How to use built in Autorouter in version 5?

Hi all

I have recently updated to version 5, but I am missing the “included” Autorouter (see picture). I was very happy with this built-in version, I don’t like this Java based systems … any ideas how to use this “old” built-in Autorouter in version 5?


There is no way to use it, unless you want to modify the software and create your own build.

Hi bobc

Thank you for your quick answer …

What Autorouter do you use?


I use the Java FreeRoute. :slight_smile:

I believe the legacy canvas autorouter was removed sometime in the 4.0 development cycle. I don’t recall it being available in 4.0.7 and it was legacy only so didn’t run in the modern/GAL canvas. I think the shortcut yellow ‘two way’ icon was removed in 5. Autorouter functionality in current versions is only available AFAIK by File >> Export DSN file and then re importing the routed dsn from your autorouter. The icon was only a shortcut for this workflow in any case. There were/are some legal problems with Freeroute but it is easy enough to find a site to download it from. I think the issue was that the Kicad developers wanted to make it clear that the Freeroute was not part of the Kicad package.

I wonder where you read that?

What Wayne said in

Freerouter was only a temporary measure to provide KiCad users with easy access to a decent auto-router. It will no longer supported in the upcoming version 5 release of KiCad and is not something the project will continue to support. AFAIK, Freerouter is not longer being maintained. That being said, I’m sure other users would like to use Freerouter to edit KiCad boards. Maybe you should start a new project on github or some other code hosting service to provide support for users who wish to continue to use Freerouter.

The reason given appears to be “Freerouter is no longer being maintained”, which isn’t really true, since there are people creating new versions, but it’s true the original author is not maintaining it. IMO the “maintenance” argument is rather weak, the code still works pretty well without “maintenance”.

At the end, it doesn’t matter for me who is “responsible” for the Freerouter. What does the skilled KiCAD user recommend to use as an Autorouter?


Usually, they recommend the one between your ears :slight_smile:

Since you have said you dislike Java systems, unless you want to get into some coding the only other alternative is a commercial package.

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Smile … ok … it seems I generated a deadlock with my statement about Java … :wink:

What do you use as Autorouter?


As @bobc mentioned, I use the jellyish substance between my ears :slight_smile: But seriously, if there’s significant interest in the community, we could consider bringing back the legacy autorouter if time permits - just don’t expect it to produce quality boards, it’s a very trivial autorouter.

The above is just one of the reasons. The more important one is unclear legal status of Freerouter (written by an ex-Zuken empolyee and accused by his former company of copyright infringement, see [1]).



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That may be true, but I’ve never seen any dev suggest that was the reason until now. It seems to be justification after the fact.

I also disagree about the legal status, it’s been released as GPL and that has never been challenged. It’s too easy for companies to spread a little FUD and stifle competition.

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Are there really only such skilled persons who use KiCAD? I know, the Autorouter is not perfect, I use this only for my hobby, it’s not my intension to fly to the moon with the systems based on my pcb’s. To get back the “old” Autorouter would be more than nice, klick the right mouse button, and klick “Route all footprints automatic” …

Am I really a lonely boy with this wish?


I went down to version 4.0.0 but it was not possible to get the old Autorouter back … ;-( …
When I click the right mouse button, the menu doesn’t show the menu point “Autoroute” …



The developers involved are more interested in making the tools for manual routing better. Their time, their effort, their choice. You learn a lot and improve your design by doing the routing yourself. As a non pro I place and route sections as I go. I don’t have to worry about handing it off to someone else after the schematic so that work flow works for me. The board is like a jig saw puzzle and auto routing is like using scissors and a hammer to make the pieces fit.


OK I see, but for now it would be nice to have to old functionality …

Why is it not possible to uninstal the version 5.0 and install the version 4.0.x to have the Autorouter? It seems when the once the version 5 installed it’s not possible to go back to an older version with the Autorouter included.


Why not use freeroute? Even if there is no special button for it any longer you can use the export as given above and run freeroute on it, reimport the result and be happy. (Disclaimer: I never used any of the auto routers so i have no ■■■■■■■ idea how it works in detail)

The most recent fork of Freerouting:

How well it supports features like custom pads needs to be determined.


To whomever may be listening, it would be great to have whatever autorouter plug in and be accessible through python from within KiCad. I am just not good enough a programmer to do this.

I’ve been playing with 1) KiCad dropping parts down (along with PCB outline, borders etc) based on a DXF, and then 2) generating a schematic(and netlist) from this DXF data and then 3)using an autorouter to route tracks. I have parts 1) complete, 2) mostly complete , but I haven’t played with 3) autorouting just yet. Any recommendations on how to control autorouting access through python?

Having it handled mostly within the KiCad framework would be nice and possibly decrease the fragility of the toolchain in future. On a side note, it seems that there is a real need for a robust plugin structure for KiCad much like FreeCAD has. Would a workbench type methodology suit KiCad too?

There have been several forks of FreeRouting. Maybe ‘we’ need to identify strong candidates and give them a voice like we did for ngspice? The project you have lists ONE developer. Not that this is bad but it seems like we need a strong branch if we are going to try and offer support for Kicad.

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Any ideas how to remove a newer KiCAD version completely, so it’s possible to install an older version like on a virgin system? Only an “Uninstall” doesn’t work proper … the Autorouter is not available like when I install the version 4.0.x on a virgin system.