Free Trials

Download a free trial to find out which Altium software best suits your needs

How to Buy

Contact your local sales office to get started on improving your design environment


Download the latest in PCB design and EDA software

  • Altium Designer

    Complete Environment for Schematic + Layout

  • CircuitStudio

    Entry Level, Professional PCB Design Tool

  • CircuitMaker

    Community Based PCB Design Tool


    Agile PCB Design For Teams

  • Altium 365

    Connecting PCB Design to the Manufacturing Floor

  • Altium Concord Pro

    Complete Solution for Library Management

  • Octopart

    Extensive, Easy-to-Use Component Database

  • PDN Analyzer

    Natural and Effortless Power Distribution Network Analysis

  • See All Extensions

    World-Renowned Technology for Embedded Systems Development

  • Live Courses

    Learn best practices with instructional training available worldwide

  • On-Demand Courses

    Gain comprehensive knowledge without leaving your home or office

  • Altium 365 Viewer

    View & Share electronic designs in your browser

  • Altium Designer 20

    The most powerful, modern and easy-to-use PCB design tool for professional use


    Annual PCB Design Summit

    • Forum

      Where Altium users and enthusiasts can interact with each other

    • Blog

      Our blog about things that interest us and hopefully you too

    • Ideas

      Submit ideas and vote for new features you want in Altium tools

    • Bug Crunch

      Help make the software better by submitting bugs and voting on what's important

    • Wall

      A stream of events on AltiumLive you follow by participating in or subscribing to

    • Beta Program

      Information about participating in our Beta program and getting early access to Altium tools

    All Resources

    Explore the latest content from blog posts to social media and technical white papers gathered together for your convenience


    Take a look at what download options are available to best suit your needs

    How to Buy

    Contact your local sales office to get started improving your design environment

    • Documentation

      The documentation area is where you can find extensive, versioned information about our software online, for free.

    • Training & Events

      View the schedule and register for training events all around the world and online

    • Design Content

      Browse our vast library of free design content including components, templates and reference designs

    • Webinars

      Attend a live webinar online or get instant access to our on demand series of webinars

    • Support

      Get your questions answered with our variety of direct support and self-service options

    • Technical Papers

      Stay up to date with the latest technology and industry trends with our complete collection of technical white papers.

    • Video Library

      Quick and to-the-point video tutorials to get you started with Altium Designer

    Time-Saving Technologies for Your PCB Routing Workflow

    Charles Pfeil
    |  February 21, 2017


    Whether you’re new to electronics design or have thirty years under your belt, most engineers agree: interactive routing is the most challenging and tedious task in the PCB design process. Experienced designers enjoy the challenge, applying their creative puzzle-solving talents to win the many battles and ultimately the war. Designers who are new to the task and those who would rather focus on other aspects of design wind up struggling in execution. Yet, everyone eventually gets weary of the tedium.

    Some of the most routing challenges include managing where the routes are placed, ordering escapes out of pin/via arrays, making routing more efficient, and fulfilling high speed and fabrication concerns. Imagine how much more you could accomplish if routing your board took minutes instead of hours. What if you could route your entire board more efficiently while saving precious time and resources?

    High-Performance, Guided PCB Routing Technology

    ActiveRoute® for Altium ® is an interactive routing method that applies high levels of user-controlled automation while producing high-quality results in a very short time. The purpose of is to diminish the challenge of routing, eliminate the tedium, and increase productivity significantly.


    In the context of interactive routing tools, one unique aspect of is that it can route on multiple layers simultaneously. This is important to obtain efficient routing, to follow the ’s planning and to achieve fast performance.

    By default, if no layers are chosen in the panel, the routing occurs on just the layer. However, if multiple layers are chosen in the panel, will distribute the routes fairly evenly across those layers.

    Multiple Layers Routed Simultaneously. Layer 1 (Green) Has 48 Routes & Layer 4 (Blue) Has 44.

    Since can perform over multiple layers, when there is any difficulty routing a particular connection on one layer, it can immediately try it on one of the other layers. The result is that the route will be more direct. Plus, time will not be wasted trying it over and over on the same layer only to complete it with excessive meandering or simply failing.

    The Future of PCB Routing

    Traditionally, the routing process requires considerable time and effort from even the most experienced designers. changes the paradigm for interactive routing by enabling the user to significantly accelerate their workflow by quickly routing multiple layers with plenty of time to spare for fine tuning.

    Interested to find out more about in Altium 17? Download the free technical white paper in Altium  and see what else is new in Altium 17 today.

    Check out Altium in action...

    Fast and High-Quality Routing

    About Author

    About Author

    Charles was in the PCB industry over 50 years as a designer, owner of a service bureau, and worked in marketing and/or engineering management at Racal-Redac, ASI, Cadence, PADS, and VeriBest (which was acquired by Mentor Graphics in 1999) and Altium.

    Prior to Altium, he was an Engineering Director at Mentor Graphics, focused on advanced product development. Charles was the original product architect for Expedition PCB, and an inventor of Team PCB, XtremePCB, XtremeAR and the Sketch Router. He also wrote a design book titled, "BGA Breakouts and Routing".

    Inducted into the PCB Design Hall of Fame in May of 2013, by the UP Media Group for his contributions to PCB design software, Charles is widely regarded as an industry guru. Now officially retired, Charles spends his time creating beautiful photography.

    most recent articles

    Back to Home