Is there a way to make the screen show the actual order?
The current active layer is always drawn on top.
I have posted some thoughts about possible improvements, such as the ability to “pin” a layer on top, or draw other layers over the current layer, but with high transparency level. (This would resemble the XOR drawing in the old canvas)
You can set opacity of a layer, but it is a static value
Opacity helps a bit, but (static) opacity levels below approx 70% are useless. If you try it you stare at your screen and can not see well what you’re drawing.
However, Drawing a layer (such as F.Silkscreen or F.Fab) on top but with a low opacity level (20% or so) would give you hints of what you’re looking at, but still do not get in the way of working on another layer.
Currently your best options to increase visibility are:
- Turn off zones when you’re not working on them, because they obscure too much.
- Use opacity levels of 65% to 85% so you can see some other things through them.
- Turn off layers that are not relevant for the task at hand.
- Make use of the layer presets. (Right click in the "layers manager, and select a preset to change quickly).
I have not worked much with KiCad-nightly V5.99 but it does add some extra options.
- Opacity of zones can be set independently from the tracks.
- You can define you extra presets of layer combinations and name them.
Out of curiosity, why?
That’s an easy one:
Better visibility and ways to discern between the many different items on a crowded PCB.
… Or beginners blindness. All those things drawn on top of each other are pretty confusing to beginners and old farts alike, but the old farts somehow get used to it.
Mainly because I used a CAD which had them so, but it is also good to have layers as they are on the real life.
- As already suggested, turn off the “zones”…
- If you select the “Legacy Toolset” (under preferences) that might get you want you want, but at a much slower performance (so return to the “modern Toolset” when you’ve done).
The problem with “things as they are in real life” is that in real life, you DON’T actually see things like that at all, you would turn the PCB over, and look at the reverse image. And as for those internal layers, how’s the x-ray vision?
When you go from one thing to another (old car to new car, old cast on TV quiz to a new cast…) things feel quite different, but after a bit, you actually get used to the “new normal”, so don’t fight it!
That’s why I was asking, it was more of a rhetorical question to tease out the mental block
Sure I will get used to this order or way of work.
Any way this list layers on the side of the screen is good. But the layer stack is now much more important.
Edit: This layer list could show the way they are on the PCB.
That does not seem like a good idea to me.
90% of the work I do in the PCB editor is with the copper layers, and in the end it does not matter much as long as the layer order is static you get used to the order pretty quickly. During PCB design, you also switch between different tasks. Most of the time you’re placing Footprints, or drawing copper, other times you’re cleaning up the silkscreen layers, adding fabrication data, etc. So grouping them by type makes much more sense.
On top of that, changing layer order for no better reason would likely annoy a lot of the existing users who want it turned back. I don’t know how many KiCad users there are, but this forum alone has 9000+ registered users.
Ideas are cheap, but implementing them does cost time and effort, and there simply are not enough people working on KiCad’s source code to justify to spend effort for such small things.
If you have a look at:
Then you see there are currently 1764 open issues for KiCad, and although a handful get fixed and closed every day, the list never shrinks because new bugs, feature requests and other issues are added just as fast.
And F.Adhes, F.Paste and F.Silk are on the PCB in the following order … ???
There is currently no way to customize layer order.
I have an open issue here: https://gitlab.com/kicad/code/kicad/-/issues/5232
Maybe for v7 I will take a crack myself to implement the ability to customize the order