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You can customize your Allegro® PCB Editor design environment to work around repetitive design tasks using aliases and shortcut keys. These are the shorthand of commands or keys that trigger a tool command or a sequence of commands, which would otherwise take longer when performed following the standard workflow. Shortcut keys help streamline your design process and make it significantly quicker.
This blog demonstrates how to define and use aliases and shortcut keys in Allegro PCB Editor. These shortcut keys, or function keys as they are called in Allegro PCB Editor, are essentially short-form keyboard sequences for frequently-used commands that help you run the commands quickly, without having to navigate through the menus or type the complete commands. You can use alphanumeric characters or a combination of keys as shortcut keys. What’s more, is that you can define a single shortcut key for a sequence of actions.
Aliases and shortcut keys provide an alternative way of running commands and functions. You type alias in the Command window and press the Enter key to run the corresponding command. To operate a shortcut key, however, you simply press the defined shortcut key while working in the design canvas.
Allegro PCB Editor comes with a set of pre-defined aliases and shortcut keys. You can access the list of these shortcut keys by typing alias or funckey in the Command window.
The aliases and shortcut keys are displayed in a new window.
You can redefine aliases and shortcut keys to match your preferences. To use a command using an alias, perform the following steps:
Syntax: alias <alias> <command to run>
Example: alias al add line
Syntax: alias <alias> “<command1; command2>”
Example: alias l15 “add line; setwindow form.mini; FORM mini line_width 15.0”
Now, when you run the alias al and press the Enter key in the Command window, notice that the add line command is running in the Current Active Command display at the bottom-left corner of the Allegro PCB Editor window.
Similarly, you can edit the shortcut key definitions as well. For example, to run the Add Via shortcut menu command using a shortcut key, perform the following steps:
Syntax: funckey <user-defined key or name> <command to run>
Example: funckey m add line
Before using a shortcut key to run the command, ensure that the cursor is not active in the Command window.
Syntax: funckey <user-defined key or name> “<command1; command2>”
Example: funckey p "add connect; setwindow form.mini; FORM mini acon_line_width 5; setwindow pcb"
After setting the shown shortcut key, when you press p on the keyboard, a cline gets routed, and its width is set to 5.
Aliases and shortcut keys redefined using the steps shown here are active only for the current work session, and any changes you make to the alias and shortcut key definitions are lost when you exit Allegro PCB Editor. For those keys to be persistent in subsequent sessions of Allegro PCB Editor, define the alias and shortcut key settings in your local environment (.env) file.
Also, it is important to remember that aliases and shortcut keys are case-sensitive. For example, you can define the following commands as separate valid shortcut keys at the same time:
Aliases and shortcut keys provide shortcuts to frequently used actions, offering a user-friendly and customizable way to fast-track your design processes and maximize productivity.
To learn in detail about User Preferences, watch Creating Aliases, Function Keys and, Hot Keys within the Allegro PCB Editor - v17.4-2019 (Video) training byte on the Cadence Support portal. Click the training byte link now or visit Cadence Support and search for this training byte under Video Library.
If you find the post useful and want to delve deeper into training details, enroll in the following online training course for lab instructions and a downloadable design: Allegro PCB Editor Basic Techniques v17.4-2019QIR2 (Online) You can become Cadence Certified once you complete the course.
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