John Walt Childers, IPC-CID

John Walt Childers


Thu 15/Nov 18

Golden Gate Graphics is an Altium Designer certified printed circuit board design service bureau

Altium Designer 18 User Interface Can Be Light Gray

It can be made to resemble Altium Designer 17 and earlier versions. The light gray interface is useful for making screen shots destined for print media. See below.

Altium Designer 18 Ships with a Dark Gray Interface.

It looks like the screen shot below. If you’re using a desk top computer, right-click the image and select “Open Image in New Tab” to get a better view of it.

Altium Designer 18 Default User Interface is dark gray.
Altium Designer 18 User—Interface Dark Gray

I make screen shots for print media. Unfortunately, that user interface will result in a lot of ink on the page. Therefore, I set the user interface to Light Gray.

Light Gray User Interface for Altium Designer 18

Here is an example of the light gray interface.

Altium Designer 18 User—Interface Light Gray
Altium Designer 18 User—Interface Light Gray

How to set up the light gray user interface.

Open the Preferences dialog

Tools Menu Open Preferences Dialog
Preferences Dialog

Choose System, View

Select System View

Change User Interface Theme to Altium Light Gray.

Change UI to Light Gray

You’ll get a warning—you have to re-start Altium for the new UI Theme change to take effect.

Warning To Restart

Screen shots with white board area will also conserve ink in print media.

To take things further, you can change the board area to white as shown below.

Altium Designer 18 UI Light Gray with White Board Area
Altium Designer 18 UI Light Gray with White Board Area

Change board area to white by using the View Configuration. Hot key (keyboard shortcut) is Ctrl-D. Then select the Layers & Colors tab.

Choose Layers And Colors Tab

Change the Board Area color to white.

Change Board Area Color
Change Board Area Color to White

LED Boards

This is a side note on LED Boards. These use white solder mask and black legend (overlay or silk screen). Hence, if you are designing an LED board, you can make the work space view in Altium resemble it by setting the board area color to white and the legend to black.

White solder mask reflects light very well. I am typing this text on a Code ™ mechanical LED back-lit keyboard. It uses white solder mask on the main board.

Below is a screen shot of a back-lit keypad that I designed.

Keypad White Board Area in 2D Resembles White Solder Mask

3D View Configurations Can Be Very Life-Like

You can also set the solder mask and legend colors in the 3D view of the board. Look carefully in the image below and you can see the mouse cursor arrow pointing to the white color box for the Bottom Solder Mask.

3D View Configuration with White Solder Mask
3D View Configuration with White Solder Mask

Here’s a plug for great screen capture software—Capture Wiz can capture momentary graphics like a cursor position. Capture Wiz was used for all these screen shots. Its use is invaluable to describing and teaching Streamlined PCB Design.

© 2018 John Walt Childers                                       Latest revision 11/15/2018 10:23 PM

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