Inspecting nets in the schematic

I am still wishing for a tool like I mentioned last June:

Lacking that, I could really use some way of quickly seeing what nets I have, and what they are connected to. When troubleshooting, it is sometimes more convenient to do this in the schematic rather than on the board. Ideally, I could right-click on any wire segment, and ask “where else does this go?” But I see that is rather a lot to ask. A net inspector similar to that in pcbnew would help, if it listed the nodes in addition to just counting them.

I examine the *.sch files in a text editor, and don’t find any net information there - apparently the nets are to be inferred from the endpoints of the wire segments. Is that correct? Even so, I don’t see how the labels are associated with their wires.

I see eeschema has an “export netlist” tool, and if I could use that, maybe I could write my own command-line proggy that extracts the info I need. Problem is, this tool needs a “generator” and I can’t find any documentation on how to find or build such a thing. Can somebody steer me?

Yes, that is correct.

Also by their location the little square on a label disappears when it’s placed on a wire or a pin and in this way KiCad shows you it recognizes a label is attached.

With Schematic Editor / File / Export / Netlist you have the option for several netlist output formats:

And I just verified that the native KiCad output works without using some “generator”.
You can use one of those netlist formats and use it as input for your custom script.

There is some info on netlist generators, format and exports on:

And if you want to dive deep… KiCad is an Open Source program. You can download the source code, examine how KiCad generates the netlists and use that as an example and starting point for your custom script.

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KiCad also has built in net highlighting features. you can hover over any label or schematic wire and hit the backtick key to highlight the whole net, and there is also a highlighting button in the right toolbar (which works slightly differently).


KiCad also has cross-probing between the schematic and PCB editors. If you have them bot open at the same time (multiple monitor setup is great here) then highliting a track in the PCB editor will also highlight it in the schematic editor and the other way around works too. (And both are configurable in the Preferences).


superduper OT: how do you manage to do printscreens with tooltips???

For the screenshot program I use (spectacle), I can capture on click or after a delay. So I select the latter, and then move the mouse over the button to activate the tooltip and wait.


Ksnip is another screen grab with a delay feature.

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I never knew the name of the screenshot program I use. It just pops up when I press [Print Screen]. But it has a help menu, and that directs me to: apps:screenshooter:start [Xfce Docs]

When I want to make a screenshot, it first asks me what I want to make a screenshot of, and some extra functions such as whether to capture the mouse cursor and a delay:

And as soon as the screenshot is made, it asks me what to do with the screenshot:

I can also open multiple instances of the screenshooter, so I can make a screenshot of the screenshot program itself :slight_smile:

A long time ago I tried some other desktop (Cinnamon or Mate, maybe both) but I quite liked the screenshot program in Xfce, and I use it a lot for this forum, and that is probably the main reason I went back to Xfce.

Thanks, i think the program is xfce4-screenshooter, it is working fine also with the Mate desktop.

Thank you for your patient replies. The netlist exporter may be the ticket. It must be somewhat exasperating to provide answers that can be had by reading the manual. I honestly thought I had read the whole thing. Then I misinterpreted the control box - that big blank space looked like it needed filling before clicking the “Export Netlist” button. I could have just clicked it and found out!

Highlight is good, but limited by one’s ability to to spot all the highlighted bits.

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I understand the empty area is a bit confusing.
I had to click around to discover it’s use. It shows some checkboxes for the Spice netlist export, but most netlist formats have no options to set.

Sometimes I hit the backtick key repeatedly. It makes the highlight blink and this makes it much easier to spot.

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