Transfer board layer presets

I have Kicad on multiple computers and want to have common setups on all machines. I have found some global preferences (hotkey file, colors, fp-lib-table, sym-lib-table) and some preferences are board-dependant. Until now I have not found information for the board layer presets, so my question:

  • Are the board layer presets project dependant or global?
  • Where are the board layer presets stored? (File, path, I’m on windows10)
    Thanks, Maik

If you go to: Pcbnew / File / Board Setup then there is an Import button in the lower left corner:

Then you can choose what settings you want to import, and the button in the upper right corner opens a file browser window which filters for KiCad Project files.


With that you can import the settings from another project.

this way imports the layer-settings (which layer is enabled on the board->editor layers->tab) but doesn’t import the self-composed layer-presets.
However it encouraged me to search for the place where these layer-presets are saved. I found it inside the *.kicad_pro main-project-file.
So it seems it should be imported with your mentioned import-method. I will file an gitlab-issue if I’m back on my main machine.

It’s always important to tell which KiCad version you are using. kicad_pro tells it’s 5.99 which is the unstable development version, used by the minority of the users.

Don’t bee too quick with opening issues on gitlab.

It’s unlikely that such a minor issue will be changed for KiCad V5.1.x even if you report it, and in KiCad-nightly V5.99 it may have already been fixed anyway.

At the moment I’m a bit apprehensive of opening any issues on gitlab, unless for clear bugs.

At the moment I’m also not even sure what

you are referring too.

The Import settings in KiCad-nightly V5.99 has an extra checkbox for "Violation severities**.


Good catch eelik, I missed that. Without further information given I assume a post is about the latest stable KiCad release, which is currently V5.1.10.

sorry, my fault. I was writing about 5.99.
layer-presets is the feature (new?) to have sets of customzid layers (set for on/off) to quickly switch between.

Do you think it’s worth to create a gitlab-entry? (I have used the search-function, but not found ticket regarding this subject). It’s not urgent, if I copy projects and start a new project from the copy I get the layer-presets so I don’t have to create them every time again.

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Can you elaborate more about what information you are missing?

I notice that communication is a bit difficult. Possibly because non-native englis speakers (both of us) and because of the differences between spoken and written communication.

A simple question such as for a more elaborate answer, is very easy, quick and natural in a spoken conversation, but it is very slow and cumbersome in a written format such as a forum like this. This problem is even more pronounced on gitlab. Bug reports should be complete and concise at the same time, so a developer can find all the info he needs for a certain bug (or missing feature) quickly without asking for further info.

If this results in spending an hour or more on writing a bug report, whith the result that a developer can spend 10 minutes more on actually writing code and fixing bugs instead of managing posts or asking for more information, then it’s a win. Developer time is precious in KiCad, while there are many thousands of users (including myself).

KiCad-nightly V5.99 has a lot of new features. for example all layers can be renamed. There is also Pcb editor / File / Board Setup / Board Setup / Physical Stackup and other pages with settings for the board setup which are all new in KiCad-nightly V5.99.
If you look at the board setup and the Import Settings from Another Board dialog:

Then it appears many settings can not be imported yet.
The Board Setup has 11 pages with settings:

  1. Board Editor Layers
  2. Physical Stackup
  3. Board Finish
  4. Solder Mask/Paste.
  5. Text & Graphic Defaults
  6. Text Variables
  7. Design Rules Constraints
  8. Pre-defined Sizes
  9. Net Classes
  10. Custom Rules
  11. Violation Severity

The Import Settings only has 7 check boxes, so it appears there is quite some functionality missing in this regard. And indeed, I think this should be reported on Gitlab.

But as I wrote before, there is much that KiCad users such as you and me can do to help the developers work more effectively.
A start is to make an inventory of what features can not be imported (yet) and tho check for all of them if they have already been reported on Gitlab.

I think it’s the Presets in the Appearance -> Layers panel in the pcbnew main window. Not Board Editor Layers, which only sets layers used/unused for the project.

It’s true that Presets are saved in .kicad_pro and aren’t global. It makes sense because the needed presets may depend on the project, but it could be argued that global is wanted.

Probably you just have to live with that. It’s possible to paste and copy from file to file, but it’s too difficult for each project. I haven’t tried templates for 5.99, maybe it’s possible to create a template project and add the presets there. When a new project is created from the template the presets would be there. It’s worth trying.

Could be…
In **Appearance Manager / Layers you can set color, opacity and visibility of layers. In the popup menu from Presets (Ctrl + Tab) I found an option with “Save Preset”:

And it opens a dialog that asks for a name.

And then it adds that name to the list. So it’s more a function to create a new preset, instead of saving a preset.
Or you can interpret it as save the current preset view under a name in the preset settings.

I’m getting a bit lost in all these new features, and find them a bit overwhelming. When I started with KiCad, I found it very charming that it had so much functionality with a pretty simple user interface. KiCad is loosing this charming simplicity, but that’s the price of progress I guess. Many of the new features are very useful.

And there is a limit to making an interface to save individual details. Saving an otherwise empty project to use as a template to start new projects from is already done by some and seems a reasonable compromise.

There is not a function to import presets in the Board Setup right now. The best way to re-use layer presets is to make a template project that has the presets set up the way you want.


Yes, I meant the presets layers in the Appearance - panel on the right side (as mentioned by eelik/paulvdh). For now I will rely on copied projects (and maybe I try templates).
Thanks for all answers.

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