Loop Removal is a much misunderstood tool, I think, because of the name. It's not that it is named incorrectly, it is that the name just does not convey the power of the option. I don't know what could be done about this except to include a description of Loop Removal in any tutorial or manual describing how to manually route in Protel.

Loop Removal may not always work as one might expect at first, you *can* create loops, especially if you place track that with a new endpoint that is even very slightly off-center of old track (not so easy to do with snap turned on); but one can learn with a little experiment how it does work and use it to drive it successfully. It eliminates the need to delete track that is being rerouted.

With Loop Removal on, new track, when it completes a new route that duplicates an existing route, will cause the existing route to be automatically deleted, including vias. So to move a track from one side of the board to another, simply use Place Interactive to create the new track. If I want to move a track out of the way so that I can place, for example, a via for another route, I can simply draw the detour for the old track. I can do this without leaving my original route because of Protel's command stacking, another feature that is easily overlooked. (in the middle of interactive routing, for example, hit PT and you will start a new interactive route session, the first one is suspended. When you are done with the new session, hit Esc and the first session will be back, with the hanging track just as you left it.)

If the old track does not form a loop with the new, it will be left in place. This is not an antenna removal tool.

But it vastly speeds up manual rerouting. I leave it turned on. For the rare circumstances when I want to create a loop, I can turn it off.

I also leave "Avoid Obstacle" turned on. This allows a form of trace hugging, you can, while routing, bang a trace up against obstacles and generally route to clearance minimum. It does not work for this in all situations. For example, if you had a octagonal loop in place, you can use Avoid Obstacle to draw a new track that hugs the inside of the loop. But you can't use it to exactly hug the outside of the loop, because the way that Protel pulls track as you are drawing it won't hug the outside. (That is, you could bring the track in to approach the outside and thus get one endpoint that is hugging, but then when you try to pull the track around the next vertex of the octagon, you can't get it to hug, it hangs free. But you can see when it disappears, as it will do if you try to place it too close. So you can still get close to outer trace hugging, almost as quickly as with inner hugging.)




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