The Future of Printed Circuit Board Design


Altium Flex is the next evolution in printed circuit board (PCB) design software from industry leader Altium. It represents a fundamental shift from traditional PCB design tools by enabling a flexible, collaborative, and cloud-based approach. With Altium Flex, PCB designers can break free from locked-down design environments and rigid workflows. Instead, they can take advantage of flexible licensing, anytime-anywhere access, and real-time collaboration.

Altium Flex provides a browser-based design environment that can run on any device. Designers are no longer constrained to using high-end workstations. They can design PCBs on laptops, tablets, or even smartphones. Altium Flex also utilizes cloud-based storage. Design data is stored in the cloud, enabling seamless access from multiple locations and real-time collaboration between team members.

This article will provide an in-depth look at the key features and benefits of Altium Flex for electronics design teams. It will cover the flexible licensing models, ease of collaboration, and productivity enhancements provided by this next-generation platform.

Key Features and Benefits

Altium Flex represents a new paradigm in electronics design software. Some of the key features and benefits include:

Flexible Licensing Models

Altium Flex provides flexible licensing options to suit different team workflows:

  • Named User Licensing – Ideal for continuous access. Each user has a dedicated license.
  • Concurrent Licensing – Allows licenses to be shared on demand. Great for flexible access.
  • Cloud Credits – Prepaid credits that can be used by any user. Easy to budget.

Teams no longer have to purchase bloated software packages with fixed licenses. They can take advantage of licensing tailored for their working style.

Cloud-based Design Environment

The Altium 365 cloud platform provides access to a browser-based design environment anytime, anywhere. Users can access designs seamlessly across devices with noneed to be at a high-powered workstation.

Cloud storage also centralizes design data for simplified collaboration. Native version control enables tracking edits in real-time for teams working together on designs.

Real-time Collaboration

Altium Flex facilitates real-time collaboration on PCB designs. Team members can work simultaneously on a design, see edits in real-time, and chat/comment right within the design editor.

This concurrent real-time collaboration removes productivity bottlenecks caused by traditional lock-step design reviews. It allows multiple stakeholders to provide input and verify the design dynamically.

Access from Any Device

The browser-based design environment can run on a wide range of devices, including:

  • Windows PCs
  • Macs
  • Chromebooks
  • Tablets (iPads, Android tablets)
  • Smartphones

Designers are no longer chained to high-end workstations. They can be productive on the go with a laptop, tablet, or even a smartphone when required.

No Learning Curve

Altium Flex provides the same market-leading PCB design environment already used by over 200,000 engineers. The interface, features, and functions are familiar.

There is minimal learning curve for those switching from Altium Designer. And it’s intuitive for new adopters. Companies can standardize on Altium Flex knowing designers will be productive from the outset.

Seamless Interoperability

Altium Flex utilizes the same underlying data format as Altium Designer. This provides seamless compatibility and interoperability between the two environments.

Designers working on Altium Designer can easily collaborate with team members using Altium Flex. No data conversion or migration is required.

Unified Environment

Altium Flex provides a unified design environment for all aspects of PCB design, including schematic capture, simulation, layout/routing, and manufacturing generation. There is no need to jump between disparate tools for different design stages.

The unified environment improves designer productivity by allowing rapidly switching between tasks while staying in context. Design context is maintained throughout the entire design flow.

Altium Flex Use Cases

Altium Flex provides benefits across a wide range of electronics design scenarios, including:

Design Team Collaboration

Enables multiple team members to work on a design concurrently and see edits in real-time for true collaboration. Avoid productivity bottlenecks of traditional design reviews.

Multi-Site Design Teams

Allows globally distributed teams to access a common design instance in the cloud and collaborate across locations. Avoid delays of sharing design files.

Remote Working

Provides secure browser-based access from any location with internet connectivity. Designers can be productive remotely whether at home, traveling, etc.

Design Reviews

Stakeholders can access the design remotely to provide feedback and verification with no delays. Reviewers see the latest design status in real-time.

Outsourced/Contracted Work

Design data can be shared in the cloud allowing external partners or contractors to collaborate seamlessly. Enables outsourcing without relinquishing control.

Startups & New Product Introduction

The flexible licensing model allows startups and new product teams to pay only for what they need. Avoid overbuying expensive tool seats that may go underutilized.

Workspace Flexibility

Designer mobility enables productivity from any location. Team members can design on the go using laptops, tablets or smartphones when away from their workstation.

Educational Institutions

Provides studentsanywhere access to leading design software via an internet browser. Educational institutions can offer leading tools without heavy infrastructure investments.

Altium Flex Pricing & Availability

Altium Flex is currently available directly from Altium. Pricing is structured based on licensing model and number of users.

Named user licenses are $2,095 per user per year. Discounts are available for multi-user purchases.

On-demand concurrent licenses are$275 per license per month. Discounts apply for annual commitments.

Cloud credits can be purchased in bundles starting at $1,000 for 50 credits. Each credit equals 1 license for one day.

Free trials are available from the Altium website. View the latest pricing and buy Altium Flex licenses directly at

Volume pricing is available for enterprise deals by contacting Altium sales. Educational pricing is also available for accredited institutions.

Altium Flex is currently available in English, Japanese, simplified Chinese, and German. Additional languages will be added over time.


Altium Flex represents the future of electronics design by enabling flexible access, cloud collaboration, and real-time team workflows. By utilizing the cloud, it removes the limitations of traditional on-premise design tools.

The flexible licensing options allow companies to right-size their investment in Altium seats based on workflow needs. Access from any device allows designers to stay productive from anywhere. And cloud-based collaboration and data management facilitates multi-site teams working together seamlessly.

For companies needing high-performance PCB design capabilities without being locked into costly tool licenses, Altium Flex provides the ideal solution. Its cloud-based approach and intuitive browser-based interface usher in a new era of flexibility and productivity for hardware design teams.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does Altium Flex provide the full capabilities of Altium Designer?

A: Yes, Altium Flex delivers the complete electronics design capabilities of Altium Designer including schematic capture, simulation, PCB layout/routing, and manufacturing outputs. The key difference is the browser-based interface and cloud-based data storage.

Q: Can I access my existing Altium Designer files and libraries in Altium Flex?

A: Absolutely. Altium Flex utilizes the same underlying file formats. You can simply point to your existing local or network vaults to access those components, templates and design files.

Q: Is my design IP secure when using the cloud?

A: Yes, Altium utilizes AWS data centers with enterprise-grade security protocols. All data transmission is encrypted and each organization has isolated cloud storage not shared with others.

Q: Does Altium Flex integrate with my company’s IT systems?

A: Altium Flex supports single sign-on (SSO) using SAML for easy integration with existing IT systems and authentication protocols. This allows managing access centrally through your own identity provider.

Q: Can I try Altium Flex for free before buying?

A: Yes, Altium offers free trials for Altium Flex so you can experience the benefits firsthand. Trials can be requested on the Altium website. Contact sales to discuss extended trials and pilot programs.

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