I guess I have been always doing it wrong way because I don't have to use Altium so often. Whenever I start a project I create a schematic library (*.schlib) and a PCB library (*pcblib). And then I copy the symbols and footprints from other projects if available, download the libraries from manufacturers and add those libraries to project, and if not available make my own symbols and footprints.

I don't know what is the best way to manage libraries, but what I would like to have is a central location where I keep all the symbols, footprints and models. And whenever I am working in a new project, I would just copy/import them to my project and create components from the symbols and footprints as required. Same symbols can be used for different footprints and same footprint can be used for different symbols. I don't want to import whole library of amplifiers that I downloaded, just to use one amplifier. I just went through some techdocs from Altium, and there are many ways to manage libraries: database library, database link, vault based, integrated libraries, component libraries... After reading few of them, I am still confused what would be the right way.

What would be the appropriate way to manage and use the libraries in Altium for me?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I use altium personal vault. It's free and it's a nice database that does all that. \$\endgroup\$
    – efox29
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 13:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ I thought you need to buy license for vault. \$\endgroup\$
    – zud
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 15:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ not for personal vault. Altium vault 2.0 you need a licence. \$\endgroup\$
    – efox29
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 16:03

1 Answer 1

  • Create a folder and name it "Altium Libraries" (or any other name you prefer). This folder will contain all your libraries.

  • Within that folder create several subfolders with names like:
    "Resistors" (for all resistors you will add to the resistors library),
    "Capacitors" (for all capacitors you will add to the capacitors library),
    "Atmel" (for all parts from Atmel you will add to the this library),
    "Samtec" (for all parts from Samtec you will add to the this library),

  • with Altium open and running, click on file tab (left bottom corner of work space, find "Blank Project (library Package)" and click on it. A new Library Project will be created.
  • in Projects tab (next to the Files tab you clicked before) right click on the new library project and add to the project a new PCB library and a new Schematic library.
  • save this project and its two added files in the "Resistors sub-folder" with proper names (such as Resistor.LibPkg, Resistors.SchLib, Resistors.PcbLib"
  • now add all Resistors Schematic symbols (each with its P/N as Design Item ID), Then Footprint with name such as "0402-0.4mm", "1206-1.2mm", ... and add to each symbol the correct footprint.
  • right click on "Resistors.LibPkg" within the Projects Area (left column of your screen) and compile it as integrated library. Don't forget to address compile errors and warnings.
  • Do these steps for all other libraries. You are going to have several compiled libraries
  • Now in your real design project, try to find "Libraries tab" and click on "Libraries..." button and install the integrated libraries (if you can't find this tab go to the View menu/Desktop Layout/Default.)
  • This way you always have your libraries for all projects. Whenever you have a new component, simply open the relevant library project, add the component and its footprint, and recompile.
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Don't you make separate libraries for each project, so that you can modify the components just for the particular project? \$\endgroup\$
    – zud
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 15:51
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Creating libraries for each and every project is another approach and another choice. This makes your project fully portable to other computers or over the networks/internet. If this portability is important for you I suggest to create a fixed central set of libraries as I explain in the main body of my answer, so it will grow and get richer over time as you do more projects. However for each project after it's completed and ready, do the following: \$\endgroup\$
    – Mohsen
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 18:16
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ - in schematic design environment, go to design menu and click on "Make Schematic Library". - in PCB design environment, go to design menu and click on "make PCB Library". these two operations will create a library out of your static libraries just with the parts used in your current project and will save as part of your project so it can be exported as stand alone, self sufficient package! \$\endgroup\$
    – Mohsen
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 18:21

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