CADSTAR What's New

A review of recent CADSTAR releases to highlight new features

CADSTAR 17 - Current Release

The latest version of CADSTAR contains across-the-board performance enhancements and design efficiency features. These include industry-leading routing enhancements through new Perfect Springback technology whilst moving tracks in Activ-45, Trunk end router differential pair improvements, and Etch Factor support.

Ease-of-use enhancements include the option to specify an origin used as a reference for operations such as movement and rotation, and the ability to add dimensions directly into PCB component footprints.

CADSTAR 17 challenges the view that PCB Desktop software has to be complicated. This philosophy helps maintain CADSTAR's position as the industry’s most-used desktop PCB software.

  • Perfect Springback whilst moving tracks - When dragging tracks in Activ-45 mode with pushing enabled, the smooth and fast rubber band-like operation restores the previous pattern and position exactly using new Perfect Springback technology. Lengthening can also be updated seamlessly according to constraints when dragging tracks.
  • Trunk end router differential pair improvements - Updates have been made to the Trunk End Router so that improved routing patterns are generated for differential pairs. Coupling is maintained and skew is improved.
  • Layer stack editor improvements - Support for the Etch Factor has now been added to the Layer Stack Editor. This adds to existing support in the SI tool, and enables more accurate impedance calculations.
  • Etch Factor Support - Support for Etch Factor definition is available in the Configuration Editor and Constraint Manager. This is compatible with former trapezoidal conductor support, and etching for half-planes is available.
  • User-definable origin while moving - When interacting with a selection it is now possible to specify an origin used as a reference for operations such as movement and rotation.
  • Dimensions stored in footprints - It is now possible to add dimensions directly into PCB component footprints.


CADSTAR 16 contains across-the-board performance enhancements and design efficiency features. These include improved group handling and routing functionality, and enhancements to meet the demands of today’s high-speed designs.

CADSTAR’s Design Editor now allows items to be modified within a group, provides increased flexibility in shape creation, and introduces a new hand tool that allows panning of the display simply by dragging the mouse.

  • The P.R.Editor move tool in Activ-45 has been enhanced to use the pusher and spring-back engine when moving vias, and the lengthen functionality has been enhanced to allow work on individual pin pairs.
  • Flexibility in shape creation - The flexibility and usability of the Design Editor shape creation functionality has been improved.
  • Modify items within a group - Items contained within a group in the Design Editor can be selected and modified without the need to first perform an ungroup.
  • Drag to add a connection - When working with a schematic in the Design Editor, performing a drag operation from a symbol pin will start adding a connection – in the same way you would drag-move an item.
  • Actual versus rule values included in the Design Rule Error List - The Design Rule Check Report within the Design Editor reports the actual spacing as compared to the design rule spacing for a given error.
  • Named property for PCB Only Pads - A property named “PCB Only Pad” is available for component footprint pads.
  • Pan easily using the Hand Tool - A Hand Tool is allows the display to be panned by dragging with the mouse. Simply press the middle mouse button and drag the mouse in the required direction, similar to Acrobat Reader and many other graphical tools.
  • Find using “Jump to Item” or “Net List filter” - The Design Editor Find command has a “Jump To Selected Item” option with
  • First, Previous, Next, and Last choices, greatly simplifying the process of navigating through schematic items that span multiple sheets.
  • PDF output attribute filter - The Print to PDF setup has been enhanced to include an Attribute filter which allows users to control attributes that appear in the tooltips of the pdf file generated from Design Editor.
  • Floating Modeless Layer Setting dialog in P.R.Editor - The Layer Setting dialog in P.R. Editor is a floating and modeless window.
  • Activ-45 Move and Re-lengthening enhancements - The P.R.Editor Move tool in Activ-45 has been enhanced to use the pusher and spring-back engine when moving vias.
  • Unlengthen - An unlengthen command has been added to the P.R.Editor Routing menu. This allows users to remove all lengthening patterns from the selected net segments.
  • Analysis frequency ranges extended - Power Integrity analysis frequency range has been extended to 100kHz - 10GHz (previously 10MHz - 1GHz).



CADSTAR users get a productivity boost with new features in CADSTAR 15.

CADSTAR’s P.R.Editor now supports impedance balanced routing that simplifies the implementation of high-speed interfaces. Engineers can easily route to JEDEC standards and meet DDR3 performance specifications. New features in Power Integrity Advance include adjustable gridding for common-mode voltage maps, decoupling capacitor improvements, and a common user interface for result display in all signal integrity and power integrity analysis tools.

Users will appreciate the GUI’s updated appearance with familiar ribbon-style navigation.

  • Modeless Item Properties Dialogs - combines functionality from the many Item Properties dialogs and allows the user to both see and modify data from the current design selection.
  • Ribbon-style GUI - CADSTAR version 15 offers an updated modern appearance with a new ribbon-style GUI.
  • Active HTML Reports - Design Editor pre-defined reports include hyperlinks back to objects on the design canvas.
  • Impedance Balanced Routing – for users of high speed routing; added to the CADSTAR Place and Route Editor XR5000HS bundle.
  • New Transmission Line Model - The time domain signal integrity simulator kernel supports a new lossy transmission line model.
  • Improved Eye Patterns – include automatic measurement of eye height/width and setup/ hold.
  • New Field Solver – supports trapezoids and more general shapes such as circles and triangles.
  • Power Integrity Advance Updates – updated with new features such as adjustable gridding for common-mode voltage map and more.


CADSTAR offers an intuitive high-speed design workflow with an integrated constraint management system that can drive high-speed design and PCB layout verification. CADSTAR offers seamless communication with your MCAD department (supporting ACIS, STEP, STL, DXF and IDF) running collision checks in a 3D environment, and the necessary design rule checks before creating your manufacturing output. High-speed design is supported with access to signal integrity, EMC, and power integrity analysis embedded directly in the CADSTAR design flow. CADSTAR 14 offers enhancements and features focused on reducing effort at each stage of the PCB design process, and helping improve collaboration with manufacturing.

  • Accepted DRC Errors - design rule errors in the Design Rule Check Report can be marked as accepted by the user, allowing users to concentrate on other errors in the design.
  • Pin Identifiers and Alphanumeric Pin Names - pin numbers in components have been replaced by pin identifiers, which support alphanumeric characters and non-consecutive numbers.
  • Autoroute Schematic Connections when Moving - when moving design elements on a schematic diagram the connections will be dynamically autorouted to avoid crossing other connections and symbols.
  • Enhanced BGA Wizard - enables additional pin configurations to be specified to allow automatic creation of any simple to complex high pin-count device package.
  • Drill Table Enhancements – includes support for user-defined columns and offers users more control and flexibility over what information is displayed.
  • Name Range by Sheet – users can access this new option to define reference designator prefix ranges for each page of the schematic, to automate the assignment of reference designators in CADSTAR Schematic.
  • Rename Pads – provide the ability in Component Editor to rename pads to give more control over the naming used. Naming may be applied numerically or alphanumerically and the directions (horizontal or vertical) in which alphabetical and numerical identifiers are applied can be controlled.
  • Via Color by Layer Pair – eases management of designs using build-up via technology with features for users to apply unique colors to vias by layer pairs.


High-speed design is supported with access to signal integrity, EMC, and power integrity analysis embedded directly in the CADSTAR design flow.

  • Constraint Browser – enter high-speed constraints concurrently during circuit design
  • Topology Editor – predefine correct pin order during circuit design to control timing and quality of high-speed signals
  • Placement Planner – advanced floor-planning for engineers to conduct placement studies, design with reuse circuit and layout blocks, and communicating correct design intent for PCB layout
  • IDF Interface – improve collaboration between MCAD and ECAD to drive board outlines, component placement and keep-out areas
  • Power Integrity Advance – ensure proper behavior of power distribution systems embedded within CADSTAR design flow
  • Dockable active report – improved ease-of-use of managing reports during circuit and layout design
  • Automatic Drill Drawing and Table Generation – save time and effort during documentation with enhanced features to improve communication with manufacturing
  • Update parts with local library – reduce design times with local part edits and easy updates into designs with reports to compare changes with master library.



High-speed design is supported and signal integrity and EMC analysis can be included.

  • Re-use of design
  • OLE interface to MRP, ERP or E-PLM systems, direct storage in any ODBC-compliant database
  • Analysis and Verification - meeting high-speed, high density, geometry extraction and analysis
  • Integration with MCAD - BoardModeler Lite - 3D view of physical design of the complete PCB
  • PCB Design Editor - Intelligent automation is theme for the enhanced Embedded Router
  • P.R.Editor XR HS (Place & Route High-Speed) - powerful placement and routing tool is optimized for speed and accuracy, to tackle today’s dense PCB designs
  • Ease of use - NEW GUI - start page that will allow easy access to recent designs, help files, tutorials
  • True STAR-point routing in both the Design Editor and the Place and Route Editor tools (particular interesting for mixed signal boards)
  • Design Migration Tool
  • Starting Schematic and PCB Design Wizard



Delivering some new exciting features that will help reduce your time-to-market but most of all make designing EASIER!

  • Re-use of Design
  • Part Acceptance Attribute
  • Attribute Editor
  • Ease of use - NEW GUI
  • Design Migration Tool
  • Starting Schematic and PCB Design Wizard



As well as the introduction of the Dragon Router, CADSTAR 11 saw the release of these exciting new developments:

  • Intelligent busses
  • Auto connect symbols
  • Schematic Symbol Creation wizard to output multiple gates
  • Sheet Signal References for easy browsing through the hierarchical schematics
  • Hide pins when a symbol is connected
  • Highlight unconnected pins in schematics providing an easy overview for engineers if they forgot to connect a pin
  • Highlight nets using multiple colors
  • Positional symbol rename in schematics
  • Intelligent native PDF output for documentation
  • Customizable Report Generator to output Bill of Materials or any other information as you require
  • Additional products are available such as:
    • The Variant Manager allowing the designer to change any parts to match all the different product and international requirements, storing all the information in a single CADSTAR Schematic and PCB design
    • Interfaces with spice simulators
    • CADSTAR FPGA synchronizing your FPGA and PCB design.



It has never been easier to control your PCB or Schematic design. The enhanced CADSTAR design modules offer features such as:

  • Version control for Components & Symbols (both in PCB and Schematic)
  • Intelligent busses
  • Support of Rules by Area in Design Editor
  • User-defined Attributes for Components & Symbols
  • Automatic Library reload
  • Even more windows-compliant functionalities like multiple color choice and function key definition.


For more information on CADSTAR and how you can upgrade to the latest release, please contact your local CADSTAR Distributor