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6188 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Aug 1, 2014 2:55 PM by iwane RSS
Currently Being Moderated

Jun 15, 2014 7:56 AM

Quick glance at Designer Schematic beta

Hello All,

I'd like to share some of things I noticed after a while spent with Designer Schematic.


1. Installation and activation


- Quite fast - on my (almost) ancient laptop it took about ten-fifteen seconds.

- No problems with online activation. Instant.


- Requested a reboot. It worked with no reboot, however. Nevertheless, it could have not requested to reboot the computer if possible.

- Installs to a default location. Almost like other Mentor products I met, but I'd like to have an opotion to choose the installation path.


2. Usage


- Interface familiar to people knowing other Mentor tools - based on DxDesigner. (Almost) the same, just less options.

- Windows can be moved anywhere - even out of the main application window.

- It's easy to start drawing.

- For people knowing older DxDesigners: one can draw a net from pin to a named net, not only from a named net to a pin.

- Add Array function makes placing connectors/multiple components easier.


- Defult window layout has a lot of windows opened. On a 1680x1050 monitor about 40% of horizontal and 30% of vertical space is used by helper windows. Two screen setup would be greatly advised - one screen for schematic, second for helper windows.

- There's no integrated Archiver function. As there is no Save option (Designer is an iCDB-based software, which means that the design is saved in a database) there is a need for an easy way to backup one's work on demand.

- Initial library of parts is small. However, PartQuest can mitigate this feeling.

- No way to search components by parameters.


3. PartQuest


- Vast library of parts available

- Easy to find components - same filters as in DigiKey online shop.

- Easy to add components to Designer's library.


- Only Dropbox available as a storage for created part files. (Suggestion: add other cloud storages - Google, Microsoft, OwnCloud...)

- No direct download available - have to use cloud storage as a temporary fileholder.

- Limited number of symbols - currently e.g. there's no symbol for an IC.

- Not descriptive part naming - downloaded files are named like "digikey-PARTNO.1", which make them appear as "digikey-PARTNO" in the Designer's library.


That's all I noticed during my short adventure with Designer Schematic. I'd like to add more, but as there's no layout function, it's of no use for me as a hobbyist (who'd like to have his layout done by himself...).

  • DaveBrady Novice 54 posts since
    May 5, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 15, 2014 2:05 PM (in response to iwane)
    Re: Quick glance at Designer Schematic beta



      Thank you for taking the time to evaluate Designer Schematic and providing feedback!!


      A couple of notes:

    • Parametric  Symbol search is supported for Designer Schematics Symbols, based on  your feedback I would hazard to say it's also "not obvious". 
      • The symbol keyword search operates across all properties (parametric values).
      • For parts that originate with PartQuest those properties include all of the component information supplied by Digi-Key. 
      • Designer_Parts_Parametric_seearch.PNG

      • Notice  that as you type in key words the search is run automatically... As you  add more search terms the number of results decreases
      • A "Matched" Column will appear to show you which property values the match was found in


    Designer Layout is coming. Our current focus is Designer Schematic (and the integration process with Digi-Key).


    We will be adding other cloud storage solutions. Google and Microsoft are on the short list.


    We  have gone back and forth on the "Archive" function. On one hand it is  easy enough to "zip" the project at the OS level and with some shell  scripts it's quite easy to create a a variety of solutions. On the other  hand our focus for Designer Schematic is "easy"... Honestly, the  information we are missing is "desired use cases". Is "archive" really  desired or is this a "Save As" need?


    Install Reboot: Which version of Windows are your running? (I did not see a request to reboot on my Win-7 installation)


    Multiple Windows: I wonder if we should set the  default window behavior to "auto hide"? I find that using auto-hide  maximizes screen real estate for my schematic and makes accessing the  other windows easy... and then I disable auto-hide when I am interacting  with specific windows frequently (like instantiating parts early in the  design creation process)

    • thomasinaz Novice 2 posts since
      Jun 17, 2013
      Currently Being Moderated
      Jun 18, 2014 10:33 PM (in response to DaveBrady)
      Quick glance at Designer Schematic beta

      I set the window behavior to auto-hide. Having that the default might be nice specially for those not familiar with the software. Another option if possible without a major rework would be to able to go full screen with the current schematic or layout page. Specially for those that might be working from a laptop or smaller screens. I'm currently using the beta on a large screen laptop because I move around a lot during the course of a day. Although it's usable that would be a welcomed feature. You can turn off the tool bars which helps but a full screen mode with floating toolbars would be ideal.

      • Jeremy Novice 82 posts since
        Mar 29, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Jun 19, 2014 9:51 AM (in response to thomasinaz)
        Quick glance at Designer Schematic beta

        I think the thought process here was to show the user what was available so they could get a fast view of capabilities.  Once the user was familiar they could then turn on the auto hide windows.  We are working on videos that will show some of these quick functions.  Unfortunatly some malware hit my laptop so the video has been slowed a bit. 

        I do like the full screen mode with the floating tool bars.  Those of us that work on laptops are at a disadvantage for screen real estate. 

        You can get really close by turning on auto hide and undocking the tools.  I know that every cm counts when you are working on a large circuit.

    • _Derek Novice 2 posts since
      Jun 30, 2014
      Currently Being Moderated
      Jun 30, 2014 7:18 PM (in response to DaveBrady)
      Quick glance at Designer Schematic beta

      I just installed myself and can confirm that on Windows 7 Professional Version 6.1 Build 7601, it says that "a reboot may be required".  As a result of  being accustomed to installers that warn when an open program will  result in a conflict during installation, I didn't bother closing the  other programs I had open, so if the versions are the same, that might  explain why I saw the message and you didn't.

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