DxDesigner Navigator Tips

Are you aware of the power of the DxDesigner Navigator in EE7.9.4 or PADS 9.5?  As shipped the Navigator isn’t very exciting in appearance with the default display in the tree of symbol names and net names.  But it is useful for opening pages, zooming to a component, renaming nets and components or simply selecting a net and double clicking to zoom to fit.  Design information is lacking, because although nets are routinely named in schematics, component symbols are less often named because they already defined with reference designators.  In the example below the system name of $7I2316 for Reference Designator C2012 isn’t very descriptive to say the least.

But did you know the Navigator is user configurable to display the information you consider important in a design.  You aren’t restricted only to names, any property can be displayed in the navigator.  In Setup> Settings> Navigator it is easily possible to enter common properties using a dropdown list, or enter your own custom property by using the key $(propertyname).  Descriptive text and limited punctuation can also be entered to enhance readability.   In this case I’ve changed the default display for the symbol from $(Name) to $(Ref Designator) Desc-$(Description).  The info tip is also fully programmable to display additional information like the symbol name shown in parenthesis.

Notice how much more information is available for you to correctly view your design without having to run special reports.  In my enhanced Description fields, value, the type of component, and even the footprint is all readily observed.  And the Description field is just one option, the possibilities for customization are endless!  Experiment for yourself and optimize your environment by customizing your Navigator view in DxDesigner.  If your not running DxDesigner 7.9.4 on your own machine yet, try this out in the Virtual Lab!

Gary Lameris
Mentor Graphics, Technical Marketing Engineer
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Gary Lameris joined Mentor Graphics in 2008 as a Technical Marketing Engineer for the Mentor Expedition PCB flow.  Prior to Mentor Graphics, he has served on the DxDesigner and PADS Customer Advisory Boards, and is the founder and manager of the DxDesigner Yahoo forum. Throughout his career, Gary has served on the boards of a variety of associations, including; chairing the Associate Membership Committee for the National Conference on Weights and Measures, serving on the weighing subcommittee of the National Type Evaluation Technical Committees (NTETC), and acting as industry advisor to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). His experience includes 22 years as a Senior Design Engineer at Hobart Corporation and Program Manager at Simclar Inc., a contract assembler of printed circuit boards. Gary has a BSEE from Michigan Technological University.

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Posted November 21st, 2012, by

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3 comments on this post | ↓ Add Your Own

Commented on November 27, 2012 at 8:48 am
By Andrew Milburn

Will this change follow me from project to project, or do I have to set it up on a per-project basis?
If it follows where is it kept, so I can put it in our templates folder available for all our engineers?

Thanks for your help

Commented on November 27, 2012 at 11:39 am
By Gary Lameris

These settings are stored in DxDesigner.xml. DxDesigner.xml was designed to be flexible with user and group options following the wdir path so that a defined company setting could be created, but it could also be modified by the local user. Review the DxDesigner Reference manual for your PCB flow for more information.

Commented on November 29, 2012 at 1:28 am
By Leyuan Wang

Hi Gary,

i want to show the cell name of the symbol in the Navigator tree but the problem is the property contains underscore and/or space character. It seems DxD don’t allow this kind of character. For example I can set a Custom property Value but if I type in PKG_TYPE then nothing shown.



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