To make the design process easier, it is best to start out with schematics that show exactly how each component is linked. After the schematic is drawn, an electrical rule check points out conflicts and errors. Once finalized, it is usually only a simple click of a mouse in most programs to turn the schematics into a typical circuit layout. The software automatically lays out all the components according to a default pattern. The designer can then move parts or groups of parts onto the virtual board, placing them where desired.
Once the components are laid out, the signal must be routed correctly. Most software allows this to be done manually or can perform routing automatically. This process places the vias (copper pathways) properly. Once connected, the software can test the design, as it will be printed, looking for errors. Components can be moved and edited as needed to create a final design.
A manufacturing plant can turn software design files into a working prototype or begin full-scale production of printed circuit boards immediately. Almatron's approach has always been that "no order is too small." This is especially welcome news for smaller companies who need short to medium-run production quantities from user-created design files.