Design Secrets / How to Unlink a PCB Project in Altium 365
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Design Secrets

How to Unlink a PCB Project in Altium 365

Written by Zachariah Peterson

Your design data is like a treasure trove that can reveal your organization’s competitive advantage and protect it. The managed sharing features you’ll find on the cloud are essential, but what if you need to reclaim a project and remove it from the cloud? While you could go through a process of manually downloading a project from version control, replicating the file structure, and deleting the online version, there is a more straightforward way to do this, which gives you greater flexibility.

By controlling your project settings in Altium Designer, you can quickly unlink a project from your Altium 365 Workspace and keep its contents in your local machine. Whether you want to continue storing the project in your Altium 365 Workspace is your choice; you can still grab design data from your repository as you need it or simply delete it from your Workspace. Here’s how you can control access to your Altium 365 data through the built-in features in Altium Designer.

Unlink a Project from Altium 365

To get started with unlinking a project from Altium 365, you first need to open the project in Altium Designer. After you connect to your Workspace and open the project, the files will import into one of two places, depending on who created the project. You can find your project files in one of the following locations:

  • The original project location on your local machine. If you created the project, the design files download back to that original location.
  • The default Projects folder you’ve set up for Altium Designer. If someone else created the project, the project files (including folder structure) are imported into the default Projects folder on your local machine.

If you’re ever unsure of the project file’s location, simply right click on the .PcbPrj file in the Projects panel and click Explore to display the design data’s path on your local computer. You can then select these files and copy them somewhere else on your machine: you now have copies of the design data. Once you’ve gathered the design data into a safe location, you can then unlink the project from your Altium 365 Workspace.

Time to Unlink

With the project still open in Altium Designer, simply right click on the .PcbPrj file in the Projects panel and click Project Options. A dialog displays, as shown below. From here, you can click Turn Off Synchronization. A verification dialog will come up, which will unlink the project from your Altium 365 Workspace.

Altium Designer project unlink
Verification dialog confirming project unlinking in Altium Designer.

Once you confirm the unlink operation, right-click on your .PcbPrj file in the Projects panel and click Save. By performing the “unlink” operation, we’ve created a local copy of the project, which can then be opened directly from your local machine just like any other project. The project will now appear as a local project in the Projects panel.

Although you’ve unlinked a project from your Altium 365 Workspace, what you’ve done is you’ve removed it from online version control. The version control for the project will shift back to version control on your local machine. If you want to delete your project altogether, you need to go a step further.

Unlink vs. Delete

Note that simply unlinking a project is not the same thing as deleting a project. If you want to delete a project so that no one can access it, you need to go a step further and completely delete your data. If you’re using the Altium 365 platform, simply bring up the web instance and navigate to the projects folder. In the image below, you’ll notice that the project we want to unlink is still visible in the main Projects folder.

Unlink a project in Altium 365 and Altium Designer
Even though we’ve unlinked the project, it’s still present in your Altium 365 Workspace

The image above shows how to remove a project from your Altium 365 Workspace through the web interface. You can do the same through the Explorer Panel in Altium Designer. To remove the project from your Workspace entirely, right-click on the project and click Remove. Once the project is removed, it will be inaccessible to anyone (including you!).

An alternative is merely leaving the project in your Workspace, but removing access to the project for everyone else. Removing access can be problematic depending on role permissions for people in your Workspace; read this article for a longer discussion of user access control in Altium Concord Pro, which also applies to Altium 365.

Full Circle: Putting an unlinked PCB Project Back on the Cloud

Suppose you need to put the project back into your Workspace to continue collaborating or to create a variant. Making your project available online is a simple process and can be done directly from the Projects panel. Bring up your local project, then right-click on the project and click “Make Project Available Online…"

Altium 365 version control
Placing your local project back online through the Projects panel in Altium Designer

After you click through this dialog, you’ve just placed your project back into Altium 365 version control. The project will populate in your Altium 365 Workspace, which can be viewed through the Explorer panel in Altium Designer or the Workspace web interface. You can now share the project with other collaborators, manufacturers, or customers as needed. You can also clone the project within your Workspace, create a project variant with other designers, and unlink the original project after cloning. You’ll control how your designs are accessed, tracked, and evolve with the sharing and collaboration features in Altium 365.

Altium Designer with Altium 365 brings an unprecedented amount of integration to the electronics industry until now relegated to the world of software development, allowing designers to work from home and reach unprecedented levels of efficiency.

We have only scratched the surface of what is possible to do with Altium Designer on Altium 365. You can check the product page for a more in-depth feature description or one of the On-Demand Webinars.

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