Import boards from altium

It is very difficult to describe the normal work of the importer when there is no one but me who does not need it

Different people have different expectations of such importers.

Not too long ago (5 to 7 years) KiCad was mostly fit for DIY projects and the hobby market. For a lot of hobbyists, it is great if they for example find some project on the internet, can import it and then spend half a day to repair it.

In the last few years KiCad is becoming a more “professional” package. If the KiCad project wants to attract companies to switch from some other program to KiCad, then such a company may want to convert thousands of projects. Either in batch, or “as needed”.

The second case is a whole other view, and while KiCad does have the intention to grow into this “professional” market (whatever your definition of “professional” is), overall KiCad has limited resources and as an open source project it’s is made by volunteers in their spare time. “KiCad” just can not dedicate resources on for example a handful of full time developers for half a year to implement some feature. To give an idea of the difference, the whole KiCad project probably runs on less than EUR100k per year, while competitors can have EUR150M of yearly revenue. That is a difference of 3 orders of magnitude.

So limitations on things such as importers are known, and complaining about their quality helps no one. Testing an importer and filing bug reports for bugs not yet reported is useful. And if such an importer is very important to you, you can consider diving into KiCad’s codebase yourself to improve it, or sponsor someone else to do it for you.

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The key phrase is important for you… For me personally, it is unimportant, I have been working in altium for 10 years and still work… In my free time I study other packages… looking at this topic, no one needs it except me, then the question is why ?) per month 0 posts
If this function is important for users, then there would be messages, and so they are not displayed? Why fund something you don’t need? Even if they bring me a project in kicad, I will perfectly convert it to altium without dancing with a tambourine
The second point that I wanted to clarify funding limited resources is an excuse look at successful free packages how they work and how they develop how the importer and other functions of easyeda freecad work there libreoffice …

I need a version of the Altium importer, I need a Solidworks PCB importer . . . I say “I” I really mean the company I work for. We have lots of products laid out in Solidworks and it’s end of life. We need 2 seats and Altium would be the obvious choice but the cost . . . :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

I did a little work with @craftyjon to get an Importer working in the nightlies (I supplied some test files and did a little testing) and can now import Solidworks PCB schematics and PCBs, are they perfect ? no but it’s a great start and an option for us in the future.


EasyEDA is not a fair comparison, you pay for it in other ways, it’s not “free” . . . it’s paid for by customers placing orders for PCBs with JLCPCB so it has a funding stream.

Edit: and it seems that FreeCAD won’t import Solidworks files . . .

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why freeze with so many known bugs?

There are no known critical regressions. If you find one, please report it.

Not critical, not a regression. Edit, apparently it was a regression from a recent commit, so it got fixed.

Bug free is impossible. 7.0.7rc1 already includes many fixes that affect a significant number of users.
7.0.7rc2 should include this Altium regression.
Import from commercial ECAD is under-tested because few users and developers have these.
Further bugs that are not critical or regressions can wait for 7.0.8, which I would expect around September

I’m sorry, but the largest number of developers use Altium … at least in my country)

So what? We make regular releases that include bug fixes and improvements to all areas, including the importers. We’re not going to delay the next release until the Altium importer is perfect, which seems to be what you are asking for?

I think you are wrong about this. All importers should be assumed to be imperfect, and should be used with care, and any issues should be reported so that it can become more perfect. This is very “sane” :slight_smile:

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When you find something that is not working, you need to open a bug report on GitLab with your sample Altium file attached. Then it will be fixed, and it will make it into whatever the next release is during that release’s merge window. It’s as simple as that!

At this point I am not sure if you don’t understand how software releases work, or if you are just complaining for the sake of complaining.


Craftyjon meant kicad developers

Kicad is free software that is moved forward by a community of supporters, each doing their part. Life has taken me on a path that has prevented my using the software for at least the past three years. Why am I still here? It is my way to give back to open source. I can’t code so I would be worthless on the Linux kernel development team. (In fact you could say I do my part by not even trying to push crap code onto them. :wink: )

Is the software perfect? No. Is every REASONABLE effort being made to make it better? YES. Please be respectful and try and make this a pleasant experience for everyone involved.



Sorry Jon, I don’t think the last part of your comment is very fair.

I also think is is not unreasonable that if you are specifying something it does what you say it does. If you bought a car, say, which stated it does 80mph on the motorway but you find it actually does 50 how would it make you feel? Then, when you highlight it to the manufacturer they just say “but it takes to the supermarket OK” and “I think you are complaining for the sake of complaining” - how would it make you feel?

You invite us the users to participate in KiCAD but when we comment on something you (the developers) don’t like, often you guys not only forcibly ‘shut the door’ on a poster but make a snidey comment.
This seems to be an increasing trend - It’s not nice and needs to stop.

If an importer performs correctly on thousands of components, but makes an error on one component, I wouldn’t consider the importer to be broken or not performing according to specification. There’s no specification saying that everything will be converted perfectly.

IMHO the importer should be considered to be a tool that helps the user, not a solution that does all the work. It’s still much easier to import and correct, than to redraw from scratch.

When one footprint among thousands is imported incorrectly, I would consider this a bug. Bugs should be reported and might eventually be fixed. They will however be prioritized and may not be fixed right away. Even if they are fixed right away, they will most likely not be included in the next release if that release is already in feature freeze.


Importers are usually based on reverse engineering samples as there is no published structure specification to use.
Then you get the mismatch of the different systems layer use, coordinated systems, etc etc to work around.

Look at how long Libreoffice has been trying to get an accurate import of a Word document

In general in the software realm “open” means high-fidelity and “import” means lower fidelity.

Specifically in KiCad, we consider a fidelity bug in “open” to be high priority (or even critical if some data is lost), and a fidelity bug in “import” to be medium or low priority (depending on prevalence).