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How can I route my PCB?

The design can be routed manually or automatically. This is the process of converting the electrical point-to-point connections into physical copper ‘tracks’.

Automatic Routing

The Auto route option is used to convert your nets into electrical tracks as you can with manual routing. However, on dense designs it can save you many hours or days of work. The auto router can often take an unrouted design and route it within minutes.

You can use the auto router in many modes; on All Nets in the design, on Browsed NetsBrowsed Net Classes, on selected nets and on components.


From the Tools menu under Auto Route Nets >, select All Nets

Leave the default settings as they are:

Simply click the Route button at the bottom of the dialog to start the router. This small design will easily route 100%.

The results are quickly displayed:

Click OK to close the report dialog and view the routes.


Manual Routing

DesignSpark PCB has a set of powerful manual routing tools to aid this process. These tools allow you to swap layers, automatically add vias on layer swaps and edit track thickness.


To start adding tracks, double-click on a connection, this is the quickest method to start routing, other methods are available.

Alternatively you can click on icon the left pane menu: 

Click the mouse once, this places the first track segment. This is temporarily ‘locked’ in place for this routing session. It can be moved or edited later on.

Now we will add a track layer change.

Press the ‘L’ key on the keyboard and the Track Layer dialog is displayed. During normal routing where a layer change from one side to the other is required, a simple ‘L’ followed by <Enter> is all that is required. The Enter button is the same as clicking OK on the dialog. In time you will be able to change layers without looking at the dialog.

A via has been added automatically and the track layer is now on the Bottom side. This will be displayed on the Status bar at the bottom of the DesignSpark window.


Once over the target pad, click once to finish the track editing for this connection. Note the track colour is now red again, showing it is on the top layer.

After the track has been added, it can always be modified afterwards by picking and dragging the track or by double-clicking on the track to edit it.



See Also

How can I change routing modes?



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