I'd like to make a PCB but I don't really need a schematic for it (it is just a prototyping board).

I can add components, pads - but I can't add traces (I can start the trace but I can not go to another pad - which is reasonable as there is no net created in schematic).

The second problem is that I can not multiply pads and components: Ctrl-C -> Ctrl-V is not working.

How can I do those things?


I find the way PCB editor doing the Copy-Paste:

  • I pick the component with the mouse
  • Press Ctrl-C (I can use context menu as well)
  • Then I need to pick a reference
  • After that I can press Ctrl-C and add the component easy

Actually this was described in the gray box in the upper left corner of the screen.


I tried different setting and I found that if I press TAB during manual routing I can choose "Ignore obstacles" mode which made me possible to connect the pins (I will just ignore the errors I will definitely get during DRC):

enter image description here

So I'd say that this is not the cleanest way to make the PCBs in general, but it looks OK for my project (a prototyping board).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Try "adding a net". \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 7:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi, @Andyaka! Could you explain how to do this thing? I wasn't able to find anything like this. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 7:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I can't for altium but I suspect you need to add a net before you can route a net. That's how OrCAD layout and mentalgraphics PADs works. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 7:38
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Don't be an idiot. Use a schematic. =P \$\endgroup\$
    – DerStrom8
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 16:03
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ this was helpful: Design a pcb without a schematic in Altium \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 19:49

3 Answers 3


Long story short: You'll be faster (and far less error prone) if you use a schematic

But if you still want to do it the hard way:

  • You have already placed your components, now add nets by clicking Design -> Netlist -> Edit Nets (add two nets for example, one GND and one +5V), then exit the dialog
  • Double click a pad of a component and you will now be able to assign the net
  • Double click a pad of a different component and assign the same net.
  • Altium should now draw a ghost line between those two pads, you can now use the Place -> Track tool to draw a track.
  • \$\begingroup\$ The way you've described is really hard so it will be definitely easier to start with a schematic. Actually I foreseen two possible solutions for my workflow: 1) Edit netlist in any graphical way (add a net in the same way as I do with tracks) 2) Turn off the restriction to draw the track where I need. So is it correct that both ideas are wrong? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 10:21
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @RomanMatveev "Edit netlist in any graphical way" - you can, it's called a schematic. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 13:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please see my UPDATE 2. I found the solution. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 13:29



CLICK (ok)

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Why are you shouting? \$\endgroup\$
    – Transistor
    Commented Feb 13, 2019 at 18:33

In order to place tracks manually, you have to modify the Rules. Select, DESIGN, RULES and on the new window with Rules, select the ELECTRICAL on the left pane and then from the right pane de-select the CLEARANCE and SHORT CIRCUIT (remove the tick from the Enabled box).

This should work fine.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.