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The Team RF "μWaveRiders" blog series is a showcase for Cadence AWR RF products. Monthly topics will vary between Cadence AWR Design Environment release highlights, feature videos, Cadence Academic Network news (including the former AWR University Program), as well as software tips, tricks, customization, and feature spotlights.
The AWR Design Environment platform provides RF/microwave engineers with integrated high-frequency circuit (Microwave Office), system (Visual System Simulator), and EM (AXIEM 3D planar/Analyst 3D FEM) simulation technologies and design automation to develop physically realizable electronics ready for manufacturing.
Did you know you can try AWR software products today for free at Try AWR? See for yourself how easy and effective it is to streamline your design process, improve end-product performance, and accelerate time to market for MMICs, RFICs, RF PCBs, microwave modules, antennas, communications systems, radar systems, and more.
The third in the series of AWR Design Environment Tips and Tricks, this blog highlights customization of the AWR Design Environment workspace to speed design creation and optimize use of AWR software.
The AWR Design Environment is highly customizable. Common customizations include changing the workspace appearance by docking windows, moving toolbars, and changing colors; and creating custom menus, toolbars, and hotkeys. Advanced customization (planned for a future blog) can include using scripting to automate repetitive tasks, creating custom parts libraries, custom symbols for subcircuits, and adding custom models and parameterized layout cells.
You can personalize your AWR work environment by customizing object colors, fonts, mouse actions, and more in the Environment Options dialog. Choose Options > Environment Options to open this dialog with its various tabs.
To control the visual appearance and display of the AWR Design Environment interface, its tabbed workspace, and docked windows, choose Tools > Options to open the Design Environment Options dialog.
Project, Elements, Layout, and Status windows can be docked (displayed as tabs along the main window frame) or floating (fully displayed within the workspace). While docked, you can place these windows in auto-hide mode by clicking the "push pin" icon (Auto Hide toggle) in the upper right corner of the window. Auto-hidden windows disappear from view (and resume as tabs) shortly after you click elsewhere on the screen. To display a hidden window, click on or hover the mouse cursor over that window's tab. By clicking the header of an unhidden window and dragging the window, you can dock the window on any edge of the main window, or float it.
A floating a window can move anywhere on your screen—it doesn't have to remain inside the AWR Design Environment window. Double-clicking on the title bar re-docks the window. You can also right-click on the title bar to display options for sizing and placement of the floating window.
To close any window, click the "x" (Close) icon in the upper right corner of the window. To reopen a closed window, choose View and then the window option.
You can float or dock toolbars, too. To re-dock a floating toolbar, double-click the toolbar title bar.
To dock a toolbar in other than its default (top of the workspace) location, click on the dotted gripper that displays at the left side of the toolbar and drag the toolbar to another edge of the main window until it aligns with the frame, and then release the mouse button to anchor it.
The AWR Design Environment supports creation of custom toolbars and menus. Customizing these commonly used objects personalizes the design environment, tailoring it for the most intuitive and efficient use for individual users.
Choose Tools > Customize to access the Menus and Toolbars tabs for customizing existing toolbars and menus (these are not globally applied), and the Commands tab to access groups of categorized commands, elements, libraries, and macros that you can drag to menus or toolbars to customize their content.
On the corresponding tab, select the menu or toolbar you want to customize. For menus, the menu set displayed in the AWR workspace changes according to your selection. Right-click any menu name for a list of customization options. For toolbars, right-click on any button in the selected toolbar for a list of customization options. A Reset option for both allows you to undo all changes and reset the menu or toolbar to its default options.
On the Toolbars tab, click New and type a new toolbar name. The new toolbar name displays at the bottom of the toolbar list in the dialog, and an empty toolbar displays in the main window. On the Customize dialog Command tab, under Categories, select the desired category and then the command you want to add as a button. Drag the button to the new toolbar (or add it to an existing toolbar). Right-click the new button to make any changes, then click the Close button to save the toolbar.
Split buttons combine a single command with an arrow that you can click to access other similar commands in a drop-down menu format. A split button saves space on the toolbar, while remembering and displaying the last command you used from the group.
To create a split button, choose Tools > Customize. In the Customize dialog, click the Commands tab and then select Menus in the list of Categories. Select Split Button under Commands and then drag and drop this item on the desired toolbar, then right-click and rename it. Click the new button to display a blank drop-down menu, and then drag and drop Commands from any of the Categories onto this menu to add them to the group.
On the Commands tab, under Categories, select New Menu, and then under Commands, drag New Menu to the menu bar at the top of the main window and drop it. Right-click the new menu to name it, then press Enter. On the Commands tab, choose commands from one or more Categories and drag them to the new menu, and then click the Close button to save the menu.
To add a command to an existing menu set, on the Commands tab, select the command category under Categories, then click on the desired command in the associated Commands list. Drag the command directly to the menu bar, or hold the mouse over a menu name while dragging to display that menu and add the command as an option.
The AWR Design Environment ships with many default hotkeys for common commands such as Copy (Ctrl + C), Paste (Ctrl + V), and Analyze (F8), but you can easily define new hotkeys or re-map existing hotkeys using customization. Menu command shortcuts always override hotkey assignments.
Choose Tools > Hotkeys to add your own custom hotkeys.
Select a category in Categories to display the associated commands. Select a command and then type the desired hotkey or key combination at the top of the Hotkeys tab. Apply the hotkey(s) to an editor in the drop-down list or choose Standard to apply the hotkey universally, and then click Assign. You can change a default hotkey assignment by selecting it in the Current keys list and typing an alternate hotkey, and you can remove an assignment from this list by selecting it and clicking Remove. To reset a command to its default hotkey, select it and click Reset.
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