Parent page: Working with Panels
Display related settings are configured in the View Configuration panel.
The View Configuration panel is used to configure what is currently displayed in the design space and how it is displayed. This includes layer visibility and color, object visibility and transparency, masking and dimming levels, the current single layer mode, and a number of additional design space display features, such as the display of net names on pads, via and tracks.
The panel is also used to add mechanical layers to the design, an unlimited number of mechanical layers can be added. Mechanical layers can also be paired in the View Configuration panel to function as special-purpose Component Layers, for roles such as component courtyards or glue dots.
The panel is accessed from the PCB editor in the following ways:
- Click View » Panels » View Configuration.
- Click the button at the bottom-right of the design space then select the View Configuration option.
- Click the color swatch on the Layer Sets control at the bottom left of the design space.
- Press the L shortcut key to open the panel with the Layers & Colors tab displayed.
- Press the Ctrl+D shortcut keys to open the panel with the View Options tab displayed.
Content and Use
The panel content is divided into two tabs. Click on a tab at the top of the panel to display the options available on that tab:
- Layers and Colors tab – includes options to control the visibility of available layers, and add, rename or delete mechanical layers.
- View Options tab – includes options to select, save or load the Configuration of layer colors/visibility, configure the visibility of object-types, control the masking and dimming levels, and configure other display related options.
Within each tab, the content is arranged in collapsible sections that are opened and closed using the arrow icon associated with each section heading. The information included is arranged by matching sections and each collapsible section is opened/closed in the same manner. The options that are available will depend on the current Layout Mode.
Setting the Color
Each layer includes a small color button; click to display the color selector.
The panel includes:
- A grid of 10 x 8 predefined color buttons. Click a button to select that color.
- A Custom Color row of up to ten custom colors.
Custom colors can be defined by performing the following:
- Click Define Custom Colors to expand the color palette to also display the Custom Color Palette.
- Use the horizontal slider in the center of the Custom Color Palette to select a base color then click anywhere on the palette to brighten or darken that color.
- Alternatively, enter the Hex or RGB values into the appropriate fields in the Custom Color Palette.
- Click the Apply button to add the new color to the Custom Color row and apply that color to the layer being edited.
Displaying or Hiding a Layer
Each layer or system attribute (such as selections or DRC errors), can be displayed or hidden. Click the visibility icon () to toggle the visibility off and on.
Manage layer visibility using the visibility icons
Where appropriate, each group also includes a visibility icon (). For example, in the image above:
- To the left of the string Component Layers (C) there is a visibility icon; click this to toggle the visibility of all component layers on/off.
- To the left of the string Top there is a visibility icon; click this to show/hide all top side component layers. The Bottom side layers can also be displayed/hidden in the same way.
Controlling Visibility from the Keyboard
In a busy PCB design, layers are often toggled on and off during the design process. To help with this, layer visibility can be changed using keystrokes in the following way:
- Press the L shortcut to display/make the Layers & Colors tab of the View Configuration panel active. The panel's title bar will become colored indicating that it is the active element in the software.
- Press the appropriate Shortcut key on the keyboard to access a layer or set of layers; the shortcut key is displayed in parentheses next to each layer or layer set. For example, the C shortcut in the image above accesses the Component Layer set of layers.
- If you have accessed a set of layers, press Spacebar to toggle the visibility of all layers in that set.
- If you have accessed a layer, its visibility will toggle immediately and the Spacebar can then be used to toggle it again.
- Press the Up or Down arrow keys to move up or down through the list, for example, to access a specific mechanical layer or a pair of component layers. You can then use the Spacebar to toggle the visibility of that layer/layer pair.
Permanently Display a Layer in the Single Layer Mode Display
To include a layer in the Single Layer Mode display, perform a Ctrl+Click on the eye icon associated with the desired layer to add that layer into Single Layer Mode display; a square will appear behind the eye icon () to denote that layer will be permanently displayed in Single Layer Mode.
Layers & Colors Tab
The Layers section of the panel's Layers and Colors tab
- Signal and Plane Layers – click the color button to change that layer's color, as described previously in the Displaying or Hiding a Layer section. Click the visibility icon () to toggle the display of an individual signal or plane layer. Signal and Plane layers are added, named, and removed in the Pad-Via Layer Editor dialog.
- Component Layer Pairs – these layers are paired so that when a component is flipped from the top side to the bottom side of the board (L shortcut as a component is being moved), the software can flip the top side layer contents onto their paired bottom side layers. User-defined component layer pairs can be defined using Mechanical layers.
- Mechanical Layers – these are general purpose drawing layers. These layers can also be paired and when paired, they become a Component Layer Pair. Component Layer Pairs are used for special-purpose roles, for example, glue dots, or 3D component bodies. To rename a mechanical layer, right-click on it to open the Edit Layer dialog from the context menu.
- Other Layers – these are system managed layers, for example, objects placed on the multi-layer automatically appear on all signal layers, and objects placed on the keepout layer act as a keep-clear boundary on all signal layers.
- Layers Sets – use the drop-down to select an existing Layer Set. The following buttons are used to create, save, and delete Layer Sets:
- – click to create a new Layer Set. The set will appear as My Layers in the drop-down. Each subsequent Layer Set added will be numbered.
- – click to save when you create a new Layer Set or if you have edited the currently selected Layer Set. The creating and renaming of a Layer Set do not require a save action, as those functions save automatically. Changing the configuration of enabled layers, including your own Layer Set, does require a save action.
- – click to delete the currently selected Layer Set.
- Active Layers – use the drop-down to view one of the various Active Layers on the PCB individually.
- View From Bottom Side – check this box to view the Layer Sets from the bottom side.
- Import – click to import the desired PCB Layer Set File
- Export – click to export the desired Layer Set as a PCB Layer Set File
To configure and edit a pair of mechanical layers as a Component Layer Pair:
- Right-click anywhere in the Layers region of the Layers & Colors tab, then select Layer Stack Manager to open the Layer Stack Manager. Here, you can assign a name or comment to a Layer, add Stack Symmetry and Library Compliance for a board, and view the number of Layers, Dielectrics, Conductive Thickness, Dielectric Thickness, and Total Thickness of the board.
- Right-click anywhere in the Layers region of the Layers & Colors tab, then select Add Component Layer Pair from the context menu. A new mechanical layer will be automatically added to the bottom of the Component Layer Pairs (C) section.
Right-click anywhere in the Layers region of the Layers & Colors tab, then select Add Mechanical Layer from the context menu. A new mechanical layer will be automatically added to the Mechanical Layers (M) section.
Adding a mechanical layer
- Right-click or double-click on a Mechanical Layer to open the Edit Layer dialog. A Mechanical Layer may reside in the Component Layer Pairs (C) or Mechanical Layers (M) section. When a Mechanical Layer is renamed, the Edit Layer dialog's name will also reflect the name of the Mechanical Layer. For instance, if
Mechanical Layer 15 is being edited, the Edit Layer dialog will be displayed as Edit Layer Mechanical Layer 15 when windowed. When accessing the Edit Layer dialog, you may edit:
- Layer Name – use this text box to rename the Mechanical Layer.
- Layer Number – use this text box to manually input the desired Layer Number. If the number is unavailable, an exclamation point () will appear, and an available Layer Number will need to be selected to continue.
- Layer Type – use this drop-down to select the Layer Type in which you'd like the Mechanical Layer to reside. The chosen Layer Type will then appear in parenthesis alongside the name of the Mechanical Layer.
Any number of Mechanical Layers can be added to the PCB. Mechanical Layers also support defining the Layer Number and setting the Layer Type. There are two sets of Layer Type options, a set for individual mechanical layers, and a set for Layer Pairs, as shown below.
Editing a mechanical layer
Editing a component layer pair
As with other component layers, the software will automatically prepend the word
Bottom to the name to distinguish to which layer the pair is being referred.
To delete a layer, you can right-click on the desired layer and select Delete Layer. Depending on how the layer is being utilized, you will come across three options:
If the layer can not be deleted because it contains component primitives that cannot be removed, an error pop-up will appear to alert you that the action cannot be completed.
If the layer is associated with primitives that can be removed, a pop-up will appear to ask for confirmation of the deletion.
- If the layer is not associated with primitives, it will be deleted immediately upon clicking Delete Layer without confirmation.