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The PCB Editor - Interactive Routing page of the Preferences dialog
The PCB Editor – Interactive Routing page of the Preferences dialog provides numerous controls relating to the functionality of the Interactive Routing feature within the PCB design space.
The PCB Editor – Interactive Routing page is accessed by clicking Interactive Routing under the PCB Editor folder in the main Preferences dialog (accessed by clicking in the top right corner of the design space).
Routing Conflict Resolution
Ignore Obstacles - Select to have the interactive router to allow the track to pass through obstacles while routing.
Push Obstacles - Select to have the Interactive Router move existing tracks out of the way while routing. This mode can also push vias to make way for the new routing. If the system cannot push an obstacle without causing a violation, an indicator appears to show the route is blocked.
Walkaround Obstacles - Select to have the Interactive Router route around existing tracks, pads, and vias while routing. If the system cannot walk around an obstacle without causing a violation, an indicator appears to show the route is blocked.
Stop At First Obstacle - Select to have the Interactive Router stop routing when it encounters the first obstacle in its path.
Hug And Push Obstacles - Select to have the Interactive Router hug existing tracks, pads, and vias as closely as possible while routing and, where necessary, push obstacles to continue the route. If the system cannot hug or push an obstacle without causing a violation, an indicator appears to show the route is blocked.
AutoRoute On Current Layer - Select to enable auto-routing on the current layer. This mode applies autorouter intelligence to the interactive router, automatically selecting between pushing and walking around, to give the shortest overall route length.
AutoRoute On Multiple Layers - Select to enable auto-routing on multiple layers. This mode also applies autorouter intelligence to the interactive router, automatically selecting between pushing, walking around or switching layers, to give the shortest overall route length.
Current Mode - This field displays the current Routing Conflict Resolution mode chosen when using the Interactive Router. Use the associated drop-down to change the mode as required.
The Conflict Resolution Mode applies to interactive routing and dragging. Shift+R can be used to cycle the mode during the current routing or dragging action, with the last used mode being applied the next time you route or drag.
Interactive Routing Options
Automatically Terminate Routing - When enabled, when you complete a route to the target pad, the routing tool does not continue in routing mode from the target pad but instead resets, ready for you to click on the next source pad from which to route. If this option is disabled, after you route to the target pad, the tool will remain in routing mode, using the previous target pad as the source for the next route.
Automatically Remove Loops - Enable to automatically remove any redundant loops that are created during manual routing. This allows you to re-route a connection without having to manually remove redundant tracks. However, there are times when you need to route nets (such as power nets) and you need loops. In this case, you can toggle the Remove Loops option for a selected net by editing its net property from the Edit Net dialog via the PCB panel. The Remove Loops local setting for the specified net overrides this global setting for the same net.
Remove Loops with Vias - Enable to automatically remove loops with vias. Disable this option for vias to remain during loop removal.
Remove Net Antennas - Enable to automatically remove any track or arc end that is not connected to any other primitive and therefore forms an antenna.
Allow Via Pushing - Check this option to allow pushing vias when you are in Push Obstacles or HugNPush Obstacles mode (selected above in Current Mode).
Display Clearance Boundaries - With this option enabled, as you interactively route, the no-go clearance area defined by the existing objects and the applicable clearance rule is displayed as shaded polygons giving you an indication of just how much space you have available for routing.
Reduce Clearance Display Area - By default, all clearance boundaries are displayed, however, you can opt to reduce the clearance display area by enabling this option to only view boundaries that fall within a localized viewing circle.
The display of clearance boundaries is available in all routing modes except Ignore Obstacles.
To help produce routing with the minimum number of corners, the PCB Editor includes a Glossing tool. Glossing is a sophisticated set of algorithms developed specifically to produce cleaner routing and pad entries, that respect the intent of the applicable design rules. Glossing attempts to reduce the path length and also improve the shape of corners and reduce their number, generally resulting in neater routing created from fewer segments.
Gloss Effort (Routed) - has three settings; Off, Weak, and Strong. Use the Ctrl+Shift+G shortcut to cycle through the settings during routing.
Off - In this mode, glossing is essentially disabled. Note, however, that cleanup is still run after routing/dragging occurs to eliminate, for example, overlapping track segments. This mode is typically useful at the end stage of board layout when the ultimate level of fine-tuning is required (for example, when manually dragging tracks, cleaning pad entries, etc.).
Weak - In this mode, a low level of glossing is applied with the Interactive Router considering only those tracks directly connected to or in the area of the tracks that you are currently routing (or tracks/vias being dragged). This mode of glossing is typically useful for fine-tuning track layout or when dealing with critical traces.
Strong - In this mode, a high level of glossing is applied with the Interactive Router looking for shortest paths, smoothing out tracks, etc. This mode of glossing is typically useful in the early stages of the layout process when the aim is to get a large portion of the board routed quickly.
Push and shove interactive routing allows you to push existing routes to make room for a new route. This can sometimes be at the expense of the existing routes; while their new locations might satisfy the design rules, the quality of their placement might be compromised. To help manage this, the interactive routing's glossing tool supports neighbor routes; that is, glossing all existing routes that have been impacted by the push and shove process.
Gloss Effort (Neighbor) - has three settings; Off, Weak, and Strong. Use the Ctrl+Shift+G shortcut to cycle through the settings during routing.
Hugging Style - use the drop-down to choose between the 45 degree, mixed, or rounded hugging styles. This option controls how corner shapes are to be managed during interactive sliding and will affect both the tracks being slid and the tracks being pushed.
Minimum Arc ratio - enter the desired minimum arc ratio. The Minimum Arc Ratio may be applied during any angle interactive routing and also during interactive sliding with MixedHugging style. The ratio is used to determine the minimum radius arc allowed when the arc radius falls below this minimum the arc is replaced by track segments, where Min Arc Radius = Min Arc Ratio x Arc Width.
This setting is not applied during any arc in corner routing or interactive sliding with RoundedHugging style as these modes do not use segmented arcs. Additionally, you can set the Minimum Arc Ratio to 0 (zero) to always use arcs.
Miter Ratio - enter the desired miter ratio, which may be used to control the minimum corner tightness. The Miter Ratio multiplied by the current track width equals the separation between walls of the tightest U-shape that can be routed for that ratio. You may enter a positive value equal to or greater than zero (the x multiplier is added automatically).
Pad Entry Stability - enter the desired level of protection for centered pad entries. The higher the number, the greater protection; '0' gives no protection.
Preserve Angle When Dragging - Enable this option to preserve the angle when dragging. When enabled, select one of the following options:
Ignore Obstacles - Obstacles will be ignored to preserve angle during dragging.
Avoid Obstacles (Snap Grid) - Based on the snap grid, the software will try to avoid obstacles while preserving angles.
Avoid Obstacles - Software will try to avoid obstacles during dragging.
Vertex Actions - choose the desired vertex action to use, which will be seen when clicking and dragging on a vertex. There are specific options that are applied when you click and drag on a vertex rather than a track or arc (the vertex is the corner location where two segments meet). Use the Spacebar shortcut to cycle through the available modes during sliding. The drop-down options include the following:
Deform - break or lengthen the track segments attached to the moving vertex so that the vertex follows the cursor movement.
Scale - hold the corner shape and resize and move the incoming track segments, keeping the vertex attached to the cursor.
Smooth - reshape the corner smoothly, inserting arcs to create a curved corner when dragging inward (in Mixed or Rounded Hugging Style), at every vertex impacted by the sliding process. Also, add arcs when dragging outward in Rounded Hugging Style.
Unselected via/track - Set the default behavior of dragging an unselected via or track to be either a Move or Drag action.
Selected via/track - Set the default behavior of dragging a selected via or track to be either a Move or Drag action.
Component pushing - This field displays the current Component Conflict Resolution mode when moving components within the design space. The following modes are supported:
Ignore - default behavior, where the component can be moved regardless of creating a violation with neighboring component(s). In this mode, the same component clearance checking routines seen in previous versions of Altium NEXUS are used. These routines use the 3D body (if there is one) or the copper and silk primitives to identify an object's clearance.
Push - the component will push other components away to provide compliance with clearances between components. Components in unions can be pushed and the location of components in the union may change but the union will not break. Locked components cannot be pushed. In this mode, components are identified by their selection boundary, which is the smallest possible rectangle that encloses all of the primitives in the component.
Avoid - the component will be forced to avoid violating clearance rules between other components. In this mode, components are identified by their selection boundary, which is the smallest possible rectangle that encloses all of the primitives in the component.
Press the R shortcut key as you move a component to cycle through the Component pushing modes.
Component re-route - check the box to toggle the post-drop connectivity restoration. After the set of objects being moved has been released, the software will attempt to re-route the component(s) to reconnect any broken nets. Use the Shift+R shortcut to inhibit the re-route behavior (disabling the option).
Move component with relevant routing - enable this option to start the move component action with the relevant routing (Components +Via Fanouts +Escapes +Interconnects). Use the Shift+Tab shortcut to cycle the selection set. Disable the option to start the move component action with components only selected. Because the set of relevant routing objects is detected prior to the move commencing, it is not possible to use Shift+Tab to cycle through the selection set when the option is disabled.
up to - when the Move component with relevant routing option is enabled, specify the number of pins. The default value is 2. If a component has more pins than specified in this field, the Move component with relevant routing option will not "work" and relevant routing will not be moved with the component.
Interactive Routing Width Sources
Pickup Track Width From Existing Routes - Enable to use the existing track width when routing from a placed track (i.e. even if the current routing width is different to the existing track, the existing track width will be adopted when you continue the route from it).
Track Width Mode - Choose a track width mode for interactive routing. The available modes are:
User Choice - With this mode enabled, the width is determined from the width selected in the Choose Width dialog, which is accessed by pressing Shift + W while routing.
Rule Minimum- With this mode enabled, the design rule minimum width defined for the current net will be used.
Rule Preferred- With this mode enabled, the design rule preferred width defined for the current net will be used.
Rule Maximum - With this mode enabled, the design rule maximum width defined for the current net will be used.
Via Size Mode - Choose one of the via size modes for interactive routing. The available modes are:
User Choice - With this mode enabled, the via size is determined from the size selected in the Choose Via Sizes dialog, which is accessed by pressing Shift + V while routing.
Rule Minimum - This mode uses the minimum via size rule.
Rule Preferred - This mode uses the preferred via size rule.
Rule Maximum - This mode uses the maximum via size rule.