Moving parts with traces - Eagle user needs help

Hello, I’m a long time Eagle user who wants to switch to KiCad. So after importing my Eagle project I’m learning some basic editing. My question is how to move the part without breaking the connection with trace? Actually, when I move a part, the trace is not following (moving) with a connected part. Is it something I need to declare? Or is it how KiCad works? Thanks Jurek

To be clear in KiCad use:
‘symbol’ - when you think about part at schematic,
‘footprint’ - when you think about part at PCB,
‘wire’ - when you think of connection at schematic,
‘track’ = when you think of connection at PCB.

I moved from Protel 3 to KiCad in 2017.
I worked with KiCad V6 only about one day and it was few months ago.
I assume that you are asking about PCB and not schematic.
I have checked a moment ago:
Use ‘M’ hotkey to move footprint.
Use ‘D’ hotkey to drag footprint (tracks follows footprint).
I don’t know if it depends on any settings.

Probably only tracks that end at pad center are dragged.


D works as expected - this what I needed, thanks!

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When you right-click at footprint you have it in context menu (including hot-key).

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Wow - I’ve using KiCad for years and didn’t know about D :smiley: Very useful.

There was no D in V5.

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And D is G in schematic as D = data sheet.

G is also in PCB but seems to work as M which is different to D but everything can be changed in the hotkeys which are in preferences / preferences :crazy_face:

Not quite. On a track M moves the whole selection, similar to how it works on other entities, and breaks connections, so not very useful. G will let you move one end, keeping the other end connected. D preserves the connections at both ends and allows you to explore other routes. It’s easiest to learn by trying them out.

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Absolutely correct @retiredfeline when dealing with track. The OPs question was about “parts” :wink:

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The distinction between D and G on tracks is useful when the part has to stay in position but you want to try other routes.

I hope the OP reads your comments on tracks with respect to M, D & G. They are invaluable.
Another not well documented feature is group selection. “Left to right selection” gives a different result to “right to left selection”.


Thanks, will try all of these hotkeys. This is how strong the KiCad is comparing to the lack of Eagle shortcuts.

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At schematic for me most important are A,P,R,Y (or X),W,B,Ins. There are some others I don’t use as I use my own libraries and never change anything in symbol after placing it at schematic.
At PCB: M,R,F (placement), X,D,G (routing).
But I had rather long break in using KiCad and may forgot something.


On pcb (using 6.0.9) I love the U key. In the preferences it says it is for editing ref des or something, but somewhere I read that you can click on any segment of track, press U and it selects all segments – then you can press E and tweak. I use it when I want to change width of a multi-segment track, or move the whole thing to a different layer, or even change net name. You can change something even if it says ‘-- mixed values --’ which it will, for example, if track segments were different widths, but you can then change all segments to the same new width, etc.

Only in the Schematic Editor.
You’ve found its use in the PCB :slightly_smiling_face:

These are worth exploring also.

And if you are trying to place exactly one footprint with respect to another, under your drawing space on all editors is “dx & dy” . Pressing “Space bar” will zero the reading at the mouse cross hairs, then read as mouse is moved.

Ahh @jmk, I did not realize there were different hotkey defs for sch and pcb – have found that now. I’d rather use std hotkey defs than change them so I use kicad-native ui experience as much as possible, though I absolutely must set datums at lower left and Y-axis up.

Even after quite a bit of kicad time laying out several boards this year, there is still a lot I have to learn about kicad. Just found the R key from reading this thread! That will get lots of use.

As for the track and via size drop-down, I have my own sizes in there – is there a way to set boot-up defaults (eg: 0.2 trk and 0.6/0.3 via) so I don’t need to set those every time I start?

Now that little button in between them, well that I did not know about either. That will be really nice to change track width as I route. I like to fatten a trace when it enters a throughole component pad (I have seen thin traces separate when a part is soldered to a big pad). The upcoming teardrops I have been hearing about might be a better solution.

The space bar trick is nice to know. And Move-Exactly is also really handy.


File > Board Setup > Design Rules > Net Classes.
The Default Net Class is the start up values. Change any value as wanted, click OK, and will open forevermore with the new values. Well, until you download another kicad upgrade, maybe, that is. :thinking:

There is documentation on net classes here.


That is in Preferences > Preferences > PCB Editor > Origins and Axes.

I didn’t listed U key among my most important keys. I use it only to delete the whole track, but I prefer to use D and G instead deleting track.
For signal tracks I have no need to change width. VCC tracks to end them at pad center I frequently have narrower last segment (hidden under pad) so I can’t change the whole track width. As I have tracks only at top I also have no need to change track layer and I don’t change net names at PCB.

In “Preferences - Preferences… - Hotkeys” you see separate hotkey groups for Schematic Editor and PCB Editor but only when you have both windows opened.

I prefer to fully know the possibilities of any tool I use so I loose a lot of time :frowning: .
Before even first time installing KiCad I have read all pdf documentations (including that about Drawing Sheet Editor and…) and made my notes about them. And than, after installing V 4.0.7 I found that most what I have read was about V3 :slight_smile:
So I have looked through all menus of all KiCad applications so as not to miss anything. Then I have done the same for V5. V6 I have not fully analyzed yet but it looks that V7 will surprise me during this work. It looks like a beginning of never ending story :slight_smile:

As it was not possible in V4 I edited the Drawing Sheet (as after my lecture I knew it is possible) and left only small cross at 0,0 position (you have to left at least one small element because if not the default sheet is used) and all my PCBs (since first one I made in 2017) are located there (their center is at top-left sheet corner, but I don’t see sheet).

I knew it before installing KiCad for the first time, but I design PCBs since long time so reading the documentation I knew what is important for me to note and remember and what I will be not using. In Protel 3 I had no hotkeys in the KiCad sense but it is also designed to work with one hand at mouse and one at keyboard. For example when I wanted to start track I could select from menu: Place - Track or I could press P (like Place) and then T (like Track). So most hotkeys were two key sequences but easy to remember. Space bar there had the function of R KiCad key (if remember well - after 5 years I’m not sure).

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I forgotten. At PCB also important hotkeys I use are W and Shift+W. I use them when routing VCC net and when going out with signal tracks from Terminal Blocks or Pin Header connectors and others like this.

@Piotr, I think W,Sh-W could be handy. I have been learning kicad mostly with menu items, though it is odd that some things don’t seem to be in menus, like erc and drc checks – I need to hover over the tiny icons at the top (which I mostly ignore) to find which one is which. Seems like those would be in the tools menu.

Same thing in symbol and footprint editor: The symbol-properties and footprint-properties should be giant buttons imho but I need to squint and hover to find them. And the “footprint-properties” icon looks like the “insert footprint into board” (I don’t know when it would be useful to ever insert something from within the footprint editor). Seems like these edit-properties should at least be in the Edit menu. But as an old fart I can’t say my way of learning kicad is the right way, and I often find that I have missed or misinterpreted a feature or tool, so I humbly ask here for guidance.

As for using U to change a net: I have somehow a couple of times now found that a net has changed names, maybe when I was dragging a group around or pasting it or something like that; unsure how to reproduce it now but it has happened to me.

As I get more comfortable with kicad, it is speeding things up to find handy hotkeys.