Item Groups and Copy

There is quite a scatter of requests so hopefully I am not being redundant here.
I am trying to decide on keeping KiCAD and hoping the next release will provide what I need.

Basically I have other CAD tools with the philosophy of preventing redundant work—pieces can be easily copied from other designs, and, VERY important, pieces of designs can be SAVED AND MOVED AS A GROUP of items.

This applies to both escema and PCB.
Presently KiCAD does not do this unless I missed it. If I have a common power/switcher section of 20 components for example, I have to carefully cut the required parts and traces from another design and paste them into the present drawing. All the part numbers are lost and have to be re-coordinated between the PCB and schematic by hand.
To begin with, unless I missed something, cut-paste does not work very well between drawings for both eschema and PCB. Once I copy what I need, hoping I got all the parts, and place it in the new drawing, I cannot spin it around, cut it, move it etc (except in the unusual circumstance that it is isolated and doesn’t become interlaced with other parts.) Also, within the drawing, I cannot duplicate parts as a group. I have to carefully select out what I need and copy it. If my PCB design is efficient, parts become “interlaced” and copying them again later is very slow, part by part and trace by trace.

With other products,

  1. Common part assemblies can be saved in a library as a group.
  2. copied to a new drawing
  3. moved about withing that drawing AS A GROUP
  4. the parts numbering can be preserved on BOTH the escehma and PCB so this doesn’t have to be done by hand over and over again.

Does anybody know if this improvement being considered?

Definetly not stalking here, but this both post contain part of the answer that you are looking for:

however, I am not sure how good they fulfill your expectations, but KiCAD improves constantly and so far the developer keep a very open ear to the user requests, so you may even make this suggestions in Gitlab as wishlist/feature requests, some may even already exists and you can thumb it up.

I do suggest to install the nighties and give it a try, just work on a copy of a project because the new file format is not compatible with the old one.

Grouping is there, but unfortunately “design blocks” which can be saved and reused has been postponed to v7 or some other later release.

As already said “design blocks” are not natively supported in 5.1.x and will not be supported in V6.

That said, there is an action plugin (Save/restore layout) with which you can achieve requested functionality. It is a bit awkward, but it is usable. You put the design intended for reuse in a dedicated hierarchical schematics page. In the first project you make the layout and you save the layout of the “design block” in a dedicated file via plugin. Then you can reuse the schematics (this is already supported in Kicad - just point the hierarchical page to already existing .sch file). In pcbnew you can then restore the layout via plugin.


Thank you very much for your feedback. I think changes are being made but they are not documented and I am just staying on an old release because I don’t know how to implement them. I am on 5.1.5-3.
I will take a look at Github and updating the “nightlies” this weekend. Sounds worth while.

Regarding the changes you show-they look to have some promise if I can try them. The main philosophy, regardless of how it is implemented–is to prevent redundant work from copying and moving things by hand.

Thanks again!

OK–I will try to figure out where “grouping” is and how to get there. Unfortunately I seem to be getting lost in the weeds regarding Github, releases, versions, upgrades, nightlies and so forth. I will try to find time this weekend to figure it all out and then install whatever it takes to do “grouping”. I have a chunk of designs to change over soon with lots of reused parts-

Thanks for your comments-they are really appreciated!

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.