I'm wondering is there any method to locate the components individually in 3D PCB board PDF file generated by Altium. I know there is an option called cross probe to check the components between schematics and PCB layout but that will be only limited to Altium users in which can be done by having project files.Considering who doesn't have Altium designer to access project files how can one view each component on the PCB layout within PDF or any other format?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Some PDF viewers let you search for text : can you search for the refdes? \$\endgroup\$
    – user16324
    Sep 9, 2016 at 9:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're right but that does only happen in schematics not on Layout or 3D view. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dee
    Sep 9, 2016 at 10:28
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ There is an option when generating the 3D PDF to list the components as the document structure / table of contents. When you select an entry, the related component will be highlighted in the 3D view. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rev
    Sep 9, 2016 at 10:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rev1.0 Really? Thats exactly what I'm trying to find. Thanks for the comment. I'll check and get back to you. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dee
    Sep 9, 2016 at 11:23
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @zdun8: It should look like this: youtu.be/rAv0riblgPw?t=35s I believe its also possible to hide individual components from the view by deselecting the checkboxes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rev
    Sep 10, 2016 at 8:59

2 Answers 2


The quickest way to find the specific components/nets on PDF format PCB layout is to use Altium's Smart PDF option from the File menu.

Once the Smart PDF option is selected then a sequence of prompt windows will appear in which one of them will be as shown in the fig below.

Altium Support for Global Bookmarks in Smart PDF

From the above pic there is an Additional Information options box in that a setting called Global Bookmarks for Components and Nets, which needs to be checked. And just above that there is Zoom options box in which you can adjust the zoom level setting ( Far and Close ) using the slider.

Thats how simple it is. And If you want to go bit advance like having it in 3D version of PDF, then you can check the decent tutorial from youtube video link in comments shared by @zdun8.

NB: This method has been tested and works perfectly in all recent versions of Adobe Reader. But can't confirm in any other PDF reader apps. So if any one has tested on other PDF readers you can add to the comments which will be helpful for others.

Have a good day :)


You can make an Assembly Drawing which will show where each component is without the need for having to look at 3D PCB and it's very useful for soldering. enter image description here

I think you can also use Altium Viewer and use shortcut in PCB.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the reply. Think I should try this Assembly Drawing. If I save it as PDF then is it possible to locate the component using PDF search field? \$\endgroup\$
    – Dee
    Sep 9, 2016 at 10:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes. What I do, I add 2 layers to each component where I place a .Designator and .Comment field, and I enable the special strings. Then you create two assembly outputs one for the Layers with components designators and one for the components comments. What you also have to do is to create a layer pair for each of those layer which will automatically add a separate layer which will work for the components on the bottom. In order to flip the layer in the PDF you have to mirror it. I hope this is clear enough. \$\endgroup\$
    – zdun8
    Sep 9, 2016 at 12:01

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