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TL:DR If I create or import a board outline on PADS Layout, in which layer(s) is it drawn? Can I make it visible/invisible?

On Mentor Graphics PADS, I'm trying to import a board outline from a .dxf file. I see this can be done in 2 ways: by navigating to File/Import... or by clicking the Import DXF in the Drawing menu.

In the Import... window, where I can select which layers to use with the imported drawing, I noticed that I can only get the shape to display if I select the <All layers> entry, no matter what other layers I select. If I use the Import DXF button, the only option is the Top layer, which produces the same result.

Now I get the yellow outline displayed on screen, and if i right-click on the working area and choose Select board outline, I can highlight the shape I've just imported. But:

  • What layer is this?
  • How can I enable and disable it?
  • What if I want to also import other drawings such as fiducials and position references?
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I do PCB manufacture. From manufacture point, I suggest you to create a mechanical layer named outline layer and then draw the outline or you can draw the outline on the silkscreen layer. It's easy to recognize the board outline for manufacture engineer.

For visible/invisible, both are fine. But be sure that the manufacture engineer can recognize the board outline. Take rectangle outline for reference, you can draw the visible rectangle outline or you can just draw the four points or the 2 counter points which can present the rectangle outline.

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I use Altium, personally, but I expect many of the same concepts apply. I always rename one of the mechanical layers to "BOARD_OUTLINE" (all caps to signify it's custom -- This isn't required, it's just useful to me). I'm not sure how this is done in PADS, but I imagine you have the ability to create a layer that you can name. Call it "BOARD_OUTLINE" or something similar, and just make sure you tell the manufacturer that that layer is your board outline. If your gerber exporter allows it, I also recommend including the board outline layer on each layer export.

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