Posts tagged with 'View'


Fig 2. - Customize Ribbon Menu

The menus themselves are highly application-oriented and thus come with a set of predefined settings depending on the purchased license, but can also be configured freely. Both, the import of the predefined menu settings as well as the customisation can be achieved through "Customize Ribbon" which can either be reached through "Start » Customize Ribbon" or right-clicking in the menu area and selecting "Customize Ribbon". There you can either import one of the predefined menus by clicking the import button or create a fully individual menu of your own by selecting the desired menu options in the left dropdown and drag them to the right. Please note that you have to open a "Ribbon" on the right to which you want to add a certain menu option.

It is possible to try out every menu setting regardless of your license, meaning for example you could import the settings of the Ultimate Edition possessing only the Basic Edition, when trying to use certain functions not included in your edition, however a dialog will pop up informing you. The best part is you can export your customised menu, so it will be available to you when you switch editions for example, if you tried out the demo edition and decided to purchase a license. Furthermore, each menu button itself can be further customised, you can decide the size of each button as well as if the text should be shown or not.

Show the shortcut to change the menu

There is a drop down to quick change your menu.


Instance Synchronization

Sync Actions

  1. Set the main functions that should be synchronized between the two chosen instances.
  2. De-/Activate the compare functionality for the main view and list views.
  3. De-/Activate the synchronization of actions.
  4. Select specific actions that should be synchronized between instances.


Image Compare - Specific Settings


  • Dim Background: Darkens everything that has not changed. Makes changed areas more visible.
  • Accuracy: 
    • Standard - Fine details are grouped together. Contours are cleared.
    • Fine - Fine details stay separated. Contours are more precise.
  • 2x Resoultion: The resolution of the images used for comparing is doubled. Makes the comparation more accurate, but also more resource demanding (uncheck this to speed up the synchronization process).


  • Hide Difference Shadow: Hides the grayscale background image (shows ghost imprint from the respective other design on changed areas).
  • Difference Area Thresold: Defines the size threshold at which changed areas are marked as changed. If the slider is positioned further to the right, the fewer areas are displayed as changed. As smaller areas are increasingly ignored, the slider is also useful for preventing false hits due to artifacts.


List Compare - Specific Settings

Diff Tool Settings

  • Use Internal Diff Tool: Use the embedded diff tool for comparing changes between two lists.
  • Use External Diff Tool: Use an external diff tool for comparing changes between two lists.
  • Ignore sorting and filters: When this setting is activated, the list data with sorting and filtering is passed unchanged to the selected Diff tool. If unchecked the list data is passed sorted by the most meaningful column and without any filters applied. Note(!): Checking this option can result in related rows not being matched correctly (depends on the diff tool and its settings).

External Diff Tool

  • Path to .exe: Path to the executable file of an external diff program. Used, if the option ‘Use External Diff Tool’ in the section above is checked.

Note(!): To provide the program with the list view data, two temporary csv files are created. The paths to these files are appended as arguments to the program call. Only programs which support csv files, which allow command line parameters and which do not require a special syntax to define the files to be compared (eg. like a prefix before the filepath), are supported.

  • Arguments (optional): Additional arguments that should be passed as command line parameters at the end of the program call.


Instance Snchronization - Illustration

If you want to use the synchronization functionality, the new instance of PCB-I must be opened with the button 'Open new instance'


To activate the synchronization functionality, you must click the 'Sync On/Off' button on all instances you want to synchronize.
A green label (with white text) appears in the upper left corner of the main viewport. It shows the process ID under which the PCB-I instances run. The window called MAIN is the root instance. When it is closed, all other windows are closed too and the process is terminated. All windows called CHILD can be safely closed without closing other windows. There is no influence on the synchronization functionality, whether the window is MAIN or CHILD.
Once the windows are synchronized, all functionality and actions set in the Sync/Compare Settings are synchronized between all instances.


To activate the synchronization functionality, you must click the 'Compare On/Off' button on two instances you want to compare.
This also activates the live synchronization for both windows, if it was not turned on before. If the compare is active, all differences between the two opened designs are marked with white lines. The algorithm groups areas with many small changes to a larger area. The exact compare behaviour can be fine-tuned in the Sync/Compare Settings.


If the synchronization is active and any list view is opened in both instances, differences are marked in different colors (List Compare). A round button in the bottom right corner of the list shows that the compare is active. List views of which the button is showing the same number are compared. List views with compare active are also synchronized (sorting, scrolling, filter). Rows with red coloured cells are available in both lists but differ from each other. Green coloured rows and gray coloured columns are only available in one list. To identify rows that belong together, the most meaningful column for each list is used.
By clicking on the round button, a menu can be opened. There you can switch the things that should be synced on and off individually. The blue button in the menu opens an external diff tool. It uses the diff tool set in the Sync/Compare Settings. You don't need to install a separate diff tool for this. By default, one integrated in the PCBI is opened.

Edit Dimensionings

1) After you have adjusted the settings for the next dimensionings you want to add, you can press "Add".

Then, move to the graphic interface to choose two points on your printed circuit board you want to select for measuring their distance. PCB-Investigator thereby helps you with reference points to easily mark e.g. the edge or centre of a component. To set a marker for dimensioning use a right-click. A double-click allows you to change the location of the set marker by entering new values for x and y. You can also easily relocate the connecting line and its associated text information with holding the right mouse botton and shifting the line in its wanted position. 

2) Here, you can adjust the settings for the layer, the text and the type of the new dimensioning you want to add.

  • Layer: You can only choose between the currently activated layers. It´s also possible to choose "all layers". Dimensionings with this categorization will be visible no matter of the layers being activated.
  • Text: This setting allows you to configure which information about the dimensioning you want to be displayed. %DIS% %UNIT% displays both, the distance and the unit used. If you use the same unit for all dimensions (see 7), you can only use %DIS%. It´s also possible to use any other text by entering the propriate information.
  • Type: There are four different types of dimensioning you can use: cross, vertical, horizontal or text.
    • Cross, vertical, horizontal indicate the direction of the connecting lines. The rotation can also be changed afterwards.
    • Text allows you to add additional information or notes to you printed circuit board (e.g. marking drillings). You can duplicate text marker points by holding STRG while right-clicking. A double-click will eliminate the duplicate. A text type can´t be switched into a direction type once defined.

3) There are three more options you can adjust before adding a new dimensioning: text size, text rotation and font.

  • text size: This allows you to determine the size of the text that should be displayed.
  • text rotation: Here, you can choose the rotation of text which should be used for the next dimensioning. Using -1 will adapt the text parallel dimensioning line. You can also rotate the text by double-clicking on the appropriate text information in the graphic interface.
  • font: Choose the font you want to use for the text.

4) You can also determine the colors that should be used for the visualization of the dimensioning: line color, text color, back color.

  • line color: Color of the connecting line between the two points selected for dimensioning.
  • text color: Color of the text used to describe the dimensioning information.
  • back color: Background color of the text.

5) Clicking on "Apply" allows you to subsequently change the settings of (3) and (4) for all dimensionings you have determined so far at once. 

6) In this list, you will find a overview of all dimensionings you have determined with all their relevant information. You can also adjust the settings by double-clicking on the intended configuration. A right-click on a dimensioning will highlight the appropriate dimensioning in the graphic interface.

7) Here, you can choose the unit you want to use for your dimensionings. Selecting "auto" will apply an automatically choosen unit (most practical solution) for each dimensioning. To avoid misunderstandings using "auto", you should indicate the unit for each of your dimensionings (2).

8) "Set Bounds Dimensionings" sets the dimensionings for your overall printed circuit board (lenght, width). 

Example for dimensionings on a design:

View Dimensionings:

To display or hide your dimensionings, click on the framed symbol which can be found under "View".


3D Design Options

With PCB-Investigator, you have the ability to obtain a realistic 3D view.

This guide explains how to create accurate 3D views and ensure their inclusion when exporting to various formats such as STEP, OBJ, and WebGL. To do so, follow these steps:

    1. Step 1: Open PCB Investigator 3D and import the desired PCB layout into the program. Ensure that the layout is imported correctly and is free of errors, as it serves as the foundation for the 3D visualization.

    2. Step 2: Activate 3D mode You can switch between 2D view and 3D view in the bottom left corner. Alternatively, you can navigate to the View Settings menu where you will find the 3D plugin.

      Here, you have three options to choose from:

      • 3D Board: Displays the entire board in 3D with several selection options. You have also the possibility to export in this option.
      • 3D Selected: Shows selected features, drills and components in 3D.
      • 3D Setup: Provides setup options for the 3D view. Read more in the next step.



    3. Step 3: In the view settings, you can adjust various parameters such as DPI resolution, viewing angle, lighting and background. Experiment with these settings to achieve the 3D view you want The given picture shows you an important option - The Real Part Library - for exporting the 3D design as .obj or .stp file.
      • Import Unit: Allows you to change the unit of measurement.
      • One Obj/Stp-File per: Provides options based on Part Name, Package Name, or Reference for generating individual .obj/.stp files.
      • Library Up Direction: company up direction (X, Y, Z).
      • Center to Cmoponent: Defines the component position as either center or Insert Point (the yellow point on the component, in 2D view as gerber point).
      • Add IPC Angle Correction: Basically, this function is always enabled if your library is ipc comform (e.g EPL library).
      • Download step files: downloads all step files with stepfile path property.
      • Use Design Library: With this option it is always copied in the user directory.
      • Use Local Library: This option is looking in a local library. However, if there is no access, then copying is not possible.


3D Export Format

If you wish to export your 3D design, you have the option to do so in STEP, OBJ, and WebGL formats.


  • For the STEP format:
    Generates an .stp file in your specified directory. First you have to set the 3D Step File Path:


  • Right-click on the selected element and choose "Edit" from the context menu.
  • In the Edit menu, navigate to the 3D option.
  • Within the 3D option, you can set the step file path by specifying the directory where you want the .stp file to be saved.

see more to step format here!

  • For the OBJ format:
    This format outputs multiple files. You receive an individual image file for each component, along with an .obj and an .mtl file in your directory.


  • For the WebGL format:
    Produces an HTML page and opens it. There, you can view your 3D design. The following picture shows the HTML site.

Compare Jobs Testpoints

(MODE: Testpoints) 

To compare testpoints on both designs, there are several settings you should consider. At the top, there is an option tab. The comparison will just check the position, the diameter and the net, any other attribute will be ignored.

After checking the important attributes, the comparison can be started. Click the "Compare Testpoints" button to start the process. 

You have many options to define the testpoints:

After pad attributes (1), there are different options to find component testpoints (2) and in the third block you can select existing DFT sessions (3) for testpoint definitions.

The results will be shown after the waiting dialog is shut down. Before checking the results, it is necessary to know in what state the result may be.

Possible result states are:

As you can see, this overview is also available in the dialog. It shows you the summary of all results. There is also a checkbox which can be used to list only results with a different state.

Result state definition:

  • Equal: If two testpoints are equal, there haven´t been found any differences.
  • Only in active job: If the state shows "Only in active job", the testpoint is completely missing in the "Compared Job" (Second Job).
  • Only in compared job: If the state shows "Only in compared job", the testpoint is completely missing in the "Active Job" (First Job).
  • Different: The state "Different" shows you all testpoints which are different regarding to the chosen attributes.

The results which will be shown may look like the following picture.

The different colors show the result status. Clicking one result entry will show you the details below. For example:

Clicking the "different!" state result, the detail view may look like this.

The red colored attributes show you the differences between testpoints of the designs. Black colored attributes are identical. The red and black color depends on the state of the result.