get_cells - 2023.1 English

Vivado Design Suite Tcl Command Reference Guide (UG835)

Document ID
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2023.1 English

Get a list of cells in the current design


get_cells [‑hsc <arg>] [‑hierarchical] [‑regexp] [‑nocase] [‑filter <arg>]
    [‑of_objects <args>] [‑match_style <arg>] [‑leaf]
    [‑include_replicated_objects] [‑quiet] [‑verbose] [<patterns>]


List of cell objects.


Name Description
[-hsc] Hierarchy separator Default: /
[-hierarchical] Search level-by-level in current instance
[-regexp] Patterns are full regular expressions
[-nocase] Perform case-insensitive matching (valid only when -regexp specified)
[-filter] Filter list with expression
[-of_objects] Get cells of these pins, timing paths, nets, bels, clock regions, sites, or drc violations
[-match_style] Style of pattern matching Default: sdc Values: ucf, sdc
[-leaf] Replace hierarchical cells with leaf cells.
[-include_replicated_objects] Include replicated objects when searching for patterns. This option is valid only when patterns is specified.
[-quiet] Ignore command errors
[-verbose] Suspend message limits during command execution
[<patterns>] Match cell names against patterns Default: *


SDC, XDC, Object


Gets a list of cell objects in the current design that match a specified search pattern. The default command returns a list of all cells in the current_instance of the open design, as specified by the current_instance command.

You can use the -hierarchical option to extract cells from the hierarchy of the current design.

The get_cells command also includes an option to get all replicated cells that are added to a design during physical optimization, or phys_opt_design. The use of the -include_replicated_objects option returns the replicated cells of an object when the original cell is returned. You can use this option to ensure that constraints or properties that are applied to a cell are also applied to its replicated cells.

Note: To improve memory and performance, the get_* commands return a container list of a single type of objects (e.g. cells, nets, pins, or ports). You can add new objects to the list (using lappend for instance), but you can only add the same type of object that is currently in the list. Adding a different type of object, or string, to the list is not permitted and will result in a Tcl error.


-hsc <arg> - (Optional) Set the hierarchy separator. The default hierarchy separator is '/'.

-hierarchical - (Optional) Get cells from all levels of the design hierarchy starting from the level of the current_instance, or from the top of the current design. Without this argument, the command will only get cells from the current_instance of the design hierarchy. When using -hierarchical, the search pattern should not contain a hierarchy separator because the search pattern is applied at each level of the hierarchy, not to the full hierarchical cell name. For instance, searching for U1/* searches each level of the hierarchy for instances with U1/ in the name. This may not return the intended results. This is illustrated in the examples below.

Important: When used with -regexp, the specified search string is matched against the full hierarchical name, and the U1/* search pattern will work as intended.
-regexp - (Optional) Specifies that the search <patterns> are written as regular expressions. Both search <patterns> and -filter expressions must be written as regular expressions when this argument is used. Xilinx® regular expression Tcl commands are always anchored to the start of the search string. You can add ".*" to the beginning or end of a search string to widen the search to include a substring. See for help with regular expression syntax.
Note: The Tcl built-in command regexp is not anchored, and works as a standard Tcl command. For more information refer to

-nocase - (Optional) Perform case-insensitive matching when a pattern has been specified. This argument applies to the use of -regexp only.

-filter <args> - (Optional) Filter the results list with the specified expression. The -filter argument filters the list of objects returned by get_cells based on property values on the cells. You can find the properties on an object with the report_property or list_property commands. In the case of the "cell" object, "IS_PARTITION", "IS_PRIMITIVE" and "IS_LOC_FIXED" are some of the properties that can be used to filter results.

The filter search pattern should be quoted to avoid having to escape special characters. String matching is case-sensitive and is always anchored to the start and to the end of the search string. The wildcard “*” character can be used at the beginning or at the end of a search string to widen the search to include a substring of the property value.
Note: The filter returns an object if a specified property exists on the object, and the specified pattern matches the property value on the object. In the case of the "*" wildcard character, this will match a property with a defined value of "".
For string comparison, the specific operators that can be used in filter expressions are "equal" (==), "not-equal" (!=), "match" (=~), and "not-match" (!~). Numeric comparison operators <, >, <=, and >= can also be used. Multiple filter expressions can be joined by AND and OR (&& and ||). The following gets input pins that do NOT contain the “RESET” substring within their name:
get_pins * -filter {DIRECTION == IN && NAME !~ "*RESET*"}
Boolean (bool) type properties can be directly evaluated in filter expressions as true or not true:
-of_objects <arg> - (Optional) Get the cells connected to the specified pins, timing paths, nets, bels, clock regions, sites or DRC violation objects.
Note: The -of_objects option requires objects to be specified using the get_* commands, such as get_cells or get_pins, rather than specifying objects by name. In addition, -of_objects cannot be used with a search <pattern>.

-match_style - (Optional) Indicates that the search pattern matches UCF constraints or SDC constraints. The default is SDC.

-include_replicated_objects - (Optional) Include cells that have been added through replication during optimizations. This option is valid only when specified with <patterns>, and returns replicated cell instances that match the pattern. As a default, the get_cells command does not return replicated cells.

-leaf – (Optional) Replace the hierarchical cells by all the primitive cells underneath.

-quiet - (Optional) Execute the command quietly, returning no messages from the command. The command also returns TCL_OK regardless of any errors encountered during execution.
Note: Any errors encountered on the command-line, while launching the command, will be returned. Only errors occurring inside the command will be trapped.
-verbose - (Optional) Temporarily override any message limits and return all messages from this command.
Note: Message limits can be defined with the set_msg_config command.

<patterns> - (Optional) Match cells against the specified patterns. The default pattern is the wildcard '*' which gets a list of all cells in the project. More than one pattern can be specified to find multiple cells based on different search criteria.

Note: You must enclose multiple search patterns in braces, {}, or quotes, "", to present the list as a single element.


The following example uses regular expression to return cells in the BFT example design that match the filter expressions for NAME and REF_NAME. In the first command the NAME is specified in the search pattern, while the second command filters on the NAME property. These commands return the same results:

get_cells -regexp -filter { REF_NAME =~ FD.* } .*validFor.*
get_cells -regexp -filter { NAME =~ .*validFor.* && REF_NAME =~ FD.* }

The following example searches all levels of the hierarchy for cells beginning with cpu, or fft, and joins each cell returned with the newline character to put it on a separate line:

join [get_cells -hier {cpu* fft*}] \n

This example gets a list of properties and property values attached to the second object of the list returned by get_cells:

report_property [lindex [get_cells] 1]
Note: If there are no cells matching the pattern you will get a warning.

This example prints a list of the library cells instantiated into the design at all levels of the hierarchy, sorting the list for unique names so that each cell is only printed one time:

foreach cell [lsort -unique [get_property LIB_CELL [get_cells -hier \
-filter {IS_PRIMITIVE==1}]]] {puts $cell}

The following example demonstrates the effect of -hierarchical searches, without and with -regexp:

get_cells -hierarchical *mmcm*
get_cells -hierarchical -regexp .*mmcm.*
Note: The last two cells (GND and MMCM_Base) were not returned in the first example (without -regexp) because the cell names do not match the search pattern, as it is applied to each level of the hierarchy.

The following example runs the report_drc command on the current design, and returns any cells associated with DRC violations:

report_drc -name drc_1
get_cells -of_objects [get_drc_violations]

The following example find the cells matching the pattern

get_cells -leaf *flip_reg*