Contents - Layers

The Layers panel of the Contents pane lists all layers in a window and provides basic controls: we can alter the order of layers in the  display stack, to change layer opacity, and turn layers on and off.  The Layers panel also allows us to specify the background color of a window.  The Layers pane also controls the order and appearance of frames in layouts and columns in tables.

 

ico_nb_arrow_blue.png  Builds 9.0.169.2 and 9.0.169.3 have introduced new features for the Layers pane different than shown in this topic.  See the Changes and Additions topic for guidance while this topic is being updated.

 

dlg_choose_layers_panel.png

 

Open the Layers panel in the Contents pane by pulling down the panel menu and choosing Layers.   A keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+2 also switches the Contents pane to the Layers panel.

Layers Panel with a Map

il_layers_components01_03.pngil_layers_components01_04.png

 

In addition to the layers tab strip at the bottom of a map window the Layers panel is our primary interface to see what is in the window and to manage layers.    The list shows the display order of layers in the window, with higher layers in the list rendered above lower layers in the list.  A "virtual layer" called the Background appears at the bottom of the list to allow us to control the background color of the window and to turn background color off and on.

 

Layers Panel with a Layout

il_layers_components01_01.pngil_layers_components01_02.png

 

With layouts the Layers panel controls the vertical order of frames in the display stack, their transparency and whether they are on or off for display.  We can also select frames by selecting them in the Layers panel.

Layers Panel with a Table

il_layers_components01_05.pngil_layers_components01_06.png

 

With tables, the Labels panel controls the horizontal placement of columns in the table, their width and whether they are on or off for display.

Controls

The Layers panel shares many of the same controls as a table.  For example, the keyboard arrow keys move the current cell, indicated by a dotted outline, up and down, left and right.    Layers can be selected just like rows in tables can be selected.

 

For a step-by-step illustrated tutorial to the Layers panel, see the Example: Layers Tutorial topic.

 

dlg_layers_pane01_01.pngdlg_layers_pane01_01a.png

The toolbar at the top of the Layers panel is enabled when one or more layers have been selected by Ctrl-clicking a layer.  

 

tbar_contents_layers.png

 

Toolbar command buttons are not enabled if there is only one layer, nor are they enabled when only the Background is selected.  The Delete button is not enabled for the Background and it is not enabled when one layer remains in a drawing, image or labels window.i_table_parts_cursor.png

 

The Layers panel shares the same table-style, "grid" user interface used throughout Manifold where items are presented in rows and columns.  The subject of commands and actions is designated by:

 

 

 

Ctrl-click on a layer to select it or deselect it.  Double-click onto a layer to toggle it on/off.   Double-click into an opacity % setting or into the background color well to change opacity or color.

 

  icon_move_up.png Move up

Move each selected layer up in the list.

icon_move_down.png  Move down

Move each selected layer down in the list.

icon_move_top.png Move to Top

Move all selected layers to the top of the list, retaining their relative orders in a group at the top of the stack.

icon_move_bottom.png Move to Bottom

Move all selected layers to the bottom of the list,, retaining their relative orders in a group at the bottom of the stack.

icon_group.png Group

Move all selected layers one indent to the right, grouping them with the not-selected, leading layer immediately above. Keyboard shortcut: Ctrl-Right Arrow

icon_ungroup.png Ungroup

Move all selected layers one indent to the left, ungrouping them from the not-selected, leading layer immediately above.  Keyboard shortcut: Ctrl-Left Arrow

icon_delete.png  Delete

Delete all selected layers from the window. We cannot delete the Background from a window. This does not delete the components from the project: it only removes them as layers from the window.  If a map has one layer we can delete that to leave a blank map.  However, with only one layer in a drawing, image or labels window we cannot delete the defining layer from its own window.   

icon_100percent_opacity.png

Opacity of a layer in percent.  Double-click a layer name or the opacity % setting to change the opacity.  Applies to all selected layers.

icon_layer_off.pngicon_layer_on.png

Layer off (empty box) or on (filled box).  Click  the on/off box to toggle the layer off and on.  Applies to all selected layers.

icon_background_color_well.png

Color well showing the background color.  Double-click the Background row or the color well to change the background color.

Ctrl-click

Ctrl-click onto a layer row to select that layer.

 

Move and Group / Ungroup buttons will move or group all selected layers together.   Selected layers need not be next to each other in the stack to be moved in the same relative direction up or down.   Commands will have no action on layers for which they are impossible.  For example, if several layers are selected and one of them is the lowest layer in the stack then that last layer will not move on a Move down command while the rest the selected layers will move down one step.

 

Groups are persistent in components where layers are persistent.  For example, if we group layers in a map, or fields in a table, or frames in a layout, and we then close and reopen the component, or if we save, close, and then reopen the project, those groups will still be in place.    In contrast, for components like drawings or images where layers are temporary and go away when the window is closed, any groups that are specified in the Layers panel will go away, along with the layers, when the drawing or image window is closed.   To save groups in layers for drawing or image windows, use Edit - Save as Map to save the drawing or image window as a map.

Background Color

The Layers panel shows a check box to turn the Background color on and off.  The Background is not a real layer in that it does not correspond to any drawing, image or labels layer in the context window.

 

il_layers_pane_background01_01.pngil_layers_pane_background01_02.png

 

The Background shows what color to put underneath all other layers.  By default, background color is white.  We can change it by double-clicking into the color well and we can turn it on or off for display like the other layers.   Changing the background color to a color other than white allows us easily to see if any white space in the window is part of the background or not.   See the Example: Layers Tutorial topic.  

Keyboard Controls

Experienced users working with many layers report it is often quicker to use the keyboard to toggle layers on/off, to select layers, and to move selected layers up and down.

 

Ctrl-A, Ctrl-I

Ctrl-A is Select All, to select all layers.  Ctrl-I is Select Inverse, to invert the selection.  A quick way to de-select all layers is to do a quick Ctrl-A followed by a Ctrl-I.

Shift-Ctrl-A

Shift-Ctrl-A deselects all layers.   Whether this is easier/quicker than doing a quick Ctrl-A followed by a Ctrl-I is a matter of individual taste and keyboarding habits.

Ctrl-spacebar

Select / Deselect current layer.

Ctrl-Up Arrow

Ctrl-Down Arrow

Move selected layers up or down in the stack.

Ctrl-Right Arrow

Move all selected layers one indent to the right, grouping them with the not-selected layer immediately above.

Ctrl-Left Arrow

Move all selected layers one indent to the left, ungrouping them from the not-selected layer immediately above.

Enter

Control current cell: Toggle current layer on/off or begin editing opacity.

Arrow Keys

Move current cell cursor up / down / left / right.

Home

Move current cell cursor all the way to the left (layer names).

End

Move current cell cursor all the way to the right (on/off box).

Ctrl-Home

Move current cell cursor to the top layer.

Ctrl-End

Move current cell cursor to the bottom layer (Background).

Page Up

Page Down

Move current cell cursor up or down one page's worth.

Scroll bar

A vertical scroll bar appears when there are more layers than can fit into the display.   Scrolling the display does not move the current cell cursor.

Scroll bar context menu

Right-clicking onto the scroll bar calls up a context menu:

 

  • Scroll Here - Drag the scroll bar handle to the spot right-clicked and scroll the display accordingly.

  • Top - Scroll the display to the top.

  • Bottom - Scroll the display to the bottom.

  • Page Up - Scroll the display up one page.

  • Page Down - Scroll the display down one page.

  • Scroll Up - Scroll the display up one row.

  • Scroll Down - Scroll the display down one row.

Controls Apply to All Selected Layers

Controls such as opacity, the layer on/off boxes or various Move Up or Move Down controls apply to all selected layers.    This allows us to apply the same settings or action to many layers at once.   Selecting more than one layer is a convenient way of moving more than one layer up or down, simultaneously changing the opacity of multiple layers at once and so on.

Example:   Turn Many Layers On or Off

When there are many layers in a window it can be much quicker to turn layers off and on by using the Layers panel instead of double-clicking tabs in the tab strip of a window.   Clever use of Selection with Ctrl-A to Select All and Ctrl-I to Select Inverse can greatly reduce the number of clicks.    

 

Suppose we start with a mix of many layers, some of which are on and some of which are off:

 

eg_quick_layers_change01_01.png

 

   We want to turn on all layers except four layers.    We Ctrl-click the four layers we want off to select them.

 

eg_quick_layers_change01_02.png   eg_quick_layers_change01_03.png

 

Next, we double-click as needed one of the layers to turn all four of those layers off.  

 

We then press Ctrl-I to invert the selection.

 

eg_quick_layers_change01_04.png   eg_quick_layers_change01_05.png

 

Next, we double-click as needed one of the layers to turn on all selected layers.   Done.

Groups:  Follow the Leader

Groups allow us to select, with a single click, all layers that are indented, that is, grouped, below a given, leading layer.   Grouping is simply indenting some layers under a leading layer, as in an outline.   Ctrl-clicking the leader instantly selects or de-selects all layers in the group.   

 

The key idea in groups is making it easy to select, with a single Ctrl-click, all items in a group.   We can then apply what we want to do to all items in the group together.  Most frequently we want to hide or show all items in a group together, but we could also change the opacity of all items in a group together, or move them up and down in the display stack together.    Indents can be nested, to allow us to quickly choose exactly the group of layers we want.

Using Groups with Layers in a Map

We can use groups in any setting where the Layers pane operates: to group layers in maps, to group frames in layouts, and to group fields in tables.   Following is an example using layers in a map.

 

eg_quick_layers_groups01_01.png

 

Suppose we have a layers pane with many layers in a map, as seen above.  We would like to group all of the layers involving transportation together, so they can be turned on/off all together.  We see that all of the transportation layers are listed after the railways layer.  The railways layer will be the leading layer for the group.

 

eg_quick_layers_groups01_02.pngeg_quick_layers_groups01_03.png

 

icon_group.png  We Ctrl-click on layers to select all of the layers under the railways layer, from roads to water_a,  and then we press the Group button.  All of the selected layers are indented one step below the railways layer.    The railways layer is now the leading layer for the group, that is, for all layers indented under it.

 

We press Ctrl-Shift-A, a shortcut to Select None.  

 

eg_quick_layers_groups01_04.pngeg_quick_layers_groups01_05.png

 

Selecting the railways layer now selects all layers grouped below it.  If we Ctrl-click the railways layer all of the indented layers are also selected.  The leading layer for the group, the railways layer, is like a short-cut handle to select or de-select the entire group, including the railways layer itself.

 

eg_quick_layers_groups01_06.pngeg_quick_layers_groups01_07.png

 

We can now Double-click onto any of the selected layers to turn them all off.    This is a very quick way to turn on/off all layers that are grouped together, a tremendous time saver when working with many layers.

 

eg_quick_layers_groups01_08.pngeg_quick_layers_groups01_09.png

 

Double-click onto any of the selected layers to turn them all on again.

 

Associating layers by grouping how they are selected based on a leading layer lets us quickly select or de-select the entire group, and it also retains the flexibility of being able to make an exception, if we like.

 

eg_quick_layers_groups01_10.pngeg_quick_layers_groups01_11.png

 

For example, we can Ctrl-click the traffic_a layer to deselect it.  

 

eg_quick_layers_groups01_12.pngeg_quick_layers_groups01_13.png

 

When we now Double-click onto any of the selected layers, we can turn them all off or on without affecting the traffic_a layer.   It is still indented under the railways layer, so we can still use the leading  railways layer to control selection of all the indented layers, including the traffic_a layer.

 

eg_quick_layers_groups01_14.pngeg_quick_layers_groups01_15.png

 

For example, if we Ctrl-click the railways layer, the railways layer and all of the layers grouped by indent below it will be deselected.

 

eg_quick_layers_groups01_16.pngeg_quick_layers_groups01_17.png

 

If we Ctrl-click the leading railways layer again, the railways layer and all of the layers grouped by indent below it will be selected, including the traffic_a layer.

 

ico_nb_arrow_blue.png  Remember, although the most frequent use for groups is to hide or show all items in a group together, since the essence of being in a group is that items are selected with a single click together, we can do anything to those group members that can be done with selected items:  in maps we could also change the opacity of all layers  in a group together, or move them up and down in the display stack together.   

Nested Groups

Groups can be nested, to create groups within groups.

 

eg_quick_layers_groups01_18.pngeg_quick_layers_groups01_19.png

 

Continuing with the map layers example above, we Ctrl-click the railways leading layer to select all layers indented below it.  We then select the places_a and the next four layers by Ctrl-clicking each layer.   

 

We press the Group button.   Immediately, all selected layers are indented one step to the right.   We press Shift-Ctrl-A to deselect all layers.

 

eg_quick_layers_groups01_20.pngeg_quick_layers_groups01_21.png

 

The places layer is now the leading layer controlling all indented layers grouped below it.  If we Ctrl-click the places layer, instantly with one click all the layers grouped below down to the water_a layer are selected.

 

eg_quick_layers_groups01_22.pngeg_quick_layers_groups01_23.png

 

The group controlled by the railways leading layer is still a group.  If we Ctrl-click the railways layer we toggle the selection status of the railways layer and all layers indented below it.  

 

When we use nested groups, that is, levels of indentation within other levels of indentation, the uppermost leading layer controls all indents below, and the leading layer of each indented level likewise controls all layers indented within its hierarchy.  This is similar to how the indentation hierarchy within outlines works.

 

eg_quick_layers_groups01_24.pngeg_quick_layers_groups01_25.png

 

Manifold will apply reasonable logic to resolve commands that involve nested groups.  For example, in the illustration at left above we have selected the upper indent hierarchy controlled by the places leading layer, but the nested group lower down that is controlled by the railways leading layer is not selected.   If we press the Move to Bottom button, the selected layers will move to the bottom of the layers stack, leaving the nested group behind at their current levels of indentation.

 

The result is that the natural_a layer becomes the leading layer of all indented below it, consisting of the nested group controlled by the railways leading layer.

 

eg_quick_layers_groups01_26.pngeg_quick_layers_groups01_27.png

 

We press Shift-Ctrl-A to deselect all layers, and then we Ctrl-click the railways layer to select that group.  We then press the Ungroup button to move the entire group one indent to the left.  In this case, ungroup means to ungroup it from control by the natural_a leading layer.

 

eg_quick_layers_groups01_28.pngeg_quick_layers_groups01_29.png

 

We can press Shift-Ctrl-A to deselect all layers, and then we can Ctrl-click the pois and pois_a layers to select them.  We can then repeatedly press the Move Up button to move them up several steps in the layers list.   They will retain their indent, becoming a part of the group controlled by the railways leading layer if we move them up into that group.

Tables and the Layers Panel

With the focus on the opened table, choose the Layers panel to manage which fields appear in a table and the column widths used for each field.

 

 

 

 

 

il_table_layers01_01.png

 

 

The display above shows a table with 13 fields that is open on the left side of the desktop with the Layers panel open on the right side of the desktop.   We can adjust the width of a column by either double-clicking into the numeric width of the field, for example, changing the 72 point default width of the mfd_id column to, say, 38 points, or by dragging the column's border in the table.

 

 

il_table_layers01_02.png

 

 

We can adjust the width of a column by either double-clicking into the numeric width of the field, for example, changing the 72 point default width of the mfd_id column to, say, 38 points, or by dragging the column's border in the table.

 

 

il_table_layers01_03.png

 

 

If we drag the border of the mfd_id column to make it a narrower column the point size readout in the Layers pane will automatically be updated.

 

 

il_table_layers01_04.png

 

 

To hide a field, double-click the small box at the right to toggle it off/on.  In the illustration above we have hidden the Country field.

 

To change the order in which fields are displayed, Ctrl-click the row for that field in the Layers panel to select it, and then use the up and down arrows to move the field up or down in the list.  In the illustration above we have moved the mfd_id field down one row, so that it displays between the Town column and the Year column in the table window.

 

As with layer characteristics when the Layers panel is used with maps, a change will apply to all selected rows.  If we select four rows and we double-click one of them off to hide it, all four of the rows will be hidden.   If we select three rows and then press the Move Down arrow button, all three rows will move down.  

 

 

il_table_layers01_05.png

 

 

For example, suppose we select all rows where the column width is 96 points.   We double-click into the first such selected row to change the width of the column to 72 points.  

 

 

il_table_layers01_06.png

 

 

The moment we press Enter to accept the edit, all of the selected rows will have their column widths also changed to 72 points and the width of the columns in the table window will be adjusted.

 

The usual selection moves and keyboard shortcuts work.  Ctrl-A to select all, Shift-Ctrl-A to unselect all, Ctri-I to invert the selection.   Ctrl-click on a row to toggle it selected or unselected.   Ctrl-click on a row to select it and then Shift-ctrl-click on another row and all the rows in between will also be selected.

 

Saving a project will save current Layers panel settings for a table.  

Using Groups with Fields in a Table

Grouping logic in the Layers pane applies to fields in tables just like it applies to layers in maps.  

 

eg_layers_tables_fields_groups01_01.png

 

We have imported a drawing of countries from Natural Earth.   Natural Earth provides very useful cartographic layers, but those layers have exceptionally many attributes for each object.   Above we see the drawing's table, sized and scrolled to show only a small number of the columns in the table.   The columns in view provide the name of each country in many different languages.  If we are working only in English, we may want to hide the non-English name columns.   We can group fields in the Layers panel to make it easier to turn on or off different sets of fields as we like.

 

eg_layers_tables_fields_groups01_02.png

 

Suppose our prime interest is the English language name, shown by the NAME_EN field.  We would like to group together fields for the names of countries in all the other languages so we can turn them off or on.  In the illustration above we see the Layers pane, scrolled to that part of the list where all of the various other country name fields are listed.

 

eg_layers_tables_fields_groups01_03.pngeg_layers_tables_fields_groups01_04.png

 

icon_group.png  We select all of the country name fields from NAME_BN to NAME_SH and then we press the Group button.  They all are immediately indented, just below the NAME_AR field, which gives the name of the country in Arabic.  We will use the NAME_AR field as the leading layer for the group.

 

eg_layers_tables_fields_groups01_05.pngeg_layers_tables_fields_groups01_06.png

 

If we Ctrl-click the NAME_AR field, instantly that field and all of the indented fields below it are selected.

 

eg_layers_tables_fields_groups01_07.pngeg_layers_tables_fields_groups01_08.png

 

We can now Double-click the NAME_AR field or any of the selected fields and turn off all of the non-English country name fields.

 

eg_layers_tables_fields_groups01_09.png

 

The table is immediately updated.  We can repeat the procedure above to group different collections of fields in the table that we would like quickly to hide or show as a group.

 

ico_nb_arrow_blue.png  Remember, although the most frequent use for groups is to hide or show all items in a group together, since the essence of being in a group is that items are selected with a single click together, we can do anything to those group members that can be done with selected items:  in the case of fields in tables, we could also change the width of all columns in a group together, or move them up and down in the display stack together, to move the columns left and right in the table window.

Query Results Tables

Query results tables are virtual tables in that they are constructed on the fly to show the results of a query.  To make them permanent we would use SELECT ... INTO to create a real table.  However, for more effective browsing of results tables we can use many display features such as the Layers panel and Filters with query results tables.

 

 

il_table_layers01_07.png

 

For example, in the illustration above we have altered settings in the Layers pane to hide the mfd_id field in the results table and we have adjusted widths of columns.  Such settings go away with the next run of the query but they are so quick to specify they can be very convenient when browsing a complex results table.  

 

For example, if we are only interested in two fields out of twenty in a results table, we Ctrl-click on those two fields in the Layers panel to select them, we Ctrl-I to invert the selection, and we double-click any of those selected fields OFF to hide all eighteen of the selected fields.  That is a very quick way to hide all but two fields in a results table, taking but three seconds for an experienced Manifold user.

 

We can also use groups in the Layers panel for results table.  These will disappear when the query is re-run or the Command Window closed, but groups are so quick to set and use that they are often convenient to use for managing results tables with very many fields.   In the case of a query that fetches all fields from a Natural Earth table, for example, we can select many dozens of fields in a swath with a click on the top layer and then a shift-click on the bottom of the swath, press Ctrl-Right Arrow to group them, and now we have a single-click way of turning off many dozens of fields in that group, or to turn them back on.

Tables and Layouts

With the focus on the opened layout, choose the Layers panel to manage how  frames are displayed in the layout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

il_layers_layout01_01.pngil_layers_layout01_02.png

 

We start with a layout that has six frames:  three of the frames are text frames, two are frames showing Bing satellite or street map web servers, and the bottom frame is a map that shows buildings and roads in Monaco.  The map frame is the largest and appears at the bottom of the display stack.  If it were moved up in the display stack, it would hide any frames below it.

 

il_layers_layout01_03.pngil_layers_layout01_04.png

 

Double-clicking onto the small show/hide boxes in the Layers pane will turn off any frames we do not want to appear.  In the illustrations above, we have turned off two of the text frames as well as the Bing streets layer.

 

Using Groups with Frames in a Layout

Grouping logic in the Layers pane applies to frames in layouts just as it applies to fields in tables or to layers in maps.    We use the Monaco layout above as an example: we would like to group all of the text frames together in one group, and we would like to group the Bing inset frames together in another group.  We can then manipulate all frames in the same group together.

 

il_layers_layout_frames_groups01_01.pngil_layers_layout_frames_groups01_02.pngil_layers_layout_frames_groups01_03.png

 

Grouping frames is easy: we begin by selecting all of the frames we would like to be in groups and then we press the Group button to indent them.   

 

In the illustration above, we have created two groups at the same time:  One group is the set of text frames that are indented under the Monaco leading frame.   The other group is the Bing street frame indented under the Bing satellite leading frame.     We can de-select all frames with a quick Shift-Ctrl-A.

 

il_layers_layout_frames_groups01_04.pngil_layers_layout_frames_groups01_05.png

 

Having created two groups, we can now use them.  First, we quickly turn off all text frames.   We Ctrl-click the Monaco frame, which is the leading layer for the group indented below it.

 

il_layers_layout_frames_groups01_06.pngil_layers_layout_frames_groups01_07.png

 

Instantly, the Monaco frame and all of the grouped frames it controls are selected.  We Double-click any of the selected frames to toggle hide / show status, hiding them all.   Note that when the frames are shown as selected in the layout as well as in the Layers panel, that provides a visual double-check of what frames are in the group, and which will be affected by what we do next.

 

il_layers_layout_frames_groups01_08.pngil_layers_layout_frames_groups01_09.png

 

Instantly, all of the text frames are hidden.    We can de-select all frames by Ctrl-clicking  the Monaco layer, or by doing a quick Shift-Ctrl-A.

 

il_layers_layout_frames_groups01_10.pngil_layers_layout_frames_groups01_11.png

 

Next, we Ctrl-click on the Bing Maps Satellite Image layer, which is the leading layer controlling the other group (a smaller group, with only two layers in the group).  

 

il_layers_layout_frames_groups01_12.pngil_layers_layout_frames_groups01_13.png

 

Both the Bing Maps Satellite Image layer and the layer in the group it controls, the Bing Maps Street Image frame, are selected.  We Double-click either of the selected layers to toggle hide / show status, hiding both of them.  

 

il_layers_layout_frames_groups01_14.pngil_layers_layout_frames_groups01_15.png

 

Both of the text frames are hidden.   We can de-select all frames by Ctrl-clicking  the Bing satellite layer, or by doing a quick Shift-Ctrl-A.

 

ico_nb_arrow_blue.png  Remember, although the most frequent use for groups is to hide or show all items in a group together, since the essence of being in a group is that items are selected with a single click together, we can do anything to those group members that can be done with selected items:  in layouts, we could also change the opacity of all frames in a group together, or move them up and down in the display stack together.   

Background in a Map

We usually use the Background layer with map windows.  The background color is a property of a map and, once set, will persist even if the map window is closed.

il_layers_pane_background01_06.png

 

Consider a map with two layers as seen above, a Cities layer of points and a Regions layer that is a drawing of regions as areas.   By default the Layers panel uses white color for the background.

il_layers_pane_background01_07.png

We can change the background color to a different color by double-clicking into the background color well and changing the color to any desired, such as the light green color seen above.

 

il_layers_pane_background01_08.png

 

Double-clicking the Background layer turns off background color, showing the default checkerboard pattern that indicates transparency.

Background in Drawings

Each individual component, other than maps, can have its background color temporarily set to some color different than the default by opening the component in a window and setting background color in the Layers panel.   The background color specified for a component window applies for the duration the component is open in its own window.  If we close the window and open it again, the background color is again reset to white.   To make the background color persist, use a map window.

 

il_layers_pane_background01_09.png

 

For example, we can double-click open in its own drawing window the Regions drawing used as a layer in the example map earlier in this topic.  The Layers panel shows one layer for a drawing window until other layers are added to the window. The background color by default is white.

 

il_layers_pane_background01_10.png

 

Just as with a map, double-clicking the Background layer turns off background color, showing the default checkerboard pattern that indicates transparency.

 

il_layers_pane_background01_11.png

We can double-click into the background color well to change the background color for the drawing to a blue color as seen above.   Changing the color for a drawing's background is a temporary measure that will apply only when that drawing is opened in its own window and only for as long as that window is open.   It will not apply if the drawing is used as a layer in a map and will not be saved with the drawing.   Only background colors specified for maps are saved with the map.

 

il_layers_pane_background01_12.png

 

we can open the Regions drawing in its own window at the same time that it is used as a layer in a map window.   With the focus on the map window, the Layers panel shows the background color specified for the map, a light green.   The blue color used as a background for the Regions drawing does not carry over into the map.  If we close the drawing window and reopen it again, the background color will again be white.

 

If we like a particular background color combination used in a drawing window, we save it by choosing Edit - Save as Map to save the drawing with background color as a new map with that drawing as a layer and that background color as the background.

Visual Effects

Changing the background color can dramatically change the appearance of a window.   The following three illustrations below show the effects of changing only the background color from the default white, to black to green.

 

il_layers_pane_background01_03.pngil_layers_pane_background01_04.pngil_layers_pane_background01_05.png

 

It is important to consider background color when using Style to choose colors for objects in drawings.   In the illustrations above a white background hides the yellow road lines while a black background hides the black line used for a railroad.  The formatting shown above was intended for use with a green background color, and not with white or black background.   It is obviously a bad idea to use the same background color as used by objects in a map.  See more examples in the Example: How Not to Format a Drawing  topic.

 

Besides the practical aspect of not using a background color that is the same as a color used for objects in a drawing, the choice of background color can have a big aesthetic effect.  The background color set by the Layers panel can dramatically change the look and feel of a visual display, as seen below where different formatting using the Style panel is combined with different choices of background color in the Layers panel.  The objects in all three examples are exactly the same.

 

il_format_eg01_01.png

il_format_eg01_02.png

il_format_eg01_03.png

 

Notes

Read-only data - The Layers pane recognizes when the data it displays is read-only, and disables controls and commands that cannot be used with read-only data. Temporary layouts and temporary maps are always writable. Tables and queries always appear writable with changes to tables on read-only data sources being kept in the window and being discarded after the window is closed.

 

Widths in printer's points - Why are the widths of columns in tables specified in printer's points as a unit of measure?  Tables display values using fonts that are specified in printer's points, with displays and printouts normally scaling to show those fonts in reasonably accurate real-world sizes.   Setting the width of columns using the same units of measure allows table column sizes to scale the same way as the fonts they contain.

 

Groups only with consecutive layers - In the Layers panel, we can associate only contiguous, consecutive layers as a group by indenting them.  We cannot choose layers here and there in a long list of layers to be a non-contiguous group.   Using consecutive layers as part of a group repeats a familiar metaphor, as used in outlines, to group together layers under a leading layer in a simple, clear, easily-understood interface.  It would be much more difficult to keep clear the understanding that layers here and there, but not next to each other, are part of the same group.

 

See Also

Getting Started

 

User Interface Basics

 

Maps

 

Drawings

 

Images

 

Labels

 

Selection

 

Layer Opacity

 

Style

 

Contents Pane

 

Contents - Record

 

Contents - Style

 

Transform: Overlay Topology

 

Example: Layers Tutorial - We take a tour of the Layers panel in the Contents pane, learning how to manage layer display order, select layers, turn several layers on and off at the same time, alter opacity settings for one or more layers and how to change background color.

 

Example: Style Panel Quickstart - A tutorial introduction to using the Style panel in the Contents pane to apply color, symbology, size and rotation to areas, lines and points in drawings.

 

Example: Create Maps - Maps are used to show layers that can be drawings, images, and labels.  This topic shows how to create new, blank maps, how to create maps from existing components, and how to create maps from other maps.

 

Example: How Not to Format a Drawing - When using Style to format a drawing it is a really bad idea to use the same color for objects that is used for the background color.   It can also be a bad idea to use transparent color for objects.   This topic illustrates why.

 

Videos

Manifold Future - Future Tour Part 1 - This video shows how to download and use a portable installation for Manifold Future.  The video also shows the Contents, pane, layers and layer opacity, one click use of data source favorites, using your own archival favorite and getting record values instantly.  If you are using Viewer or Radian Studio, download and use the Future version to get access to all these powerful new features.