Altium NEXUS Documentation

Layer Stack Manager

Modified by Susan Riege on Feb 23, 2018

      
The Advanced version (left image) and Simple version (right image) of the Layer Stack Manager dialog

Summary

The Layer Stack Manager dialog allows you to configure the layers of the board. It also allows you to configure drill pairs and the impedance formula editor. Additionally, for Flex-Rigid designs, you can add sub-layer stacks for different board regions.

Access

The Layer Stack Manager dialog can be accessed in the following ways:

  • Click Design » Layer Stack Manager from the main menus.
  • Right-click on a layer tab at the bottom of the workspace then select Layer Stack Manager from the context menu.

Options/Controls

The dialog can be used in two modes: Simple or Advanced. Click the Simple/Advanced button at the lower left to toggle between these two modes.

Simple Mode

In the Simple mode, the dialog provides the features and functionality to manage the layers in the stack for a simple, rigid PCB.

  • Save - use the drop-down to select where to save the layer stack. Choices include: 
    • Save to File - save the layer stack into a Stack-up file (*.stackup).
    • Save to server - save the layer stack data into a revision of a target Layerstack Item in a target server .
  • Load - use the drop-down to select the location from where to load a layer stack. 
    • Load From File - load a layer stack that has previously been saved to a Stack-up file (*.stackup).
    • Load From server - load layer stack data from a revision of a target Layerstack Item in a connected server .
The Load button menu will also present the available (and shared) Layerstack Items in the server to which you are currently signed in.
After choosing either a Stack-Up file or a Layerstack Item from a server, the Merge Layer Stacks dialog opens in which you can control how the layers in the existing stack and the layers in the stack being loaded are to be used.
  • Preset - Altium NEXUS provides reference layer stack settings from Two Layer up to 16 Layer. Use this button to quickly load these presets and apply them to your PCB.
Stackup loading and preset loading is not possible if any of the layers are used on the board.
  • Measurement Unit - use the drop-down to select Metric or Imperial units.
  •  - click to roll layer stack changes backward.
  •  - click to roll layer stack changes forward.
  •  - click to take a screenshot of the current layer stack preview and save a copy of the screenshot to the clipboard. 
  •  - click to copy the selected content to the clipboard. Alternatively, use the shortcut key Ctrl+C. This command also is available from the right-click menu of the Grid Region.
  •  - click to paste the content in the clipboard to the target location. Alternatively, use the shortcut key Ctrl+V. This command also is available from the right-click menu of the Grid Region.
Content from the main table in the Layer Stack Manager can be easily copied and pasted into an external spreadsheet such as Microsoft Excel. Right-click in the table to utilize Copy With Header.
  • Layer Stackup Style - changing the layer stackup style changes the way that the core and prepreg layers are distributed through the layer stack. Defining the stackup style is only required if you plan to use blind and buried vias and for signal integrity analysis. Use this option to select the technology that will be used to build the board. 
Note that this option does not affect the final design of the layer stackup; it is simply used to help select the appropriate type of dielectric layer to add and the location in the stack where it is added when you run the Add Layer command.
  • Custom - in this mode, new layers are added one by one.
  • Layer Pairs
  • Internal Layer Pairs
  • Build-Up
In all modes other than Custom, whenever a signal layer is added, a dielectric layer will also be added. The type and location of dielectric layer added depends on the current number of layers used and the current Layer Stackup Style setting. Note that once a second Layer Stack has been added, the Layer Stackup Style is automatically set to Custom.  
  • Layer Stack Preview - a graphical preview of the current layer stack up is displayed to the right of the main grid region.
  • Grid Region - double-click on editable properties to enter text editing mode or access drop-down menus. Note that not all properties are editable.
    • Layer Name - the name of the layer.
    • Type - displays the type of layer. The layer type is determined when the layer is created.
    • Material - specifies the material. options include: NoneCore, PrepregSurface Material, and Film. The Material may be determined by the layer type.
    • Thickness - specifies the thickness of the layer. Thickness is measured in mm or mil. You can change the unit of measurement used in the dialog by pressing Ctrl+Q.
    • Dielectric Material - specifies the dielectric material.
    • Dielectric Constant - specifies the dielectric constant of the material.
    • Pullback - specify the pullback value for the internal plane.
    • Orientation - specifies the direction of the embedded components in signal layer. Options include: Not AllowedTop, and Bottom
    • Coverlay Expansion - specify the thickness for a custom coverlay. Coverlay is an insulation layer that is cut and laminated onto specific areas of the board. Because of this selective use, custom coverlay also is known as a bikini coverlay.
  • Add Layer - use the drop-down to select and add desired layers, including Signal Layer, Internal Plane, Dielectric Layer, Overlay, and Solder Mask. This control is discussed further in the Advanced Mode section. This command also is available from the right-click menu of the Grid Region.
  • Delete Layer - click to delete the selected layer. This command also is available from the right-click menu of the Grid Region.
There is no confirmation dialog for deleting a layer. Once you click Delete Layer, the selected layer will be deleted immediately.
  • Move Up - click to move the selected layer up one row. This command also is available from the right-click menu of the Grid Region.
  • Move Down - click to move the selected layer down one row. This command also is available from the right-click menu of the Grid Region.
  • Drill Pairs - click to open the Drill-Pair Manager dialog which allows you to configure the required drill pairs for the active layer stack. 
  • Impedance Calculation - click to open the Impedance Formula Editor dialog which allows you to to view and, if required, modify the formulae used to calculate Impedance and Trace Width when using impedance-controlled routing. 
  • Advanced - click to switch to Advanced Mode.​

Advanced Mode

For Rigid-Flex PCBs, the Advanced Mode presents additional controls for adding and managing multiple sub-stacks. 

Stack Layout

  • Layout Overview - shows the graphical preview of multiple sub-stacks in the current design.
  • Add Stack - click to add a new sub-layer stack which can be assigned to different board regions in Flex-Rigid design. This command also is available from the right-click menu of the Layout Overview.
Select an existing layer then click the Add Stack button to add a new layer stack. The properties of the new layer stack will be identical to the source stack.
  • Delete Stack - click to delete a selected sub-layer stack. This command also is available from the right-click menu of the Layout Overview.
  • Show Stacks Option - click to select the stacks you want to show. Choices include:
    • Show All Stacks
    • Show User Stacks
    • Show Managed Stacks
  • Move Left - click to move the selected sub-layer stack to the left. This command also is available from the right-click menu of the Layout Overview.
  • Move Right - click to move the selected sub-layer stack to the right. This command also is available from the right-click menu of the Layout Overview.

Stack Properties

  • Name - specifies the name of the layer stack. Each stack should be named to uniquely identify it. This helps to correctly apply it to a user-defined board region.
  • Flex - enable this option for Rigid-Flex designs. Each stack that is flexible needs to have the Flex option enabled so that required flex bending properties can be applied.
  • Stack In Use - enable to indicate the selected stack is in use in the current design.
  • Managed - enable to set the selected stack layers to be managed.
  • Simple - click to switch to Simple Mode.
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