Originally Posted by xchan
Most layout managers try to ensure each JComponent is side-by-side or some other arrangement other than overlapping. However, there are a few that rely on overlapping, such as CardLayout (not sure if this is what you want), JLayeredPane (not an actual layout manager) and probably a few others. GridBagLayout on the other hand gives immense control of how you want JComponents arranged, including overlapping but it does take more work to use.
You'll need a lot more work before any layout manager can help, such as creating JButtons, implementing listeners and registering them. After all that, then GridBagLayout or any other layout manager will be of use.
Check this out before diving right into GridBagLayout: How to Use GridBagLayout (The Java™ Tutorials > Creating a GUI With JFC/Swing > Laying Out Components Within a Container)