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Altium Designer 19 vs Altium Designer 18: What are the Differences in their Functionalities and Features?

Altium designer is one of the most popular PCB design software. This software comes with a lot of easy-to-use tools and advanced features that help you achieve an efficient PCB design.  Altium LLC keeps releasing new version of this software every year. This new version is usually equipped with more enhanced features than the previous versions. In this article, we will be discussing Altium designer 19 vs Altium designer 18.

What is Altium Designer 19?

Altium designer 19 has continued to offer new features and advancement to its core technologies, while providing solutions to several problems encountered by customers. These problems have been stated through the BugCrunch system  of the AltiumLive Community.

Altium designer 19 doesn’t only offer a wide range of new advanced features, but it also integrates a large number of advancements and fixes across the software as a whole. Therefore, this helps designers to keep creating cutting-edge electronics technology. Altium Designer 19 was built on the consistent reliability and functionality of previous versions. This version features modern designs that are easy-to-use and powerful.

Furthermore, users can have access to a connected and convenient design experience where everyone is in sync via seamless connectivity. This version leverages powerful EDA technologies with the main focus on improving the experiences of users. Also, there are new capabilities that model high-density interconnect structures. Therefore, this makes designers confident when producing quality high-density circuit boards.

Altium designer 19 is an advanced PCB design software applications which enables designers to create great designs. The improved PCB materials library helps users to create impedance profiles for manufacturing and routing. Furthermore, there is an optimized component panel in this Altium version. This version of Altium Designer is a great investment into cutting-edge designs.

Features of Altium Designer 19

Altium Designer 19
Altium Designer 19

The Altium designer 19 comes with a lot of advanced features and improved functionality which include:

Advanced interactive routing tools

The advanced interactive routing tools have many tools like glossing pushed routes, move component, and follow mode during interactive routing. The designer will need to make adjustments to the location of a component so as to make space for new routing. You can move a component with the routing-friendly move component.

The improvements on interactive routing include junction smoothing, loop removal, gloss control, and differential pair zip up. With the junction smoothing tool, you can carry out automatic corner reshaping to prevent acute angles.

Structural electronics design

One exciting advancement in Altium designer 19 is the capability to directly print the electronic circuit onto a substrate like a plastic molding that is part of the product. This capability is a great evolution in the design and manufacturing of electronic products. Printed electronics enables electronics to be fully integrated into new markets.  

This new release supports the design of printed electronics. With the integration of printed electronics, designers will no longer need the rigid fiberglass PCB substrate. Printed electronics allows the circuit to directly form as a part of the electronic product.

Components panel

The components panel was strictly developed to replace the previous Libraries panel. This tool offers direct access to all components, which include Managed Components that are on the connected managed content server. Also, the component panel comprises the related data for a chosen component.

Furthermore, the components panel has the new parametric search capability. This search capability enables users to easily locate the part needed from the component resources of your company. Also, this tool makes use of the basic search engine view applied in the Manufacturer Part search panel.



The ActiveBOM transitions the selection features of the supplier-centric component to manufacturer-centric component selection. Furthermore, the activeBOM offers support to auto MPN and user-defined ranking in the BOM items list. Therefore, this makes it much easier for a designer to monitor the order of the solution for every part.

Another benefit of the ActiveBOM is that it carries out real-time checks on items included in the BOM. The ActiveBOM can directly add BOM items in the BomDoc. This is a great feature for items not needed on the schematic. Also, this feature supports Supplier Links. The Supplier Links always include the supplier details and are added to the schematic components.

The ActiveBOM allows users to

  • Make changes to a component in the BOM, and then push that change back to the project through an ECO.
  • Rank the Part Choices
  • Carry out BOM Check validations from the OutputJob.
  • Integration to the new BOM Report Manager.

New part search panel

The new part search channels allow users to easily research, choose, and source the appropriate parts for a circuit board design. This new tool has replaced the Part Search panel. To provide the best component parts, the new part search panel integrates the data sources of the Altium Content vault and Altium Parts Provider.

The Manufacturer Part Search panel comprises a set of data for component parts, which includes associated models, part supplier links, and manufacturer parameters. The search engine of the panel provides users with an adaptive range of filters and a graded listing. This helps to easily discover the part needed.

New Features and Enhancements in Altium Designer 19

The new features and upgrades in Altium designer 19 can be summarized as follows:

  • Enhanced interactive routing tools
  • Faster multi-board design
  • Improved layer stack manager
  • Microvia support to house high densities of advanced component packages
  • Printed electronics support
  • Draftsman enhancements

What is Altium Designer 18?

Altium Designer 18

Altium has kept on focusing on the development of cutting-edge design features that meet the requirements of today’s design. The Altium designer 18 is a powerful and easy-to-use PCB design software. This version offers performance enhancements and key updates alongside advanced features. These advancements help in increasing design productivity.

Altium Designer 18 aims at providing solutions that help to increase the productivity of designers. With its easy-to-use and easy-to-learn modern tools, this software has everything it takes to help you achieve a wonderful PCB design. This version of Altium designer helps to simplify the overall design experience. Also, its modernized user interface helps to enhance user commonality. This makes this software version making more accessible and intuitive.

 Apart from its modern user interface, Altium designer 18 comes with an upgrade to 64-bit architecture combined with multi-threaded task optimizations. This helps users to design large, complex boards at high speeds. With this upgrade, engineers are fully equipped to work on even the most complex circuit board designs.

Altium designer 18 offers high performance optimizations and improved user control at every stage of the design process. This helps users enjoy a lovely experience throughout the design process.  Altium Designer 18 features huge structural improvements and as well has major updates to ActiveRoute®.

The ActiveRoute® is  a user-guided routing engine that allows pin-swapping and length tuning. This enables users to create high-quality routes. There is an ACTIVEBOM® editor which offers several enhancements such as a new BoM rule checker. The BoM rule checker enables designers to confirm every BoM line item.

Furthermore, users can design large, complex PCBs quickly before with the help of the real-time connection management feature and new multi-board assembly capability. This platform improves team collaboration and individual productivity.

What are the Key Features in Altium Designer 18?


Altium designer 18 comes with an upgraded architecture. Also, it offers a clean environment which ensures unmatched visualization of your design. This version has a new look that helps designers achieve a better design experience. It comes with a color scheme, new and better comprehensive panels, and managed content server. With this upgrade, you will have a more streamlined environment to work in.


This is one of the key features of Altium designer 18. If you don’t like to spend time searching for components, the ActiveBOM has got you covered. With this tool, component search is fully automated. Altium developed the ActiveBOM by acquiring the tools of companies like Octopart and Ciiva. The ActiveBOM enables users to specify target pricing at the item level. This helps you to track the difference between actual costing and these estimates.

Furthermore, ActiveBOM offers real-time data about prices and storage data. Also, this tool can help you refresh component lists that are already existing.


Altium designer 16.1 was the first version that included the draftsman module. However, Altium designer 18 improved the Draftsman production application. The enhancements include Region and Arc. There is now a Bookmarks panel which provides the best way to manage and navigate drawing documents.

Furthermore, the draftsman editor offers support to the PCB document Embedded Board Arrays. This enables the Draftsman document offer drawing information of boards positioned as a panel array.

Support for Multi-board Design

There are multiple PCB designs involved in the high-performance electronic product designs. These multiple PCB designs are usually interconnected to build the functional system. Multiple PCB designs include designs with a main board, complex active backplane system with plug-in cards.

Therefore, there is a need for a high level design system which enables the electrical and physical connection of multiple PCB designs while maintaining their Pin’s integrity. One of the greatest features of Altium Designer 18 is that it supports integrated system-level design. This software features a Multi-board Design environment that comes with both the physical (PCB) and logical aspects of the system design.

ActiveRoute enhancements

The ActiveRoute was present in the previous version. However, this feature is more enhanced in Altium Designer 18. This feature is simply an automated interactive routing technology that integrates multi-net routing algorithms. The ActiveRoute enhancements resulted in the introduction of automatic length tuning.

Also, ActiveRoute doesn’t need extensive setup to work with a whole circuit board. One good thing about the ActiveRoute tool is that it adheres to the restrictions and criteria defined according to the circuit board rules. You can search for the shortest set of route lengths with this tool. Also, users can now have access to pin swap settings when routing.

64 bits architecture

The improved performance of Altium designer 18 is the most significant upgrade. With a 64-bit architecture upgrade and multi-threaded task optimizations, users can design complex circuit boards at a fast speed. The routing tool releases the projects at a fast speed.

Altium Designer 19 vs Altium Designer 18

Altium PCB

Altium designer 19 offers more advanced features than Altium designer 18. The version 18 was a previous version before the introduction of version 19. While Altium designer 18 introduced a modern graphical user interface, a redesigned BOM management system, and a multiboard functionality, Altium designer 19 made improvement to these features.

The altium designer 19 is an upgraded version of version 18. This version improved on the powerful design technologies featured by Altium designer 18. These technologies made it easy to create very complex designs. What makes Altium designer 18 very unique is its underlying technology infrastructure and the host of features it offers.

Altium designer 18 offers users the advanced tools to help them increase their design productivity. A lot of features were improved in Altium designer 19. These features performed better and offered more benefits. In Altium designer 18, the ActiveBOM editor has several improvements which include a new BOM rule checker. The rule checker helps users verify every BOM line items.

Every update in Altium designer 19 reinforces an interconnected design environment, thereby offering users with a synchronized platform. The difference between Altium designer 19 vs Altium designer 18 is evident in the features they offer.

Altium designer 19 offers features like multi-board mates, optimized multi-board clearance and collision checks, advanced route glossing, glossed push and shove, and glossed corner routing. These features are not available in Altium 18. Therefore, we can say Altium 19 is an upgraded version of Altium designer 18.


Although these two versions may have their differences, they share some similarities. For instance, Altium designer 18 vs Altium designer 19 both feature optimized ActiveRoute, multi-board PCB design, 3D rigid-flex design, and ActiveRoute length tune.




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