Getting Started with PCB Design


This introductory tutorial is designed to give you an overview of how to create a
schematic, update the design information to a PCB document, route the PCB and
generate manufacturing output files. It also investigates the concept of projects and
integrated libraries and provides a summary of the 3D PCB environment.

Creating a New PCB Project

A project in Altium Designer consists of links to all documents and setups related to a design. A project file, eg. xxx.PrjPCB, is an ASCII text file that lists which documents are in the project and related output setups, eg.
for printing and CAM. Documents
that are not associated with a project are called ‘free documents’. Links to schematic sheets and a target output, eg. PCB,FPGA, embedded (VHDL) or library package, are added to a project.
Once the project is compiled, design verification, synchronization and comparison can take place.
Any changes to the original schematics or PCB, for example, are updated in the project when compiled.

The process of creating a new project is the same for all project types. We will use the PCB project as an example. We will
create the project file first and then create the blank schematic sheet to add the new empty project. Later in this tutorial we will
create a blank PCB and add it to the project as well.
To start the tutorial, create a new PCB project:
1. Select File » New » Project » PCB Project from the menus, or click on Blank
Project (PCB) in the New section of the Files panel. If this panel is not displayed,
select Files from the System button at the bottom right of the main design window.
Alternatively, you could select Printed Circuit Board Design in the Pick a Task
section of the Altium Designer Home Page (View » Home) and then click on New
Blank PCB Project.

2. The Projects panel displays. The new project file, PCB_Project1.PrjPCB, is
listed here with no documents added.

3. Rename the new project file (with a .PrjPCB extension) by selecting File » Save Project As. Navigate to a location where you would like to store the project on your hard disk, type the name Multivibrator.
PrjPCB in the File Name field and click on Save.

Next we will create a schematic to add to the empty project file. This schematic will be for an astable multivibrator circuit.

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