Altium Designer Documentation

Ensuring Design Integrity with Design Rule Checking (DRC) in Altium Designer

Created: April 20, 2022 | Updated: June 10, 2022

Design Rule Checking (DRC) is a powerful automated feature that checks both the logical and physical integrity of a design. Checks are made against any or all enabled Design Rules and can be made online in real-time as you design or as a batch process, with results listed in the software's Messages panel and a (optional) generated report.

This feature should be used on every routed board to confirm that minimum clearance rules have been maintained and that there are no other design violations. It is particularly recommended that a batch mode design rule check always be performed prior to generating final artwork.

Design rules collectively define the constraints for a board, ensuring that target objects remain within design requirements and tolerances. For more information, see Defining, Scoping & Managing PCB Design Rules. For a detailed reference of all rule types and their constraints, see PCB Design Rule Types.

To learn more about setting up and running a Design Rule Check for your PCB, refer to the Setting Up & Running a DRC page.

To learn more about interrogating and resolving design violations detected during a Design Rule Check, refer to the Interrogating & Resolving Design Violations page.

DRC Validation in an Output Job

Altium Designer provides the ability to define and run a DRC validation report as part of an Output Job Configuration file (*.OutJob). With an OutJob file open as the active document, the report is available from the Validation Outputs grouping of outputs. To add a report, click the [Add New Validation Output] control and choose the Design Rules Check entry and select the PCB document as the source.

To keep things non-specific, a generic entry for the underlying Data Source is available for selection - [PCB Document]. By keeping an OutJob generic, you can effectively maximize its ability to be reused across future design projects.

Add a DRC validation report to an Output Job file.Add a DRC validation report to an Output Job file.

There is no separate configuration dialog for a Design Rules Check validation report. The checking is performed using the settings defined for the PCB document in the Design Rule Checker dialog.

Validation as Part of PCB Design Release

Using validation reports defined in an assigned Output Job file, the software provides the ability to validate designs as an integral part of its board design release process. These validation checks will be performed on every release, and the release will fail if any validation checks are not passed successfully. Validation is run at the Validate Project stage within the Release view with results available at the Review Data stage.

Example of successful validation being run within the Release view, for fabrication and assembly data sets.Example of successful validation being run within the Release view, for fabrication and assembly data sets.

For more information on using the Release view to release your board designs, see Board Design Release.
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