Revision History of PCB Artist

 

More help is available From the PCB Artist Tips & Tools Page and via email at layouthelp@4pcb.com

 

 

Version_2.01

 

Various bug fixes and a security update.  This update requires users to run PCB Artist in Administrative Mode to avoid any issues.

 

Version_2.0

 

Schematic Busses

There is a new option on the Add menu, and on the Schematic toolbar, to add a bus to a schematic design. Once a bus shape has been added, you can select it and use properties to make it a closed bus by adding net names to it and give it a bus name. All busses of the same name carry the same set of signals. You can then start or end a connection on the bus, a small angled line will be drawn at the bus end of the connection (called a bus terminal). Busses will also be imported from Eagle designs (it converted them to drawing shapes before).

 

See the online PCBArtist help for more details, search for Bus.

 

Spice Output

There are two new options on the schematic Output menu. “Basic Spice Netlist” writes a description of the devices in the schematic using basic SPICE format. “Spice Simulation Output” writes a complete SPICE simulation file, configured to read into one of the supported SPICE simulators. (LTspice, B2 Spice, IsSpice or TINA).

The PCB Artist Schematics method for simulation is to use special values on components to indicate what SPICE device they represent, the SPICE model to use during the simulation, and how to output them to a SPICE netlist file.

A set of LTspice example files are installed, and two libraries containing components preloaded with the correct spice values, one for LTSpice and one for XSpice. The IsSpice and B2 Spice simulators support XSPICE.

See the online PCBArtist help for more details, search for Spice. Read the Simulation Overview first.

 

Submit Order Changes

          A new Warning can occur when ordering that will detect if there is silk screen on the bottom side and it is not activated in PCB Configuration.

 

The Email Order button is removed.

 

PCB Symbol Editor – Add Placement Origin

There is a new option on the Add menu to insert a “P” (placement origin) into the footprint. This is a new type of origin that can be used to define where the pick-and-place origin of the footprint is positioned. This is then available in the Reports output, as the “Place X” and “Place Y” fields to use in place of the existing Centre X/Y or Position X/Y. If you specify “PlaceX/Y” in the report and a footprint doesn’t have a placement origin, it will use “CentreX/Y” instead.

 

Reports – Schematic Only Components

You can now exclude these from reports by changing “Components to Include” from “All” to “Only items matching" and set "Schematic-only" to false.

 

Update Components – New Switch

There are now separate checkboxes for component values (the actual values and their text strings) and value positions (the visible instances of values). This means you can tell it to update existing or add new values when updating the component without disturbing where the value positions are displayed on the drawing.

 

Alignment of free text - Properties

You can now change free text to be left, centre or right justified.

 

Bug Fixes specifically for PCB Artist

 

 

Version 1.5.1

 

Maintenance Fixes and Bug Fixes

 

Version 1.5

Eagle Import

This is available for PCB and Schematic designs, and for each library type. Eagle ULP files are provided (in a sub-folder of the PCB Artist program folder) to use in the Eagle system to create ASCII intermediate files. These intermediate files can then be simply opened in the PCB Artist PCB or Schematics editors using File Open, or added to a new library using the ADD File button in the Library Manager. See the PCB Artist help file for more details.

 

Cross Probe

A new button on Edit toolbar (next to select mode button) is in place to put you into the Cross-Probe selection mode. This option also appears on the Edit menu. In this mode select a component, pin or connection in a design to have the same item selected in the corresponding PCB/Schematic design. Some options are available in the Preferences dialogs new Cross-Probe tab.

See PCB Artist help file for more details.

 

Library Manager - PCB Artist Library Transfer File

New “Export” button to create a single PCB Artist Library Transfer file (.palib) for a set of components and the symbols referenced by those components. You can import this file again using one of the following tree methods:

 

PCB File Open - now has PCB Artist Library Transfer File in list.

Library Manager Components page “Add File” option now has PCB Artist Library Transfer File in its Files of Type list to read this file in.

You can now drop a PCB Artist Library Transfer File on to the Components page of the Library Manager dialog.

These present the “Import To Library” dialog so that each of the saved 'elements' (Component, PCB Symbols and/or Schematic Symbols) in the Library Transfer File can be stored in the special local libraries for Downloaded library items. From there, you can select them and use the “Save Items To Library” option to copy them to your own library files.

 

Submit Order Changes

Set solder mask type to "None" if solder mask not required on either side.

 

More materials and capabilities have been set in the software. These appear in Settings>PCB Configuration.

 

Template files

In all installed PCB Template files I have changed the default rules measurement for drill hole to drill hole to .01” rather than the current default of 0.

 

 

Component Editor

Changing a terminal name does not automatically apply it to all gates now. Use “Apply to Other Gates” from the shortcut menu to do this.

 

You are now allowed to delete the last package in a component to make a schematic only component.

 

Technology Dialog

One can now scroll within Grids with mouse.

 

The “Apply To Column” is now on the shortcut menu for Net Class, Track Styles, Line Styles and Text Styles dialogs.

 

Add Track

Now says Auto Complete instead of Auto Route.

 

Projects

Pasting Design Items now gives “Paste Net” dialog if the net to paste already exists in other sheet in the project. The pasted net now receives the net class of the existing project net.

 

Adding a new net to a sheet will auto copy its net class from the same net in other sheet in a project.

 

Adding a new net class to a sheet will auto copy parameters from the same net class in other sheet in project.

 

Optimize Nets

The software will now put a zero length connection to a power plane when a pin is not connected. All zero length connections are now drawn as butterflies.

 

 

Various Bug fixes

 

 

Version 1.4

 

Expanded Measuring Tool

The Measure tool is now expanded with more features and capabilities.

 

Edit Component Values

The user can now edit the values of all components at once from Setting>Component Values from the main menu.

 

DXF Output

More layers can be specified for DXF export than where previously available.

 

Improved Bill Of Materials Report

From Output>Reports, reference designators are now consolidated in the same line item in the default report.

 

Report Commands

New switches to enable multiple component ref names on one line. The column switches are:

            Newline After Column

            Collate this Column

            Join Next Column

A Copy button has been added to copy columns, and you can add a column that is just a text string on all rows.

 

Description Value Position

You can now display the part description in a component value position. This can be done by adding a value position in the symbol, or on the component in a design.

 

Project View

On the context menu when selecting a schematic design, "Delete" has been renamed to "Remove From Project". New options added to "Rename" and "Duplicate”.

 

Change Component Previews

The Properties dialog in the component tab when the Change button is used, a dialog will appear and show previews of the schematic and pcb Symbols.

 

Add Component

New Interaction Preference for Add Component, "Esc returns to dialog". There is a new "Cancel Mode" option on context menu, to always exit rather than return to dialog.

 

Paste

Now has a "Cancel Move" option to place the pasted items at their original positions.

 

Component Edit - Values

Values is now also a tab on the Properties dialog. New switch "New Values are added to all other packages". New button "All Packages" to copy the value to all other packages.

 

Selection

New "Save Selected Items To Library" option on context menu when components selected in PCB or Schematic designs. Used to save a copy of the components and their symbols in the design to existing or new libraries.

 

Saving Library Items

You can select [New Library] from the library list and you will be prompted for the name of a new library that you want to save the component or symbol to.

 

Library Manager

"Copy To" now has "OK All" and "Cancel All" buttons when copying multiple items. New a "Move To" option to move components or symbols between libraries. New "Save To Lib" button on Components page. Used to display new "Save Selected Items To Library" dialog.

 

Rotate

Angles can now have 2 decimal places.

 

Grids

Control G - Grid Snap menu is now a true menu and has "Grids" option at bottom. The "Grids" option is now on context menu when something selected.

 

Libraries

New Library Parts Added to the default library.

 

 

Version 1.3.3

 

Custom User Reports

Output menu now has single "Reports" option instead of previous report options. The new reports dialog has all the old reports on it, plus the ability for the user to edit existing user reports and create their own reports. A new Dangling Tracks report has been added as well.

 

Orcad ECO From Netlist

New option when editing a PCB design on the File menu "ECO From Netlist" to import an OrCAD EDIF netlist and compare it with the PCB design, list the differences and allow the user to perform Forward Design Changes to bring the PCB design in-line with the netlist file. See online help for more details.

 

New Manufacturing Capabilities

A copper pour area can be added prior to the main copper pour area that serves as a keep out. Select that copper pour area, right-click and go to Properties and click on the Copper Pour Keep Out checkbox and OK to save the change and exist the dialog. Then add the copper pour area for the area to pour and pour it. The keep out area will prevent that area from pouring.

 

New Manufacturing Capabilities

Expanded Service Layer count increased to 28 layers. New capabilities will be added to PCB Configuration as they become available.

 

Minor Maintenance Fixes

 

 

Version 1.3.2

 

New Manufacturing Capabilities

Expanded Service Layer count increased to 14 layers. Minimum track width and space decreased to .004”. Minimum drill hole decreased to .006”.

 

Password Masking

The Submit Order dialog now masks the user passwords.

 

Minor Maintenance Fixes

 

 

Version 1.3.1

 

Minor Maintenance Fixes

 

 

Version 1.3

 

Compatibility

With V1.3 the design format has changed, but V1.2 files (or earlier) can still be read into it. But note that V1.3 files cannot be read into V1.2.

 

Covered Vias

This is a new option on the Layers page of the New PCB & PCB Configuration wizards. If checked, vias will not be included on the solder mask layer, which will mean they will be covered. This includes all via pads, which are yellow in color in the default color scheme. Pads that appear grey are not vias and will have mask relief.

 

Print Margin

Print Margin is a new "Plot Margin" option in the Printing section of the General Preferences dialog. Use to reduce the plot area on the paper to avoid hardware margins.

 

Translate To PCB

When translating to PCB from schematic, the Layers page of that wizard will now list the power and ground nets of the schematic in the drop down menu for creating automatically generated pure plane layers. Previously, only nets pre-defined in templates would be available in the drop down list.

 

Reducing Layer Count

In the New PCB Wizard or PCB Configuration, when the number of layers is reduced, the system will first look to eliminate layers that do not contain design items in them.

 

Preferences Dialog

Dialog was getting a bit big so it now has multiple tabs, one for each different preference section.

 

Properties - Shape Area

The Properties dialog will show values for total area of selected shape on the Properties dialog. There is an area listing both with and without taking into account line style thickness.

 

Styles Dialog - Copy Style As

An extra button on each of the Styles pages to add a new style based on the one currently selected in the grid.

 

Screen Grid

Primary and/or secondary screen grid can now be drawn as lines instead of dots using new check boxes next to grid colors.

Also, a new “Draw Grid First” checkbox is available to make grids be drawn before, instead of after, the design contents.

 

Report File Extensions

Added ability to output all reports to .TXT file extension instead of different drr, dcr, xyz, etc. extensions. The new checkbox is on the General page of Preferences dialog. If the box is checked it uses the design type and title of the report to form the report file name e.g “Design3 (PCB – Design Status Report).txt”

 

Change Net Color

A small dialog accessible from the right-click menu in schematics select mode.

Provides access to change net "own color" without having to use the properties dialog.

 

Drawing Highlights

Two new highlight check boxes and colors on PCB colors dialog:

Lowlight Fixed Items - Dims the color of pads and shapes of items that are fixed.

Un-plated Holes - Draws small diamond inside drill hole, only visible if "Draw Drill Holes" is enabled in colors dialog.

 

Preferences - Draw 'Empty' Values

This is a new check box on the Preferences dialogue in the Display tab. When checked, any value position that resolves to an empty string will be drawn as <?> instead. This small change is required because it is possible through Properties to end up with component values that have no text, e.g. by turning off all but 'Reference Name' on the "Text" tab and then also turning off "Name" on the component tab. Then there remain value positions you cannot see or pick, so they are using text styles but you cannot find them to change style.

 

Status Bar

Position of selected item now shown on status bar for: component, pad, text and via. These coordinates do NOT reflect System or Reference Origins. They are from the lowest left work area corner at all times.

 

Change Layer

Layer drop-down list now auto-numbers the electrical layers to make it easy to access them by key. So typing "4", will select the 4th electrical layer.

 

Add Track/Shape - Next Layer and Previous Layer

These are new commands for cycling through available layers. They are available from the right-click menu during interactive editing of shapes and tracks. Next Layer has the shortcut key <Shift> + <L>.

 

Add Track – Show Nearest Node On Net

This is a new PCB option on context menu when adding a track. Use it to show a line from the end of the track being added, to the nearest item on the same net.

The line is drawn in the highlight color. The option is also in the Interaction tab of the Preferences dialog.

 

Library Component Find

The Find dialog within the Library Manager and Add Component options has been extended to allow up to 4 component values (attributes) to be used for searching. Values can also now be compared using the same 'operators' as the Name (is, begins with, contains).

 

Default Track and Via Styles

There is now a new switch in the Interaction tab of the Preferences dialogue labeled "Don't use Track and Via Styles from the Net Class". Check this box to always use the "last used" style when interactively adding or editing tracks and vias.

 

Color for Moving Items

New check box in Display preferences labeled "Moving Items Use Sel Color".

Default setting is On, which retains existing behavior of drawing the selected moving item(s) in the selection color. When unchecked, dynamic selected items are instead drawn in their normal color. So when adding tracks, for example, you can see by the color which layer the current segment is on instead of just seeing it in the selected color.

 

Component Editor & Component Values - Copy & Paste Improvements

It is now possible to copy & paste data between the Component Editor grid and external applications such as spreadsheet applications. A single cell or a range of cells can be selected for copying or pasting. It is also possible to paste the same value into a range of cells. See the Help>Contents search for more details.

The Values dialog (from the Library Manager dialog, in the Component tab) has also been similarly modified to allow copy/paste to/from spreadsheets.

 

Component Edit - Apply Increment to Selected Cells

This new option is available on the context menu when an appropriate range of cells is selected cell for Component Pin Name/Number cells in the Component Editor. This can be used to name one cell and easily create an incremental sequence from it to each subsequently selected cell.

 

Styles - Pad Shapes

You can now define target and annulus pad shapes. Be aware that that an annulus (donut) looks very similar to a drilled pad. That shape should never be used for a drilled pad.

 

Colors Dialog - Value Positions

There is now a new column in the Layers & Layer Spans tab called "Value Positions". Use this to switch off component values in the design, values such as component name for example, and change their color. This previously shared the Symbol Text colors.

 

Pan and Zoom

You can now change the Pan and Zoom sensitivity and direction of movement using sliders and check boxes on the Display Preferences dialog.

 

Library Manager Dialog - Close on Edit

A new check box on Library Manager dialogue that allows user to choose whether or not the dialog should be closed after opening a library item for edit. If checked, the Library Manager will remain in the foreground and more parts can be selected and opened for editing. Then the Library Manager would be closed to edit those library symbols or components.

 

Library Manager - Report

The Component Library report now shows the name of the looked up symbol library rather than the 'Originating' symbol library. Meaning the name of the library from which the symbol will be loaded when the component is added to a design. When running the Component Library report there is an additional prompt asking “Show library folders for symbols”. If answered Yes, the report will show the full folder path for each looked up symbol library as well as its name.

 

Design Rule Check – Report

A new report that is available from the PCB Output menu. The report lists all error markers currently in the design.

 

Maintenance

This release contains many standard minor Maintenance fixes.

 

 

Version 1.2.4

 

Maintenance

This release contains many standard minor maintenance fixes.

 

 

Version 1.2.3

 

Projects

Projects allows for the creation of true multi-page schematics.

 

Netlist Import

EDIF formatted netlist files can now be imported to create a PCB.

 

Free Pad to Via

This option allows vias created as free pads to be converted to true vias. Via pads can use smaller pad sizes than Free Pads and Component Pads.

 

Maintenance

This release contains many standard minor Maintenance fixes.

 

 

Version 1.2.2

 

The Online Library

The online library adds the ability to search an online database of over 280,000 parts. The library is accessible from the Library Manager dialogue with the Download Online Library Components button in the upper right.

 

Maintenance

This release contains many standard minor Maintenance fixes.

 

 

Version 1.2.1

 

Maintenance

This release contains many standard minor Maintenance fixes.

 

 

Version 1.2

 

Library Structure Overhaul

The way in which libraries are stored, organized and managed has been significantly changed. Library items are no longer tied to a specific library and the library mechanism can use multiple lookup paths for locating library items. This means that multiple folders can be used for libraries, including combinations of local and network folders. The Library Manager’s Folders tab allows management of this functionality.

 

Common PCB Pads In Component Pin Mapping

You can now map one Schematic pin to multiple PCB pads, either to simply allow a net on a single pin in a schematic to be applied to multiple pins in a PCB, or to indicate that multiple PCB pads are internally connected together within the component.

 

Design Technology Dialog

Styles, nets and spacing dialogs on the Settings menu now share one easy to use tabbed Design Technology dialog.

 

Active Status Bar

In some interactive modes you can now double click on the status bar field to change its value, for example to change the layer of the selected item.

 

Shape Creation

Some new features to aid the creation of documentation and copper shapes.

Add Copper - There are now separate options for adding copper and documentation shapes.

New Shapes - You can directly add Square, Triangle and Single Line shapes.

Adding and Removing Corners - allows you to add a single corner to a selected segment, or remove all corners between multiple selected segments.

 

Item Editing and Positioning

Several new options have been added to help with item construction and positioning.

Delta Coordinates - Are shown on the status bar when adding shapes or moving items to show the offset from the previous corner or last position. These can be reset at any time to show an offset from a particular point. The specific commands from the right-click menu are Type Coordinate and Type Offset.

Type Coordinate - When moving or editing design items you can now type in the actual required position, or offset, rather than using the mouse to pick a position. You can also type the name of a component or pad to get its position. This can be used to type in a whole shape, track or netlist.

Arc Size - When editing circles, arcs or mitred corners you can now type the exact radius, diameter or angle required.

Restricted Movement - You can now restrict placing of items to just horizontal or vertical movement.

 

Save Symbol Settings To Library

Now saves the Grid, Units, Relative and System Origins with each Schematic or PCB symbol in the library.

 

Symbol Origin Improvements

When editing a symbol you can set the symbol origin to be over the selected item. Also, when editing a PCB or Schematic design, the origin of each symbol can be displayed using the Display dialog.

 

Rearrange Multiple Items

A new option to allow multiple components, pads or vias in a design to be arranged in rows.

 

Goto Bar

You can now find pads in PCB and Schematic designs by terminal name.

 

Opening Multiple Designs

You can now select multiple designs in the file open dialog.

 

Auto Pan Speed Setting

New user preference control to allow control of the speed of auto pan.

 

PCB Configuration

Can now specify which sides the autorouter can route on.

 

Maintenance

This release contains many standard minor Maintenance fixes.

 

 

Version 1.1.3

 

Maintenance

This release contains many standard minor Maintenance fixes.

 

 

Version 1.1.2

 

DXF Import

New option on File menu for PCB designs. This feature is intended to import DXF from mechanical software for creation of complex board outlines.

 

DXF Output

New option on Output menu for PCB designs. This feature is intended to export board outlines and holes to mechanical software.

 

Measure Tool

New option on Tools Menu for PCB and PCB Symbol designs, also on toolbars.

 

Plated Slots

Changes to support plated slots:

a) Add "Plated Slots" layer if "Plated Slots" checked in the PCB Configuration.

b) Remove the layer if unchecked (if can, if design does not contains symbols that use it)

c) This layer will be automatically available when editing PCB symbols.

d) "Change Pad Type" defaults to the slots layer when used on a pad in a PCB symbol.

 

Add SMD Pad

New option on add menu for PCB Symbols. Forces initial pad to not be through hole and to not use a style with a drill hole. Add Pad changed for PCB symbol to force through hole pad with a style using a drill hole.

 

Change Shape Type

Allow text using true type font to be changed into a shape. This would be used if the font was non standard.

 

Change Shape Type

Allow change track (that is not attached) to a shape.

 

Pad Style

Change dialog to use label "Hole Size" rather than just "Drill Hole".

 

PCB Configuration

Layers - Stop user from creating two planes with the same name (same net).

Service - Renamed from service to design requirement.

 

Change Pad

Changing a pad layer or style will give a warning if the result is a through hole pad with no drill, or a smd pad with a drill hole.

 

Units

Changing Unit type will now automatically set the correct Precision.

 

Maintenance

This release contains many standard minor Maintenance fixes.

 

 

Version 1.1.1

 

Pad Style

Change dialog to use label "Drill Hole" rather than just "Drill".

 

Open

Warn user if they try to open a security copy of the design. (The security copy is marked with a tilde (~) prefix in front of the filename.) Warn user if they try to open the fabrication copy of the design (.fab).

 

Change Shape Type

Allow pads to be changed into other shape types. This could be used to create shapes for slots on the documentation layer.

 

Submit Order

If user is editing the fabrication copy of the design (.fab) warn him, but allow the order.

The “Track Width Too Small” message now gives the location of the first offending track.

Added "How To Place Your Order" and "Ask A Question" buttons to dialog.

 

Library Manager

Added "Part Creation Tutorial" and "Ask A Question" buttons to dialogs.

 

Menu Bar

Added "Order Now" and "Ask A Question" buttons and the support telephone number.

Added the ability to change visibility of the menu bar and status bar using the right click menu on the application frame.

Created Tutorials sub-menu and included the "Part Creation Tutorial" to it.

 

Help Menu

Added a "Placing Your Order" sub-menu with links to the Standard and Custom order help notes.

 

Interaction

Rotating multiple component names now rotates them individually about their origins.

 

Maintenance

This release contains many standard minor Maintenance fixes.

 

 

Version 1.1

 

Check For Updates

Auto Update & Patch system installed.

 

Change Shape Type

This allows changing a shape to a board outline or a copper pour area and vice versa.

 

Changing Library and Technology Directories

User defined Library and Technology file folders.

 

Line Styles

Dotted and Dashed shape line styles.

 

Design Rule Checks

New DRC checks for Copper Text Outside Board and Mirrored Text.

 

Edit Component In Library and Edit Symbol In Library

Select component in PCB or SCM design and use these from shortcut menu.

 

Fix / Unfix

Previously available only for components. Now available on shortcut menu for pads, tracks and many items.

 

Schematic Component Bin

Multiple select in schematics component bin and drag all selected items into design.

 

Board Cutouts

Now board cutouts can be marked "plated" or "Not plated".

 

Component Reference Names

These can now be centre aligned.

 

Rotate By

A new option to take user defined value.

 

Schematic Display

Separate SCM colors for net names and component names.

 

Maintenance

This release contains many standard minor Maintenance fixes.

 

 

List Of Earlier Versions Than 1.1

 

Details of these version changes have been removed as they are far removed from the current feature set. Many websites still have these versions available for download.

 

1.0.17

1.0.16

1.0.15

1.0.14 – First General Release August, 2007

Versions earlier than 1.0.14 were available only for Beta testing.

 

 

 

More help is available From the PCB Artist Tips & Tools Page and via email at layouthelp@4pcb.com