Welcome to the CADSTARguys Blog - Information, hints, tips and my waffle on the CADSTAR Printed Circuit Board design suite.

Please note that all names used are completely fictitious and any thing written is my own personal opinion or knowledge and not related in any way to either my employers or their customers (or Zuken).
Also this is not a replacement for proper Maintenence/support and you should read the help files before asking anything techy:).

Friday, 12 September 2014

CADSTAR 15 is out - but will you like it's new ribbon interface?

This April saw the release of CADSTAR 15.0 with a major change to the Design Editors GUI - the toolbars have been replaced with a ribbon menu bar.

Those of you that favour the ability to use toolbars for single mouse click access to commands may, like me be disappointed with the new GUI, not wanting to upgrade because we like our toolbars and do not appreciate now having to click the mouse 3 times for what was previously a single selection.

I have heard several others tell me that they will not upgrade because they do not like it, that they want the old toolbars back.
Unfortunately there is not a legacy mode so there are no more toolbars.

Or are there?

Let's look at my V14 toolbar setup showing the commands that I regularly like to see.

My CADSTAR 14 toolbars
CADSTAR 14 toolbar setup - click to enlarge.
You can see from this that I have many toolbars enabled, and when in a design that the commands do not apply to the icon will simply grey out, this to me makes is so that they are not moving or changing position between different design types (scm/pcb etc) which can be confusing.

See how V14 is able to display icons for commands that I can select at a single click of the mouse, such as the snap commands in the bottom left - I can select individual snaps with a single click.

Compare this to what we have in V15 and you will think it is rather devoid of the ability to display single click icons.
CADSTAR 15 ribbon
CADSTAR 15 ribbon setup - click to enlarge.
In fact, so did I when I first started using it and I was convinced that the new GUI was a backwards step.
However I have to hold my hand up and say "I was wrong", the new ribbon shows the commands appropriate to whatever you are doing, for instance when making new drawing sheets this function is in the Hierarchy section - that's because that's what your doing - making a new sheet in the Hierarchy. (The function is also available elsewhere but many of us are more familier with the sheet/hand icon.)

Although, this still does not address the fact that many commands are now hidden away behind three clicks instead of one.

Not to worry, we can get our old toolbars back - in a similar way to V14.

Simply setup and use the "custom" toolbars, there are 5 of them and if you edit those and add the commands that you regularly used in previous versions then they will always be available when they can be used.

When doing this I reccomend starting 5 blank pages, 1 for a schematic, 1 a PCB, 1 a symbol, 1 a component and 1 a documentation symbol so that you can add commands to and enable toolbars in each mode.

One example of doing this would be the snap tools, the "All Snaps" toggle is the icon that is available on the Design tab, you need to select the bottom half of the icon to get to the other individual snaps.
So if I want to use just "snap to endpoint" I then need to select the Design tab, the snaps dropdown and then the "snap to endpoint" icon - this is opposed to simply selecting the "snap to endpoint" icon from the old toolbar.

When working on a design I would enable/disable individual snaps while creating shapes/placing components etc. For this reason I have simply taken a custom toolbar, moved it to the bottom of the screen and added ALL snap commands into it so  that it looks just like the previous versions snap toolbar.

Then I have added the commands from the post processing section (without the ones I never used) then the dimension commands etc. Eventually I end up with a single long toolbar that has all the commands on that I am used to. Renaming the toolbars to reflect their use/position and enabling them when in schematic, pcb, symbol, component,doc symbol means that no matter what I am doing I have quick access to common commands as I previously had.

This now means that the ribbon interace can be minimised (top right hand corner chevron) so I get my screen space back, used when I want a rarely used command and then it minimises itself again.

As for the new "Quick Access Toolbar" - try it yourself, add some commands to it when in a schematic then enable the QAT when in a PCB, a symbol, a component etc. It will be empty - they all need the QAT configuring from scratch individually so either do not bother with it or be prepared to spend a lot of time configuring that too.  There is a registry hack for the QAT but the less users play with that the better.

So eventually, the toolbars changing to a ribbon is not as bad as first thought, in fact I am quickly getting used to it.


Smelter said...

Well I have tried to set-up custom toolbars, but found a few problems.
If you create one for each mode i.e. Schematic, PCB etc. then you use up the 5 custom toolbars available. You can't rename the "Macros" 1-5 and try to use them as they won't accept anything but macros! If you use the link to the help page titled "Toolbars List" it gives you a link to "How to Add Custom Toolbars" but the page is actually "Customising Toolbars", so it looks like you can't get the toolbars back as individuals.
The Quick access Toolbar is configurable per mode so you effectively have one tied to a mode and the rest selectable per mode, but it is a shame you can't freely add icons to the default bars anywhere you want.

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