A Guided Tour of the ISIS Editor

A Guided Tour of the ISIS Editor


We shall assume at this point that you have installed the package, and that the current directory is some convenient work area on your hard disk.

To start the ISIS program, click on the Start button and select Programs, Proteus 7 Professional and then the ISIS 7 Professional option. The ISIS schematic editor will then load and run. Along the top of the screen is the Menu Bar.

If you have a Demonstration copy of the software you can start the ISIS application via the Proteus 7 Demonstration tab from the Start Menu.

The largest area of the screen is called the Editing Window, and it acts as a window on the drawing – this is where you will place and wire-up components. The smaller area at the top left of the screen is called the Overview Window. In normal use the Overview Window displays, as its name suggests, an overview of the entire drawing – the blue box shows the edge of the current sheet and the green box the area of the sheet currently displayed in the Editing Window. However, when a new object is selected from the Object Selector the Overview Window is used to preview the selected object – this is discussed later.


ISIS schematic capture window
ISIS schematic capture window


If you don’t like the default layout of the toolbars you can pick them up and dock them on any of the four sides of the application. Similarly you can move the Object Selector & Overview Window pane across to the right hand side of the application by dragging the end of it all the way across to the other side.

Right clicking the mouse either in the Object Selector or in the Overview Window will provide a context menu, including the option to ‘auto hide’ the left hand pane. This is extremely useful if you want to maximise the editing area of the application. When enabled the Object Selector and Overview Window will be minimised to a ‘flyout bar’ at the left (or right) of the application by default and will appear either when the mouse is placed over the bar or when the mode of operation is changed by selecting a different icon.

Auto hide the Object Selector Device mode Icon
Auto hide the Object Selector                                                                                              Device mode Icon

Navigation of the view displayed in the Editing Window takes two forms; adjusting the scale of the drawing (zooming) and adjusting the area of the drawing displayed (panning). These techniques are somewhat intertwined and are discussed in more detail below :


There are several ways to zoom in and out of areas of the schematic :

  • Point the mouse where you want to zoom in and out of and roll the middle mouse button (roll forwards to zoom in and backwards to zoom out).
  • Point the mouse where you want to zoom in or out of and and press the F6 or F7 keys respectively.
  • Hold the SHIFT key down and drag out a box with the left mouse button around the area you want to zoom in to. We call this Shift Zoom
  • Use the Zoom In, Zoom Out, Zoom All or Zoom Area icons on the toolbar.
Zoom Icons
Zoom Icons

The F8 key can be used at any time to display the whole drawing.The Shift Zoom and the middle mouse zoom techniques can also be used over the Overview Window. That is, you can position the mouse over the Overview Window and either roll the middle mouse button or use Shift Zoom to navigate in or out of an area of the schematic.


As with zooming, there are a number of options for panning across the editing window.

  • Click on the middle mouse button to enter track pan mode. This puts ISIS is a mode where the entire sheet is picked up and will move as you move the mouse. The track pan cursor will indicate when you have entered this mode. Left click the mouse again to exit track pan mode.
  • To simply ‘pan’ the Editing Window up, down, left or right, position the mouse pointer over the desired part of the Editing Window and press the F5 key.
  • Hold the SHIFT key down and bump the mouse against the edges of the Editing Window  to pan up, down, left or right. We call this Shift Pan.
  • Should you want to move the Editing Window to a completely different part of the drawing, the quickest method is to simply point at the centre of the new area on the Overview Window and click left.
  • Use the Pan Icon on the toolbar.

 Note that when using the track pan method above you can also zoom in and out by rolling the mouse wheel. So, click the middle mouse button to pick up the sheet and move the sheet by moving the mouse and zoom the sheet by rolling the middle mouse button. Left click to ‘drop’ the sheet and exit track pan mode.

It is well worth spending a few moments familiarising yourself with navigation in ISIS – it is after all one of the most common operations you will perform. In particular, learning to use the middle mouse button both for track pan and for zooming will save you time during schematic design.

A grid of dots or lines can be displayed in the Editing Window as a visual aid using the Grid command on the View menu, or by pressing ‘G’ to toggle the grid from ‘dots’, ‘lines’ or ‘off, or by clicking the Grid Icon on the toolbar. The grid helps in lining up components and wires and is less intimidating than a blank screen. If you find it hard to see the grid dots or lines, either adjust the contrast on your monitor slightly (by default the grid is displayed in light grey) or change  their colour with the Set Design Defaults on the Template menu.

Below the Overview Window is the Object Selector (sometimes known as a ‘parts bin’) which you use to select devices, symbols and other library objects. We’ll familiarise ourselves further with using the Object Selector later.

Finally, at the bottom of the screen is the co-ordinate display, which reads out the co-ordinates of the mouse pointer when appropriate. These co-ordinates are in 1 thou units and the origin is in the centre of the drawing.

Origin Co-ordintates
Origin Co-ordintates

Note that ISIS allows you to reposition all the icon toolbars as well as move/resize the Object Selector/Overview Window. Do be aware however, that this documentation refers to all the rebars and windows in their default locations.


#collected from their tutorial page

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