Starting a new project from old

I want to keep my project (schematic with hierarchy) as it is now, and create a new project starting from my current one as starting point.The method described by some is to make a copy of the whole project file and rename it but this seems messy is there a simple and less messy solution now as Kicad has evolved ?


There’s a new Save As feature in the development version. It should work with v5 projects, I guess. But it requires installing 5.99 nightly builds. You shouldn’t edit the files in any other way with that version if you want to keep them compatible with 5.1.

thanks but I dont no how to do that yet!

All you need to do is download a nightly from here.

Am i likely to mess things up completely ? if I do it will I be able to do what I want ?


It cant be just me who wants to do this ! what are other people doing please?


Unlikely. One caveat though.
The schematic file format is different (contains already future features) with the nightly builds. Format is not back compatible (yet).

Edit: I was meant to write pcb layout file format instead of schematic file format.

No, it’s exactly the schematic format which hasn’t changed (yet). The pcb layout file format has been changed. Anyways, you should be safe if you don’t open any files with KiCad application, only use the project view to Save As. And to maximize the safety you should of course copy the project first as-is and handle the copy, not the original.

Installing the nightly build depends on your OS. You have to give more information about your system if you want help for that.

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There is also an easier option available that does not depend on nightly builds at all.
Copy the folder that contains your project. Rename only the folder to fit your new needs and then work with that project as is.
If you truly can not live with the files inside being named like the original project then well go the route of the nightly.


Good point, although I suppose that if this needs to be asked, there’s need to rename the project. Otherwise it would be too easy :slight_smile:

Or you can manually edit your files in your copied folder with a text editor:

  • rename the files
  • change the references to the updated names inside the ‘.pro’,’.sch’ files

That should be less risky compared going to nightly.

Something automatic has been developed

but it is missing hierarchy
hierarchy on renaming

I am not using hierarchy.
To start new project I copy and rename .kicad_pcb, .sch and .pro files.

Do not forget about the -cache.lib (it must also have the same name as the project. And it is to be considered part of the schematic)

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… and now we are going back to the OP’s

Well it is less messy than installing an unstable nigthly version that might produce incompatible files.


I don’t see why it would produce incompatible files if you don’t open any files with it, only the main project, and just use Save As. Whether it’s incompatible or not is easy to test - and I have used it successfully for a 5.1 project.

If the feature is needed for more than one project every now and then it’s certainly easier to install a nightly build for that purpose than to remember every time how to change and check each file manually.

But really do you think the code will not touch the other files a part the main ‘.pro’? :wink:

Yes, really. There’s of course no guarantee, or it may change in the future.

I think that if you will try to compare the files you will be surprised… particularly in case of hierarchies

Did that mean that you know it makes changes inside the files so that they aren’t compatible any more?