14 Replies Latest reply on Jan 19, 2011 9:28 AM by wolferm

    Dimensions & Layer Names


      Hello All,

      For dimensions, do the units of the design have to be changed or if the design is in MILS

      can I get dimensions to be displayed in Inches? I thought I was able to do this but can't seem

      to find where now?

      I would like to leave the design units in MILS but want dimensions to be in inches.

      Or do I have to just change text after the fact. Seems like alot of extra typing if that is the case.


      Also Layer Names, I was at one point able to double click a Layer Name to change its

      name, all of a sudden it does not seems to work. As far as I know I have not changed any settings etc.

      Can these names be changed? The only thing that has changed is licensing.



        • 1. Re: Dimensions & Layer Names

          Hi Bob

          It seems that the dimension units follows the design units.

          Maybe add this request on the Mentor Ideas?


          You can change the layer names in "Setup > Layer Definition" dialog.




          • 2. Re: Dimensions & Layer Names

            Change design units prior to dimensioning and change it back before saving it.

            • 3. Re: Dimensions & Layer Names

              Thank you to Klaus & Varora,

              Yes I did already spot I had to change layer name in the actual Layer Definition area, I had thought

              I had changed it from the color display area, but did some digging and found it.

              Also with respect to dimensioning I know this is a PCB tool, but to have to change units

              at system level just to change how you dimension is a little behind the times.

              There should be the ability to change at dimensioning level what gets populated, even have dual dimensions etc.

              I guess I'lll have to put this in the suggestion box.



              • 4. Re: Dimensions & Layer Names

                Regarding changing units in dimensions....you'll get my vote.

                It should be pretty easy to fix.

                • 5. Re: Dimensions & Layer Names
                  David Ricketts

                  Is typing "UI" really that hard?

                  • 6. Re: Dimensions & Layer Names


                    Yes that is easy, but you may have missed the point of my comment.

                    I felt you really should not bechanging the system or design level units

                    but only affecting dimension output units. There really should be more

                    control in the dimensioning capability. I feel you should be contolling

                    what gets put in for dimensions in a dimension function not a design function.

                    This change in dimensioning should not affect the set design units.


                    • 7. Re: Dimensions & Layer Names


                      I dont know about the layewr names thing at this point.


                      I can comment on dimensioning issue you bring up.

                      In my humble opinion, the hardest part of any PCB design,

                      be it in PADS, ALLEGRO....et al, is the correct documentation of said design.


                      PADS is better than most in 2D drafting mode but still woefully inefficient when it comes

                      to documentation. I agree , when in "dimensioning" you should be able to "document" the board in switchable units

                      that does not affect the database units.


                      We here are going to look at a "BluePrint" seat to alleviate the drudgery and inefficiency of documenting pcb fabs and assemblies -

                      but here again - it seems rather sad to have to spend another $5 - 7 large for yet another toolset after having spent a LARGE sum of money

                      already. If anyone has any other (better) pcb documentation solutions, please advise.


                      I used to go into Autocad in the past - but you lose database immediacy with that method.


                      Okay. PeaceOut.

                      • 8. Re: Dimensions & Layer Names

                        I could not agree with you more.

                        Except one point I would not go so far as to say PADS is better than most with 2D drafting.

                        But yes you really need another tool to do it better.

                        One very big problem I see with it (and Altium does the same) is that drill table & data

                        is not seen untill CAM output. That beign sadi you need to take a gerber of a fab dwg

                        into a CAM seat just to export dxf just to get that data into a real drafting tool.

                        Way too many steps & tools to perform simple basic documentation output.

                        Even if all you want to do is scale the board image & not the dwg format

                        you would need to go through all of these steps.

                        So yes it is a shame for the level of cost of the cheapest basic seat of this tool

                        that it does not have better documentation capability.

                        Yes with Altium I also used Autocad to do final documentation, but yes it would

                        be nice to have all the functionality of basic documentation wuithin PADS.

                        Doing dual dimensions etc would be nice. Even the fact that the dimensions are not associative

                        is pretty bad, even Altium has that. If you move a feature the dimension should go with it and change.

                        • 9. Re: Dimensions & Layer Names

                          Agreed. As luck would have it..I am modifying an existing PADS design.

                          Extensive mechanical changes to an already diemnsioned board.


                          ASSOCIATIVE DIMENSIONS would be AWESOME.

                          Also, placing flags next to certain hole sizes in the chart is a DRAG!!!


                          OT: I have asked for over a decade for ASSOCIATIVE ERROR MARKERS that disappear when fixed WITHOUT

                          having to regenerate the report.


                          THe PADS code is STILL not "doing" alot of things you'd think a $10,000 plus piece of code would be doing in this day and age.


                          Why is the mechanical code light years ahead of the elctrical PCB design code?? Why can't parametric code be included on the electrical side of things????


                          Because "WE" have put up with it for so long as a "part of doing business". Oh hell, we'll just work around the fact that the code

                          is not up to snuff in (name area here).


                          Yep...rants still exist even tho the media may have changed.....

                          • 10. Re: Dimensions & Layer Names

                            OT: And it STILL took me too many mouse clicks to reply to this forum.........

                            • 11. Re: Dimensions & Layer Names

                              AMEN to both posts!

                              Speaking of mouse clicks, (and keystokes) most CAD Systems in this day & age still seem to

                              make it so there are too many mouse clicks etc just to do basic things a designer has to do 10K times a da, it's not just this forum with too many manual hits.

                              Even in PADS you have to be in the Router to have PAN work while doing something else.

                              That should be part of the basic tool function.

                              Sorry for another rant.

                              • 12. Re: Dimensions & Layer Names
                                David Ricketts

                                I am challenging your point of what the design units are. They are Basic. Using inches, mils or millimeters are just different views of the design units. I regularly switch back and forth several times in a typical design: imported dxf files are almost always in inches, I am used to designing in mils, but use metric to fan out most BGAs. Compared to all of the other setup procedures required for dimensioning in PADS, changing units for dimensioning purposes is truly trivial. PADS is not a mechanical CAD system, nor do I think the limited programming resources should be used to make it so. For that, I use AutocadLT for the front end, and Blueprint for the post processing.


                                Having said all that, PADS dimensioning is quite capable, and has been so for a very long time. I especially like the snap features. They may not associate to a board feature, but they are dynamically adjustable. The fact that they do not associate can be a feature, as it becomes obvious if a board outline or mounting hole moves inadvertently, and the dimension no longer points to it. It's all in how you look at the tools you have, and judge them by what they can do, not by what they can't.

                                • 13. Re: Dimensions & Layer Names

                                  Respectfully disagreeing with your post. If different UMs are "just a different representation" of basic units, then why am I warned of

                                  round-off errors when switching? Also, MGC (and most everyone else) sell the "backend" (documentation) part of their products when touting their respective software packages..


                                  "Mechanical" CAD should be part of a comprehensive PCB design software package. I should not have to buy another

                                  package to finish my job. My job is not done when all the traces are routed...far from it.


                                  If Downstream can use a PADS ascii file to produce "Blueprint" olease don't tell me a company with

                                  as many resources as MGC can't dedicate a "documentation" department to write any code required.

                                  I don't buy the fact that a robust, parametric, 2D design code couldn't economically fit onto the backend of a PCB design package.


                                  AS I originally said, "PADS does it better than most". It is just not good enough, IMHO for the money spent.

                                  If enough people decided than these and other inefficiencies were not just "the way it is with PCB design software",

                                  things would certainly be different.

                                  • 14. Re: Dimensions & Layer Names


                                    Challenge is a good thing. I still stand by what I said. We can all agree to disagree

                                    that a particular feature or function could be improved or not on most all CAD packages.

                                    Everyone has their own ideas of how something should work and that is a good thing.

                                    But I still believe and agree with Patrick, that just like gerber output, a PCB Design

                                    CAD package should have enough 2D capabilty to do required documentation.

                                    Now one could argue what that docuemntation package should look like.

                                    Again for the cost involved I think PADSis a little short in the dimensioning & 2D drafting department.

                                    I agree there are some nice things about it also.

                                    I still feel why should I have to buy another tool to complete the job I bought this tool for.

                                    But if I require dual dimensioning on documentation etc. an dmy CAD tool did not have it

                                    I would complain and try to get my CAD vendor to comply. I may not be successful but I would try.