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Hands-On PC Board Design For Beginners; Pt.2

Using the basic features of Autotrax and creating a simple PC board design. There's also info on creating your own component libraries.

By Peter Smith

Both the mouse and keyboard can be used to navigate the menu structure and edit board layouts within Autotrax. In practice, you’ll use a combination of both. Let’s see how it works.

The main menu is displayed by pressing <Enter> or clicking <Left Mouse>. Selections within the menu are then made either with mouse movement or with the arrow keys. To exit the menu at any point, hit <Esc> or click <Right Mouse>.

It is also possible to navigate the menus by simply keying in the first character of the desired entry. For example, pressing <F> <Q> <Y> in sequence is equivalent to selecting File -> Quit -> Yes from the menu.

A number of often-used menu items can also be accessed using control keys. For example, holding down <Ctrl> and pressing <P> jumps to Current -> Pad Type.

A list of the commonly used shortcut keys appears in Table 1.

Table 1: Handy Shortcuts
Key SequenceCommand
<Ctrl + G>Current -> Grid
<Ctrl + P>Current -> Pad Type
<Ctrl + Q>File -> Quit
<Ctrl + S>Current - String Size
<Ctrl + T>Current -> Track Width
<F1>Place -> Pad
<F2>Delete -> Pad
<F3>Place -> Track
<F4>End Track
<F5>Zoom -> Contract
<F6>Zoom -> Expand
<F7>Move -> Re-Route
<F8>Delete -> Track
<F10>Zoom -> All
<+>, <-> and <*> keys on the numeric keypad can be used to cycle between defined layers.

Note that once selected, editing functions (such as pad/track placement) remain active until after you’ve hit the <Esc> key or clicked <Right Mouse>. However, you can switch active layers with the <+> and <-> keys on the numeric keypad or change the zoom level with <Z> even while in edit mode.

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