In Altium Designer standard libraries, parameters PackageReference and PackageDescription are same as Footprint Name and Footprint Description.

I'm also going to have those fields in my new components, I wonder if the above is plain copy or those fields are referencing to each other? Feels redundant to manually copy that two pieces of information.

Can I just create footprint, name it, set description and then somehow reference that information in PackageReference and PackageDescription parameters?

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    \$\begingroup\$ IMO, the choice of metadata used in the Altium-supplied libraries is crap. Figure out what metadata you need for your manufacturing/documentation process and use that. Don't worry about what Altium put in their libraries. \$\endgroup\$ – The Photon Mar 1 '13 at 17:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ I just mean the way of referencing data from pcb footprint to component parameter. This can be any parameter. Not sure if Altium manually copied same data to both places. \$\endgroup\$ – Pablo Mar 1 '13 at 17:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I haven't done it any other way than manually copying. But I know there is a scripting interface available, which is probably your best solution. Pinging @dext0rb ... Probably better to discuss this in chat if dex is available. \$\endgroup\$ – The Photon Mar 1 '13 at 17:27

Use a database

Best practice is to manage all of this information outside Altium using its database integration sub-system.

You can link symbols and footprints via a table rather than trying to manage this information inside of a symbol (which is the wrong layer of abstraction) or in a library of symbols (grouping becomes arbitrary and difficult to manage as the library size grows).

Doing it this way means that you never have to mess with internal attributes and double-entry of data.

My approach

I use CircuitHub for library management. It's free and it's trying to be a Wikipedia of parts.

It plugs into Altium (and other tools) and provides linked symbols and footprints via a local database that is sync'd from the web (so you can use it offline).

You can add/edit/manage parts on the website and it automatically (via Dropbox) syncs those changes to your computer where you can use them in Altium (or any other supported tool).

Here is how you setup CircuitHub to work in Altium.

Here are the basics of component management in CircuitHub.


I helped create CircuitHub, because I got tired of dealing with these kinds of problems in library management.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Amazing. Had no clue about CircuitHub...until today. \$\endgroup\$ – efox29 Mar 2 '13 at 6:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ As of 2014, CircuitHub went under new management and no longer provides this library service. Instead they now provide quickturn PCBA direct from Altium (and other CAD) format files. \$\endgroup\$ – DrFriedParts Jul 8 '17 at 14:26

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