Parent page: PCB Panels

Quickly locate and highlight objects using the PCBLIB Filter panel.


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

Panel Access

Access the PCBLIB Filter panel by:

  • Clicking View | PCB Library |   from the main menus.
  • Using the F12 keyboard shortcut.
Panels can be configured to be floating in the editor space or docked to sides of the screen. If the PCBLIB Filter panel is currently in a group of panels, use the PCBLIB Filter tab located at the bottom of the panels to bring it to the front.

Panel sections

The PCBLIB Filter panel is composed of four regions. The first three, from the top, are selectable list areas which collectively define the scope of the filtering: Groups, Objects and Layers.

If these are set to 'All', 'Pads' and 'Top Layer' respectively, for example, the library editor view will highlight Top layer pads on the currently selected library component – that selected in the PCB Library panel's Components list (View | PCB Library | ). 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 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.

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

Applying Filtering

PCB Library components are composed of primitive Object types (Arcs, Pads, Tracks etc), arranged on different board Layers. The Objects are either 'free' in nature, or 'owned' by a Group object. Note that selecting Free in the Groups list section will highlight only those objects that are not part of a group object.

Filtering applies to all components in the active PCB Library.

Filtering by Object

The selection in the panel's Objects list will filter the component editor view to show primitive design objects. All of those objects will be highlighted, unless modified by the settings in the Groups and/or Layers filter lists.

A library component shown with Groups set to <All>, Objects set to Track and Layers
set to <All>.

A library component shown with Groups set to <All>, Objects set to Pad and Layers set
to <All>.

Filtering by Layer

The selection in the panel's Layers list will filter the library component view to show objects on the nominated design layer. All valid Layer objects will be highlighted, unless modified by the settings in the Groups and/or Objects filter lists.

A library component shown with Groups set to <All>, Objects set to <All> and Layers
set to Top Overlay.

A library component shown with Groups set to <All>, Objects set to <All> and Layers set
to Top Layer. This result is the same as the Pad filtering shown above, since all pads in this SMD
component are on the Top Layer

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

Selecting filtered objects

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

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

Note that the panel's filtering applies to all components in the currently opened PCB library. If an object is selected in the panel's Highlighted Objects list, rather than directly in the editor workspace, it may not be visible since it does not belong to the currently selected component – that is, the component highlighted in the PCB Library panel.

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

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


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 Library panel.
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