[Developer Feedback] Poll: layer manager


Hey, I just want to quickly collect some feedback on how people expect the layer manager to function. Specifically, this:

Q: If you click once with the left mouse button on one of the color squares, what ought to happen?

  • Change layer color
  • Change layer visibility
  • Select active layer
  • Other (please post)

0 voters

(Quick clarification: not asking about what the behavior is now, but what it should be.)


It’s a color well, so I’d expect it to allow me to change the color. I do think a radio button (or something similar, where I fundamentally see something I know I can click on rather than just empty space; if the entire list was inside a wxListCtrl or similar, and selecting the row was more visually obvious, that would work too) would be more clear than the blue arrow for indicating active layer, though. I also wouldn’t mind if the color well and/or the visibility checkbox were in columns to the right of the layer names instead of (as shown) to the left (especially if there is no radio button, and clicking the layer row remains the only selection method).


Changing color wouldn’t be something I’ll be doing often even if I want to, so I am not sure why there is a need to have it available on the right of the screen. If anything it’ll be annoying if a click on the color square and a pop up appears for colour change when I want to change the layers, which I WILL be doing often.


What if the color squares were on the right instead of the left, to move them out of the way and avoid accidental clicks?


Eh… I think I’ll need to try to see how it works. But I am perfectly fine with the current system of select active layer and I don’t see a need to change colors at all. Maybe others will feel differently.


Try working with more than a couple layers.


Hmm, I think you are probably right, changing color is a less used action. Logically, color selection should be part of Layer Setup.


Just an idea: what if we change the layer visibility selector to be an eye (similar to the gimp layer visibility.)
Might make it more clear for beginners.

It should be easy to know what color is what layer. So the colored rectangle should stay. (or something similar.)
Reading screenshots would get nearly impossible without this information. (Would make life on this forum a bit harder.)

To be honest i click on the layer name to change the active layer. This way i don’t run into the problem of clicking on the color selector.


I agree; the problem is:

Once you have a color square, you have the suggestion that it’s clickable and you can do things with it. My suspicion is that it’ll still look “clickable” to most users no matter how it is formatted, because almost all color wells in GUIs are clickable, so since you have a color square you’re stuck making it do something sensible :slight_smile:


Coming from structural side of engineering I’m used to layers having typical layout to below (Rhino3D);

  • layer name
  • current/active layer indicator
  • layer visible
  • layer locked (would be useful addition for moving things but not interacting with stuff you need to see but not move - transparency?)
  • layer colour

Using the ‘click it change it’ UI behaviour


One of the parts of Kicad not in need of improvements.

Unable to select user dwgs layer in footprint editor on the other side…


Left click selects layer, The selector arrow is so close you hit the colour box by accident frequently.
Right click gives a colour chooser


What is the workflow there?

Personally I think I click on the layer name to select the active one, so if the color swatch/button now leads directly to selecting the color I shouldn’t be affected.

Oh and in case you’re open to suggestions - double clicking on a layer label should toggle visibility (too). I can double click faster on a large target than single clicking on that little check mark. :neutral_face:


It’s not so much a workflow, just that when you have a crapton of layers it really helps for them to have easily distinguished colors, and the color set that works for one person might not necessarily be what works for another. So I like to set up my layer colors to something that works well for me. I find it particularly important for 6+ layer boards.

Yeah, that sounds like a good thing to do.


Deriving my answer from the way it currently is:

Clicking anywhere on the layer’s line (left from color well, on color well and on layer name) switches this layer to be active, but clicking on the checkbox (obviously) changes the visibility.

To be consistent, I’d expect a left click on the color well to pop up the color chooser dialog or have a different way to toggle the visibility, i.e. no single-left-click, which would be counter-intuitive as well …

+1 from me for that idea. Maybe it would also suffice if the columns had a heading like in @dbrown2k’s post (eye or lightbulb for the visibility, color pattern for color selection, etc.), then the check boxes might remain the way they are (my guess is that it’s less modification to the code).

Seems like a good idea to me.

On the Linux variants, hitting the right target is much easier as it is in windows because the UI elements have much more spacing around them. I’ve made a few screenshots to illustrate this:

OTOH, the layer colors are more discernible on Windows since the coloured area on the color wells is bigger.


I think the right-click property menu is a good place to access the color chooser.

I realise that if the color chooser came up accidentally because I was trying to select a layer, that would be quite annoying, but it seems I can’t change my vote!


But it’s something you only do once, maybe a few times until you settle on a color scheme but then you’re likely to never touch it gain. I would be happy having to go through a menu from the menu bar in order to change layer colors, and quite annoyed if I kept getting a color picker popping up by accident.


Why’s everyone fixating on clicking them accidentally? It was suggested to move the color squares over to the right so they don’t get in the way, would that suffice?

The reason I say this is:

The color squares are going to have some color-related behavior, because they’re there and they have colors on them. We can’t really get rid of them, since you need some cue as to which layer matches which color. If they’re taking accidental clicks, I’d much rather solve that problem directly by moving them so they don’t get clicked unintentionally.


In the past/present left-clicking on them selects that layer. You want to change that behavior that is where the “accidental” clicking will come in. You can already middle-click them and change the color. And I don’t think it will be very aesthetic moving them to the right.


Look, you asked for user feedback, we are giving it. If you don’t like it, don’t ask!

This is going the way of one of those “I am going to make a change, please will you all agree with me” type “feedback” requests.

That is just non-sequitur… If you say things must be that way because they are that way, there is no rational discussion to be had.

I think I will give up on this one, do whatever you like :slight_smile: