Applied Parameters: None
This command is used to access the Design Rule Checker dialog in which you can configure design rule checking for the board. 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 during design, or as a batch process (with an optional 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 is always performed prior to generating final artwork.
This command is accessed from the PCB Editor by choosing the Tools » Design Rule Check command from the main menus.
After launching the command, the Design Rule Checker dialog will open. In the folder-tree pane on the left side of the dialog, each of the design rule categories, whose rule types can be checked, are listed under the Rules To Check folder. Click on a category to list all associated design rule types in the main editing window of the dialog. Click on the root folder to list all design rule types across all categories. Use the dialog to enable/disable Online and/or Batch Mode checking for each rule type you wish to check.
When setting up a batch-mode DRC, various additional options can be defined by clicking on the Report Options folder in the folder-tree pane of the dialog. Two key options are:
- Create Report File - enable this option to generate a DRC report.
- Create Violations - enable this option to have violations highlighted in the workspace in accordance with defined violation disaplay settings. This option is also required to have violations appear listed in the Violations region of the PCB Rules And Violations panel.
A batch-mode DRC is initiated by clicking the Run Design Rule Check button at the bottom-left of the dialog. After the check has completed, all violations are listed as messages in the Messages panel. If you opted to do so, a DRC report will be created and is automatically opened (if configured to do so) as the active document in the main design window. The report lists each rule that was tested as specified in the Design Rule Checker dialog. Rules that are not present in the design are not tested.
- Online Design Rule Checking runs in the background, in real-time, flagging and/or automatically preventing design rule violations. This is especially helpful when manually routing to immediately highlight clearance and width violations. To turn on the online DRC feature, enable the Online DRC option on the PCB Editor - General page of the Preferences dialog.
- Whereas Online DRC only detects new violations - violations that are created after the feature is enabled - Batch DRC allows a check to be manually run at any time during the board design process. So, while good designers know the value of the Online DRC, they also know that board design should begin and end with a Batch DRC.
- When running an Online or Batch DRC, any rule violations will be listed in the Violations region of the PCB Rules And Violations panel.
- Management of how DRC violations are displayed when running a batch DRC - using custom violation graphics and/or a defined violation overlay - is performed on the PCB Editor - DRC Violations Display page of the Preferences dialog. By default, the Violation Details display style is enabled for all rule types, and the Violation Overlay Style display is enabled only for Clearance, Width and Component Clearance rules.
- Altium Designer includes a waive DRC Violation feature that allows you to selectively waive any DRC violation.
- To give further flexibility when displaying rule violations in the workspace, the two violation display types - violation details (custom violation graphics) and violation overlay - have separate associated system colors. This allows you to differentiate between the two using different, distinct colors. Color assignment is performed in the System Colors section on the Layers & Colors tab of the View Configuration panel:
- Violation Details – uses the Violation Markers system color (for waived violations using this display style, uses the Waived Violation Markers system color).
- Violation Overlay – uses the DRC Error Markers system color (for waived violations using this display style, uses the Waived DRC Error Markers system color).
- After running a Batch DRC, double-clicking on a violation message in the Messages panel will cross-probe to the object(s) causing that violation in the workspace.
- Violations associated with a particular design object can be interrogated directly within the PCB workspace. Position the cursor over an offending object, right-click then choose a command from the Violations sub-menu. Either choose to investigate an individual violation in which the object is involved or choose to view all violations in which it is involved using the Show All Violations command. In each case, the Violation Details dialog will open and provides detailed violation information and controls for highlighting and jumping to the offending object(s).