PCBA Visualizer – User Guide – BOM Editor

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Introduction to PCBA Visualizer

PCBA Visualizer is a powerful tool for viewing, analyzing, and editing printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs). It allows you to visualize your PCBA design in 3D, inspect component placements, and make changes to the bill of materials (BOM).

The BOM Editor module within PCBA Visualizer enables you to easily view and modify the parts list for your PCBA. You can add, remove, or update components, specify part numbers and suppliers, and export the BOM in various formats.

In this user guide, we will walk through the features and functionality of the BOM Editor in PCBA Visualizer. By the end, you will know how to effectively manage your PCBA bill of materials within this tool.

Accessing the BOM Editor

To open the BOM Editor in PCBA Visualizer:

  1. Launch PCBA Visualizer and open your PCBA project
  2. In the left sidebar, click on “BOM” to switch to the BOM view
  3. The BOM Editor will load, displaying the bill of materials for your PCBA

Alternatively, you can access the BOM Editor directly by going to File > Open BOM.

BOM Editor Interface Overview

Upon opening the BOM Editor, you will see the main BOM table view taking up most of the window. This table lists out all the components on your PCBA, with columns for key properties like reference designator, part number, description, quantity, and supplier.

Above the table are various toolbars and menus for working with the BOM:

  • File menu – Open, save, import and export BOM files
  • Edit menu – Add, remove and update BOM rows
  • View menu – Customize visible columns and table options
  • Tools – Access additional BOM utilities and settings
  • Help – View BOM Editor documentation and support resources

On the right side of the window is a component properties panel. When you select a row in the BOM table, this panel will display detailed information about that component, including parametric data and links to datasheets.

Working with the BOM Table

The heart of the BOM Editor is the main BOM table. This is where you can view and edit all the components that make up your PCBA.

Navigating the BOM Table

To move around the BOM table:

  • Scroll vertically to view different rows/components
  • Scroll horizontally to view additional columns
  • Click on a column header to sort by that column
  • Drag column headers to rearrange column order
  • Right-click a column header to customize visible columns

Selecting Components

To select one or more components in the BOM table:

  • Click a row to select that component
  • Ctrl+click to select/deselect additional components
  • Shift+click to select a range of components
  • Right-click and choose Select All to select the entire BOM

With components selected, you can perform batch editing operations like updating properties or removing items.

Editing Component Properties

Double-click on any cell in the BOM table to edit that value. You can change the reference designator, part number, description, quantity, supplier, and more.

For some fields like part number and supplier, PCBA Visualizer will attempt to auto-complete your entry based on previously used values. This helps maintain consistency and speeds up data entry.

To edit multiple components at once:

  1. Select the desired components in the table
  2. Right-click and choose Edit Selected Items
  3. In the dialog that appears, enter the new property values
  4. Click OK to apply the changes to all selected components

Adding and Removing BOM Rows

To add a new component to the BOM:

  1. Click the Add button in the toolbar, or right-click and select Add New Row
  2. A new row will appear at the bottom of the BOM table
  3. Fill in the component properties like ref des, part number, and quantity
  4. Press Enter or click outside the row to finish adding the component

To remove one or more components:

  1. Select the components to remove
  2. Click the Remove button, or right-click and select Remove Selected Rows
  3. Confirm the deletion in the dialog that appears

Use caution when deleting components, as this cannot be easily undone. Make sure to save a copy of your BOM before making major changes.

Reorganizing the BOM

As your BOM grows in size, it can be helpful to reorganize it for better readability and navigation. The BOM Editor provides a few ways to restructure your BOM table.

To sort the BOM by a particular column:

  1. Click the header of the column you want to sort by
  2. Click again to toggle ascending/descending sort order

To group components by a particular property:

  1. Drag the column header you want to group by to the area above the table labeled “Drag a column header here to group by that column”
  2. The BOM table will reorganize into collapsible groups based on the selected property
  3. Drag the column header back to the main header row to remove the grouping

To rearrange columns:

  1. Click and drag a column header to the desired position
  2. Release the mouse button to drop the column in place

These tools make it easy to customize the structure and appearance of your PCBA BOM table for maximum efficiency.

Importing and Exporting BOMs

In addition to manual editing, the BOM Editor supports importing and exporting BOM data to integrate with other tools in your PCBA workflow.

Importing BOM Data

To import BOM data from an external file:

  1. Go to File > Import BOM
  2. In the file browser, select the BOM file to import (supported formats: CSV, TSV, Excel, ODB++)
  3. Choose the appropriate import options (e.g. column mapping, handling duplicates)
  4. Click OK to import the data into the current BOM table

PCBA Visualizer will attempt to match the imported columns to the existing BOM columns. You can manually map columns in the import dialog if needed.

Exporting BOM Data

To export your BOM data from PCBA Visualizer:

  1. Go to File > Export BOM
  2. Choose the desired file format (e.g. CSV, Excel, PDF)
  3. Select the columns to include in the export
  4. Specify any additional export options (e.g. file name, delimiter)
  5. Click OK to generate the exported BOM file

The exported BOM file can then be shared with others or imported into other software tools as needed.

BOM Export Templates

If you frequently need to export BOMs in a particular format, you can save time by creating export templates. An export template remembers your column selections and export options so you can quickly generate consistent BOM files.

To create a new BOM export template:

  1. Go to File > Export BOM
  2. Set up your desired export format and options
  3. Click the Save Template button in the bottom left corner of the export dialog
  4. Give your template a name and click OK to save

To use an existing BOM export template:

  1. Go to File > Export BOM
  2. Click the Load Template button
  3. Choose the desired template from the list
  4. Click OK to apply the template settings to the current export

Export templates allow you to streamline your BOM export process and ensure formatting consistency across multiple projects.

BOM Editor Tools and Utilities

Beyond the core BOM editing functionality, PCBA Visualizer includes several tools to help you work with BOM data more efficiently.

BOM Validation

The BOM Validation tool scans your BOM for common issues and inconsistencies. It checks for things like:

  • Missing or invalid part numbers
  • Duplicate reference designators
  • Incorrect quantities
  • Inconsistent property formatting

To run BOM validation:

  1. Go to Tools > Validate BOM
  2. Choose which types of checks to perform
  3. Click OK to start the validation process
  4. Review the validation results in the dialog that appears

The validation results will list any issues found, along with suggested fixes. You can double-click on a result row to jump to the corresponding component in the BOM table.

Running BOM validation regularly can help catch errors early and keep your BOM data clean and consistent.

BOM Compare

The BOM Compare tool allows you to compare two BOMs and highlight any differences between them. This is useful for identifying changes between BOM revisions or comparing BOMs across different projects.

To compare two BOMs:

  1. Go to Tools > Compare BOMs
  2. Choose the two BOM files you want to compare (you can select the current BOM as one of the files)
  3. Specify any compare options (e.g. ignore case, exclude certain columns)
  4. Click OK to run the comparison
  5. Review the results in the diff viewer that appears

The diff viewer shows a side-by-side comparison of the two BOMs with differences highlighted. You can drill down to see the specific components and properties that have changed.

BOM Costing

The BOM Costing tool estimates the total cost of goods for your PCBA based on the components in the BOM. It factors in unit prices, quantities, and any additional costs like assembly or shipping.

To estimate BOM costs:

  1. Go to Tools > BOM Costing
  2. Review the unit prices for each component (PCBA Visualizer will attempt to fetch prices from supplier data or use default estimates)
  3. Enter any additional costs or markups
  4. Click Calculate to generate the cost breakdown
  5. Review the costing summary, which shows subtotals by component type and overall total

The BOM Costing tool provides a quick way to ballpark the material costs for a PCBA and compare costs across different suppliers or design options.

BOM Analytics

The BOM Analytics tool generates charts and graphs to visualize key metrics and trends in your BOM data. Available charts include:

  • Component count by type
  • Component cost distribution
  • Quantity distribution
  • Part number and supplier usage

To view BOM analytics:

  1. Go to Tools > BOM Analytics
  2. Select the desired chart type from the dropdown
  3. Customize the chart options (e.g. data range, colors, labels)
  4. The chart will update to reflect your selections
  5. Use the toolbar buttons to print, save, or copy the chart

BOM Analytics makes it easy to communicate summary data about your PCBA BOM.

BOM Editor Settings and Customization

The BOM Editor allows you to customize various settings to match your preferences and workflows.

BOM Table Customization

To customize which columns are visible in the BOM table:

  1. Right-click any column header
  2. In the context menu, check/uncheck columns to show/hide them
  3. Drag and drop column names to rearrange column order
  4. Click outside the menu to apply the changes

To customize other BOM table options:

  1. Go to View > Table Options
  2. Customize options like text size, colors, grid lines, etc.
  3. Click OK to apply the appearance changes

BOM Editor Preferences

To change BOM Editor preferences:

  1. Go to Tools > BOM Editor Preferences
  2. Customize settings related to Validation, Costing, Analytics, and more
  3. Click OK to save your preferences

The preferences let you enable/disable specific features, set up defaults, and integrate the BOM Editor with your other tools.

BOM Report Generation

You can generate customizable BOM reports directly from PCBA Visualizer to share with stakeholders or archive for your records.

To generate a BOM report:

  1. Go to File > Generate BOM Report
  2. Select the desired template (you can also create a new template from scratch)
  3. Customize the report title, layout, and contents
  4. Choose the output file format (e.g. PDF, HTML)
  5. Click Generate to produce the BOM report file

BOM reports can include a variety of elements:

  • Summary table with high-level BOM metrics
  • Detailed component table
  • Visualizations from BOM Analytics
  • Title page and table of contents
  • Revision history and signoff sections

Generating professional BOM reports is an efficient way to document your PCBA design and communicate essential BOM data to your team.

BOM Editor Keyboard Shortcuts

The BOM Editor supports various keyboard shortcuts to help you work faster:

Shortcut Action
Ctrl+N Create new blank BOM
Ctrl+O Open an existing BOM file
Ctrl+S Save current BOM
Ctrl+F Find components by property value
Ctrl+H Replace property values
Ctrl+A Select all components in table
Ctrl+C Copy selected components
Ctrl+X Cut selected components
Ctrl+V Paste copied components
Ctrl+Z Undo last edit
Ctrl+Y Redo last undone edit
F1 Open BOM Editor help

You can view and customize the keyboard shortcuts under Tools > Keyboard Shortcuts.

Getting Help and Support

If you need help using PCBA Visualizer or the BOM Editor, there are various resources available:

  • In-app help: Press F1 to access context-sensitive help pages
  • User manual: Go to Help > PCBA Visualizer User Manual for comprehensive documentation
  • Knowledge base: Search the online knowledge base at pcbavisualizer.com/support
  • Community forums: Ask questions and discuss with other users at pcbavisualizer.com/forums
  • Email support: Contact the PCBA Visualizer support team at support@pcbavisualizer.com
  • Phone support: Call +1 (800) 555-0123 for live support during business hours

The PCBA Visualizer team is dedicated to providing timely and helpful support to ensure you get the most out of the tool.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Can I import my BOM from other ECAD tools?

A: Yes, PCBA Visualizer supports importing BOMs from a variety of ECAD formats, including Altium, Eagle, KiCad, and OrCAD. Simply use the File > Import BOM feature and select the appropriate source tool.

Q: How do I export my BOM to share with others?

A: To share your BOM, go to File > Export BOM and choose a standard file format like CSV or Excel. You can select which columns to include and apply formatting options. The exported file can then be easily shared with others via email or cloud storage.

Q: Can I create custom BOM column templates?

A: Yes, the BOM Editor allows you to create and save custom column configurations as templates. To create a template, set up your desired columns and go to View > Save Column Template. To apply a saved template, go to View > Load Column Template.

Q: What is the purpose of the BOM Validation tool?

A: The BOM Validation tool helps you find and fix issues in your BOM data, such as missing part numbers, duplicate references, and incorrect quantities. Running validation regularly can help maintain data integrity and catch errors before they cause problems downstream.

Q: How do I estimate the cost of my PCBA based on the BOM?

A: PCBA Visualizer includes a BOM Costing tool to help estimate the material and assembly costs for your PCBA. To access it, go to Tools > BOM Costing. The tool will fetch component pricing data from supplier databases (when available) and factor in additional costs like assembly and shipping. You can customize the costing parameters and generate detailed cost breakdowns.

The PCBA Visualizer BOM Editor is a comprehensive tool for managing your PCBA bill of materials. With features like real-time 3D visualization, supplier data integration, BOM validation and costing, and customizable reports, it streamlines the BOM editing process and helps you create accurate, up-to-date BOMs.

By following this guide, you should now have a solid understanding of how to use the BOM Editor to view, modify, and share your PCBA bill of materials. Implement these tips into your workflow to save time, reduce errors, and improve collaboration with your PCBA design and manufacturing teams.