Post-v5 new features and development news

7 posts were split to a new topic: Rounded corner track discussion

For Windows users:

KiCad has renamed its System variables in use for nightly builds that will carry into KiCad 6. This has become necessary to allow concurrent versions of KiCad to more easily co-exist on platforms in the future.

Windows Installer Change

The Windows installer for new KiCad nightly builds from today onwards will now install into a versioned path.

Previously, KiCad would be installed into

C:\Program Files\KiCad\

Now KiCad nightly will install into

C:\Program Files\KiCad\5.99\

No more excuses for not installing 5.99 and testing it!

EDIT: There’s some problem in the latest nightly build installer ATM, see the linked thread. I suggest avoiding it until it’s fixed.
EDITEDIT: The latest nightly build works.
EDITEDITEDIT: I added instructions for easy safe installation procedure unless you want to wait for the official instructions. Just start from scratch. Because we are talking about nightly builds for testing, it may not be worth trying to keep old settings. (4th edit: read the post linked to below if you use 3D models.)

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And another from marekr:

Important notice to those who use JLCPCB: Apologies from atommann (an engineer from JLCPCB), about Gerber X2 files at JLCPCB. At the moment they are not able to handle gerber X2 / aperture macro combination properly in gerber files.

The working solution for 5.99 until JLCPCB gerber processing is changed


This change is relatively new in 5.99. It is possible that there are other manufacturers who have problems with gerber X2 + aperture macro combination.

EDIT: It’s not necessarily the combination of these two, but JLCPCB has had some problems with X2, and now has with the new aperture macros produced by KiCad even though aperture macro itself is an old feature of X1. In any case disabling both should always work.

This comes a bit late, but for those who use python plugins:

  1. Because of KiCad code API changes v5 plugins don’t necessarily work with 5.99 (or later v6). It depends on each plugin developer how they handle this. For example Interactive HTML BOM by @qu1ck has been updated in git master but some other plugins don’t work as of now.

  2. The plugin search path has changed. The safest way to add plugins for 5.99 is probably to use <user configuration dir>/scripting/plugins/, i.e.

  • ~/.config/kicad/5.99/scripting/plugins/ on Linux
  • %appdata%\kicad\5.99\scripting\plugins\ on Windows
  • ~/Library/Preferences/kicad/5.99/scripting/plugins/ on Mac (untested by me).

(EDIT: see Post-v5 new features and development news below)

  1. Python console may not work, see [SOLVED] Kicad Nightly "unable to create the Python console" etc. (Maybe I should recompile KiCad from scratch because this still doesn’t work automatically for me. EDIT: yes, rebuilding from scratch works.)

Qu1ck has also added some helpful buttons into the plugins Preferences section, see

Version 6 will not work on Windows 7. Windows 7 soon to be no longer functional for 6.0

Arc track / Curved track interactive resizing has made it into v6 as part of MR 608. This should trickle into the nightlies over the next few days.


  • Does not do anything on 180 degree arc tracks.
  • Does not do any on-line DRC checks as this is not part of the router at the moment.
  • The resizing operation is started as part of a “drag” action (either “45 degree” or “free”). This means:
    • You can press ‘G’ or ‘D’ on the keyboard to start the process.
    • You can also just click and drag to resize, but this is dependent on your Preferences settings (see Preferences->Mouse and Touchpad->Drag Gestures)
  • Make sure you have only one arc track selected and nothing else, or you will start the in-line dragger (part of the router tool).

See below video for demo:


Awesome! thanks for highlighting this

There are some news about the translation system migration that stoped some PPAs?

KiCad will now use C:\Users<username>\Documents\KiCad\5.99\scripting\plugins as the preferred location to load plugins.

%APPDATA%\kicad\scripting\plugins still works for now.

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14 posts were split to a new topic: Paths in upcoming versions

This plugin path change ignited many comments and also other important information (changes on other platforms) which can be found in the split discussion.

A change in generated gerbers.

Author: jean-pierre charras <>
Date:   Sat Jan 30 09:59:53 2021 +0100

    Use aperture macro for custom pads. Optimize aperture macros for free polygons.
    These aperture macros were previously used but only for chamfered round rect.
    They are now also used for custom pads (previously drawn as regions).
    They are also optimized, i.e. only one aperture macro is created for a given shape.
    (previously, one aperture macro was created for each chamfered round rect pad.)
    So now all pads are flashed.

Some other changes to pads caused problems with 3rd party software (most notably JLCPB CAM), so you should be aware of this one, too. It depends on the features used on the footprints/layout whether some problems are triggered in other software or not. If you have access to some 3rd party software which reads and and interprets gerbers, please test, or send gerbers with all kinds of pads in several rotated positions to your manufacturer. (Do not disable aperture macros for these tests.)

For new installs (or for when you wipe out your config directory), the hotkey Ctrl+H is changed from the legacy “high contrast” toggle to the new 3-state layer display mode toggle. This will cycle through showing inactive layers normally, dimmed, and off (the old hotkey just toggled between normal and dimmed).

If you don’t erase your config, this change won’t affect you, so I encourage you to consider making this switch yourself in your hotkey preferences:

If you haven’t tried this feature, it’s like the old “hide all layers but active” action available from right-clicking the list of layers, but better: unlike that one, this will keep working as you change layers.


Will the excellent plugins by @maui and others (e.g. StepUp, RF tools, via stitching,…) work with version 6 when all is said and done and ver. 6 is officially released?

Each plugin developer (or someone else) must port the plugin to v6. So, it depends.

ATM there is a big issue on v6 because the code has changed a lot and Vias/Traces are invisible after plugin run. The user needs to save and reopen file to see them, even if they are in the file.

Same issue here:

There are already issues discussed at gitlab, but still open:
issue #5678
issue #7065
Without #7065 closed (solved), nothing could be improved on plugin side.

this broken doesn’t depend at all on plugins developers, but it is a bug/missing feature on k code.
It is all on k devs to decide how approach the python support.

few comments relevant to the issue:

It appears like BOARD_ITEMS added via the python interface are never added to the View

really Python programs should not be using BOARD::Add but the normal COMMIT infrastructure is not exposed right now, and I’m not sure the history behind that

Many script need to add items to a board. It allow opportunity to have many “small” feature (On my side, ViaStitching, but many others) developed by the users…


My comment was aimed only at the changed API in general. I’m not familiar with the details or bugs, so thanks for the first hand knowledge, it’s pretty important to know.

(The link there leads to “testing” directory but it seems to have 5.99 nightly builds.)


If there are no issues found, we’ll probably change the main nightly folder to contain msvc builds soon, after they get a few more testers.