Hints, Tips and Solutions – September 2004


Q: How can I become a more efficient user of Expert?

A: Maximize my layout viewing area Default screen layout with many toolbars around is sometimes inconvenient; layout area can be maximized as desired by the user. You may switch control bars on/off. Layer Bar is resizable, both in height and in width. Also toolbars can be docked/undocked or dragged into another location or completely turn off depending upon user’s desire.

Window Arrangements: To simply the management of opened windows, the Window submenu provides features that automatically arrange windows to suit your needs into different arrangements i.e Cascade, Tile, Tile Vertically and Tile horizontally.

Figure 1. Tile Method.

Shortcuts: It is possible to assign keyboard shortcuts to all menu commands, so that the commands maybe quickly executed by hitting the associated key instead of selecting them from Menu. Also if you click the right-mouse button inside the layout window, the custom menu appears and it contains a user-definable list of commands.

Figure 2. Shortcuts Menu.


Scripting Repetitive Tasks: Repetitive tasks or a series of commands can be easily be scripted using LISA and can be executed when desired, hence saving time by automating the execution of those commands rather than individually executing them every time.

Edit in Place: Allows the user to select and edit an instance of a cell at any level of hierarchy within the current cell which is open in Expert. During Edit in place session you may enter into a cell instance, then enter into another instance what belongs to first instance and so on, going deeper and deeper into hierarchy.


Q: How can I navigate through my layout?

A: You can navigate through your layout by doing the following:

a. Project Tree:
Project Tree (Hierarchy -> Explorer -> Project Tree) helps to view the libraries being used in addition to the actual hierarchy of a specific cell being used in a layout. This is a convenient tool for fast loading, editing, or inspecting any desired cell instance or primitives at any level of hierarchy.

b. Cell hierarchy/explode heirarchy features/create cell in place:
Cell Hierarchy is a powerful tool in EXPERT that makes it possible for a user-created logical categorizing of layout into subparts thus giving it a full hierarchical mode of control. The key operations are recursive Edit-in-place, hierarchical view settings, hierarchy flatten (or explode), and grouping into cells. Edit-in-place gives an easy method of editing selected objects within the surroundings of any of its instance.

c. Flat view/lazy view:
The View -> Cell view submenu controls the degree of details in the layout being edited. There are several options provided by Expert to change the contents of the layout’s view or to make parts of the geometry hidden. In View -> Cell view -> Flat mode enables the total and real geometry of the cells to be displayed. The cell layout in fact looks like the hierarchy flattened. In View -> Cell view -> Lazy mode, only the primitives/instances/arrays are displayed as hatched boxes (with their insides hidden and only the top level of hierarchy displayed). Some other modes of view like the Floorplan mode, primitives’ mode, Edited Cell Frame, Instances/array Frame etc.

d. Cell map:
By enabling the cell map (View -> Dock windows -> cell map), a small additional window of the layout is shown. It has a small navigational box (as shown in Figure 3) that is convenient for resizing/focusing specific part of a big layout. It allows the user to view the layout at different resolutions and to globally monitor the changes made on the locally viewed area.

Figure 3. Navigating using Cell Map 1.


e. Search feature:
In order to better identify specific layers of any shape (box, eclipse, or region), or search for specific wire, text, instances, arrays in a Cell hierarchy: there is a “Search” option in the menu (Edit -> Search).

Figure 4. Using the Search Feature 1.

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