enable your manufacturing partner to view and comment on your manufacturing output data directly in the browser.

  • MCAD Collaboration Use Case. Stay synchronized with your mechanical engineering counterparts with fileless, bi-directional collaboration through native integrations with SOLIDWORKS, Creo and Inventor.

  • Software Collaboration Use Case. Debugging hardware effectively requires access to the design. Embedded software engineers can now search, select and cross probe schematic, layout and 3D in the browser.

  • Remote Working Use Case. Remote working is no longer the exception, but the norm. Whether you are at home, on a customer site, at the airport, or anywhere else in the world, remote working has never been so simple.

  • Anonymous Sharing Use Case. Experience ultimate freedom with the ability to share snapshots of your design anonymously with anyone in the world using a simple link. All they need is browser access, no sign up required.

  • Embedded Viewer Use Case. Want to show off your design on your blog? Embed your design onto your site with just a couple of lines of code, providing an immersive, fully interactive design experience for your users like no other.

  • Unified interface. Altium Designer has been built from the ground up as a powerful, single-application electronics development environment that contains all the advanced design tools you’ll need to complete your design project.

  • Global Editing. Altium Designer puts flexible and powerful global editing tools at your fingertips. Make changes to all or specific components at once. Versatile selection tools allow you to find, filter and change the components you need, fast.

  • Simple and Intuitive. Altium Designer gives you the power to effortlessly create multichannel and hierarchical designs. Simplify complex designs into something visually pleasing and easy to follow.

  • Schematic driven design rules. Design starts from the schematic which is why Altium Designer allows you to define high-tech interfaces and their constraints all from the schematic editor.

  • Hierarchical and Multichannel design. Simplify any complex or multichannel design into manageable logical chunks with Altium Designer Hierarchical Design tools.

  • Interactive Routing. Design the highest quality PCB layouts in a fraction of the time with Altium Designer's advanced routing engine that includes several powerful routing options such as walk around, push, hug and push, ignore obstacle, push and shove, and differential pairs

  • Stackup Planning. The layer stack manager has been completely updated and reworked including impedence calculations, materials library, and more.

  • 3D visualization. Clearly visualize and interact with your designs in native 3D with the advanced 3D engine in Altium Designer

  • Variants Support. Manage any number of your design variants without having to create separate projects or versions of your design.

  • Real time BOM Management. ActiveBOM provides you with automation by supplying part information such as availability and price from selected suppliers, so there are never any surprises.

  • Powerful Part Search. Directly place and migrate electronic parts that meet design, availability, and cost requirements with global parametric supplier search.

  • Multiboard Assembly. Eliminate the challenge of ensuring the form and fit of multiple boards in an enclosure.

  • Automated project release. Altium Designer empowers you with a controlled and automated design release process that ensures your documentation is easily generated, complete, and well-communicated.

  • Professional PCB documentation with Draftsman. Improved features in Draftsman make it even easier to create your PCB fabrication and assembly drawings.

  • Reusable outputs configurations. Generate and release your complete design in a simple, easily communicated package with reusable batch outputs in Altium Designer.