Compare Designs (Graphic-Board-Compare)

To compare graphically, you can either start "Compare Designs" via PCB-Investigator or you can start it as a Desktop-App, called "PCB-Investigator-Graphic-Board Compare".


Starting "Compare Designs" or "Graphic-Board-Design", it will result in the same dialog. After the tool has been started, it will look like this.

To compare two jobs, you have to add to new designs.

  1. You can add the recent jobs with the two buttons on the left side.
  2. To open other designs, browse to their direction with the right two buttons.

The two currently selected designs are mapped to colors.

After choosing the second design, the following dialog will open automatically.

(You can also open this dialog by clicking this button or using the "Compare" tab.)

  1. Now you can choose the step names of the two loaded jobs on the top of the dialog.
  2. On the right side of the dialog, you can switch on/off all layers. You can also switch on only single layers with the "All Signal Layer On" button. Below the buttons, you can activate the check box for just comparing the profiles of both designs instead of the whole design.
  3. On the left side, you can see all layers of the first design. If the second design has identical layer names, the right side will be filled automatically. If layers have a different name, you have to choose the layer by yourself. (Blue marked rectangle)
  4. After finishing to equate the layers, you can start the calculation by clicking the button at the right bottom corner.

The first opened dialog will change and will now look like the following picture (only if there are results).

To simplify the dialog, it can be splitted into four different views.

  1. The left top shows the whole PCB at the beginning. It will be used mainly to show the differences of the layers.
  2. The right top shows an abstraction of the real PCB on the left side. The small areas inside the abstraction show the differences between the two selected layers. These areas contain numbers representing the differences shown as tiles at the bottom (Nr.4).
  3. Every tab represents the two layers with the differences. Identical layers without negative results won´t be displayed.
  4. The tiles below in the red edged box show the magnified differences of the two layers of the design. The tiles are numbered and these numbers are corresponding to the rectangles of the abstracted design on the right top (Nr.2).

The following GIF´s show what the four areas can be used for.

View 1 + 2: 

View 3 + 1:

View 4 + 2 + 1:


Further details:

1. Using the "File" tab, you can create different reports of the comparison. The following report formats are available.

  • HTML Report
  • RTF Report
  • Report as Text file

The HTML Report may be the best report for visualization reasons. The report looks like this:

2. The "Options" tab allows the following opportunities.

1. The "Tolerance" option allows you to adjust the difference the PCB elements of the two layers may have. (Smaller values cause a higher computing time.)

2. The second option "Show PCB-Investigator" opens two instances of PCB-Investigator. Each instance uses one of the chosen designs. Position it side by side to compare it directly. Using the tiles of the main window, the two instances will also zoom in the chosen tile.

3. The option "Activate Layers" and "Deactivate Other Layers" are just influencing the second option "Show PCB-Investigator". Activating them will cause to have a difference in the seperated two PCB-Investigator instances.


Command Line Arguments (Avalable with Version 16 or beta V 15.1):

first and second arguments have to be pathes to the compare designs




Example call as batch file:
D:\tmp\PCB-Investigator-Beta\GraphicBoardCompare.exe D:\Data\compare\job1 D:\Data\compare\job2 -in_profile_only=true -check_all_layers=true -export_report_path=D:\tmp\compare.html