KiCad 5 footprint editor: what are the "Set grid origin" and "place footprint reference anchor" buttons for and how/when/why do we use them?

I see these two buttons and I can’t figure out what they are for or when to use them.

The grid origin point setter (“set the origin point for the grid”) button is also available in pcbnew, but again, I don’t know what it’s for. I click it around and I don’t know what it’s doing.

I’m using Version: 5.0.0-fee4fd1~65~ubuntu14.04.1, release build.

The anchor is the point which is used when you e.g. set coordinates of a footprint on a board.

“Grid origin” is a confusing concept. It moves the grid, but not the coordinate system or the coordinate origin so that one point of the grid hits exactly that spot. It might be called “grid location offset”, because normally the grid origin is in the coordinates 0,0 and setting the grid origin moves the grid with certain amount. Let’s say you have a 1 inch x 1 inch grid. If you set the grid origin to the coordinate point 10.5,10.5 (inches) the grid will be set off by 0.5 inches in x and y directions relative to 0,0. Then the grid points are in 0.5, 1.5, 2.5 etc in x and y directions. The grid origin itself as a coordinate point is mostly useless, in KiCad 5.0 you can use it as a reference point when you use “move exactly”.

You can see some practical application for setting the grid origin in Tutorial: How to make a footprint in KiCad 5.1.x (From scratch)?.

Thanks. This is really helpful. Is there any way you know of to move the grid origin to exactly where I want it? Ex: 3.3482 mm X, 1.276 mm Y. I want my 10 mil grid to intersect with that point. How do I do it? Can I type it in somewhere or do I literally just have to make a custom 0.001mm grid and then click perfectly?

All of that is explained in the tutorial linked above. But a fast hint: look under view -> grid

Thanks! The fast hint is what I need right now. So I figured it out and have made a few important observations now:

  1. When you’ve got the “Set grid origin” tool selected, even if not intersecting with the current grid, the tool will automatically snap to the ends of lines (ie: their beginning and ending termination points) if you get your mouse close to them! This is great! See the image below. You can see the cross-hairs snapping to the corner of those lines even though they don’t intersect with the current grid.

  2. View --> Grid Settings… has some great features. See screenshot below. For example, you can directly type in an exact value for the “Grid Origin” right there, which is directly the answer to my last question. You can also set the exact grid size X and Y to use, and there is a handy “Reset Grid Origin” button (same as default hot-key of “Z”).

  3. There is a “Fast Switching” Grid 1 and Grid 2 option. However, I don’t see how to use this, as I don’t see a “fast switch” button or hot key anywhere, including in the hot keys list. How do we use this feature?

Follow-up question: Pcbnew/footprint editor: How do we use the Grid 1 / 2 "Fast Switching?"

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