How to Improve Your Routing Techniques

August 5, 2016 Charles Pfeil

routing techniques and how to improve examples

With the routing process being one of the most time-consuming board layout tasks, designers need as many tools as possible for today’s complex design requirements. But with board layouts incorporating broad support of component, signal and fabrication technologies in increasingly smaller comoponents enclosure sizes, how can we ever automate this time-consuming process?

Improved Design Efficiency

Routing software has evolved throughout the years, adding more functionality to make the process less laborious and inefficient. There are three features that illustrate the depth of functionality available to the modern electronics designer:

Dynamic Clearance Boundaries are a useful tool when routing through congested components areas. The clearance boundary feature not only shows the available channels, but also puts a web in the spaces where the printed corciot trace will not fit.


Pin Swapping while routing allows you to swap the pins as part of the routing task with the Subnet Swapping function. This can be more effective than swapping pins before routing because the optimal order isn’t necessarily the one with no connection crossovers.


Tune Accordions can be added to your PCB routing techniques. As you move your cursor through that area, this tool will automatically fill the available area and precisely tune your traces.


Designers need as many tools as possible to meet today’s printed circuit complex design requirements. With routing being a particularly labor-intensive aspect of the design process, these printed circuit tools aim to improve the experience and increase efficiency.

Interested in learning more about how these interactive routing tools can help save time on your design process? Download our free PCB Tools Breadth and Depth Part 1 – Interactive Routing whitepaper today.

About the Author

Charles Pfeil

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.

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