Migrating from KiCad4 to KiCad5.0 and 5.1


There is major problems migrating projects from KC4 to KC5, but how about going from KC5 to KC6.

Like do we have to do it all again going from KC5 to KC6, or is the library system the same so projects won’t be affected.

I’m basically wondering if I should just wait for KC6 and keep using KC4, rather than doing all that work again.


There is no version 6. If your KiCad reports itself as version 6 then it is a nightly build.
Current nightly builds are what KiCad 5.1 will be within a few weeks. The KiCad 6 development will only start after 5.1 has been released. (And a release will be at least 2 years away from that point. <- personal prediction from experience of the last releases.)

KiCad 5.1.x will be fully compatible with version 5.0.x as it is still classified as a minor release. (No changes to the file format is allowed. No major changes on the library side.)
Meaning there will not be much to do when you finally upgrade.


2 years is too long to not have the new features of KC5, so it’s probably worth biting the bullet and changing now. Hopefully KC6 won’t makes us do it all again. :wink:

Thanks for that.


KiCad 6 will bring a new file format for the symbol and schematic side. So yes you will need to transfer your project again when v6 comes out.


That’s unfortunate.

The group that made the project doesn’t like KC5 and doesn’t want to change, so it’s uninstall KC5 and go back to KC4.

Personally I like KC5 because it finally got the features of a modern EDA, but I just don’t know enough nor are there many video tutorials about KC5 yet, so it’s going to be a pain. I guess more reading reqd.


What will be 5.1.0, the current Nightlies, is already very stable and a better experience than 5.0.2, while file compatible.


I have recently production-upgraded from 4.0.7 to current stable 5.0.2 and I love it - never want to get back. Don’t see a single reason why 4.0.7 might be “better”.
If the 5.1 will keep 5.0.2 data structures, and a next milestone (6.0) is still 2years ahead - then why not to upgrade to 5.0.2 now? If you do things the right way, it’s almost totally painless (but one-way-ticket for the project files).


Can’t really think of many good reasons to keep to Kicad 4, t.b.h - the 5 upgrade has fixed quite a few bugs and introduced a lot of better functionality. The libraries are compatible and the remapping is a once only process. What problems have you found migrating from 4 to 5? If you have found that move tricky, you might have even more problems in a couple of years trying to go directly from 4 to 6. If you have a huge archive of old projects you could keep copies of these and a (virtual) version of 4.

If you want some videos about Kicad 5, can i suggest the following?https://www.digikey.co.uk/en/resources/design-tools/kicad

There are 17 videos here - with 7 of them specifically about changes between KiCad 4 and 5.

The TechExplorations course, I believe, has also been updated to include changes in Kicad 5 (I have no affiliation).


I highly recommend Dr. Peter Dalmaris’s “KiCad Like a Pro 2nd edition”. This video course covers KiCad version 5 using a Linux OS and his recipes are very informative. I paid US$9.99 for the course and any future updates to the course are viewable at no extra charge. Also the website has changed from <txplore.com> to <techexplorations.com>. My series of articles on reference designations has changed from <txplore.com/blog> to <techexplorations.com/reference-designations-for-electrical-and-electronics-parts-and-equipment>


I can’t get them to change to KC5, they keep complaining there is more mouse clicks or something, so I’m stuck with their KC4 circuit.

The problem is I’m not an EE and I don’t make circuits, so it down to learn KC for 1 job and then probably never use it again. Basically I want to make a few mods to someone else’s PCB, ie more keepout on GND fill and double trace thickness’s, so it down to convert his to KC5, or go back to KC4 and see if I can change it.

I remember trying to learn KC5 in Oct18 from tutorials - I saw those Digi-key ones - , but KC5 was so new I couldn’t find a tutorial on how to add libraries.



Is the project public? I think the changes you are willing to make are not really complex and you should not have any big issue dealing with Kicad 4 :).


I took a quick look at the PCB and it’s fine in KC5, but SCH’s have the missing symbols.

The PCB has about 100 parts on a 100x100mm PCB, and noticed it has 0.010" traces and GND fill keepout. I don’t think I can home DIY etch 10mil, so it’s ether change them all to 0.020" and make copper GND fill 20mil keepout, or just send out the gerbers to be made as is.

When I get some time I will see if I can mod the PCB in KC5 and leave the SCH as is, because going back to KC4 is going to be a PITA.


I might be able to think up one or two reasons, but I’d be able to present fixes, that in my opinion, outweigh any thought of still using V4 instead of V5.


If the original project used symbols of the official library then you might want to install the version 4 library for working on it.
If the missing symbols are from the company libraries then you need to install them on your system.
The problem here is that you need to “install” them in the old v4 way for the remap dialog to find them. (You need to tell kicad within the .pro file where your symbols are to be found. It really is not enough if the libraries are in the sym-lib-table for kicad 5.)
A very detailed writeup is found in this tutorial. I suggest you work through both workflows to get a feel for what to do before working on a real project: Converting KiCad version 4 projects to version 5 (Remap a project)


Unfortunately I think this is all too above my experience level. Given a month, or three :slightly_smiling_face: , I might know enough to get it done. But with only days of KC experience, and only 2 years of hobby electronics, it’s just not enough.

The KC4 PCB seams to work in KC5, I just have to figure out how to increase the GND fill keepout to 0.020" and change all the 0.010" tracks to 20mil.
As for the SCH, there is no chance. I get 111 warnings, and 2 parts aren’t even in KC5 lib. Plus it’s one of those master SCH dwgs that link to other smaller SCHs - which is not linking -, and that makes things even worse.

I don’t think I actually need the SCH, other than it would be easier to find parts, so maybe I’ll skip it.

I’m actually doing some content creating - this is sucking up time I should be spending on KC -, so maybe I should do a vid. :slightly_smiling_face:


I did a vid.
You can see half way through the old brain click on how to navigate SCH, but at 4:30 I get to the part symbol thing.
Is it as easy as just picking a symbol from that tree file structure that looks the same, and manually changing 1 at a time? I think there is also reconnecting each part, which must be why I’m getting 419 warnings.
Just curious at the moment.


You can try my python script bom2csv and bom2sch to rename/correcting the symbols link quickly from spreedsheet program, then update the back directly to your schematic. It may save you time for this manual steps.


Chris Gammel has posted a series of videos on his contextual electronics youtube channel for kicad 5


I had already watched all of them, and he said he was going to do a KC4 to KC5 vid on it 1 month ago, but he still hasn’t. They kind-of aren’t real tutorials, more just hints, so I don’t know if it’s going to be that good any way.

I read the instructions but I get lost straight away, so that’s why I kind-of need a video. No one had said that my simple swap out symbols in my video is correct, so I guess it’s more complex than what I was thinking.