How to create a keepout zone in a footprint?

In Pcbnew, there’s a tool to create a keepout zone.
I can’t find it in the footprint editor.


This feature was introduced in Kicad 5.99 (to-be-6.0).
There’s no way to include Keepout area for footprint in 5.1.x series.

That’s disappointing. Thanks anyway.

The software is very actively developed. The 6.0 is almost around a corner, so nothing to worry much - consider it as a nuisance now, or - if that’s the matter of life and death, use 5.99 which seems to work fairly good for now.

The best you can do is draw a zone on some of the other graphical layers and optionally write something like “keepout” it it. Should be pretty obvious, but obviously the ERC won’t create an error if you still place something in it.

I can’t do that for production work. I need to use “stable” software.

I just did that. I don’t see any other option unfortunately.
Can’t imagine how this escaped from the developers for V5 though.
In Eagle V7 for example, they used the same code/engine/editor for footprints and layout.
Why can’t KiCad do the same? That would also remove some duplicate effort.
The same with arcs in polygons/zones for footprints. These are basic requirements…
Thanks anyway.

Actually, KiCad supports it already.
The problem is, you’re working on an obsolete version.
The upcoming “V6” is undergoing heavy development for (probably) around 2 years.
This is the version where new features are implemented, for two reasons:

  • V5 must maintain file compatibility and,
  • developers resources are scarce, there’s no point in asking them to do the same work twice.

From my point of view, there’s no reason for ranting. I’ve started using Kicad at something that could be considered “V3”, and already see great improvements.
The new features for V6 are warmly welcome, but still not having these does not prevent me from doing good designs with the tools I already have. And yes, I do use Keepaway on my footprints manually for V5, and highly anticipate these in the new release.

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So, you are saying there’s an obsolete version and an upcoming version.
Now I’m confused. What is the actual version of Kicad which is most stable and can be used for production?

5.1 branch is considered stable, and I use it for production.
It’s “obsolete” in the meaning that there are TONS of features available only in the “Nigtly testing” (=unstable) version - 5.99, which will ultimately be called “6.0” once staged for release.
5.99 is not recommended for production, since it may contain severe regressions and the file format is not frozen yet.
So use 5.1 for now, and await tons of goodies in near future.

You can do it this way:

  1. Create an Image of the Full shape including the keepout zone
    Image #1 shows example drawn in simple drawing program. Colors don’t matter
    and the Keepout area is transparent. Save as PNG

  2. In Kicad, open the BMP Tool and load the image
    Export it with Format set to: Pcbnew, User layer.
    A Footprint (.mod) file was just created

  3. Two Choices for Editing the Footprint:
    A) Edit the Footprint in Footprint Tool, Select the .mod you just Exported (
    Add Pads, Silk, etc as desired
    B) Place the Exported Footprint on a PCB, select it and Edit it (either the one in the
    library or just the one you placed)

  4. Add Silkscreen lines, Courtyard, Pads… etc
    Double-Click the Image and Change Layers to desired Copper Layer

Pretty simple…

EDIT - Added last image. Of course, you can Edit the Shape/Keepout by dragging
the lines/handles… in either the Library or Placed footprints…



Screen Shot 2020-12-16 at 8.20.11 AM

It’s still not clear to me how that is going to create a “Keep out Area” as in:


I would just keep it simple when working with V5.1.8.
Add some graphics on a Fab layer with some remark: “place keepout zone here” and then draw the keepout zone itself on the PCB.

The difference between the current stable version (V5.1.8) and what is going to become V6 (Called KiCad-nightly V5.99 now) has become quite big.

First V5 was released on: 2018-07-22, over 2 years ago:

There has been some talk of getting to a yearly release cycle, but some balance has to be struck because some mayor features take a long time to implement.

For an overview of changes in V5.99, have a look at this (very) long thread:

It’s not clear to me what your ‘goal’ is.

If you Don’t want Copper in, say the inner shape, well, you won’t get Copper in the inner shape unless you put it there.

If goal is to use Autorouter and avoid Copper entering the inner shape, you can add a Keepout area to it on the pcb or, don’t use Autorouter (or, move the copper it places there…).

As implied, “…add a Keepout area…” where you want…

Of course, you can wait for V6

My goal is (“was” because it’s clear to me now that it’s not possible with the stable version of KiCad) to create a “keepout” area in the footprint, like I did with Eagle and Altium.
The purpose of a keepout area is to prevent accidently putting copper, traces or vias under an object like, for example, an sd-card holder that has it’s metal housing connected to ground and can cause a shortcircuit to anything directly under it.
By creating this keepout area in the footprint (like in Eagle and Altium) it’s impossible to forget this when using this footprint in a future project.

Thanks Paul. That’s what I just did:

The only reason I asked here was because maybe I overlooked something.
I.e. I wanted to have confirmation that, with the stable version of KiCad, it’s not possible to create keepout areas in footprints. That’s all.

Just had a simple idea for an alternative that works for this particular footprint.

You can draw some pads or other floating copper in the footprint itself, and then Pcbnew will route around it. But for single use it won’t be a time saver to change it.