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What's Good About SPB16.2 OrCAD Capture? Many Usability Enhancements!

Comments(23)Filed under: PCB design, SPB 16.2, OrCAD

There are enormous usability updates in the SPB16.2 release of OrCAD Capture. From new ways of managing multiple windows to the ability to place wires and parts using a cross hair cursor - all enhancements are designed to increase ease of use. You can read about the highlights below.

 

Tabbed windows with docking, floating, and MDI child capabilities:  Now it is easier to manage multiple open windows through tabs that show tooltips with window names. You can click a tab to activate the associated window or press CTRL+TAB to navigate through different open windows. The Session Log and Project Manager windows give you the flexibility to dock them or keep them as floating. You can right-click the title bar of these windows to get options to dock the windows to the top, bottom, left, or right of the main window. You can also specify to open these windows as MDI child windows in the maximized, minimized, or restored states

Ability to close all open windows:  You can close all open windows with a single action by choosing Windows - Close All Windows.

 

Display of net names for selected nets on the status bar:  You can check the name of a net by simply selecting the net or a wire in the net. The status bar displays the name of the net when it is selected.

 

Increased choices for lines:  You now have additional choices for line style. Two new line styles have been added to provide thicker line choices. This also enhances print-ability of the designs.

 

Search capability enhanced to find part pins:  The Find dialog box has been augmented with a new option to search for part pins. You can now search for a pin by selecting the Parts Pin option of the Find dialog box.

 

Resizable split part window:  The Split Part window is easier to use. You can now resize the window to adjust the number of pins visible.

 

Junction dot size:  Now you can choose the size (Small, Medium, Large, or Very Large) of the junction dot that appears when two wires are connected. You can set the junction dot size by choosing the option from the Junction Dot Size drop down list in the Miscellaneous tab of the Preferences dialog box.

 

Full screen mode by pressing Ctrl+F8:  You can change to full-screen mode by pressing Ctrl+F8. You can then exit the full screen mode by clicking the Close Full-screen button or by pressing the Escape key.

 

Cross hair mode:  When placing a part on a very dense design, it is often not easy to find your way around the design. To make this task more manageable, you can turn on theCross Hair mode. This will place a Cross Hair at the edge of the mouse pointer. As you move your cursor across the page the cross hair will make it easier to locate objects like pin and nets or very small parts in your design. Use the F6 key to toggle this mode on and off.

 

Property editor enhancements:  Enhancements include:

  • Value editor that allows you to edit property values without having to resize the spreadsheet columns
  • Immediately refresh property editor when a property is deleted

New project manager shortcuts:  The right mouse button shortcut menu in the Project Manger includes some new useful options:

  • Annotate: You can now choose to annotate a design or selected parts of a design by selecting the Annotate menu item from context menu in the Project Manager. You will see this option either at the design or page level.
  • Cut / Copy & Paste: The Project Manager context menu also includes the new Cut / Copy & Paste options. You can cut or copy a page from one design folder and paste into another folder. Note, while you can perform the copy operation at any time, you can do a cut operation only if that particular object is not current open, You can even cut or copy a design folder from one design and paste it into another design.

Enhanced search functionality - find toolbar & find window:  Search functionality is enhanced to include a new Find toolbar. This includes a new Search options button that allows you to narrow down or expand your search to the types of objects on the canvas. Once the search is complete, the new Find window groups the search results by object type making it easier for you to track down your result. You also have the option of saving the search results to an HTML file.

 

New Annotation Type Option:  The annotation dialog box now includes a new Annotation type list. When annotation your design you can now choose from three sequence options:

Default: This options annotates your design in the same sequence and manner as previous versions of OrCAD Capture.

Left - Right: Use this option if you want the objects in your design to be annotated in the left to right order in which they are placed on the page grid

Top - Bottom: You can annotate the objects in your design from top to bottom order on the page grid using this option.

This option can be found when you go to Tools>Annotate and you can choose the annotation type.

New icons: OrCAD Capture and OrCAD Capture CIS have been upgraded with new, softer looking icons. This upgrade brings uniformity across many of the generic icon styles in different Cadence products. There are eight main toolbars in OrCAD Capture and OrCAD Capture CIS. 

  • Capture Toolbar
  • Draw Tool Palette
  • Part Tool Palette
  • Symbol Tool Palette
  • PSpice
  • FPGA
  • CIS Explorer
  • Part Manager

Toolbar customizations: The SPB16.2 release of OrCAD Capture now provides highly customizable toolbars. You can now pick and choose the toolbars you want to view or hide. And the state of the toolbars is maintained when you close and open Capture. The new Customize dialogs include two tabs Toolbars and Commands.
 
  • The Toolbars tab allows you to add and remove toolbars. It also allows you to create new toolbars. You can decide whether or not you want to view tooltips.
  • Use the Commands tab to add or remove buttons from the toolbars. Also, clicking on each button in the tab displays a short description of the button.

 

The Toolbar settings can be saved in settings schemes.
  • Change the display of toolbars
  • Create a new toolbar
  • Add buttons to toolbars
  • Remove buttons from toolbars
  • Reset toolbars to their default settings

 

Change the display of toolbars

  • From the Tools menu, choose Customize.
  • Click the Toolbars tab.
  • In the Toolbars list, select the toolbars you want to be displayed.
  • Select any of the following options:
    •  Select Show Tooltips to enable ToolTips.
    •  Select Cool Look to make the toolbar buttons appear flat.
  • Click Apply to apply changes without closing the dialog box, or click OK to apply changes and close the dialog box.


Create a new toolbar
  • From the Tools menu, choose Customize.
  • Click the Toolbars tab.
  • Click New.
  • In the text box that appears, type a name for the toolbar, then click OK.
  • The name of the new toolbar appears in the Toolbars list.
  • Click Apply to apply changes without closing the dialog box, or click OK to apply changes and close the dialog box.

 

Add buttons to toolbar

  • From the Tools menud, choose Customize.
  • Click the Commands tab.
  • In the Categories list, click a category to display related toolbar buttons in the Buttons frame.
  • Under Buttons, click a button to display a description of its function in the Description frame.
  • To add the selected button to a toolbar, drag it from the Customize dialog box to any toolbar displayed in the program window.
  • Click OK to close the dialog box.


Remove buttons from toolbars
  • Drag the button you do not want from the toolbar to the Customize dialog box.


Reset toolbars to their default settings

  •  From the Tools menu, choose Customize.
  • Click the Toolbars tab.
  • Do one of the following: 
    • Under Scheme, from the list, select Default.
    •  Click Reset.
  • Click Apply to apply changes without closing the dialog box, or click OK to apply changes and close the dialog box.

 

As always, I look for your feedback and suggestions on using these new capabilities.

 

Jerry GenPart

Comments(23)

By Ole Ejlersen on December 10, 2008
Good listing and there's even more. Greatly improved FPGA Design-In functionality and a new Non-linear Graphic Editing mode that makes it easy to navigate larger designs. Last but not least the new datatips are excellent and makes it easy to identify objects although you're zoomed far out.

By Jerry GenPart on December 11, 2008
Hi Ole! Thanks for the additional new feature details. I'll be discussing the FPGA enhancements in a future blog post. I forgot about the datatips and non-linear graphic editing capabilities - thanks again for mentioning those. If there are other new features I've missed - anyone feel free to please add to the list! Jerry GenPart.

By Arkady on December 17, 2008
I looking for solution for convert(translate) P-CAD schematic to Capture CIS. If existent any tool pleaase inform me by evail ASAP.

By Jerry GenPart on December 18, 2008
Hi Arkady. I would suggest you review the translators from Elgris Technologies. This is one of our Cadence partners that we recommend for translating designs to the Cadence format. Their web site is - http://www.elgris.com. I hope this helps. Jerry GenPart.

By ThomasH on January 23, 2009
Hi Jerry,
I like the new search-bar in Capture a lot.
Could you comment on the following "wish-list" for Capture CIS ?
1.) A global rename function which allows to rename an entire net on all pages including the off-page connectors ( we are doing mostly flat schematics ). ( Check for / report net-list changes caused by renaming ! )
2.) A "follow net" function where you select a net, click the right mouse key, select "follow net" and then you get a clickable list of all other pages where the net exist. One click brings you to the respective page with the net already selected.
3.) "Auto off-page function" where you select one or multiple nets, click the right mouse-key, select "off page" and then Capture creates an array of off-page connectors already named according to the selected signals.
4.) Option to protect PCB-Footprint properties or other manual changes from being overwritten while doing "update all parts" in Part Manager.
5.) Export/Import Function for Part-Manager/Variant information so variants can be created/edited without doing changes in the schematic/DSN file. This is important for revision/configuration management because the actual schematic file will always stay the same independent of the variants.
6.) Part-Manager should be able to (optionally) output the component groups into separate files rather than generating a flat BOM for a variant. This is important if the PPS-system is working with modular BOMs or if you want generate e.g. a cost matrix.
7.) Part-Manager shoud allow to define the variants graphically while Capture is in "variant display mode " .
8.) Compare function which highlights changes between schematic versions on a selectable level ( graphic changes, part changes, net-list changes )
.

By Jerry GenPart on January 23, 2009
Hi Thomas,
These are great suggestions!
Give me a few days to research some of these and work with our
R&D team to see what can be done today (perhaps a hidden capability)
and what our future roadmap looks like to include some of your
requests.
Jerry GenPart
P.S. I found your contact details in our Customer Support system,
so I've also formally filed a new Service Request to track this.

By Peter Zhu on January 29, 2009
From a customer with many years experience view, the following two changes are very very usefull, but I don't konw if 16.2 has made such change.  1. when selecting browse-parts, the column should be capable of custormization, for example, designer cares PCB Footprint property, but it can not be displayed, Value and PCB Footprint properties are most cared properties by designer,design often want to check it and change it.   2. In edit property spreadsheet, it should support CTRL-V, many customer properties, such as customer PN, are copied from a another application, such as text editor, ORCAD doesn't allow you  paste it to cell with CTRL-V, it's very trouble, you have to type it in cell, it will lead to mistake chance.  The two points are very very useful for designer, I hope Cadence pay attention to these.  

By Jerry GenPart on January 29, 2009
Hi Peter, As with the the prior feedback - very good comments and suggestions. As I indicated, I'll be speaking with our R&D team about your questions and provide an update in this Blog about whether or not these are planned enhancements in future roadmaps.

By Jerry GenPart on February 2, 2009
Hi Thomas, I have some high level answers to some of your suggestions. For our SPB16.3 release, there's a "Design Navigation Improvement" project which will provide several usability enhancements. This is still being worked, so please don't expect all of these to be in the next release. The first 4 items in your list would fall under this project and the R&D and Marketing teams are considering them as part of this project. Thanks again for your great ideas!

By Evan Shultz on March 26, 2009
I LOVE all the new features in Capture. The tabs make it so much easier to work with multiple projects at once, the Find features are spectacular, and the Place Part dialog is a huge time saver! That fact that Capture looks so much prettier is icing on the proverbial schematic entry cake! Not only is there more power, but it's easier to access all the power. Way to go Cadence - give yourself a pat on the back.
Not to downplay all the wonderful progress made, but here are a couple of suggestions I'd like to make:
1. I like the Session log in a tab, and by default the Session log is docked at the bottom of the Capture window and I don't have the 'Docked to' and 'MID child as' options under the RMB menu. How about adding those options even when the Session log (or other similar menus) are already docked. In fact, why aren't these RMB options available when clicking on ANY window (like a tab)? It doesn't make sense to me that I have to pull a window out and make it floating before I have the ability to arrange it in any possible fashion.
2. A one-click way to close tabs, instead of the RMB menu of the little 'X' in the upper right of the Capture window. Perhaps a little 'X' on each tab?
3. A way to re-arrange tabs (or possibly all tabs in a project, as the tabs in a project should always stay grouped together, I think). That's a minor enhancement.
4. Why not combine the Tools and Options menus? They appear to cover the same things to me and only a Tools menu seems more common in most Windows applications. Plus, Probe has Customize under the Tools menu and no Options menu.
5. The ability to auto-fit the tab width and/or set a max and min tab width. Because the tabs are rather small by default, similarly named projects open at the same time can get confusing. If I could expand the tab width I'd more easily be able to see what was happening in each tab.
6. I'd still like to have the site configuration ability in Capture that is available in DE HDL and PCB Editor. The inability to provide a standard set of customizations for all Capture users at my site is limiting. There are many options, settings, menus, UI features, network links, etc. that I would like to change from the Capture default and standardize for all users but I am unable to do so.
7. ThomasH does have great suggestions - I am especially fond of 1, 2, and 8.
8. I think even more could be done with the right side dialog (tabs) instead of just Place Part. A combination dialog (tab) controlling New/Edit Simulation Profile, with a Profile switcher, would eliminate having to open up separate floating windows to adjust simulation parameters. Or an Options dialog, similar to PCB Editor, could be used to set line width and junction dot size when drawing wires, for example. A dialog (tab) for 'post-process' Project Manager options seems to make sense to me; I'm envisioning a dialog (tab) that combines Annotate, DRC, Cross-reference, and/or BOM functions instead of having separate windows popping up for all those features.
9. Going along with #7 above, how about a Simulation dialog (tab) that adds all the Advanced Analysis and Markers into a single tab? I very often use the Advanced Analysis Markers and I'd much prefer an innocuous pop-out dialog (tab) instead of having to dig through multiple levels of the menus to get to the marker that I want.
10. And finally, when moving parts/wires and markers, the some marker get 'caught' and don't move with the other elements, but some do. Then I get a dialog box telling me "Voltage/digital level marker will be ignored..." and I have to move the markers back onto the circuit where they belong manually. I've been dealing with this for a long, long time. Is there a plan to ever fix this??
And a little note for Probe: wouldn't it make more sense to have the Toggle Cursor icon in the Cursor toolbar instead of the Probe toolbar?

By Jerry GenPart on March 26, 2009
Wow Evan! Outstanding and very detailed suggestions.
For those who may not know, Evan represents one of our strategic customers with the Cadence front-end products. I've worked with Evan over the past couple years in the DEHDL space. He has provided numerous and valuable feature and methodology suggestions to our R&D and Marketing teams - with some becoming new features within the products.
I will digest each of these and take your input to our R&D/Marketing teams to see what might be on the future roadmap for some of these enhancements. As you know, my usual style will be to track these personally with you through Service Requests and CCRs. I'll be filing these over the course of the next few days and provide you updates. For any suggestions that become confirmed / committed features in a future release, I'll mention those back into this blog. Jerry GenPart

By Evan Shultz on March 27, 2009
Sorry for the inability to format my above post. I hope it can be read. How is ThomasH's post formatted nicely??
Thank you Jerry for taking a look at my suggestions.
I thought of a couple more:
11. If there's a problem during simulation, the Simulation Output File will indicate the problem. It would be fabulous if the errors were clickable links that jump to the schematic and highlight the net, or part, or whatever element is causing the error. Similar to how PCB Editor's pop up boxes have clickable coordinates.
12. I can't find a way to get the Find Window dialog to the right side, with the Place Part dialog. If this can be done, do tell. If not, that would be nice.
13. Since so much of the UI is not prettier, how about cleaning up the last few windows that linger on with outdated looks? For instance, the Select Directory window (accessed by the Browse button in the New Project window) is unfashionably Windows 2000.

By Jerry GenPart on March 27, 2009
Hi Evan,
I'm not sure how ThomasH's reply maintained the format.
Our Blog IT folks are checking into this and I hope to have an answer soon.
Thanks again for the additional suggestions. Look for new SRs from me next week.
Jerry GenPart

By Mike Von Ahnen on April 10, 2009
I don't know if this is the correct forum for dissenters, but I am not a fan of the new part lookup in Capture.  In fact, on my laptop it is unusable, since the window does not scroll, it does not let me add in my libraries.  As I speak I am going to have to remote login to my work to make simple changes.
"If it aint broke, don't fix it"

By Jerry GenPart on April 13, 2009
Hi Mike -
Sure, you most certainly can provide input on areas of the products that need improvement. I'd like a little more clarification on the details of what is not working properly in the Capture part look-up window and I'll Email you on this.
Jerry

By Jerry GenPart on April 14, 2009
Just to close on Mike's "add libraries" question above:
Go to Options> Preferences> miscellaneous
[Dock Place part] - uncheck this.
You need to re-invoke Capture.
Jerry

By mj worden on April 20, 2009
Hi Jerry,  
It looks like you know Capture inside out.  Great comments, I learned alot just in the above.  Question, in my previous version I could get full screen view on a 24" monitor, and now in 16.2.0.p001 I cannot; I tried the cntl-F8 but that is still only about 2/3 of the available screen size.  Using all of my 24" monitor for a layout helps reduce scrolling and helps me justify to my boss the new monitor. Help!

By Jerry GenPart on April 20, 2009
Hi MJ -
Well, I know a "little" about Capture. My real expertise is with Design Entry HDL (DHDL - previously known as ConceptHDL), PDV, libraries, and all the other front end tools.
I'll find out about this issue (I'm filing a Service Request on your behalf - since that's what I do - I'm a Customer Support Application Engineer), and we'll work to find you a resolution.
Jerry Grzenia

By Huy Nguyen on September 9, 2009
Hi Jerry,
Any chance revision control will be incorporated into future versions of Orcad CIS?  Generating a Bill of Material from Orcad CIS is a snap.  What I find tedious is determining which component got deleted, added, or changed since the last revision.  The PCB assembly house typically wants an ECO telling them what part got changed so they don't have to re-process the entire Bill of Material each time a new revision is released.   Being able to add a label, for example REV1, and comparing that to a later revision REV2 for any component changes will go a long way in making BOM generation in capture CIS much more friendly.
Huy

By Jerry GenPart on September 10, 2009
Hi Huy,
Good enhancement suggestion! Let me check with our R&D team to see if this is in the future Capture-CIS product roadmap. I'll file a new SR in your name so we can track this and reply to this blog when an answer is available.

By K on October 30, 2012
mj, to change the screen/page size go under Options -> Schematic Page Properties, and at the bottom, set your custom size to fit your screen.


By Wies Zeev on November 1, 2012
Hi Jerry, The Capture toolbar size is very small, how can i change the size?

By Jerry GenPart on November 1, 2012
Hi  Wies,
I don't see an option/setting to change the toolbar size. There's an option in the Customize section for Toolbars to "Cool Look". Have you tried changing this?
Jerry G.

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