The KiCAD suite is a group of programs for schematics and PCBs that is available for the following operating systems:
- Most unix-like operating systems
- MS-Windows XP/2000
The KiCAD utility program is a project manager that facilitates the use of the various programs required to draw schematics, layout PCBs, generate and check the production files.
The software package includes:
- Eeschema - Schematic editor.
- Pcbnew - PCB editor.
- Cvpcb - Associate schematic components with physical modules (packages/padlayout) for placement on the PCB.
- Gerbview - Visualize Gerber files.
- Bitmap2Component - Convert bitmaps into symbols or footprints.
- PCB Calculator - Calculator around PCB issues.
 Installation and configuration
 Display options
It is recommended to set your display/graphics card to use 24 or 32 bits per pixel. The 16-bit mode will work for Eeschema, but in Pcbnew the display will not function correctly under Linux in this mode.
 Initialisation of the default configuration
A default configuration file (kicad.pro) is supplied in kicad/template. It serves as the template for each new project. It can be modified or added to if necessary, usually for the list of libraries to load. Run Eeschema via kicad or directly (Linux command; /usr/local/kicad/bin/eeschema). Update the configuration and then save it in /usr/local/kicad/template/kicad.pro
 Principles of use
In order to manage simply a project, i.e. all the files it constitutes (representing schematics, printed circuit boards, supplementary libraries, manufacturing files for phototracing, drilling and automatic component placement), it is recommended to create a project: Create a working directory for the project (using kicad or by other means). In this directory, use kicad to create the project file (file .pro) via the icon.
It is strongly recommended to use the same name for the project and its directory.
Kicad creates a file with a .pro extension that maintains a number of parameters relating to project management (such as the filename of the principal schematic, list of libraries used in the schematics and PCBs). The default names of both the principal schematic and the printed circuit board are based upon the name of the project. Thus, if a project called example was created in a directory called example, the default files created would be:
example.pro project management file.
example.sch principal schematic file.
example.brd printed circuit board file.
example.xxx various files created by the other utility programs.
example.cache.lib cache file of the libraries used in the schematic (backup of the components used)
 Main Window
The main window is composed of a tree view of the project, a pane containing buttons used to run the various utilities, and a message window.
The menu and the toolbar can be used to create, read and save project files (*.pro).
 Utility launch pane
 Project tree view
Right (image) clicking allows files operations
Create a configuration file for a new project. If the template kicad.pro is found in kicad/template, it is copied into the working directory.