Have you used AXL-SKILL to create custom menus for frequently-used design tasks? That saves you a lot of time and frees you from remembering command names or from typing them every time. An even better way, in my opinion, is to quickly access those custom commands through toolbar icons. It saves quite a few clicks and lets you run the command right away. The toolbar icons give you single-click access to any command without navigating through the menu options. Well, if you work with Allegro® layout editors – Allegro® PCB Editor or Allegro® Package Designer Plus, you can assign icons to your custom commands as well. This post gives you an overview of associating icons to custom SKILL menus in Allegro Layout Editors.
The first step is to set up the path of the icon library in the layout editor for assigning icons to the commands.
Allegro layout editors support external libraries of icons files. You can map these image libraries through the iconpath environment variable and use the variable when assigning or changing toolbar icons to new or default commands. Set this variable under the Paths – Library category in User Preferences Editor.
You can choose any of these file formats for the icon files: .bmp, .png, .jpg, or .jpeg. A library of icons files (.bmp) is also shipped as a part of your installation and is located at <installation_directory>/share/pcb/text/icons.
There is no restriction to the number of libraries you can map. Map as many as you need.
You must first add the custom menus to the layout editors’ environment. Once the custom menus are available along with the standard menu options, do the following to create custom toolbar icons:
1. Choose View – Customize Toolbar to open the Customize dialog.
2. In the Toolbars tab, click the New button and specify a name for the custom toolbar.
The toolbar is added at the end of the list of toolbars.
3. Open the Commands tab, look for the toolbar you have just created, and click Add Commands.
4. In the Add Command dialog that opens, choose the commands that are associated with custom SKILL menus and click Add Commands.
5. To assign icons to SKILL commands, select any of the commands and click Change Icon.
6. Choose the icon you want to associate to the command from the icons directory that is already mapped to the iconpath environment variable.
As soon as you assign the icon file, it is added to the toolbar you created and becomes visible in the layout editor.
To see these steps in action, you can watch a video here.
For any reason, if you want to remove the icon and use the default icons, select the command and use the Reset Icon button in the Customize dialog. You can also stop displaying a custom toolbar by disabling the checkbox in the Customize dialog.
Adding icons not only helps you quickly locate your custom commands but also lets you be consistent with your organization or personal branding.
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