Altium NEXUS Documentation

Working with a Track Keepout Object on a PCB in Altium NEXUS

Modified by Susan Riege on Apr 10, 2021
All Contents

Parent page: PCB Objects


A placed Track Keepout

Summary

A track is a primitive design object. As well as the standard track that is used for design tasks, there is a second type of track available, referred to as a track keepout. A track keepout can be placed as a layer-specific keepout object or an all-layer keepout to act, for example, as a placement or routing barrier. The difference between a standard track and a track keepout is that layer-specific keepout-type fills are not included in output generation, such as Gerber or ODB++. A keepout region is identified by having an outline in the Keepout color.

Availability

Track Keepouts are available for placement in both PCB and PCB Library Editors in the following ways:

  • In the PCB Editor - place a track keepout in the following ways:
    • Click Place » Keepout » Track from the main menus.
    • Click the  button in the graphic objects drop-down on the Active Bar menu located at the top of the design space. (Click and hold an Active Bar button to access other related commands. Once a command has been used, it will become the top-most item on that section of the Active Bar.)
  • Right-click then choose Place » Keepout » Track from the context menu.
  • In the PCB Library Editor - place a track keepout in the following ways:
    • Click Place » Keepout » Track from the main menus.
    • Click the  button in the graphic objects drop-down on the Active Bar menu located at the top of the design space. (Click and hold an Active Bar button to access other related commands. Once a command has been used, it will become the top-most item on that section of the Active Bar.)

A track keepout can only be placed on a signal layer or the Keepout layer.

Placement

After launching the command, the cursor will change to a cross-hair and you will enter track keepout placement mode. Placement is made by performing the following sequence of actions:

  1. Click or press Enter to anchor the starting point for the first track keepout segment. If a routing-type placement command is being run and you click to start placement on an existing object, the track keepout will adopt the net name of that object. The width will be determined by the applicable Routing Width design rule, but this can be overridden by certain interactive routing options, which are described in more detail below.
  2. Move the cursor to define the track keepout segment then click or press Enter to anchor the end point for this first segment, which is also the start point for the next connected segment.
  3. Continue to position the cursor then click or press Enter to anchor a series of vertex points that define the series of connected track keepout segments.
  4. Right-click or press Esc to end the current series of connected track keepout segments.

Additional actions that can be performed during placement are:

  • Press the Tab key to pause the placement and access the Keepout - Track mode of the Properties panel from where its properties can be changed on the fly. Click the pause button overlay () to resume placement.
  • Press the * key to cycle through the available signal layers. If performing track keepout placement, a via is automatically added at each signal layer change in accordance with the defined drill pairs and the applicable Routing Via Style design rule. Alternatively, use the Shift+Ctrl+Wheel Roll combination to move through the routing layers; each notch of the mouse wheel will move to the next (or previous) available signal layer.
  • Press the + and - keys on the numeric keypad to cycle forward and backward through all layers currently visible in the design.
While attributes can be modified during placement (Tab to open the Properties panel), keep in mind that these will become the default settings for further placement unless the Permanent option on the PCB Editor – Defaults page of the Preferences dialog is enabled. When this option is enabled, changes made will affect only the object being placed and subsequent objects placed during the same placement session.

Placement Modes

While placing keepout track segments there are five available corner modes, four of which also have corner direction sub-modes. During placement:

  • Press Shift+Spacebar to cycle through the five available corner modes.
  • Press Spacebar to toggle between the two corner direction sub-modes.
  • When in either of the arc corner modes, hold the , or . keys to shrink or grow the arc. Hold the Shift key as you press to accelerate arc resizing.
  • Press the 1 shortcut key to toggle between placing one segment per click or two segments per click. In the first mode, the hollow track segment is referred to as the look-ahead segment.
  • Press the Backspace key to remove the last vertex.

Graphical Editing

This method of editing allows you to select a placed track keepout object directly in the design space and graphically change its size, shape or location.

When a track keepout is selected, the following editing handles are available:

  • Click the end handles to reposition the end points of the track.
  • Click and drag the center handle to change the shape of the track.
If attempting to graphically modify an object that has its Locked property enabled, a dialog will appear asking for confirmation to proceed with the edit. If the Protect Locked Objects option is enabled on the PCB Editor - General  page of the Preferences dialog and the Locked option for that design object is enabled as well, then that object cannot be selected or graphically edited. Click the locked object to select it then disable the Locked property in the List panel or disable the Protect Locked Objects option to graphically edit the object.

Non-Graphical Editing

The following methods of non-graphical editing are available:

Via the Keepout - Track Dialog or Properties Panel

Properties page: Track Keepout Properties

This method of editing uses the associated Keepout - Track dialog and Properties panel to modify the properties of a Track Keepout object. 

  The Keepout - Track dialog on the left, and the Keepout - Track mode of the Properties panel, on the right. 

During placement, the Keepout - Track mode of the Properties panel can be accessed by pressing the Tab key. Once the Track Keepout is placed, all options appear.

After placement, the Keepout - Track dialog can be accessed by:

  • Double-clicking on the placed Track Keepout object.
  • Placing the cursor over the Track Keepout object, right-clicking then choosing Properties from the context menu.

After placement, the Keepout - Track mode of the Properties panel can be accessed in one of the following ways:

  • If the Properties panel is already active, by selecting the Track Keepout object.
  • After selecting the Track Keepout object, select the Properties panel from the Panels button at the bottom right of the design space or select View » Panels » Properties from the main menu.
If the Double Click Runs Interactive Properties option is disabled (default) on the PCB Editor - General page of the Preferences dialog, when the primitive is double-clicked or you right-click on a selected primitive then choose Properties, the dialog will open. When the Double Click Runs Interactive Properties option is enabled, the Properties panel will open. 
While the options are the same in the dialog and the panel, the order and placement of the options may differ slightly. 
Press Ctrl+Q to toggle the units of measurement currently used in the panel between metric (mm) and imperial (mil). This only affects the display of measurements in the panel; it does not change the measurement unit specified for the board, which is configured in the Units setting in the Properties panel when there are no objects selected in the editing design space.

Editing Multiple objects

The Properties panel supports multiple object editing, where the property settings that are identical in all currently selected objects may be modified. When multiples of the same object type are selected manually, via the Find Similar Objects dialog or through a Filter or List panel, a Properties panel field entry that is not shown as an asterisk (*) can be edited for all selected objects.

Editing Via the List Panel

Panel pages: PCB List, PCB Filter, PCBLIB List, PCBLIB Filter

The List panel allows you to display design objects from one or more documents in tabular format, enabling quick inspection and modification of object attributes. Used in conjunction with appropriate filtering - by using the applicable Filter panel, or the Find Similar Objects dialog - it enables the display of just those objects falling under the scope of the active filter – allowing you to target and edit multiple design objects with greater accuracy and efficiency.

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