PCB Filter

Parent page: PCB Panels


Quickly locate and highlight objects using the PCB Filter Panel.

Summary

The PCB Filter panel provides a quick and easy way to selectively highlight specific types of PCB objects on any physical board layer. When used in conjunction with the PCB Inspector Panel, full details of any selected board object is immediately available.

Panel Access

To display the PCB Filter panel, click the Filter button in the PCB group under the View tab (View | PCB | ), or use the F12 keyboard shortcut.

Panels can be configured to be floating in the editor space or docked to sides of the screen. If the PCB Filter panel is currently in the group of docked Workspace panels on the left, use the PCB Filter tab located at the bottom of the panels to bring it to the front.

Panel sections

The PCB Filter panel is composed of four list areas, or regions, which collectively define the scope of the filtering: Groups, Objects, Layers and Highlighted Objects.

If these are set to 'Components', 'Pads' and 'Top Layer' respectively, for example, the board view will highlight Top layer pads that belong to components. The selections in all three panel sections represent the cumulative effect of three stages of filtering action, which can be used to quickly highlight any type of design object.

The fourth panel region – Highlighted Objects, at the bottom of the panel – presents all objects passing the filtering defined in the regions above. Clicking an entry in this region will zoom and center (where possible) that object.

Show Polygons

Use the Show Polygons option at the top-left of the panel to quickly toggle all polygon pours in the design between poured (option enabled) and unpoured (option disabled).

   

Filtering by Group

Both Schematic and PCB documents have Primitive objects and Group objects. Group objects (such as a component) incorporate one or more primitive objects (pads, tracks. text etc). Primitive objects are either 'free' in nature, or 'owned' by a group object. Note that selecting Free in any list section will highlight only those objects that are not part of a group object.

The selection in the panel's Groups list will highlight all group objects, which includes each object's constituent primitive objects. All group objects are filtered, unless modified by the settings in the Objects and/or Layers filter lists.


A board view with the Groups selection set to Components. The other filter lists (Objects, Layers) are set to All.


The same board as above view with the Groups selection set to Nets. The other filter lists (Objects, Layers) are set to All.

Filtering by Object

The selection in the panel's Object list will filter the board view to show primitive design objects. All objects will be highlighted, unless modified by the settings in the Group and/or Layer filter lists.


The example board shown with Groups set to Components and Objects set to Pads. Layers is set to All.


The example board shown with Groups set to Nets and Objects set to Tracks. Layers is set to All.

Filtering by Layer

The selection in the panel's Layers list will filter the board view to show objects on the nominated physical design layer (Signal, Mask and Silkscreen layers). All valid Layers objects will be highlighted, unless modified by the settings in the Group and/or Objects filter lists.


The example board shown with Groups set to Components, Objects set to Pads and Layers is set to Top Layer.


The example board shown with Groups set to Nets, Objects set to Tracks and Layers is set to Bottom Layer.

To filter objects on the current layer only, select the <Active Layer> entry.

Selecting filtered objects

The collective filter action provided by the PCB Filter panel assists both viewing and selecting board design objects of interest.

Only highlighted (filtered) objects are selectable, making it easy to locate, edit and find information about the object. The PCB Inspector panel (View | PCB | ) provides a simple way to dynamically see the details of filtered objects as they are selected.


Only highlighted objects are selectable, and information is instantly available via the PCB Inspector panel.

Objects that have the Locked parameter checked cannot be selected. Use the PCB panel to locate, select, and if necessary, unlock these objects.

Highlighting

The visual highlighting applied by the filter is in fact a masking effect, where filtered objects will appear visible in the design editor window, and all other objects made monochrome.

To set the contrast of the background (un-highlighted) objects, use the Mask Level slider: View | Highlight & Edit Mask


Adjust the contrast of the masked (unfiltered) objects.

Clearing the Filter

Clear the currently applied filter with the panel's  button or the View | Highlight & Edit Mask |  button, or by selecting All (no filter) in the panel's three list sections.

Note that a filter applied to the design editor workspace is persistent and must be specifically reset, or over-ridden with another type of selection mechanism such as that of the PCB panel.
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