Customizing the Altium Designer Resources

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Resources in an editor are the menu bars, toolbars and the shortcut key tables. All the commands available from the menus are also available for adding to or deleting from these resources.

Customization overview

Behind each resource item, such as a toolbar icon or menu item, there is a pre-packaged process launcher that activates a command when its resource item is selected. The pre-packaged process launchers bundle together the process that runs when the command is selected, plus any parameters, bitmaps (icons), captions (the name of an item that displays on a resource), descriptions and associated shortcut keys. If a process launcher is modified, every linked instance of the command on any bar will be updated.

Commands can be customized to meet your own needs. Customizations are stored in the file C:\Documents and Settings\User_name\Application Data\Altium Designer\DXP.rcs.

Rearranging the Existing Menus and Toolbars

When the Customizing dialog is open, you can click and drag commands around between the active menus and toolbars.
1. Right-click on a menu bar or a toolbar and select Customize from the drop-down menu. The relevant Customizing dialog displays, e.g. right-clicking on the Schematic Editor menu will display the Customizing Sch Editor dialog. All customization is done while this dialog is displayed.

2. Select the command from an existing menu, submenu or toolbar (a black box around the name or icon shows it is selected) and drag it to its new location on either a menu or toolbar. A black bar will indicate where the command will be added.

Adding a Command to a Toolbar or Menu

A command can be linked or duplicated when it is added to a bar. A linked command will be updated if the original process launcher is modified. A duplicated command, however, will remain as a copy of the original process launcher and not be updated. Duplicated commands can be modified to create a new command by changing its process launcher properties. See Editing Commands for more details.
To add a command to a bar:
1. Right-click on a menu bar or a toolbar and select Customize from the drop-down menu. The relevant Customizing dialog displays.
2. Find the command you wish to add to another bar.
The Categories in the Commands tab of the Customizing dialog are the menu and submenu headings sorted alphabetically. By default, the built-in bars (the default menus and toolbars) display in the Commands list. These will show you all the commands installed. You can select and drag these commands to add to another toolbar or menu but you will not be able to edit them from this view.
Clicking on a Category will display all the commands associated with that menu bar.
3. Select the command you want to add to a toolbar or menu from the Commands section of the Customizing dialog.
4. With the dialog still open, go to the menu or toolbar that you want to add the command to and right-click to display the Customize drop-down menu.
5. Select Insert Link (to link to the original process launcher) or Insert Duplicate (to create a copy of the command). A line will appear where the insertion will take place and the cursor will change when you place it over anywhere on the bars that you can add a command, as shown below. The cursor changes for a linked command (arrow) and duplicated command (+ sign).

6. Release the mouse button and the command will be added to the menu or toolbar.

Shortcuts to Adding Commands to Existing Toolbars

With the Customizing dialog open, select the command in a menu or toolbar you want to duplicate or link.
CTRL, Click and drag to the new location to Insert Duplicate.
SHIFT + CTRL, Click and drag to the new location to Insert Link.

Adding a Group Separator to a Drop-down Menu

You can add a line separator above the item in a menu or before an icon in a toolbar. With the Customizing dialog open, right-click on a menu or toolbar item and select Begin Group.

Deleting Commands

You can delete one instance or all instances of a custom Command from menus or toolbars. Note that the default commands cannot be deleted.

Delete a Custom Command

Deleting a customized command stored in the Custom category will delete all instances of the custom command from all resources.
1. Right-click on the main menu bar or a toolbar and select Customize from the drop-down menu. The Customizing dialog displays.
2. Click on the Custom category and select the command you want to delete.
3. Click on the Delete button. All instances of the command will be removed from the bars.

Delete a Command from One Resource

If you want to delete just one instance of a command without affecting other instances:
1. Right-click on the menu bar or a toolbar and select Customize from the drop-down menu. The Customizing dialog displays.
2. With the dialog still open, select the command that you want to delete from the actual menu or toolbar. A black box around the item indicates it is selected.
3. Right-click and select Delete. Alternatively, simply click and hold on the menu item or toolbar icon and drag it off its bar. The cursor changes to a cross when you release the mouse button.

Creating a New Drop-down Menu

1. With the Customizing dialog open, place the cursor where you want to add the new menu to appear. It could be added to the main menu or by clicking on an existing command in a menu can be used to create a sub-menu.
2. Right-click and select Insert Drop Down to add a new drop-down menu. The Edit Drop Down Menu dialog displays.

3. Add a new caption (the menu name), a popup key (to quickly access the menu) and a bitmap for an icon (if required) and click OK. The new menu name (caption) displays in the menus.
4. Now, add the commands to your new menu. See Adding a command for details.

Creating a New Toolbar

From the Toolbars tab of the Customizing Sch Editor dialog, you can select which main menu and toolbars to display, create a new or duplicate toolbar as well as rename, delete or restore toolbars.
To create a new blank toolbar:
1. Right-click on a menu or toolbar and select Customize. When the Customizing dialog displays, click on the Toolbars tab.

2. Click on the New button to create a new bar. A 'New Toolbar' appears in the Bars section.
3. Click on Rename to rename the toolbar.
4. Activate the toolbar by clicking on its selection box. A blank toolbar will appear docked in the menu area of the screen.
5. Add commands to your new toolbar. See Adding a command for details.

Duplicating Toolbars

If you want to create a new toolbar based on an existing toolbar, it is easier to duplicate the original toolbar and edit the commands.
1. Click on the Duplicate button to create a new instance of the selected toolbar.
2. A 'Copy of xxx' appears in the Bars section. Click on Rename to change its title.
3. Add your commands. See Adding a command for details.

Activating Toolbars

Toolbars will only appear on the screen if they are active.
1. Select which toolbars will be active (display) by clicking on the Toolbars tab in the Customizing dialog.
2. Click on the Is Active box next to the required toolbars until they become checked.
Alternatively, position the cursor over a toolbar or menu, right-click and select the required toolbar from the drop-down list.

Setting the Main Menu

Nominate which main menu bar will be active (display) by selecting a menu from the Bar to Use as Main Menu drop-down list in the Toolbars tab in the Customizing dialog.

System Level Commands

There is a category in the Customizing dialog named System Level that includes the commands to Toggle Floating Panel Visibility and to Toggle Floating Panel Focus. Any new commands added to this category will become system commands and their shortcut keys can be used in any editor.

Creating a New Command

New commands that are created using the New or Duplicate buttons in the Customizing dialog and are listed in the Custom category of the Commands tab when created.
1. Right-click on a menu or toolbar and select Customize.
2. Click on the New button in the Customizing dialog to create a new command. The New Command dialog displays.

3. Enter the required properties. Click on Browse to find the process required.
4. The Caption will become the name of the command as seen when added to a menu, so make it easily recognizable as a new command.
5. If you require an image to be associated with the new process launcher, click on the ... button to find a bitmap file. This image (or icon) will display when the new command is added to toolbars, e.g. the Zoom In command uses the Zoomin.bmp bitmap found in the \System\Buttons folder of the .
6. Add a shortcut key and alternative from the drop-down lists if required and click OK.
7. Click on the Custom category to see the new command in the Command list.
8. Add the new command to the relevant bar(s). See Adding a command for details.

Duplicating Commands

It is often easier to create a new command by duplicating an existing command that is similar and modifying its parameters. To duplicate a command:
1. Right-click on the main menu bar or a toolbar and select Customize. The Customizing dialog displays.
2. Select the command you wish to duplicate and click on Duplicate to create a new copy of the selected command.
3. Click in the Custom category to see the new command in the Command list.
4. Modify its properties, e.g. add a new parameter and a new caption, and click OK. See Editing commands for more details.
5. Drag the new command onto a toolbar or menu. See Adding a command for details.
6. Click on OK and all resources that use that command will be updated.

Working with Shortcut Key Tables

A shortcut key table lists all the shortcuts currently available in an editor. Only one shortcut key table can be active per editor, e.g. Schematic Shortcuts is the name of the default shortcut key table for the Schematic Editor. If a shortcut key is changed in a Command, it is updated in the active table automatically.
Shortcut key tables can be added, created, deleted or modified in the same way as menus and toolbars.

Restoring Menu and Toolbar Defaults

To reinstall the original default menus and toolbars and delete customizations:
1. Click on the Toolbars tab in the Customizing Sch Editor dialog.
2. Select on the bar you wish to restore and click on the Restore button.
3. Click OK to confirm the removal of all customizations from the selected bar.

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