Pcbnew - why is Global spread and place not available under different renderers


I was watching a youtube video and it referenced a feature in Kicad 4.0.6 called ‘Global spread and place’ . Looks handy.

So I try to find it, by right clicking on my pcb and I don’t see the option. I am using the OpenGL renderer because of a bug with the ‘default’ renderer.

When I switch back to the default renderer - this option appears!

Why is it not available to all renderers, surely the renderer should be disassociated with a feature such as global spread and place?


Some tools have not (yet) been ported to the opengl tool set. This is hinted at in the FAQ article about canvases.

A lot of the tools missing in the kicad 4.0.x series opengl canvas have since been ported. (I think this includes manual calling of global spread and place. I know for sure that the new “update pcb from schematic tool” spreads out footprints on import.)


Ok, note that it also didn’t appear on the cairo editor.

Should I jump to the latest and greatest v5 kicad at this point? Will my project be compatible? I am wondering if this would be a good time to make the switch, it seems like v5 has improvements…


Your kicad 4 project can be opened with current nightly (will become kicad 5). But the problem is that the other way round is not possible. Especially the schematic side of things.

And there is also the matter of remapping the project over to the new symbol library management system. This process is quite involved but there is not yet a lot of documentation about it out there.
If you would start your first project right now i would say go for it but as you want to work on kicad 4 projects it might be better to stick to it until you have at least finished your them.


Please don’t!! :smirk:


In KiCad 4.0.7 OpenGL canvas, select a random component and move it a lot to the side.
Then select a lot of components (including the one you just moved) by dragging a box around them.
Then put the mouse on one of the selected components and:
Right Mouse Button -> Align / Distribute -> Distribute horizontally.

A completely different way of working workes nice with a big or dual monitor setup.
Put EEschem next to PCBnew and look in EEschem for the RefDes of a component.
Then in PCBnew pres “T” and enter the RefDes of the component you want to move.


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