Altium Designer Documentation


Created: 21.06.2017 | Updated: 16.01.2020
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Parent page: PCB Commands

The following pre-packaged resource, derived from this base command, is available:

Applied Parameters: None


This command is used to switch the display of the PCB workspace to 3D Layout Mode. This is the true, three-dimensional design mode. Combine this display mode with a 3D mouse, such as the Space Navigator from 3Dconnexion, to view and manipulate the loaded, three-dimensional board as if you were holding it in your hand.


This command can be accessed from the PCB Editor and PCB Library Editor by:

  • Choosing the View » 3D Layout Mode command from the main menus.
  • Using the 3 keyboard shortcut.
Use Ctrl+Alt+3 to switch the display of the PCB workspace to 3D Layout Mode and see the same location and orientation of the board as you switch.


After launching the command, the workspace will change to display the board in 3D Layout Mode. This mode offers true, three-dimensional PCB editing. More than simple visualization, Altium Designer's 3D capabilities allow you to:

  • Perform 3D clearance checking - components can be critically aligned with each other and the enclosure, as required.
  • Visually locate connectors and other components requiring access for servicing.
  • Better define manufacturing processes and the order of assembly, knowing all mechanical constraints have been accounted for.
  • Generate more detailed hand assembly instructions, user manuals and instructions using images that are much closer to the reality of what will be seen by a human.
  • Experiment with different colored solder masks in order to create a more aesthetically pleasing product that works well with its enclosure and surroundings.
  • More easily bring key stakeholders onside by presenting them with a more concrete view of the end product.

This mode includes a number of features to help find, identify and manage the display of design content; collectively these features are known as the Board Insight System.

3D Board Insight features include:

  • Single Layer Mode - displays just the current layer; other layers can be hidden, gray-scaled or monochromed (Shift+S to toggle the feature on then cycle through the supported single layer modes). Single layer mode is most useful when combined with a 3D view that utilizes Color By Layer (configured in the 3D Settings section on the View Options tab of the View Configuration panel.) Use the Ctrl+Shift+Wheel Roll keyboard shortcut to step through the layers.
  • Predefined views - when viewing your board in 3D, you can quickly change view, enabling you to appreciate the fruit of your design labor from various popular viewpoints (from the PCB Standard/PCB Lib Standard toolbars).
To offer more engaging, more useful documentation of your board, Altium Designer also provides the ability to generate PCB 3D Video documentation. The content of a PCB 3D Video – or 3D movie, if you prefer – is a sequential set of snapshots of your board (in 3D), referred to as Key Frames. For each subsequent key frame in the sequence, you can adjust zoom-level, pan and rotation directly in the workspace, all relative to the settings for the previous key frame.


  1. To switch to Board Planning Mode or 2D Layout Mode, use the commands of the same name from the main View menu, or use the 1 or 2, keyboard shortcuts respectively.


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