Project Options - Multi-Channel

Parent page: WorkspaceManager Dialogs

The Multi-Channel tab of the Options for PCB Project dialog


This tab of the Options for PCB Project dialog enables you to define the channel naming scheme and component designator format for use with multi-channel designs. Multi-channel design is the ability to reference the same sub-sheet in the project multiple times. This can be done by placing multiple sheet symbols that reference the same sub-sheet, or by including the Repeat keyword in the designator of a Sheet Symbol to instantiate it multiple times.

CircuitStudio offers true multi-channel design, meaning that you can reference single sheets repeatedly in a project. Any changes that might need to be made can be applied in one place; recompiling the project then propagates those changes through each instantiation. CircuitStudio not only supports multiple channels, it also allows them to be nested.

The mapping from the single logical component on the schematic to the multiple physical instances on the PCB is controlled by the multi-channel designator scheme defined on this tab.


This is one of multiple tabs available when configuring the options for a project – accessed from within the Options for PCB Project dialog. This dialog is accessed by:

  • Clicking Project | Content | from the main menus in the Schematic Editor or the PCB Editor.
  • Right-clicking on the entry for the project itself in the Projects panel then choosing Project Options from the context menu.


Channel Naming

  • Channel Naming Style - use this field to specify the style that is to be used to name the channels. There are five styles available — two flat and three hierarchical (those including path):
    • Flat Numeric With Names
    • Flat Alpha With Names
    • Numeric Name Path
    • Alpha Name Path
    • Mixed Name Path
Hierarchical channel names are formed by concatenating all channelized sheet symbol designators (ChannelPrefix + ChannelIndex) in the relevant channel path hierarchy.
  • Level Separator for Paths - use this field to specify the required character/symbol for separating the path information when using the hierarchical naming styles (those styles that include the path). By default, the underscore character (_) will be used.
There is no restriction on the entry used for the level separator, although to retain visual clarity, it is advisable to keep it to a single, non-alphanumeric character.
  • Preview - as you make changes to the Channel Naming Style and/or Designator Format, the image in this region dynamically updates to reflect the naming convention that will appear in the design. The image gives an example of a 2 x 2 nested channel design. The larger cross-hatch regions represent the two upper level channels (or banks) and the shaded regions within represent the lower level channels (with two sample components shown in each).

Component Naming

  • Designator Format - use this field to specify the format used when assigning designators to the design components. The following eight predefined formats are available from the field's drop-down list, five flat and three that can be used in a hierarchical context (containing the channel naming):
    • $Component$ChannelAlpha
    • $Component_$ChannelPrefix$ChannelAlpha
    • $Component_$ChannelIndex
    • $Component_$ChannelPrefix$ChannelIndex
    • $ComponentPrefix_$ChannelIndex_$ComponentIndex
    • $Component_$ChannelName
    • $ChannelName_$Component
    • $ComponentPrefix_$ChannelName_$ComponentIndex
The flat designator formats name each component designator in a linear progression, starting from the first channel. The hierarchical formats include the channel name ($ChannelName) in the designator for a component. If the Channel Naming Style chosen is one of the two possible flat styles, then the style for the component designator will also be flat. However, if a hierarchical style has been chosen for channel naming, the component designator will also be hierarchical because the path information will be included in the format.
The Channel Naming Style is only relevant for component naming if the $ChannelName string is included in the Designator Format.

Defining Your Own Designator Format

You can also define your own component designator format by typing directly into the Designator Format field. The following keywords can be used when constructing the format string:

  • $ChannelName - this is the name of the associated channel as determined by the style chosen in the Channel Naming Style field.
  • $Component - this is the component logical designator.
  • $ComponentPrefix - this is the component logical designator prefix (e.g., U for U1).
  • $ComponentIndex - this is the component logical designator index (e.g., 1 for U1).
  • $ChannelPrefix - this is the logical sheet symbol designator.
  • $ChannelIndex - this is the channel index.
  • $ChannelAlpha - this is the channel index expressed as a character.


  1. The alpha indexing for a channel is only really useful if your design contains less than 26 channels in total or if you are using a designator format that is hierarchical in nature.
  2. You must recompile your project in order for any changes made to channel and/or component designator formats to take effect.
  3. When a multi-channel design is compiled, tabs are displayed along the bottom of the schematic sheet in the design window, one for each channel (or bank). The tab names are the sheet symbol names plus the channel number, e.g., BANKA. These are the compiled views (physical views) of the design, while the logical design remains as before on the Editor tab.


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