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The Ultimate Guide to Altium Keep-Out Layer

A user-defined region or perimeter included in the design and which copper items cannot intersect is known as a “Keep out” in the design of PCB. A Keepout is frequently used to restrict the region. It utilizes automatic copper placement procedures like interactive routing and polygon pours. It also designates an improper position when copper items are placed manually.

Keepout objects employ the current Clearance Constraint Regulations to regulate routing and identify positioning violations as designated “no go” zones during design layout; however, unlike other inserted objects, they cannot be allocated to something like a Net, nor are they displayed in produced printouts or Outputs. In the most basic sense, a Keepout functions as such an “interference” item that, in accordance with the worldwide Clearance Rule, prohibits other copper items from overlapping its region.

Through its feature of support for Item Specific Keepouts, Altium Designer makes it possible to create and use Keepouts. It is possible to arrange placed Keepout items to only apply to specific types of objects, including tracks, copper regions, pads, and vias, greatly enhancing the efficiency and flexibility of Keepouts.

Cross-hatching displays Keepout items in the Printed Circuit Board Library Editor and PCB. Keepout objects assigned to a Keep-Out Layer. It displays inside the Keep-Out Layer hue. But Keepouts are set to a particular signal layer. It displays in the hue of this specific Layer.

Keepouts are perfect for designating non-routable circuit board areas like mechanically incompatible parts like mounting holes and the edges of a Circuit, high voltage regions, or electrically sensitive, especially exposed copper spots as in Test Points and Fiducials. After particular Keepout Limitations have been given, the flexible nature of Item Specific Keepouts additionally enables them to also be put across other objects. To limit the scope of automatic Via Stitching, a Keep out sometimes puts over already-existing copper sections like a Polygon Pour when it configures to restrict solely via.

What Is Altium Keep-Out Layer?

First off, Altium is a comprehensive PCB layout software suite that houses several design tools on one platform. The most recent edition of Altium, Designer-20, is a product of several years of invention and development. It aims at creating genuinely integrated design tools. Because of this, the software enables users to make effective use of all aspects of the PCB design process.

Altium is now among the most used Circuit Board design tools, praised for its superb mix of control and use. A user-friendly interface created by Altium’s creators puts all of the system’s capabilities at their fingertips. Broadly speaking, Altium Designer aids PCB engineers in bringing their imagination to life.

The workspace for Altium Designer consists of two essential parts:

  • The very first is Altium Designer’s primary content editing location. It appears on the very right side of the program.
  • The Workplace Panels make up the second location. In addition, some panels spring out from the right side of the tool, most float, while others hide in Altium. Some panels dock on the very left portion of the application.

Placing Altium Keep-Out Layers

Using the Place to Keepout menu, a Keepout is then added to the editor’s design area, where the selected Keepout style, like its Track, Region, Fill, or Arc, is applied to the currently operating Layer. To change the Keepout’s physical attributes, Layer, or item type limitations, choose Properties. These Keep out characteristics are related:

The Keepout Layer is determined by the Banned for Layer, which determines the circuit layer as to which Copper Items are Limited. Choose the Keep-Out Level to create an all-layer keep-out.

Keepout Restrictions specify which object kinds are going to be constrained mostly due to Keepout. By not enforcing the relevant Clearance Rule, deselecting a type of object will result in the Keepout, allowing infractions by that kind of object (which is not specifically kept out).



The following options are available for placing Track Keepouts in PCB and Circuit Library Editors:

Insert a track or trace keep out within PCB Editor using the following methods:

  • From the main menus, select Location, Then Keep out, Then Track.
  • In the Active Bar menu, which places at the right top of the layout area, select the button in the drop-down menu for graphic objects. (Hold down a button on the Active Bar for additional related commands. Once the command invokes, It will rise to the top of that portion of an Active Bar.)
  • Right-click, From a context menu, select Place, Then Keepout, and Then Track.

Insert a track or trace keep out inside the Circuit Library Editor in any of the following methods:

  • Choose Location, Then Keep out, and ThenTrack from the primary menus.
  • The Active Bar button of the menu is positioned at the very top of the layout area in the drop-down menu for graphic elements. (Hold down a button on the Active Bar to access associated commands. After a command invokes, it rises to the top of that portion of an Active Menu.)


 As the command executes, the cursor transforms into a crosshair. Then add tracks and keep out placing mode. The steps that follow are used to determine placement:

  • To set the beginning of the initial track, keep out portion; Press or Click Enter. Drag the mouse to create the track keep out section, then click Enter to fix the endgame of this initial part. It also serves as the start node for the subsequently linked segment.
  • Keep moving the mouse to create the associated track and keep-out sections. Then click Enter to attach a set of vertex nodes.
  • To stop the current chain of the linked track, keep out sections, right-click or hit Esc.

In addition, do the following during placement:

  • To stop the placement but also open the Keepout. Track the option of the Options menu using a Tab key. From there, you may quickly modify the placement’s characteristics. To continue placement, press the stop button overlay ().
  • To switch between the usable signal layers, use the * key. Instead, you may use Shift+Ctrl+Wheel Spin to navigate the routing levels. Each click of a mouse scroll wheel will take you to the following or prior signal layer that is now accessible.
  • To cycle among all exposed signal layers, including the Keepout plane, press the + or – buttons on the number pad.

Altium Keep-Out Layer Placement Modes

There are five corner modes that uses while building keep-out track segments. While four of them also include corner directional sub-modes. 

  • During placing: Press Shift+Spacebar to choose between the five corner options that are available.
  • To switch between the corner orientational sub-modes, use the Spacebar.
  • Pressing the. Or, keys while using any of the curve corner modes will cause the arc to either grow or decrease. To hasten arc resizing, press and hold the Shift button.
  • To choose between inserting one part per click and two parts per click, use the shortcut key 1. The look-ahead section refers to the empty track section in the initial mode.
  • To eliminate the final vertex, hit the Backspace button.

Graphical Editing

Using this editing technique, you can choose a track to keep out the item that has been put in the layout area. You can also visually modify its shape, size, or placement.

The subsequent editing interfaces are accessible once track keeps out is chosen:

  • To move the track’s endpoints, touch the endpoint handles.
  • To alter the track’s shape, hit and then drag the middle handle.

Non-Graphical Editing

There are several non-graphical editing techniques accessible.

· Editing through the Altium Keep-Out Layer- Properties Panel 

  • This technique of editing employs the affiliated Keepout. Properties panel and Track dialog to change the attributes of the Track Keepout item.
  • Using the Tab key during placement will bring up the Properties panel’s Keepout – Track mode. All choices become available after placing the Track Keepout.

When the Track or Route Keepout object has been installed, it is possible to 

  • Double-click the Track or Route Keepout item after installation.
  • Hovering the mouse pointer above the Track or Route Keepout item and selecting

Properties via Context Menu

The following methods use to access the Keepout – Route or Track mode of the attributes or Properties panel after placement:

  • Choosing the Track or Route Keepout object if, by any chance Properties tab is already open.
  • After choosing the Track or Route Keepout object, choose View, Then Panels, And Then Properties panel from the menu bar. Or click the Panels icon in the Right bottom corner of the layout space to see the Properties panels.

Editing Multiple Objects

Multiple object modification supports by the Properties or Characteristics panel. It allows you to change the settings of properties. A field input in the Properties Menu does not indicate through an asterisk (*) for all chosen objects that can be changed. When various same object kinds select manually, using the Find Identical Objects dialogue, or via List panel or Filter.

Tips From Altium Designer – How To Prevention Design Errors Altium Keep-Out Layer

Some engineers lack a strong background in PCB design. This prevents them from fully understanding certain of the software’s settings and choices. It also prevents them from knowing how PCBs process. There are frequently a number of issues, or the Circuit manufacturer processes the information using the traditional approach. It is unable to grasp the design goal. Let’s look at a few of the mistakes that are simple to commit.

  1. The KEEPOUT layer, or mechanical Layer, shows the board’s form and the non-metalized slot. You must not choose the KEEPOUT checkbox. Choose the checkbox to restrict wiring.
  2. The Multilayer Layer PCB has mechanical slots and holes installed in it. The 3D schematic has holes and slots due to the cutout character, yet the GERBER might not be produced regularly. This leads to leaks. To construct a clear line, it is advisable to place it under the KEEPOUT or mechanical Layer. Avoid selecting the KEEPOUT choice, please.
  3. Neither the high nor the low editions are part-time. The square hole shows in place of the square slots. Using the circular drill, the insert’s slot or hole is there. Thus, the square grooves and also the square holes cannot be formed. A hole in the GERBER data file is round.
  4. Owing to the several editions of the AD program, inversions frequently arise in every iteration. The fact that the premium version isn’t even functional with the cheap version is absurd. Yes, you are correct that the “premium version might not be appropriate with the cheap version.” Thus, we advise customers to generate the GERBER format file. Check it, and afterward, make their purchase. If they choose not to do so, please remember to identify the design software version while doing so.




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