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Altium designer provides capability to place these objects:

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I have used Polygon pour a lot and it is used to create power and ground planes. The question is about the other options. These can also be used to create a region of copper but the design rules of planes do not apply to them e.g they do not repour and do not follow the clearance rules when they are created.

I can see that Fill and Solid Region, both can be used to create a region of copper. I can see what it does, but not why it would be needed. It is not clear why/when someone would need to use these and what design rules apply to them.

Besides this we have rectangle, is this to merely draw something (overlay layer or otherwise) and thus has no other function? It seems to be this way.

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3 Answers 3

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A Rectangle is a non-filled set of connected tracks or lines limited to a rectangle shape (with corner options) which can be drawn on any layer.

A Fill or Solid Region is a solid region similar to a polygon pour except it does not have options for fill style (like hatched), pour sequence, or connection style to vias and pads. These are useful when designing footprints, PCB antennas, and other features for which design rules that would remove any portion of them are not desired. A fill is limited to a rectangular shape while a region is a polygon (but not a polygon pour).

A Polygon Pour is also a solid region that can have an arbitrary number of vertices, but is subject to design rules that remove copper in service of changing how it is filled, how it connects to vias and pads, and how it might have portions removed depending on polygon pour sequence (defined in the Polygon Manager).

Effectively, a rectangle is just a shorthand method for drawing four connected tracks or lines, which may be most useful on a silkscreen layer, but I use them also on assembly notes and drill guide layers to compartmentalize off-board information.

A fill or solid region is most useful when drawing some feature that needs to be exempt from any sort of design rule or automated process. I find this most useful with specific footprint pads, PCB antennas, and sometimes for silkscreen fills where I want a box for placing labels or writing something.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ * Pours create clearances, but don't copy well (need to manually set net). * Fills & Solid Regions don't create clearances, but copy well (inherit nets that they touch). * For multichannel designs, Fills & Solid Regions work well, Pours should be avoided unless you want to do lots of manual net naming. \$\endgroup\$
    – qrk
    May 5, 2023 at 19:51
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Fill is probably a holdover from PCAD or even earlier days; I would recommend Region as it's more general.

Rectangle is more-or-less syntactic sugar for an assembly of lines, I think.

Region is a solid shape, while Polygon obeys clearance rules pouring around different objects (including thermal reliefs).

Regions were also used to craft custom pad shapes; that's also more of an antiquated feature as there are newer pad creation methods.

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There isn't too much of a difference between Fills and polygon pours other than what you mentioned, the polygon pours are able to easily fill an area and you can apply design rules to them.

Fills are good for quick planes that are rectangles for more complex planes you'll need a one of the other two.

Solid regions allow you to draw vertices and are more complex fills, but will follow the vertices and won't redraw for design rules, you can think of them like more complex fills. There is one big difference with solid regions, and that is you can create cutouts and board cutouts with them, the other two can't do that.

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