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What's Good About Allegro PCB Editor Customizable Datatips? Look to SPB16.3 and See!

Comments(3)Filed under: PCB Layout and routing, PCB design, Allegro PCB Editor, Allegro, PCB Editor, property, PCB, SPB 16.3, Allegro 16.3, PCB Capture, SPB16.3

In pre-select mode Allegro displays a datatip that provides information about the element that is being hovered over. The TAB key can be used to cycle through the string of elements such as symbol, pin, and net, resulting in a new display of the datatip. In the SPB16.3 release of Allegro PCB Editor, it is now possible to customize the display through a user configuration interface. Items that can be configured include properties and their values associated with nets, clines, symbols, vias, and pins. For example, when hovering over a net, the datatip can display the total etch length and the fixed state.

The user interface is located in the Setup menu, and both the property name and value can be configured. A file called "custdatatips.cdt" represents the configuration and will be placed in your local PCBENV directory. The custom datatips are used in conjunction with the general settings for datatips which can be specified using the User Preferences Editor. Choose Setup User — Preferences to display the User Preferences Editor. Select Display — Datatips to specify the general options.

This file should not be edited outside of the user interface from within Allegro PCB Editor.

Read on for more details …

Using datatip preferences


1.    Select Setup — Datatip Preferences. The following elements can be configured; Cline, DRC, Net, Symbol Instance, Pin, Via




 
2.    Choose an element in the Object Type. All information related to that object displays
3.    Choose the information and values to display in the datatip as required.
4.    Specify the datatip format. This allows you to customize the order in which the datatips are displayed.


The following depicts the default settings for Symbol Instance when all information is displayed:



Which results in the following datatip display:





Moving the datatips format so that the order is Origin, Refdes Name, Comment, FIXED, Device Type ...





results in the following datatip display:




 
The User Interface


File – Load default CDT file
Loads settings from the default custdatatips.cdt file.


File – Save default CDT file
Saves modifications to the default settings in the custdatatips.cdt file.


File – Load Custom CDT File
Imports your customized datatip settings from an external .cdt file and applies them to the current design. A file browser appears with the filter set to *.cdt and a list of all .cdt files available in the current local working directory. You can manually browse to other directories to open a .cdt file. For instance, you may create a file with settings that suit a particular design’s requirements, then each time you open that design, import settings from that .cdt file.


File – Save Custom CDT File
Exports the current design’s customized datatip settings to an external .cdt file stored in your local working directory. A file browser appears with the filter set to *.cdt and a list of all .cdt files in the current local working directory. You can manually browse to other directories to specify an alternate save location.


File – Close
Closes the Datatips Customization dialog box.


Object type
Choose to customize datatips for clines, nets, symbol instances, pins, vias, or DRCs.


General tab
Lists information to display in a datatip for the element chosen in Object Type.
Click to Check the Name box to the right of the information to include it in the datatip; the Value box gets checked automatically, indicating its inclusion in the datatip as well.
Select the Value box to only include the alphanumeric character string associated with the information in the datatip, which displays as $<value>, such as $COMMENT for instance, in Specify DataTips Format.
Choose All to display all information available for the chosen element in the datatip.


Advanced tab
Displays all properties applicable to the chosen Object Type and available for inclusion in the datatip.
Select the Name box to the right of the information to include it in the datatip; the Value box gets checked automatically, indicating its inclusion in the datatip as well.
Select the Value box to only include the alphanumeric character string associated with the information in the datatip, which displays as $<value>, such as $COMMENT for instance, in Specify DataTips Format.
Select the Save box, which only appears next to the user-defined attributes, to include these properties in the CDT file on saving it.
Select All to check the check boxes in the column to display all information available for the chosen element in the datatip.
Note: For Net objects, Path length and Manhattan length are included in the Advanced tab.


Property filter

Enter whole words or character strings to locate a subset of the properties available for the chosen element. To specify a character string, use the asterisk (*) as a wildcard character. Displays only when the you choose the Advanced tab.


Apply filter
Choose to display a subset of the available properties using the string entered in the Property filter.
?Tip
To use the Enter key to apply the filter, choose Setup — User Preferences — Ui — Input, and enable form_oldreturn.


Specify DataTips Format
Customize the order in which to display datatip information using the following keys:

Up arrow: Appends the selected datatip entry to the line above it.

Down arrow: Appends the selected datatip entry to the line below it.

Left arrow: Transposes the selected datatip entry with that immediately to the left of it (if the first entry in a line is selected, nothing happens).

Right arrow: Transposes the selected datatip entry with that immediately to the right of it (if the last entry in a line is selected, nothing happens).

ENTER: Inserts a line break, and moves all the datatips immediately after the selected space onto the next line when you choose a space between datatip entries on the same line.

BACKSPACE and DELETE: Removes a line break and places all datatips immediately after the selected space on the same line when you choose a space between datatip entries on adjacent lines (line break).

OK
Saves settings to the .cdt file currently loaded and closes the dialog box.

Cancel
Closes the dialog box without saving any changes.

Reset to defaults
Removes all datatips customization and restores original settings.

 

Please share your experiences with this new SPB16.3 feature!

Jerry "GenPart" Grzenia

Comments(3)

By Evan Shultz on October 15, 2010
I really like the new datatips. It helps me to avoid needing to open the Show Element window by providing the info in a datatip, thus saving me time.

I would like to see even greater data possibilities in the datatips, such as having Line Width displayed for Cline [segs], for example. I filed a SR detailed suggestions already.

You can also put custdatatips.cdt at $CDS_SITE/pcb if you want to make these customizations available to all users at your location.


By Jerry GenPart on October 15, 2010
Hi Evan,
Thanks for your feedback. And thanks for filing the enhancement request to add to this new feature!
Jerry G.

By Mashak on October 19, 2010
This is a good feature. Customize once then no need to query the components each time if you want to see the details.


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