Cheatsheet for KiCad

Ok I understand better, thanks for the explaination. What I was missing is this : “That required OpenGL acceleration because the default canvas was too slow.”. I’ll better try to get used to GAL mode then.

Not quite sure it fits the intent of the cheatsheet, but under Gerbers making sure the plot and drill file have the same setting for the aux axis is essential.

To be honest, I have never realy fiddled with the Plot settings, the default one are fine for my usual manufacturers. Are you talking about “Use auxiliary axis as origin” and “Drill origin”? Does it refer to the “Place the origin point for drill and place files” tool?
Anyway, I’m running out of space in the doc and I think it would be a bit too specific to mention it if the default setting is fine (it’s a bit egocentric : I started using Kicad only about a year ago so I based the question of “what would a begginer need” on my own experience).


In my mind, your approach is one of the most credible ways to create such a document. Keep up the good work!


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Yes. I set the auxiliary origin and the drill-and-place origin to the upper left corner of my board. When generating the Gerber plots and the drill files, I make sure that the “use aux axis origin …” is selected.

@dchisholm : thanks!
@Andy_P : I see. I’ve never cared about the origin for the moment for the moment, I’ve never done any paneling (only pool stuff) so I let the manufacturer take care of that. But thanks for the tip, that’s good to know!

Nice layout with graphics and color. For Nr 3) Create new components as necessary, I am okay until “Save current component to new library”. “How to load the new library in Eeschema” needs more information. A simile would be like telling someone with a flat tire to “Change the flat tire” without telling them where the spare tire, jack, and tire iron is, to set the parking/emergency brake, block the opposite diagonal wheel, and loosen the lug nuts before jacking up the vehicle.

The online KiCad (Eeschema) documentation is atrocious. The Component Libraries section shows the three windows of Component Library files, User defined search path, and Current search path list. Nothing is said about how to add a search path not listed. And what does “Path type”, “Use a relative path?–(answer Yes or No)” supposed to mean?

As someone has posted before, it seems that the documentation was written by those familiar with the program instead of a newbie. Can someone explain the steps in a little more detail?–Thanks.

KiCad documentation is not getting the attention that the code is, as is normal for Opensource projects.
Worse, the details of path selection become OS dependent, so different between Windows, Linux and Mac.
I don’t even have a Mac to look at

@9V1MI : Thanks for the feedback. I’m not sure what you mean however : the doc says to go back to Eeschema (“how to load the new library in Eeschema”), then to go to the menu “Preferences” -> “Component libraries”; Under “Component library files” (which is the first bloc at the top), click the “Add”, select the library file (*.lib) you just created, and it’s done. I don’t see any mention to “Path type” or “relative path”. After @davidsrsb 's comment I checked on Windows too (otherwise I’m on Linux) but it looks identical. For the seek of simplicity I volontarily don’t mention the other ways of adding a library using the “search paths”, because a beginner usually want to be told one method that works and this method only, so they don’t get confused over unimportant details (to be honest, I’m not really sure I know exactly what the other blocks do myself).

My point (and therefore the point of this document) is that beginners that are considering learning KiCad to see if it would be better than their old software, or even more so, those that are trying to get into EE in the first place, hate reading documentations. As you said yourself, “it seems that the documentation was written by those familiar with the program instead of a newbie”, and I’d add that it was written by and for users who already know the program. Documentations (unless maybe the most well-written ones) are “flat”, they describe everything without highlighting what is important for a daily use. “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature” (meaning “design choice”). In my opinion, this is the gap a cheatsheet or any other kind of “getting started” document should fill. At the glance of an eye (that is hopefully attracted here using pretty shapes, fonts and colors) you have an idea of the workflow the program invites you to follow, with the most important steps and the details of what-button-to-click and what-key-to-press. And when you start to get familiar with the program, you can ponctually look at the documentation for this detail or that.

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I’m sure you’ll be raking in ‘popular link’ badges like crazy for the next couple months :slight_smile:

Looks useful. Thanks!

I was asked for the SVG sources to translate the doc in Italian, so I stamped a CC BY SA mention in a corner and uploaded them :
I might do a French translation later. If you translate it to another language and want to share it, I’d be happy to upload your version with the others.

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Hi @Foalyy !
First of all, thanks for this useful cheatsheet!
Since apparently there is no official cheatsheet, what about to make it part of the KiCad docs?
In this way it will come with the KiCad docs and will be translated & updated & upgraded by the KiCad community…
Please write to me by email for the details … ciampix -at- libero -dot- it

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Yeah I’d be happy to!

In the nightly builds of kicad, you can skip the steps “generate netlist” and “read netlist” by pressing the F8 button - it takes you from eeschema straight to the PCBnew as a shortcut. I don’t think it works in the 4.0.5 stable release though :(.

you can also update the pcb from within pcb_new: tools->update pcb from schematic.

But this tool does not allow the same amount of control as the netlist import.
If you for example have placed mounthole footprints on the pcb without having them in the schematic these footprints will be deleted by this update. (Unless they are locked.)

Nice work and nice layout - thanks

A slightly improved version and some translations (Italian, Japanese and French) are now available in the official documentation here : Thanks @ciampix !


I used your Landscape Cheatsheet in a class I did at Olymega tonight.

And! I did point out that your name/info was in the lower right hand corner to give you proper credit for your work.


Glad you found it useful! Btw, if you are in a non-english-speaking country, feel free to propose a translation :wink: