View Settings

View Ribbon

The View Ribbon, which can be found in the view main menu option, offers a multiplicity of possibilities to perfectly adjust the view to a respective situation.

The Drawing Mode option is the first major option in the view ribbon, it allows you to choose between three available options a component is drawn: filled, only outlined or both. Standard is both. The Drawing mode button can also be found in the quick menu in the top left corner of the display. Both buttons let you toggle through the three options, but only in the View ribbon you can directly choose one.

Bottom View

The default view of the PCB-Investigator is the top view meaning all active layers are shown like directly looking at the top side of the PCB. In case you have a PCB in front of you with the bottom facing you and you have a specific element you'd like to find in the PCB-Investigator visualisation, you'd have to mentally reverse the mirrored image in order to bring what you see into line with the visualisation. That's where the Bottom View option comes into play, it allows you to switch the default from a top to a bottom view and it does so for all active layers. The Bottom View option generally mirrors imaging on the y-axis. You can tell if Bottom View is active by the white text that appears in the right bottom corner.

Top Bot View

The Top Bot View is a collection of quick view options that change the default view, activated layers and zoom.

  • Top-View: activates the upper signal layer, upper solder resist layer, upper component layer and the drill layers
  • Bot-View: activates the respective lower layers and the Bottom View mirroring
  • Board-View: activates all component and signal layers
  • Setup: since these views can be confusing depending on the amount of layers you have, you can, among other things, customise which layers should be shown in the setup option
Last View

The zoom is often automatically readjusted if you select something. To return to the exact position and zoom level you were at before, you can use Last View.

Set Zoom Factor

The Set Zoom Factor Option allows you to set the zoom to an exact integer or float value of your choosing, even though less numerically accurate using the mouse wheel is still arguably more practical.

Goto Position

If you know the exact x and y coordinates of e.g. a component you can jump directly to it using Goto Position.

Other Elements

The crosshair cursor provides better visibility and helps you not to loose sight of your cursor on more complex PCB visualisations.

Some PCB designers use a grid model for measure which can be further configured under Start » Options in the Grid tab.

To get a better feel for the scale when zooming you can display a ruler which automatically is in the measurement unit you set under Start » Change Units.

The measure cursor only activates at a certain zoom level depth. It draws numerical radii around your cursor, which help you to better estimate the size ratio of PCB elements especially drill holes and copper pads.

With this option you can determine whether the contour (outline of the whole board) gets drawn or not.

In order to spot drill holes more easily, you can activate this option, which causes the drill holes to be drawn last as the top most layer and always in the drill layer colour regardless of the colour mixture that is set in the Start » Setup Colors menu.

This option only activates, if the current step has more than one part and you switch to the panel view. If it is activated, it writes the panel information for every board in a white text in the middle of the boards: the name of the referenced step, the step rotation (e.g. R 90 for a 90 degree rotation) and if the step is mirrored or not (e.g. M No).

The last option is similar to the previously described Drawing Mode and determines if the area fills should be hidden and only the outlines be drawn for a better overview if more layers are active.

Show Step and Repeat

Some PCB-Investigator editions have an additional option under Fabrication » Show S and R to switch between drawing all or only the the first part of a panel in the panel view to improve performance.

Highlight Ribbon

The Highlight ribbon consists of three buttons and two sliders.
The first button highlights the current selection and makes the rest transparent or even completely hidden depending on the status of the slider on the right.

The second button only has an effect if the first button is active. It is especially useful if a net is selected that is part of more layers because the option let's you completely hide area fills and thus improves clarity. It's activation is marked by a white text in the right bottom corner of the display.

The last button together with the slider is analogous to the first one with the exception that it only works on components while the first one only worked on non-components.

All three buttons can additionally be fount in the quick menu in the top left corner of the screen.

Info Layer Ribbon

Fig 1. - PCB-Investigator Info Layer ribbon

Under view » Info Layer ribbon the Info Layer options can be set while they have to be activated either through start » Info Layer or the option with the same name under the dropdown in the quick menu in the top left corner of the display.
You can choose to let either the netname, size of the elements or a freetext be displayed (freetexts are often used in combination with a plugin, e.g. a plugin that only displays the name for testpoints). Usually only the topmost active layer is labelled, but if you activate "All Layers" all visible layers are labelled even though this option might get unclear with increasing layer count. Furthermore, you may limit the labelling to one or more specific object types like surfaces, lines, pads, or SMDs.