KiCad 7.0: System-wide directories for addon installations?

Are there system directories (not located in the user’s home directory ~/.config) where KiCad will search for addons?

I see in the documentation that plugins can be installed into /usr/share/kicad/scripting/plugins/.

Do similar directories exist for other addons, such as color themes and libraries?

I am interested in installing plugins and content for all users on a machine. Is this possible or does each user have to install those into their own home directories?


Generally in Linux it’s all in /usr/share/kicad/
then you have sub-dirs called 3dmodels, footprints, symbols, template, etc.
You can copy your libraries there.
Not sure if this is the advised method though.
If you copy own libs, etc there you your own filenames (do not replace existing files) as the installed KiCAD files may be overwritten by a KiCAD update in a future.


Color themes and libraries have their own sections in the Plug-ins. Have you checked there?

On my MAC, the .json’s for my color theme and the default are located in:


Please include version info when asking.

For Linux, the standard libraries, plugins, scripts etc. are all placed in /usr/share/kicad subdirectories.
You should be careful with this location, KiCAD updates may (and normally will) change things, and a lot of stuff is read-only (not in the Linux sense, but KiCAD treats it that way).
User libraries, plugins etc. can basically be placed anywhere. The location KiCAD installs per default for each user is:
$HOME/.local/share/kicad/7.0/ plus subdirectories (for KiCAD 7.0)

There are several ways of solving your issue with multiple users. My choice would probably be a “kicad_master” directory in /home containing all the stuff you need. Then you only need to maintain one set of files.
Then I’d point to that from each user’s $HOME/.local/share/kicad/7.0/… using symbolic links. Copying those to each user’s directory is trivial.
But you’ll need to play a bit with User and Group permissions to get it running right.

PS: this is a bit circumstantial instead of pointing directly to the “kicad_master” directory. I’ll confess, I don’t use plugins at this point, so it’s the foolproof way. It may be simplified.

If I use the KICAD7_3RD_PARTY environment variable to point to a read-only directory containing the addon files, will it create any problems for KiCad not being able to write into that directory?

I realize that using a read-only KICAD7_3RD_PARTY directory will make it so that the Plugin and Content Manager cannot be used inside of KiCad for installing additional addons, but will the read-only nature of the directory create any other problems?

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