The term layout refers to how something is arranged in a given space. Layout is used in a wide variety of user interfaces, from vehicle dashboards to smartphones to software applications, as well as pages — whether real or virtual — and input devices. An editor is a tool for adjusting, updating, changing, enhancing, or otherwise working with something. A layout editor is a tool for editing a layout, and may be used in a design stage or as an aftermarket product. Because layouts appear in many unique and proprietary products, layout editors are also, often, unique and proprietary, and specialized for very particular use.
Some layout editors change the mapping of buttons and keys in specific computer input devices. One example of this type of layout editor is found in the Keyboard Layout Manager™, a software program that allows users to modify the keyboard layout files of various Microsoft® operating systems, including Windows® 7 and Vista®. This layout editor allows one to change the assignments of specific keys on USB keyboards. The Wacom® Intuos Tablet® and the Microsoft® Intellimouse® both provide a layout editor in ‘System Preferences’ on Apple® computers for their keys, buttons, and scrolling.
A layout editor is also used for fabrication planning. The LayoutEditor™ is a software program to facilitate MEMS/IC (MicroElectroMechanical Systems/Integrated Circuit) fabrication layouts. It can also be used for design and layout editing of COB (Chip-on-Board), LTCC (Low Temperature Co-fired Ceramics), MCM (Multi-Chip-Modules), MMIC (Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuits), PCB (Printed Circuit Boards), and thick and thin film technology. The Cadsoft® EAGLE Layout Editor™, on the other hand, is specifically designed for PCBs only. It includes three main modules: a layout editor, a schematic editor, and an autorouter.
There are layout editors for some specific web applications. Real Editor™ is not affiliated with MySpace®, but it provides an interface through which to create and/or edit a MySpace® page layout. It works for both regular and band layouts. At Adobe® Labs one can find an open source text layout framework that is made for Adobe® Flash® Player 10 and Adobe AIR® 1.5. This layout editor can be used in conjunction with Adobe® Flash CS4 Professional and Adobe FLEX®.
Desktop publishing programs are also called page layout programs. They combine layout editing with other functions, such as flowing text. This type of product may be used to design print publications such as newsletters, magazines, books, brochures, signs, displays, and advertisements, as well as material that will be displayed online. A desktop publishing program may be integrated with a writing and editing program that works in sync with the layout.