Any way to make the screen more understandable?


While designing my test pcb,after placing the ground plane, it looks like hard ( atleast for me, I don’t have much experience with that, sorry) in understanding the actual design. After reading some posts about copper pour configuration I noticed that a lot of them their copper area is not opaque at all, letting them read what is under it.
Could someone help me with that?

Another newbie question, if there is a reference text with Silkscreen layer and above it there is a track (you can see that in the image), does the track have priority? i.e, will the silkscreen cause any problem in the manufacturing for being below the track?

EDIT: Similar to that, the limits of the footprint indicated with the Crtyd layer are covered with the ground plane, but I supposed that there is no problem because it won’t be printed on the pcb and the component will be above it.

Thanks for your time!

I think that “do not show filled areas in zones” button on the left panel is what you’re looking for.

look at the difference:

Shouldn’t be a problem, because tracks are made from copper on fiberglass (for example) substrate and isolated with solder mask, whereas Silkscreen is printed above and doesn’t interrupt electrical signals.

you can set active layer as from either of the following to bring it front of copper layer


You can also set a transparency value, by double-clicking on the color swatch for the layer in the layer list. This will allow you to set both the color and opacity.

IIRC the default is somewhere around 60%, but some projects have fully opaque layers for some reason. Since it’s saved in the project file, the opacity sticks with the project until changed.

I haven’t started a project in v5 recently, but I recall in the modern toolset has historically been defaulting to 100% opaque.

Also, for the OP @marc1996, the square bracket keys allow you to dynamically adjust the opacity of the current active layer, but that isn’t a persistent setting. Follow @GyrosGeier’s suggestion of double clicking the color swatch to set a persistent opacity. The currently active layer is what has priority to be “on top” for viewing, which is what @apurvdate was getting to in his reply,

The order of layer precedence on your display (i.e., which layer appears to be “on top” of other layers) has no relationship to how the board will be manufactured. There is a fundamental assumption that a substrate material (usually fiberglass) will be in the middle of the fabricated board. Copper will be placed on both top and bottom surfaces (for a “two-layer” board). The whole board - except for certain specific areas, such as pads where parts will be soldered in place - will be coated with “solder mask” (also called solder resist). Silk screen (also called “legend”) will be placed last. Finally, a high-speed router bit will follow the “Edge.Cut” line (also called “Outline”). The cut is almost always made to the center of the Edge.Cut contour, though a few fabricators may still route to either the inner, or outer, edge of the edge.cut line.

The Gerber file format intrinsically supports this fabrication process, since each Gerber file contains information for only one “layer” of the design. The Gerber file for, say, top silkscreen contains ALL of the information for the top silkscreen layer, and ONLY information for that layer - regardless of how the layers may be displayed in the program window. This fabrication process is a fundamental, underlying assumption between the designer and the board fabricator. Sort of like buying a tire - both you and the tire seller assume the tire will be basically round, without any corners on the tire.

The other layers, such as “Courtyard”, “ECO”. “Paste”, etc, are generally irrelevant to fabrication of the basic board. The “Paste” layers contain information for creating stencils used when depositing solder paste during reflow soldering of a populated PCB assembly. “Courtyard” is generally used to guide the board designer when placing components near to each other - the information on “Courtyard” depends on the exact process used to populate and solder the complete PCB assembly. There are other threads on this Forum where users discuss how they use the remaining layers (Dwgs, ECO, etc.).



Very nice writeup. Linked to it from the FAQ post: What is the meaning of the layers in pcb_new and in the footprint editor? (Which has some additional more detailed info for OP)

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I will accept that as an honor!

I keep forgetting that, in addition to the “Help” file and some well-done (though now out-of-date) tutorials, the Forum “FAQ” articles assemble some of the best advice from the Forum into one location.


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Thanks to everyone!

With your post @dchisholm I learned a lot. Thanks for your explanation

I think also that changing the value of the Opacity helps me to make it more understandable.
I had it at 100%, now changed it to 60%.

Thanks to everyone, I keep learning a lot every day in this forum.


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