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I'm pretty new to Altium, have years of experience with Orcad. At the moment I'm in the process of filling a PCB library. Among them there are no-BOM footprints like test points, mounting holes and breadboard snippets. These are copper-only components. And I really don't need designator labels for them on the silkscreen. (For the test points I only want the comment field). I tried a lot but found no way to create a footprint without a designator label. Is it possible? Having to remove them manually each time is annoying.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You can not have parts w/o a designator at all, but you can hide the designator easily so it's not visible on your layout. In PCB edit, click on the component. It'll bring up the parameters screen. In this window, find the area dealing with the designator and click "hide". Or right-click on the designator directly and find the same setting. There are functions to do this 'en-mass' (alot at the same time) if you have a bunch of them. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kyle B
    Feb 12 at 16:47
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I don't think there is such a function to always hide the designator on an individual footprint basis, but rather than deleting it, change the visibility:

enter image description here

Or select the component, right-click E, D

Use "find similar objects" to select groups if you have a lot of them, then you can untick the box.

enter image description here

Your choice should be preserved through iterative updates from schematic so it's not a big deal to do it once. Most likely you'd be fiddling with each designator manually to position it anyway, hiding it is less work.

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While you can hide the designator on a per-part basis in a schematic parts library, this doesn't translate over to having the designator hidden in the footprint, and unfortunately it doesn't seem like there's a way to define this on a per-footprint basis in a PCB library either. Altium automatically creates the designator when you place it in the PCB editor and there's no way to disable that behaviour.

One option you do have, however, is to change the default styling for all footprints placed. In your preferences, go to PCB Editor / Defaults, and select Designator. You can change the default style of the designator here.

Altium designator settings

While you can't hide it completely, you could move the default designator layer to one of the mechanical layers and just hide that layer while you're doing PCB layout. This allows you to see the designators for all parts when you reveal that layer, so you can quickly spot which component is which, without actually placing any designators on your board. You can change the layer and style of designators manually later if you want some designators on your silkscreen.

If you've got the Primitives dropdown set to all, this setting will apply to everything you place on the PCB, including non-component objects that have designators. If you change the dropdown to Component, you can apply the default style change to just components.

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