What is the red outline?


As I draw tracks and vias, there are large red outline surrounding each track/via which disappear when they are placed. What are these?


They show the track clearance. You can configure it from DRC settings. I don’t know if you can disable it. Have you tried opengl canvas (View menu), it’s much more advanced.


No, I haven’t tried canvas. I am quite new to the world of EDA suites.

Sometimes I noticed, the program allows me to place tracks and vias even if something else is inside the clearance area.

Is this alright because the program allows it, or will I be facing problems down the road? If it’s alright, then what is the point of showing clearance anyway?

Edit: Just tried canvas. It looks pretty, although I’m not quite sure what I’m seeing.


Program may allow you to do some drawings even though they violate the DRC (Design Rule Check) settings. You should always run the DRC check after you finished routing. Otherwise you may face the problems when you want to manufacture your PCB. DRC settings depend on your PCB manufacturing capability. Even if you are making your own PCB’s at home (etching etc.), it’s a good idea to set appropriate DRC settings and run the checks. This will show you if some tracks/pads are too close or even overlapping. Humans make mistakes easily.

I seriously suggest you to work in OpenGL canvas mode. It will be the default canvas of the Kicad in the future. Look for some videos to learn how to use the interactive router. It’s a life saver.


Thanks for your help and suggestions. Very much appreciated.

PS: Can you point me to any good resources/videos for OpenGL canvas?


Original demo video was actually pretty good:


To see the clearance all the time (in Legacy Canvas) this is the dialog you need to go to:

clearance zones overlapping is fine, but if something (namely copper) of a different net comes inside the zone it won’t place it (unless you disable design rules enforcing).

But yeah, as @hyOzd has mentioned, the OpenGL canvas doesn’t need to show you the clearance as the router code is running all the time in the background when you’re putting down track and does automatically circumvent (if possible) any obstacles while not violating the above statement:
but if something (namely copper) of a different net comes inside the zone it won’t place it.
It’s pretty nifty.