Altium Designer


Welcome to  

   wiki page at 

News : Altium Designer 24 is available !!


You are on the main EPFL portal for Altium Designer, Electronic CAD. This Wiki is opened to everybody at EPFL.

If you are new on this Wiki then thank you to attentively read all informations.

1.  Introduction 

Altium Designer is an electronic CAD offering schematic and routing functionalities and many more, all integrated on an unified interface. More informations on Altium Web site.

It's working only under Windows system. For MacOS it can be possible to use well either with Parallels Desktop or VmWare.

2. Support

More information at the end here.

3. Versions

The last version of Altium Designer is

and that is the only one that you can benefit of support at EPFL as far as you follow with the updates because this version is more frequently updated.

OLD Versions :

The previous version Altium Designer release 10 is still be supported but it is better to use the new one

Until end of October 2011 the old servers still manages the licences of old versions but without any support at all. If you would like continue to use one of these old version after 1st November 2011 then send to us a request and we will contact you :

4. Licenses

EPFL has negotiated with Altium Europe GmbH, an agreement for 2 kinds of licences :

Our licenses are for Academic Research or Training usage      but NOT COMMERCIAL !!!

From the contract between Altium and EPFL, section 4 : Usage Definition :

Understanding and definition of term ‘Licenses’ used:

Academic training

Usage of the licenses for students’ training and training projects with prototypes to gain experience in electronics and in the usage of the tool.

Academic research

Verifying of concepts and ideas and the check to demonstrate if these concepts and ideas could be physically realized. Of course with the right to generate prototypes for proof of feasibility.


Development of ready-to-market products with the intention to be directly sold or through external partners, subject to the terms of the Licenses.


Then you are not allowed to use academic licenses for commercial applications or to pass over the licenses.

The licenses acquired by the university as a result of this Agreement shall only be used by the University for the purposes of academic research and academic training.

Any transfer of the licenses to third parties, especially to commercial businesses, is prohibited.

The software has only to be used by EPFL staff or students.

If a research project will be sold, then EPFL has to inform that the research was done with academic licenses. For any possible further development of sold projects, the use of academic licenses is not allowed.

Altium offers to provide individual quotes for start up companies originating from this University. Pricing of which will be in line with the business expectations, development and expected yearly revenue of their business case.

Else ask if you intend to use the software for commercial use or in projects with industrial partners or concerned in technology transferts.

5. Registration

a) Who could use Altium ?

The  Academic  Research licenses can only be used by :

AND these licenses must NOT at all be used for the Academic Training cases as described below

The Academic Training licenses can only be used by :

Notes :

  1. The students can install and use Altium Designer on their personal computers and they must register as STUDENT..
    As the number of licenses is limited, students may also purchase a special student license directly at Altium (see this document).
  2. ONLY an authorized person responsible (in charge of IT or a collaborator) can install the software AND  he/she must configure the installation in order to use the Training licenses and NOT those of Research and a special CLASSROOM registration must be done, specifying the number and the hostname of PCs.

If these criteria are met then you have to register (see below).

If you do not need anymore a previous registered license (either because you must change the type of license or because you cannot yet claim to be able to use this license) then Inform to release the previous license and explain shortly the reason.

The duration is limited to the fact that you are not still eligible for a license.

The main goals of this registration are to engage your responsibility of what you are doing with the software (have a look on Licenses), to know who are using Altium Designer and how many licenses are needed. 

b) How to register ?

If you respect the criteria 4a here above then please select the rigth request :

You will not receive any answer if you forget to specify your sciper number, if you don't use your epfl mail address
OR if you don't send a correctly formatted email !!


  If these links below on the same column doesn't give you an email with subject and body already filled then use the links in the right columns    
          Request for RESEARCH registration (EPFL staff and Phd Student)  or  here if you can't obtain a preformated email
  Request for STUDENT
(Teaching registration as STUDENT)
or here if you can't obtain a preformated email
  Request for CLASSROOM PCs
(Teaching registration for classroom, semester or diploma projects' PCs
or here if you can't obtain a preformated email

After manual verification (it can take some days) you will receive a registration confirmation by email and you will obtain the access to the distribution folder for the software install.

6. Altium Designer installation

If you are already registered, you could continue on the dedicated Wiki ¹ :

Installation using Research licenses (EPFL staff and Phd Student)
Installation using Teaching licenses as STUDENT
Installation using Teaching licenses for CLASSROOM

Note 1 : Because Wiki rights' management it is possible that you must log out then log in again in the Wiki.

How to use a private server license - Client Access.

7. From where begin ?

Here you will find some useful links at Altium in order to start with Altium Designer 10.

First of all a good overview  of PCB design : From Idea to Manufacture

You can search too on the table of content from this Altium Designer Documentation on the left side.

Interaction with MCAD data : The Advantage of 3D in ECAD-MCAD Integration

Finally the central portal for Altium infos including video links : Exploring Altium Designer and direct access to all Altium videos : Training videos

And to conclude have a look on these excellent web sites :

8. Support

You could find a lot of informations directly at Altium : Documentation, videos, Webinars or White-papers.

There is actually not a big team for support at EPFL nevertheless If you need support for any reason or usage problem you can contact and explain your problem or request to support Altium at EPFL and depending of the recurrence they will be added in the FAQ.

There exist a mailing list of all Altium users at EPFL but you must pass by the moderator if you would like send a special request to everybody.

If you have very good knowledge of Altium Designer and you are interested to participate in the support, contact us

10 last useful tips in short video

Videos of about 1 minute introducing useful tips to save your valuable time !!

Just for your information, this section will be continuously updated without notice then have a look one by week or 2 weeks to be informed. Even "expert"  can learn useful thing in only 1 minute !

  1. Creating Custom Pad Shapes
  2. Using Board Cutouts in Components
  3. Downloading and Linking SPICE and PSPICE simulation models to your components
  4. Marking Documents with Identification Special Strings
  5. Optimizing Component Creation using Component Libraries
  6. Cursor Snap Tricks in Schematic and PCB
  7. How to make your own FPGA Port Plug-In Components
  8. How to rapidly customize the Altium Designer user interface
  9. Use Rooms to control Component Orientations for Manufacturability
  10. Using BoM Report Custom Autofilters

Find all tips here.


Based on the most reiterated questions and useful answers.

Nothing yet.



This section explains how to do many specific interesting tasks with Altium Designer (warranted for the last version)

  1. Easily order a pcb at ACI workshop
  2. Create a component footprint with an irregular pad shapes


Some infos

Altium Designer supports both STEP AP203 and STEP AP214 formats. Note that color information is lost with STEP AP203 format.

STEP file linking is available only in the PCB Editor. Linking from PCB Library Editor documents is not supported.

To determine correctly your tracks (width and clearence) function of many parameters (voltage, current, temperature, Cu thickness ...) : ANSI PCB trace width calculator or PCB Trace Width Calculator