Chapter 9: Tools
9-1: Introduction To Tools

There are many different tools available in Electric for doing both synthesis and analysis of circuitry. Synthesis tools include routers, compactors, circuit generators, and so on. Analysis tools include design-rule checkers, network comparison, and many simulators. To see a list of tools, including which ones are active, use the List Tools command (in menu Tools). This chapter covers many of the tools available in Electric.

When a tool is running, it may take a long time. You can see it under the "JOBS" entry of the cell explorer (see Section 4-5-2). After a tool has run, it may report errors in the ERRORS section of the cell explorer. To browse these errors, use the Show Next Error and Show Previous Error commands (in menu Edit / Selection) or type the ">" and "<" keys. To force an error to be shown in the current window instead of popping-up a new window for each cell, use Show Next Error, same Window and Show Previous Error, same Window (the "[" and "]" keys). There are also display preferences to control error display (in menu File / Preferences..., "Display" section, "Display Control" tab, see Section 4-3): "Show cell results in new window" forces errors to display in a different window for each different cell; "Shift window to show errors" pans and zooms the window to focus on each new error. If an error involves multiple objects, use Show Single Geometry (the "/" key) to cycle through them individually. Use Show Current Collection of Errors to highlight all errors.

A number of common tool controls are available in the General Preferences (in menu File / Preferences..., "General" section, "General" tab), especially in the "I/O" and "Jobs" section.

The I/O section lets you control the reading and writing of files. Most of the commands to generate an input deck for a simulator (a netlist) prompt the user for the desired file. If "Show file-selection dialog before writing netlists" is unchecked, however, the file is written (or overwritten) without prompt. This is useful in repetitive iterations of design/simulate, and saves the cumbersome file-selection dialog. However, it can be dangerous because it overwrites files without asking.

When reading and writing files, Electric remembers the last directory and uses it in subsequent file selection dialogs. Since different types of files are often stored in different locations, the system remembers many different directories, organized by type. Thus, there may be a current directory for "Database" work (library files), for Spice simulation, etc. Choose the type of file to examine and change the directory associated with it.

In the "Jobs" section, "Beep after long jobs" requests that any job which runs longer than a minute make a beep sound when done. The "Verbose mode" requests that all changes made by a job be described in the messages window.

You can set the maximum number of errors that will be reported at once. By default, there is no limit to the number of errors.

For more information about "Maximum undo history", see Section 6-7.

The "Logging Options" section controls Electric log files. By default, log files are placed in the system's temporary directory (, but this can be disabled by unchecking "Enable logging." By default, only one log file is created which is overwritten in subsequent Electric sessions. Checking "Multiple logs" causes each log file to have a unique name so that multiple files are saved.

For more information about the "Memory" section, see Section 1-3.

The "Database" section controls aspects of the Electric database that do not affect most users. Electric can run as two processes: a client that manages the display and a server that manages the database. By checking "Use Client / Server interactions", Electric will use this experimental configuration. Checking "Snapshot Logging" requests debugging information on the client/server interactions.
Figure 9.21

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