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Things You Didn't Know About Virtuoso: Introduction

Comments(2)Filed under: Custom IC Design, Virtuoso, Virtuoso IC 6.1.3

A while ago, I somehow ended up on the mailing list of a rather odd catalog called "Things You Never Knew Existed..."  I think I got on the list when I bought some stocking stuffers for my kids for Christmas-things like little plastic pencil sharpeners shaped like noses (yes, you have the right mental picture-quite the hit with the 12-year-old set).  So now you where to go to get a remote-controlled skunk or a USB hub that looks like Darth Vader.

So, you're probably wondering what this has to do with Cadence Virtuoso software.  The thing is, I find in working with customers, I often show them things in IC 6.1 which cause them to say "Wow, I never knew that existed!"  It seems that those clever R&D engineers here at Cadence have been putting so many great features in the software that it's hard for anyone to keep up.  And, unlike the items from the catalog mentioned above, THESE THINGS ARE ACTUALLY USEFUL!

In this space, I'll be doing a series of short articles about some of these features.  I'm a member of the CIC Core Comp team specializing in front end environment tools (i.e. Virtuoso Schematic Editor, Analog Design Environment and ViVA).  Most of the features I'll be telling you about are available in the XL level of the tools (after all, that's what all the cool designers are using...), but some of them (such as today's tips) are available at all tool levels (L, XL, GXL).  All of them are available today in the latest IC 6.1.3 ISR.  Some of these features you may already know about and use daily, but hopefully you'll learn about a few new ones along the way.

Today's Tip: Opening Files
For today, let's start with something simple.  What's the first thing you do after you start Virtuoso?  You probably go to the Library Manager and scroll through that long list of libraries (you've been meaning to clean up your cds.lib file, but haven't gotten around to it, right?) and that long list of cells (with such easy-to-remember names as blk1v2xmem_a4 or was it a5?) to find the one you were working on yesterday.  You click on the Library Name, then the Cell Name, and then finally double-click on the View Name to open it.  Let's see, that was 4 mouse clicks (6 if you include opening the Library Manager).

Well, in IC6.1, you can do it the same thing in only 2 mouse clicks, and save yourself most of the mental exertion of trying to remember the name of the right cell.  You see, Virtuoso now remembers the cellviews you most recently opened, just like your favorite PC application does.  Go to the File menu of the CIW and you will see them listed there, right in the middle of the menu.  The one at the top of the list (labeled 1) is the cellview you opened last and the others are listed in the order in which you last accessed them.  Just click on the one you want and away you go. 

If you want to get a bit fancier, you can tear off the File menu, stick it over to the side of the screen and click on the cellviews to open them whenever you need them.  You did know you can tear off menus, right?-click on the dashed line at the very top of a menu and see what happens.




Bonus Tip
Speaking of the CIW, for those power users out there, did you know that in IC6.1 the CIW works a lot like your UNIX command line?  You can use the arrow keys to cycle through your previously entered commands or type "history" to get a list of past commands (including logfile command output) and double-click to re-execute them.  You can also cut and paste whole chunks of Skill code into the input area instead of doing it one line at a time.  Give it a try...

What's Next?
That's just a little tidbit for now.   For an even more powerful means of managing the cellviews you use most frequently, you may want to bookmark this page and check back again later...oops, did I just say "bookmark"?

How about you?  Have you unearthed any hidden gems in Virtuoso that you‘d like to share?  


Stacy Whiteman


By deana on May 14, 2009
I enjoy your posts and find it very helpful. I have worked here at Cadence forever and am amazed that I can still learn so much. Thank you for pointing out all the things Virtuoso can do. There are many things I don't know and it's interesting to learn about them.

By Kari on May 18, 2009
Great post! I look forward to the others in this series.

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