Importing and Exporting Design Files

Altium Designer incorporates a wide variety of importer and translator technologies, allowing you to easily import designs originating from previous versions of Altium software, or alternative software packages.

To make use of the importer/exporter technologies available in Altium Designer, you must install the relevant functionality, as part of the Altium Designer Platform itself. The core design functionality for your installation can be modified at any time after installation, and directly from within the Extensions & Updates view (DXP » Extensions and Updates). From the Installed page, simply click the Configure control, at the top-right of the Platform region. This accesses the Configure Platform page, presenting the core feature set for the software, and is identical in content to that found on the Select Design Functionality page of the Altium Designer Installer. Enable the required functionality in the Importers\Exporters region of this page.

Supported Import File Formats

The following provides an overview of what file types can be imported into Altium Designer. The method of import may differ between different file types, and are detailed in the sections thereafter.

  • All previous Protel/Altium Schematic files/libraries
  • All previous Protel/Altium PCB files/libraries
  • Protel 99SE Design Database (*.ddb)
  • P-CAD V16 or V17 Binary Schematic design files (*.sch)
  • P-CAD V16 or V17 ASCII Schematic design files (*.sch)
  • P-CAD V15, V16, or V17 Binary PCB design files (*.pcb)
  • P-CAD V15, V16, or V17 ASCII PCB design files (*.pcb)
  • P-CAD V16 or V17 Binary Library files (*.lib)
  • P-CAD V16 or V17 ASCII Library files (*.lia)
  • P-CAD PDIF file (*.pdf)
  • Tango PCB ASCII files (*.pcb)
  • CircuitMaker Schematics (*.ckt)
  • CircuitMaker User Libraries (*.lib)
  • CircuitMaker Device Libraries (*.lib)
  • Eagle Schematic (*.sch)
  • Eagle PCB (*.pcb)
  • Eagle Library (*.lbr)
  • OrCAD Capture Designs (*.dsn)
  • OrCAD Capture Libraries (*.olb)
  • OrCAD Layout PCB documents (*.max)
  • OrCAD PCB Libraries (*.llb)
  • OrCAD CIS Configuration file (*.dbc)
  • OrCAD SDT (*.sch)
  • PADS Layout ASCII Design files (*.asc)
  • PADS Layout ASCII Decal Libraries (*.d)
  • PADS Logic ASCII Design files (*.txt)
  • PADS Logic ASCII CAE Decal Libraries (*.c)
  • PADS Logic ASCII Part Type Libraries (*.p)
  • DxDesigner Designs and Libraries
  • Expedition files (*.pcb, *.lib)
  • CADSTAR Schematic Archive (*.csa)
  • CADSTAR PCB Archive (*.cpa)
  • CADSTAR Part Library (*.lib)
  • Allegro binary PCB (*.brd)
  • Allegro ASCII PCB (*.alg)
  • Specctra Design file (*.dsn)
  • AutoCAD DWG/DXF (*.dwg, *.dxf)

Importing via the File » Open Command

A range of file types can be imported via the Choose Document to Open dialog, accessed through File»Open. Set the Files of type option to the required (and supported) file format.

Importing documents using the Choose Document to Open dialog.

Some file types cannot be imported using the File»Open command, and are only imported through use of the Import Wizard. It is advised to use the Import Wizard in the first instance, especially when importing both design files and their related libraries into a new Altium Designer project and its constituent documents.

Importing into the active document using the File » Import command

Certain file types can be imported directly into the active schematic or PCB document using the File»Import command.

Schematic

  • AutoCAD DWG/DXF (*.dwg, *.dxf)

PCB

Use the Import File dialog to specify the file type to import from one of the following:

  • AutoCAD (*.dxf, *.dwg)
  • Gerber Batch (*.g??, *.g?)
  • P-CAD PDIF files (*.pdf)
  • SDRC-IDF Board files (*.brd)
  • Single Gerber files (*.g*)
  • Specctra Route file (*.rte)
  • Tango PCB ASCII file (*.pcb)

Importing via the Import Wizard

Altium Designer also includes a unified means of importing designs from a variety of different design tools, using the Import Wizard. The wizard walks you through the import process, handling both the schematic and PCB parts of the project, as well as managing the relationship between them. Select File»Import Wizard to launch the Wizard. The Import Wizard can be used to import the following types of design files:

File Types

Description

Protel 99SE DDB Files

99SE DDB (*.ddb)

Cadence® Allegro® Design Files

Allegro binary PCB (*.brd), Allegro ASCII PCB (*.alg)

Zuken CADSTAR® Designs and Libraries

CADSTAR Schematic Archive (*.csa), CADSTAR PCB Archive (*.cpa), CADSTAR Part Library (*.lib)

CircuitMaker 2000 Schematics and Libraries

CircuitMaker Schematics (*.ckt), CircuitMaker User Libraries (*.lib), CircuitMaker Device Libraries (*.lib)

Mentor Graphics® DxDesigner® Designs and Libraries

DxDesigner Designs, DxDesigner Libraries

Mentor Graphics® Expedition® Designs and Libraries

Mentor Expedition files (*.pcb, *.lib). Note, this feature is currently part of the Altium Labs

Cadence® OrCAD® Designs and Libraries

OrCAD Capture Designs (*.dsn), OrCAD Layout PCB documents (*.max), OrCAD Capture Libraries (*.olb), and OrCAD PCB Libraries (*.llb)

Cadence® OrCAD® CIS Configuration Files and Libraries

OrCAD CIS Configuration file (*.dbc) and OrCAD Library files (*.llb, *.olb)

Mentor Graphics® PADS® Layout and PADS® Logic Designs and Libraries

PADS Layout ASCII Design files (*.asc), PADS Layout ASCII Decal Libraries (*.d), PADS Logic ASCII Design files (*.txt), PADS Logic ASCII CAE Decal Libraries (*.c), PADS Logic ASCII Part Type Libraries (*.p)

Cadence® OrCAD® and Mentor Graphics® PADS® Designs and Libraries

OrCAD Capture files (*.dsn), OrCAD Schematic Library files (*.olb), PADS Logic ASCII Design files (*.txt), PADS Layout ASCII Decal Libraries (*.d), PADS Logic ASCII CAE Decal Libraries (*.c), PADS Logic ASCII Part Type Libraries (*.p)

P-CAD Designs and Libraries

P-CAD V16 or V17 Binary Schematic design files (*.sch), P-CAD V16 or V17 ASCII Schematic design files (*.sch), P-CAD V15, V16, or V17 Binary PCB design files (*.pcb), P-CAD V15, V16, or V17 ASCII PCB design files (*.pcb), P-CAD V16 or V17 Binary Library files (*.lib), P-CAD V16 or V17 ASCII Library files (*.lia)

CadSoft® EAGLE™ schematic, PCB and Libraries  EAGLE design files saved with EAGLE version 6.4.0 (or later). These files are XML-format – EAGLE binary-format design files cannot be imported using the EAGLE Importer, they must first be saved in XML-format in EAGLE.

The Import Wizard supports importing from a large variety of design tools.

Exporting Design Files

Schematic and PCB design files can be exported into various formats – including previous versions of Altium's software or alternate software packages. PCB assemblies can also be exported as 3D STEP model files for use in mechanical CAD packages. Export of files is performed using the File»Save As command, or the File»Save Copy As command.

Exporting design files using the File»Save As command.

Supported Export File Formats

Schematic Editor

  • Altium Schematic Binary (*.SchDoc)
  • Altium Schematic ASCII (*.SchDoc)
  • Altium Schematic binary 4.0 (*.sch)
  • Altium Schematic ASCII (*.SchDoc)
  • OrCAD SDT Schematic (*.sch)
  • Altium Schematic Template (*.SchDot)
  • AutoCAD DWG/DXF (*.dwg, *.dxf)

PCB Editor

  • Altium PCB Binary (*.PcbDoc)
  • Altium PCB binary V3.0, V4.0 (*.PCB)
  • Altium PCB binary V5.0 (*.PcbDoc)
  • Altium PCB ASCII (*.PcbDoc)
  • Protel Netlist (*.net)
  • AutoCAD DWG/DXF (*.dwg, *.dxf)
  • HyperLynx (*.hyp)
  • P-CAD ASCII (*.pcb)
  • Protel PCB 2.8 ASCII (*.pcb)
  • Protel Netlist (*.net)
  • Specctra Design File (*.dsn)
  • SDRC-IDF Brd Files (*.brd)
  • STEP (*.step, *.stp)
  • SiSoft Files (*.csv)
  • Ansoft Neutral File (*.anf)

Schematic Library Editor

  • Altium Schematic Binary Library (*.SchLib)
  • Altium V4.0 Schematic Binary Library (*.lib)
  • OrCAD Capture Schematic Library (*.olb)
  • P-CAD V16 Schematic Library (*.lia)

PCB Library Editor

  • Altium PCB Library (*.PcbLib)
  • Altium V3.0, V4.0 Library (*.lib)
  • Altium V5.0 Library (*.PcbLib)
  • P-CAD V16 PCB Library (*.lia)

See Also