Not consistent operating concept between schematic vs. PCB editor.


There are many things that bother me about non-uniform operation.

The user interface between schematic and PCB editor is a disaster.
Simple things to edit that may be present in the schematic but not in the PCB editor.

Selected area can be completely mirrored in the schematic. But not in the PCB Editor. Why?

All marked connections between parts are automatically adjusted in length in schematic when parts are moved.
But not in the PCB Editor. In the PCB Editor all traces are always completely torn. Why?

Change the width of several marked traces in the PCB Editor? Not possible. Why?

What is the purpose of this?
Who thinks up such a non-uniform operating concept?

Do different people program on the schematic and PCB editor without basic agreement in functionality?

This cannot be a recipe for success in the future. This should be changed urgently.

Welcome to the forum. Open source is about everyone cooperating to try and make the experience better. There are many experienced EE’s using the program so many of the short comings and dislikes are known.

There is a history on how the project arrived at the state it is. Please take some time to understand the road to this point. If the software isn’t for you, that’s fine but there is a large user base and it will never be anyone’s perfect solution.

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according to my knowledge, many KiCad developers come from Altium. Or something like that. What I don’t understand is, if the flaws are known why aren’t they fixed? I don’t think I’m the only one who is bothered by certain things in the usage. There should be an effort to unify the user interface between the schematic and the PCB editor. Are they working on it? Will there be a unification at some point? The goal must be to be better and not just a kind of free light version of Altium. :wink: Or not?
Don’t get me wrong. Basically I like KiCad. But the non-continuous operating concept bothers me more and more often.It would be a pity for KiCad.

To me it looks like you don’t understand the conceptual difference between schematic and layout. For example

Because it’s logically impossible.


Because industry neither manufactures nor supplies mirrored multi-pin devices.

A schematic is a human readable, abstract version of a circuit design, whereas a PCB is a real world product that does something. There are no physical design limits to a schematic (except the paper size? :slightly_smiling_face:), whereas a PCB is all about physical design limits.

Of course tracks (PCBs have tracks and Schematics have wires) are width adjustable.

Please quote source of knowledge.

What flaws?

What “things”?

In my opinion the schematic and PCB editors are well unified considering the two are totally different concepts.

Please explain.

@mikrocoder , are you new to Electronic Design in general?


In the Protel (we used since 1997) it was possible to mirror selected part of PCB. This is an perfect example of one of the dumbest possibilities in a PCB design program. Many years ago my wife (mathematician, not electronic) designed for us her first PCB. It was 8 current lops - 4 loops pointing to the left and 4 to the right. She designed one. Copied it 3 times and then made a mirror of them for the last 4 loops. DRC said - everything OK. I didn’t noticed that 4 loops are mirrored. We got 50 or 100 PCBs at which we had to assemble transistors and transoptors on their backs, bending their legs to the other side. Automatic assemble not possible.

So, according to my experience, allowing for mirroring at PCB doesn’t make sense and even can you cost some money.
I understand that you postulate to make interfaces uniform so to prohibit mirroring at schematic.
Do you have some solid arguments for it?

What KiCad version do you use?
Between V5 and V6 a lot of effort has been put into trying to standardize (as far as possible) the schematic and PCB user interfaces and dragging a footprint with adjusting tracks was added.

I came from Protel (predecessor of Altium). If in Altium mirroring at PCB is still possible (like it was in Protel) than in that aspect KiCad is in my opinion better then Altium.

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@ jmk:
Your post or text makes absolutely no sense.

@ piotr:
I always have to translate this. I hope the sense remains.

Mirror. I’m not concerned with mirroring ICs or anything. This works fine and switches automatically between top and bottom layer.

Small example: I had connected single row headers and wanted to swap only the position of the headers between right and left and keep the layout in between. I wanted to simply mirror that completely marked. You can also change it by hand. So far your argument is okay.

I’m using KiCad 7.0.5, tried Altium for a short time before. I also know Protel SE99 a little. Before that many years with Target 3001. Now I have to realize that in KiCad things do not work that are available in Target for years.

A very simple example. You have 2 connectors in the layout ready. Then you realize you could move them closer together and apart. What happens? The traces are not automatically adjusted. After each move of the connector you have to correct all traces manually. Target 3001 can do that without any problem. I thought this would be standard in 2023. But Altium has problems there too. So what KiCad can do in the schematic should also be possible in the PCB editor. Or not?

If you select multiple traces, the properties window is no longer available. Each trace must be changed individually.

Otherwise KiCad has nice features. Only the most important ones don’t work properly. I can’t be the only one who is bothered by this? If someone makes a PCB with a large µController and moves the µController, then he can’t correct all the traces around every time. That would be madness.

I have managed to move a single component including the trace. But as soon as more is marked it doesn’t work. Then all traces are separated or moved completely wildly.

Translated with DeepL Translate: The world's most accurate translator (free version)

I’m not sure what this means still, perhaps send a video?

Try the “Drag” command (keyboard shortcut ‘D’). Select just the connector (or other footprint), and then activate Drag.

This works fine for me. Make sure you are selecting only traces, not traces and footprints. The selection filter (bottom right) can make this easy.


Mirror single row connectors.
It does not happen what you think.
This should not be the main topic now.

Move components including traces:
As said, moving single components with drag ‘d’ works. Mostly, however, you move assemblies. The traces will be separated.
Move multiple parts
How do you do that?

Another example.
You have placed several texts on the PCB, select all of them and want to change the font size of all of them together. The properties window is not available. Should I really click on each text individually? How do you do that?

Move multiple parts with traces. How do you do that?

Dragging multiple items is currently not implemented. You have to modify/move your selection manually.
But you are not the first one who has discovered that this could be a good enhancement to kicad. Wishlist-items and feature request are collected (alongside the bugreports) at gitlab: Feature wishes

changing several texts … Should I really click on each text individually?

Yes, click every item manually. Or read the documentation. v7 pcbnew. see sections " Bulk editing text and graphics"
Or try the new properties manager (pcb editor–>view–>Show properties manager)

I also know Altium … Protel SE99 … many years with Target 3001. Now I have to realize that in KiCad things do not work that are available in Target for years.

That is normal behaviour. Changing the program and expecting the same functions will always disappoint you. If you want no change in functionality than you still have to use Target.
You could also scroll through the open gitlab-issues and see how many ideas for future improvements are already collected (search for feature request/wishlist): Issues · KiCad / KiCad Source Code / kicad · GitLab And you can also contribute your ideas. If they are constructive written and good they may get attention from the developers.
One hint: writing something like “why on earth the developers don’t have implented feature xxx? Nobody can live without that. It’s urgent” counts not as constructive.

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Mirroring is without changing layers. Flipping is with changing layers. And I’m not sure if flipping of more than footprint alone is possible. It can be possible - you need to check. I never needed. I first place all footprints (looking at connection lines) and then route.

It is not so simple. At schematic there is nothing against making for example new crosses between wires while at PCB you have to keep right clearance between them.
As you are using 7.0.5 then try to pointing footprint and use hotkey D (Drag).

I set track width when I route it and don’t remember any case when I had change single track width. Where from the need to change many of them I can’t imagine.
But I would be not sure if it is possible or not. It can be.

You can vote for a feature wish by giving a thumb up. This one is quite high in “Popularity” (Issues · KiCad / KiCad Source Code / kicad · GitLab). Votes alone don’t tell when or in which order features will be implemented, but the developers consider them seriously. Please note that adding this kind of new feature in the router – automatic push and shove – may be very challenging and not everyone in the development team is ready to even modify that part of source code (if I have understood correctly).

Looks like a genuine bug to me, namely the changed location of items after several mirroring operations. I may test this later. But it’s still not clear what you want to achieve in the video – to swap the locations of the connectors? Can you show a video how some other EDA handles that?

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I think we are still talking past each other on this problem.

I can’t move a component in KiCad with a part of its finished traces. As soon as you press ‘d’ the marking is removed. With Drag I can only move the component alone, and most of the time I still have to move all traces by hand. Move KiCad part with traces:

Here you can see what I mean and what I am used to and thought is standard in 2023.
I can select multiple components including traces. The with selected trace segments are moved with. At the segment point to not selected the automatic length change occurs. The finished kinks and curves are preserved. Target 3001: Move several parts with trace

My question is. Will KiCad be able to do it in the near future?
It must be allowed to talk about it. With answers like, “then stay with Target” or similar nobody is helped.

I think we are still talking past each other on this problem.

No, we have understood you. The answer is: this feature is currently not supported. Nobody is currently assigned to this gitlab issue, so don’t expect it in the near future. 100% sure not in the current v7.0.x stable version (because stable version gets only bugfixes, no feature-enhancements) and I would guess also not in the v8 release (which is scheduled for next year).

It must be allowed to talk about it. With answers like, “then stay with Target” or similar nobody is helped.

sorry if my answer was too sarcastic. It referred to your opening topic which sounded like “the developers are dumb if they don’t implement this”. Your later sentences are much more adequate.
Of course we all can talk about this and other new features, I myself miss this also (switched from eagle to kicad). This feature is probably not implemented until now because of restricted developer resources. Only the core development team can tell you why exactly this or that feature is/is not implemented. But they should program and not do user support. So we wait and will see if and when this feature appears.

To give you a short indication how many features they add:

Of course not all features are interesting for you, but again thats life. The bigger the user-base gets the more different get the feature requests.

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Calling the developers or anyone else stupid was never my intention. That came out wrong. I know what a good job the developers are doing. I was just surprised that features are missing that I thought were normal by now.

Otherwise KiCad is, as already said, a good program. It has other features in contrast to Target.

Thanks for the conversation. The “show properties manager” is good.

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