Altium Designer

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Altium Designer
Developer(s) Altium
Stable release 14.3.11 (Build 33708) / 2014.06.13
Written in Delphi
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Type Electronic design automation
License Proprietary

Altium Designer is an electronic design automation software package for printed circuit board, FPGA and embedded software design, and associated library and release management automation. It is developed and marketed by Altium Limited of Australia.


In 1985 Altium launched the DOS based PCB design tool known as Protel Designer. Originally sold only in Australia, it has been exported to the United States and Europe since 1986. In 1987, Altium launched the circuit diagram editor Protel Schematic. The launch of Protel 98 in 1998 saw the consolidation of all components, including Protel Designer and Protel Schematic, into a single environment. Version 6.8 from 2007 was the first to offer 3D visualization of PCBs. As Altium relocated its headquarters in April 2011 from Sydney, Australia, to Shanghai in China, most R&D personnel there were made redundant.[1]

Schematic capture[edit]

Schematic capture module provides electronics circuit editing functionality, including:

  • Component library management
  • Schematic document editing (component placement, connectivity editing and design rules definition)
  • Integration with several component distributors allows search for components and access to manufacturer's data[2]
  • SPICE mixed-signal circuit simulation
  • Pre-layout signal integrity analysis
  • Netlist export
  • Reporting and BoM facilities
  • Multi-channel, hierarchical schematics and design re-use

PCB design[edit]

Printed circuit board design module of Altium designer allows:

  • Support for Flex and Rigid-Flex Design
  • Enhanced Layer Stack Management
  • Support for Embedded Components
  • Differential Pair Routing Improvements
  • Via Stitching within a User-Defined Area
  • Ibis Model Implementation Editor
  • Component footprint library management
  • Component placement
  • Manual trace routing, with support for differential pairs, multi-trace routing, pin-swapping and gate-swaping
  • Automatic trace routing
  • Automated multi-channel layout and routing
  • Interactive 3D editing of the board and MCAD export to STEP[3]
  • Signal integrity analysis
  • Manufacturing files generation with support for Gerber and ODB++ formats

FPGA and embedded software tools[edit]

FPGA development tools integrated into Altium designer provide the following capabilities:

  • FPGA, PCB and Signal Integrity design synchronization
  • VHDL simulation and debugging[4]
  • FPGA soft processor software development tools (compiler, debugger, profiler) for several embedded processors[5]

Release/data management[edit]

Release and data management tools within Altium designer allow users to:

  • Version control each design, and compare differences textually and visually[6]
  • Batch-process output generation and output formatting (i.e. Gerber files, Pick and Place, PDF schematic and PCB documentation etc.)
  • Create templates for documents and design rules
  • Use configuration management and track all design changes through ECO
  • Create and release design and assembly variants
  • Cloud publishing of design and manufacturing data[7]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]