Origin and it's axis [absolute coordinate origin]

I would like to know if origo can be moved around in pcbnew?

Also, I wonder why the Y axis is upside down.

Increasing towards the bottom.
Not very common…

  • You can ignore the origin and place components relative to each other. Press Space to set a relative origin, then look for dx and dy in the status bar.

  • You can set the grid origin in the Place menu. This won’t change the X/Y of components, but can help you place components aligned on the grid. If you have trouble clicking on your desired new grid origin, switch to a very fine grid first, then place the origin, then revert back to your preferred grid size.

  • You can select everything in your design, then move it. This amounts to moving the origin.

    Protip: switch to the OpenGL canvas (“View” menu), select everything with a rectangle, then right-click and choose Move Exactly to input coordinates.

This is a programmer convention I suppose.



Problem is that even if you move everything the origin is in the middle of the page.

Can you move page or remove it altogether?

Still, I am not sure why the move origin possibility have been omitted.

Arguably as easy to move origin as move whole design.

You need to unlock all your locked items as well I assume to be able to move all.

1 Like

I usually draw my board outline from the actual origin and also place vital holes/components/whatever, then move all of it down to a more sane place in the middle of the actual page. I would love to be able to move the origin!


Considering every other tool out there let you do it, it gets even more confusing.

In my case I just blamed it on myself for initially not knowing how to do it and was fast convinced it would be doable somehow and I could deal with it later.

I was wrong.

Look at the bright side, the only time a moveable origin would be important is when you print with zoom, as that one is really fixed to the absolute origin at the top left.
For any other purpose the relative coordinate readout does the job, just needs some exercise and getting used to.

I naturally agree that for convenience it would be pretty swell, but KiCAD isn’t there yet.
Probably a couple of wishlist entries on the bug tracker that deal with this…

1 Like

To be able to put components in with use of absolute coordinates much more convenient than using the space button ruler.

I think.

But I got the message, it’s not there.
I think I will increase the blueprint section with another wish of mine once I reach my laptop.

Move exact annoys me - a relative movement. Often I want to move a part to an absolute position. Unless I zoom in very far, nudging with the arrow keys and then clicking the mouse often jumps the footprint a few thou.

1 Like

I’m also annoyed by the origin being fixed to the upper left of the sheet. I’ve thought about creating a pcbnew sheet template which doesn’t have the origin in an unusable location.

Because things like connectors really need to be in a fixed known location, I’ve taken to just using a piece of note paper and jotting down and working out the absolute locations for parts which need that, and moving those parts by double-clicking on the footprint and entering the coordinates manually. Changing the grid to something coarse (like 1 mm) helps with placement, too.

My board origin, upper left corner, is always at some rational location, like (20, 20). I set the auxiliary origin at that point, and when generating gerbers and drill files, I always make sure that the “use aux origin” option is checked. I suppose it really doesn’t matter because the CAM processor always references to the board outline.

1 Like

Has anyone tried to adjust a page frame template to get the origin into the drawing area?
Printing (not plotting) is screwed then naturally, but if one doesn’t need it, it should work…

I think I posted that idea some months ago in a similar thread.

I’ll see if I can play with it tonight and post the result here.

Hi, I have been trying out KiCad for a few days now as a possible replacement for Proteus for which I need an upgrade licence (2000+ pins!) I have been finding it quite useable until I hit this brick wall. It does seem that it is not possible to set a local origin and move footprints to coords relative to that origin. I know about the space bar (the equivalent in Proteus/Ares is the “O” key) but when I open the footprint properties the absolute coords are still relative to the page origin, not my spacebar origin. This really is a deal-breaker for me. Is there any way around this other than using a calculator or moving the entire layout to the page origin - both error-prone.


1 Like

Yes the feature you wish is not implemented (yet).
My solution is to move the footprint to the (user grid) origin and then move it relative from this position with crtl+shift+m. Any other known starting position would also work.
Another solution would be to use a user grid. There you can set the x and y spacing as desired. When moving a part, it snaps to the activated grid. To use a user grid, you can set the dimensions under dimensions->user grid. Activation of the user grid: right click->grid->user grid or select it from the drop down menu at the top (blue circle)
Setting a user origin is done with this tool (red circle):


[quote=“streb2001, post:11, topic:2732”]Is there any way around this other than using a calculator or moving the entire layout to the page origin - both error-prone.

[quote=“streb2001, post:11, topic:2732”]
I know about the space bar (the equivalent in Proteus/Ares is the “O” key) … [/quote]


I know that KiCAD is missing a user settable origin and I’m sure at some point you’ll get one, but I don’t get above statements.
If you know about the spacebar and the relative coordinate readout at the bottom of the PCBnew window (to the right of the absolute readout) then you can always and anywhere use it… for checking dimensions, for relatively placing footprints (and then locking them), etc.pp…

Just draw your board outline or whatever else you need anywhere you want (for example a simple cross on Cmts.User or Dwgs.User will do just fine as origin mark).
If you need to place anything relative to that, move the mouse pointer over that mark, hit [Space], grab the piece that needs positioning, adjust grid and then move it with the mouse or the arrow-keys (or both rough=mouse, fine=keyboard) and voila.

The arrow key step depends on the grid setting for movements. One press will advance the item in question by one step in the grid. So you can get as accurate as 0.01 mm.

Space bar is no replacement.

You want put absolute coordinates into properties of footprints

1 Like

No, you want to put relative coordinates into there… only absolute in your personal user coordinate system.

Anyhow… you’re able to do what you want now with the tools available, just not how you want it to work.
Instead of typing numbers you can (admittedly 0.01 is the smallest step) move a footprint with the arrow keys and see how the numbers change till they represent the value you have in mind.

That’s different from typing in numbers I agree, but it works. Now.

PS: nothing is stopping you guys from opening the source code and implementing that feature. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

There is a solution to this problem. It’s all in the blank page that’s loaded at the start. I made a blank page that has no title block and borders for PCB layout. I don’t want borders and title blocks when I layout boards. Then I set the origin at the lower left and all is at it should be. Positive Y going up and positive X going right.


blank.kicad_wks (217 Bytes)

1 Like


The origins only work while creating the blank page. Once its loaded in a PCB file, the origin is still top left. The board can be set at the top left of the page and put up with negative Y values.


1 Like

So, can the origin be moved or can the sheet be turned off? I can’t see how working with an unmovable origin is practical unless i can get rid of the sheet so that I can use the origin.

Movable origin will be part of v6 (expected to be released in about two years or so)

The worksheet can be turned of by selecting a blank worksheet template (that you would need to create yourself as kicad does not ship with such a template).

Yes, after creating project still the origin remains on top, i dont know KiCad team not adding feature to move absolute origin !!!