DipTrace Forum

DerekG Altium conversion tips
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Author:  Exality [ 03 Oct 2017, 11:19 ]
Post subject:  DerekG Altium conversion tips

Here is a PM exchange I recently had with @DerekG about Altium conversion. @will has asked me to post it here:

Hi Gerrit,

Thanks for your email.

I use the DipTrace to Altium schematic export regularly, but not the other way around. The main reason for doing this is that some of the contract work I do demands final files to be in Altium. Schematic back & forth should be pretty seamless as there is not much to them. PCB back & forth is much more complex with lots more to go wrong.

I have set up many of the hot keys in DipTrace to replicate those in Altium. This makes things much easier.

Having said that, I regularly must use Altium, DipTrace & Proteus - which keeps my brain pretty active.

I must spend some more time looking at partial component rotation in DipTrace ie 5 degrees, 7.5 degrees etc. The only way I've been able to easily do it is to make a component in the library with the required rotation & then use that in the pcb design. Altium has this down pat - very easy by just highlighting the component, selecting rotate then entering in the number of degrees to rotate.

But DipTrace is just so logical & quick to do almost everything. As you say, component footprint generation is probably the biggest pain, just as it is with most cad programs. Remember, you can "make the footprint" in your pcb design layout, then group it, then save it to your selected library. This saves a bit of time.

Best regards,


Sent: 01 Oct 2017, 12:42
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Message subject: Re: Altium / DipTrace ConversionsFolder: Sent messages
Hi Derek,

Thanks for the quick reply and the link to the SamacSys component downloader. DipTrace already has a nice set of components and footprints, but you can never have enough it seems. ;)

It's good to hear that PCB conversion goes relatively smoothly. Have you tried schematics? I have a large number of Altium projects, and it would be nice to be able to convert them to DipTrace for the next board rev, for example. I can always just keep them in Altium and use DipTrace for new designs, but it's hard on my brain to go back and forth between CAD systems.


Sent: 01 Oct 2017, 10:11
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Message subject: Re: Altium / DipTrace ConversionsFolder: Inbox
Hi Gerrit,

Thanks for your message.

I have not tried exporting component libraries, however I have (& do) export finished pcb files back & forth via the PCAD ASCII export/import filters.

The only non-exact outcome I have is when doing this:

DipTrace export to PCAD then PCAD import into Altium - the overlay text positioning gets a bit screwed up (ie the text gets moved about on the layer).

That is the only problem I have had.

The latest Altium version I have is ver 14.3

I suspect the export filters are not designed for full component libraries, only schematic & pcb files.

Also, take a look at:


Lots of parts here that you can search for & download directly into either your Altium or DipTrace libraries.

I hope this helps.

Best regards,


Sent: 30 Sep 2017, 21:16
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Message subject: Altium / DipTrace ConversionsFolder: Sent messages
Hi Derek,

I got your username from TomG. I'm evaluating DipTrace as a less bloated and expensive alternative to Altium, which I've used since it was Protel. Tom tells me you've done conversions between the two and might be able to shed some light on the process.

I'm not sure you can help with my first hurdle though. I have Altium 15.0.14, and when I try to export a component library in PCAD V16 format (which DipTrace says it likes) Altium throws a memory access fault. It seems like it's a bug in my version of Altium. I've tried paring my component library down to even only one component, and it still won't export.

Did you have this problem? Do you know of a workaround?

Many thanks,
Gerrit Barrere (username Exality)

Author:  Tomg [ 03 Oct 2017, 15:37 ]
Post subject:  Re: DerekG Altium conversion tips

Thanks for posting this, Gerrit. As a side note for anyone not familiar with the Diptrace rotation feature in the PCB Layout editor, it's pretty straightforward. There are two methods...
1) Right-click on the component (not its pads), select Define Angle in the pop-up menu, choose Custom... in the fly-out menu, enter the desired angle in the Rotation Angle dialog window and click on OK.
- or -
2) Double-click on the component (not its pads), enter the desired value for Angle: in the lower-left side of Component Properties dialog window and click on OK (see illustration).

It is also possible to group-rotate a set of components (rotate as a single, unified object)...
1) Group all of the desired components together (standard grouping - not grouping into a component) by selecting/highlighting them and executing the standard group command (Ctrl + G).
2) Right-click on the newly-formed group (any of its components, not a pad), choose Define Angle in the pop-up menu, select Custom... in the fly-out menu, enter the desired angle in the Rotation Angle dialog window and click on OK.
3) If needed, ungroup the still-selected group of components (Ctrl + Alt + G).

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