Layer Naming conventions

Just installed the latest version and was struck by the layer names: Front Back.
I checked and could not find anyone that produces PCB software that names layers anything other than Top Bottom since PCB’s are generally laying flat not standing on edge or vertical.
Is there somewhere to edit those labels?

KiCad is designed mainly by people who are NOT native english speakers.

The layer names are fixed in the file format. Maybe the tool tips can be made better.

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All the copper layers can be renamed by the user under Design Rules -> Layer Setup. I think other technical layers can not be changed.


In that dialog the tooltip even states top/bottom copper. (compared to front/back in the layer visibility toolbar)

“Citation needed” :slight_smile: I think in general, PCBs are likely to be in any position. Considering the millions of PC that have a motherboard that is vertical, and mobile phones that are held in various positions, the idea that PCBs are only ever horizontal is quite tenuous.

The front of a book is always the front, regardless of whether the book is laying flat or not. It can still make sense to talk about the Front or Back of PCB.

In one of our products, it was deciding to mount the PCB upside down with regard to other products. We did not rename the PCB layers because of that…

Anyway, you are free to call the layers whatever you want!


My monitors always stand up, they don’t lay down, so the pcb image on the screen always has front and back layers… :slight_smile:

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That is exactly what I was thinking. You beat me to it by 24 minutes.

@bobc I think you nailed it. I have a design where I did not, at first know, if the through-hole parts would work on the left or right side of the board. I do mention that I knew this when starting the design. It will not matter to the design whether the through hole parts are one side or the other.

I don’t think it matters what the layers are called. Only that the final drawing reflect what a personal viewer might expect to visually see.

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In American English, “Front” and “Back” convey the intention as effectively as “Top” and “Bottom”. I didn’t look back through my history with P-Cad, Mentor, Pads, and Zuken to see which terms they used but I didn’t have any trouble acclimating myself to this detail when I started using KiCAD. If “Front” and “Back” yield effective translations to languages used by our international colleagues I wouldn’t worry about changing the terms . . . unless you want to revert to “Component Side” and “Solder Side” :wink: .

Please do NOT - in a misguided attempt to satisfy everybody - use a linguistically neutral pair of designations (such as “A” and “B”, or “1” and “2”, or “Primary” and “Secondary”) that have absolutely no connection to a physical implementation.