Kicad/Installing on Mac OS

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Installing the Mac version of KiCad on Mac OS

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Nightly builds

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Since February 2015, nightly builds of KiCad for Mac OS are available, making the installation process much easier. These nightly builds are available on the KiCad website . As nightly builds, they are the most up-to-date (and may also contain bugs).

"Traditional" install

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First, download the Apple Mac OS version of KiCad from the download page. Also (is this really necessary?) download any Linux version of KiCad (to get documentation, templates, part libraries, etc.)

In the finder window, drag the Mac OS version of KiCad to the "Applications" on the left sidebar.

Unzip the Linux version of KiCad (creating a folder named "Kicad").

From a command prompt (is there a better way?) uncompress the Linux version

  • tar -xvf kicad_0.2linux.tar.gz

Move the documentation, templates, part libraries, etc. to the appropriate place with (this never worked; what am I really supposed to do?)

To make this work on my mac I created a kicad directory under my /Users/myname directory and moved all the various kicad directories under there. Apparently kicad doesn't run properly with spaces in the directory names (/Library/Application Support/...) You must edit the file locations under 'Preferences' - 'Configure Paths...'

  • cd ~/Library/Application Support/
  • mkdir kicad
  • cd kicad
  • mv ~/Downloads/kicad/kicad/demos .
  • mv ~/Downloads/kicad/kicad-doc/internat .
  • mv ~/Downloads/kicad/kicad-library/library .
  • mv ~/Downloads/kicad/kicad-library/modules .

Then start KiCad.

  • /Library/Application Support/kicad (for shared libraries among all users), or
  • $HOME/Library/Application Support/kicad (To get your own libraries)

Further reading

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  • "Lean Mean Ubuntu Virtual Machine" is a very, very different tutorial: it's a step-by-step tutorial for creating a Linux virtual machine that runs under Mac OS, and then getting KiCad to run inside that virtual machine.
  • "KiCad OSX Builder on GitHub" is a tool for building a Mac OS version of KiCad from source with the latest cutting-edge nightly updates and whatever special tweaks you want to add. (This tool is really outdated and should only be used on source form mid 2013 and before.)