Update timestamps in Symbol Files without Library Manager or ALE

Document created by peter_festesen on Sep 20, 2019
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Sometimes there is a need to modify the INTERNAL timestamp in one or more of the collections of symbols in symbol libraries. One example is to force an update of all symbols in a design (typically after a migration).

What is basically needed, is to open the symbol in the Symbol Editor and then save them. That is a cumbersome process. For the time being, however, the symbol files are still ASCII. The approach below will modify ALL symbol files and set the symbolfile’s INTERNAL Timestamp - (The line that reads |R 10:43:22_9-6-19)

I dug up an old Perl-based script and updated/verified it to run with VX.2.5. Since not all systems have Perl installed, I added that part to the description below.

Please be aware that I am no Perl guru - I did no write the original code (the file does not show who created it originally), I only changed it a little. For assistance with Perl details, please ask in this thread ;-) 


  • Download and Install Perl:
  • I downloaded here : https://docs.activestate.com/activeperl/5.28/get/
    • Make sure you get the correct download for your system
    • For my System, the appropriate version was : ”ActivePerl-”
    • During installation, answer ’Yes’ to add the Perl installation path to your search path
  • The zip-file attached to this thread has two files,
    • Add_Symbol_Timestamp.bat
    • Add_Symbol_Timestamp.pl

  • The process is to open a standard Windows shell and run the .bat file
    • IMPORTANT : The bat file points at the top of your symbol libraries,
      in my example, the structure is this :

    • Line 6 in the bat-file in my example reads:
      IMPORTANT : This line has to be modified to match your system !!
    • In line 8 you can change the REPLACE_EXISTING 
      • REPLACE_EXISTING = 1 : ALL files will get new timestamps
      • REPLACE_EXISTING = 0 : Only files thare are missing the timestamp line will be updated
    • The date set in the symbol files is always the current date. 
  • The process in more detail:
    • Open a standard Command shell in Windows
    • Navigate to the location where you unzipped and modify the .bat file
      • e:/data/Automation/Library/Add_symbol_timestamp.bat in my example
    • Simply run Add_symbol_timestamp.bat
    • The command shell will list the tasks performed
  • Update the design(s)
    After this (you may want to verify the timestamp in one of the files), you can
    • Open Designer on a design
    • Run Tools – Update Symbols (you should see a long list of Out-Of-Date symbols)
    • Simply click ‘OK’ and you’re done !