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Installation and configuration[edit | edit source]

Display options[edit | edit source]

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.

Initialization of the default configuration[edit | edit source]

A default configuration file ( is supplied in C:\Program Files (x86)\KiCad\share\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/

With Windows, to add a new library with Eeschema, go to Preferences --> Library --> Click on the Add button. Find the new library file (.lib extension), highlight it & click the Open button. Click the OK button when done.

Principles of use[edit | edit source]

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: project management file.

example.sch principal schematic file.

example.brd printed circuit board file. 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)

Use[edit | edit source]

Main Window[edit | edit source]

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).

Kicad utility main window BZR3976.png

Utility launch pane[edit | edit source]

The launch pane

Project tree view[edit | edit source]

The project tree

Double-clicking on Kicad utility tree view eeschema file.png runs the schematic editor, in this case opening the file interf_u.sch

Double-clicking on Kicad utility tree view pcbnew file.png runs the layout editor, in this case opening the file interf_u.brd

Double-clicking on Kicad utility tree view cvpcb file.png runs the footprint assign program (Cvpcb), in this case opening the file

Right (image) clicking allows files operations

Toolbar[edit | edit source]

Kicad utility toolbar new project.png

Create a configuration file for a new project. If the template is found in kicad/template, it is copied into the working directory.

Kicad utility toolbar open project.png Open an existing project.

Kicad utility toolbar save project.png Update (save) the current configuration.

Kicad utility toolbar archive project.png Create a zip archive of the whole project (schematic files, libraries, pcb, etc).

Kicad utility toolbar refresh tree.png Redraw the tree list (useful after a tree change).