Post-v5 new features and development news

It has now been merged to master. At the moment it’s behind a config flag because it’s not fully featured yet, so if you compile, run cmake first and enable KICAD_PCM. You will also see KICAD6_3RD_PARTY environment variable in the Configure Paths dialog, the packages which can now be tested will be installed there. The footprint library must be added to a library table manually. As was said, it’s not ready yet for full user experience.

Discussion should go to the dedicated thread.

Gerbview has now XOR viewing mode a.k.a. differential mode or compare mode. Overlapping colors are blended using certain algorithm, so difference between two layers is easy to see. Screenshots can be found in the merge request.

Notice that this is only for gerbview, not for pcbnew. The latter once had the old legacy toolset/display engine which showed colors XORed and some users have wanted it back, but with other enhancements, for example more detailed settings for transparency, it shouldn’t be necessary for productive work.

EDIT: this isn’t really a new feature, it existed in v5, but was removed probably when the legacy canvas was removed (correct me if I’m wrong). The implementation in 5.99 is different.


Important: Update to 5.99 modifier keys

Importing of Eagle netclasses and clearance matrices.

Maybe more of a bug fix, but it might be useful to some:

Some slight improvement to the length tuner / diff pair tuner. Now you can choose which side the meander is placed on by moving the mouse cursor to the other side of the tuned tracks:



The OCE option has now been removed.

Quoting Seth (

Previously, KiCad had default paths for schematic symbols in /usr/share/kicad/library and for footprints in /usr/share/kicad/modules/ (Windows users found these at %{KICAD_PROGRAM}\share\kicad\library and %{KICAD_PROGRAM}\share\kicad\modules)

Starting with tomorrow’s nightly build, we will be installing these to /usr/share/kicad/symbols for schematic symbols and /usr/share/kicad/footprints for layout footprints.

Depending on your setup, this may require some manual intervention after an update. New installations should work by default.


As part of a general cleanup to the UI of the Create Array... tool, a new option has been added that automatically assigns the next available reference designator to the newly created footprints (it works in the same way as Paste Special... -> Assign unique reference designators)

The cleanup was mainly to remove the clutter in that dialog when running from the board editor: none of the pad numbering options were relevant.


The way it should work is that if you have a block to array like below:

J1          J2

It will create an array with the reference designators something like below (dependent on other footprints on the board not having those reference designators already)

J1          J2          J4          J5
          J3                      J6

J7          J8          J10         J11
          J9                      J12

A possible workflow for getting this working would be:

  1. Ensure that the schematic and the PCB are synchronised before starting.
  2. Use the array tool on a set of components of the PCB.
  3. In the schematic, copy the same block of components and do Paste Special... -> Assign Unique reference designators (they will need to be pasted as many times as required).
  4. Finally the components in the schematic and PCB can be linked up with a Update PCB from Schematic... (F8) selecting Re-link footprints to schematic symbols based on their reference designators.

This option should be available in the next nightly run.

Ref commit:


Cool! I’ve been waiting for something like this for years!

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Until now, CTRL + E could be used to open the editor of the current symbol or footprint (below the mouse).

Since yesterday, CTRL + SHIFT + E can be used to open the symbol or footprint it in the library editor, instead of editing the current symbol / footprint.

Thanks Seth!


We finally got some information about the v6 release schedule! Quoted from Wayne’s message, :

  • Tag RC1 on November 15.
  • 6.0.0 release announcement December 31 (maybe the day before Christmas
    just for fun).

The annual stable release policy sounds exciting.


The Plugin and Content Manager has been enabled by default and will start showing up in nightlies tomorrow.

There is work-in-progress documentation aimed at plugin/content creators on the dev docs site. Adventurous plugin authors can already start submitting their work to the official repository by following the guidelines there (take a look at the things already in the repository for examples).

There are some things to be aware of when testing:

  • Uninstalling a color theme using the PCM does not remove the theme. This is by design currently, but we’re looking at ways to improve this UX.
  • If you have a saved size of the KiCad project manager window (i.e. if you have run KiCad before), the saved size will not be updated now that this is turned on. So, the button for the PCM may appear off-screen and you may need to manually make the KiCad manager window larger. This should not affect new installs.

I am really happy to see PCM in KiCAD! However, I am worried about the plugins’ future in KiCAD 6. In the current nightly, there is API regression that affects several plugins in such a way they stop working. And without fixing the API, they will not be available for v6.

Could you provide updates on the Python API v6? I raised my concerns on the mailing list about a week ago, but I received no response from the developers (see The regression was reported about 9 months ago and we were asured that it will be fixed before release. However, I am really getting worried as it is 7 days until RC.

I have a question regarding PCM - what about plugins that have third-party dependencies (i.e., Python libraries). Does the installation process via PCM takes this into account? Currently, it doesn’t look so. Is it expected that the user will have to install such dependencies manually?

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Can’t you just include all dependencies in the plug-in? The website linked above states that

The contents of the plugins subdirectory should include any Python source files and resources required by your plugin

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Could you start a new thread please? This one is really just for announcements and gets impossible to search if every new feature is discussed within it.


Here you go: Plugin and Content Manager - how to handle plugins with dependencies?

However, I didn’t notice there is such a rule. And short discussions happened here before and none was complaining.

Some things die off on their own after a few posts. Some have the potential to go on longer. Sometimes a new topic will simply get better visibility.

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When KiCad V6 is released I think it’s a good idea to start a new topic for it and then only give a limited amount of people access to add posts.
Comments and questions can than easily be handled by starting a new thread and referring to the “list of new features and development news”