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KiCad Layout Editor
Original author(s) Jean-Pierre Charras
Developer(s) KiCad developers[1]
Initial release 1992[2]
Stable release BZR-4022[3] / July 7, 2013 (2013-07-07)[3]
Written in C++[4]
Operating system FreeBSD, Linux, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X (experimental)
Available in Multilingual (8)
Type EDA
License GNU GPL v2, GNU LGPL v2.1
KiCad Eeschema for Schematic capture.
KiCad PCBnew to create the PCB layout.
3D View using KiCad PCBnew (Wings 3D based).

KiCad is an open source software suite for electronic design automation (EDA). It facilitates the design of schematics for electronic circuits and their conversion to PCBs (printed circuit board) design. KiCad was developed by Jean-Pierre Charras, and features an integrated environment for schematic capture and PCB layout design. Tools exist within the package to create a bill of materials, artwork and Gerber files, and 3D views of the PCB and its components.


  • Parts 1
  • Features 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


KiCad software is organized in five main parts:

  • kicad - the project manager.
  • eeschema - the schematic capture editor.
  • cvpcb - the footprint selector for components used in the circuit design.
  • pcbnew - the PCB layout program. It also has 3D View.
  • gerbview - the Gerber (photoplotter documents) viewer.


KiCad uses an integrated environment for all of the stages of the design process: Schematic Capture, PCB layout, Gerber file generation/visualization and library editing.

KiCad is cross-platform program, written with wxWidgets to run on FreeBSD, Linux, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. Many component libraries are available, and users can add custom components. The custom components can be available on a per-project basis, or installed for use in any project. There are also tools to help with importing components from other EDA applications, for instance EAGLE. Configuration files are in well documented plain text. This fact helps with interfacing to CVS's or SVN and with making automated component generation scripts.

Multiple languages are supported, such as English, Catalan, Czech, German, Greek, Spanish, Finnish, French, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovene, Swedish, and Chinese.

The 3D PCB viewing function is implemented with the Wings3D subdivision modeler.

KiCad has a built-in basic autorouter. Alternatively, the freeware java-based FreeRouting can be used. To do that, a PCB design is exported to a Specctra DSN file, which is then loaded into FreeRouting. After the autorouting is done, the result is saved as a Specctra session and imported back into KiCad's pcbnew module.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ JP Charras said me that the first drafts were made in 1992 for a DOS version, but not diffused :-) , (kicad-users) Re: About KiCad first release By Remy, 08 Jul 2007
  3. ^ a b "KiCad author's home page". Retrieved 2013-07-07. 
  4. ^ "KiCad in Launchpad". Retrieved 2011-01-20. 

External links

  • KiCad Homepage
  • KiCad Home/international Wiki
  • KiCad author's home page
  • Quick start tutorial
  • Symbol editor tutorial Tutorial for the symbol editor of eeschema of KiCad.
  • Wings3D 3D editor for components
  • Unofficial KiCad Wiki Usage Notes and more
  • FreeRouter Java-based PCB autorouter
  • Unofficial KiCadHowTo (guide) with links to comparative review and Arduino shield component.
Complete Basic Kicad Tutorial (video)

7 Parts, approx. 4 minutes each

  • Part 1 - The Schematic Editor
  • Part 2 - The Component Editor
  • Part 3 - Components to Footprints
  • Part 4 - The Layout
  • Part 5 - The Footprint Editor
  • Part 6 - Redesigns and Revisions
  • Part 7 - Exporting and Reviewing Production Files
Symbol Libraries
  • Collection of KiCad Libraries
  • Some free libraries for KiCad with 3D packages as well
  • Online Library Component Builder
  • Free KiCad device and footprint library
  • Biting the KiCad bullet..., September 1, 2006, Open source Self-Copying machine Blog
  • TimEX3 FPGA based multi-purpose 3U compact PCI board released under CERN OHL License
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