Upgrading from 5.0 to 5.1 - any issues foreseen?

Hi everyone, I’m new around here so if there is a better place for this or I have failed to correctly find this information in an existing thread, my apologies.

I have 5.0 installed on this PC (4.X on my laptop) and up until this point on this PC have only used pcbnew as a viewer for .kicad_pcb files I generate in python (not a plugin - totally separate). I plan to start doing full PCB design on this PC, so can anyone think of a reason I should keep 5.0 or should I just go to 5.1? I suppose I’m asking if there’s anything in the .kicad_pcb file format that has changed between 5.0 and 5.1. I don’t see anything but there’s no official “upgrade guide 5.0 - 5.1” yet, so would like to draw on the collective insight of forum members.


Nothing has changed in the kicad_pcb file. The file format will change for v6 but not during v5.x

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As @Seth_h said, there are no file format differences between 5.0 and 5.1, but there are some significant UI changes. IMHO, changes to the better (for example basic design settings for the board have been consolidated from 3+ different menu items to one tree-based dialog box), but one needs to learn the new UI. Since you seem to have only use your PC install as a viewer, probably the biggest differences will be you comparing it to the v4 that you have on your laptop. The organization of the libraries has significantly changed between v4 and v5 so you will have that to contend with if you want to move designs from your laptop to the PC. Here are some entries in the FAQ that might be informative:

Keep an eye on the download page (hopefully also the blog…) as there is a bug fix for 5.1.x on the near horizon. Currently I think it will be 5.1.2 (5.1.1 introduced a different bug so it won’t be publicly released), probably available in a week or two. Once that is available, feel free to upgrade as it is intended only as a bug fix.

[mansplaining=“SembazuruCDE stately approaches the lecturn. Turning to the audience, he clears his throat and speaks thus:”]
KiCad seems to use the X.Y.Z versioning scheme. From what I can tell from the sidelines (I think I may have also read it some where, but I forget where) us users should be able to gauge the impact of upgrading based on which of the 3 numbers in the version changes.

  • For the “X” version number potentially non-backwards compatible changes (think expanding the file formats to add features) can be made.
  • For the “Y” version number only functionality and UI changes are allowed, no file format changes so the files should be fully compatible.
  • For the “Z” version number the changes should only be bug fixes, no change to intended workflows, no change to file formats, no increased (other than now working) functionality/features.



Great, thank you.

@SembazuruCDE, that’s amazing info, thank you.

There is however a small change in handling the same file format. v5.0 still supported creating segmented filled zones. This is no longer possible with 5.1. In fact 5.1 will convert them to polygon fill at some user command (was it refill or opening the properties dialog i can not quite remember.)

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I will find out if this changes anything for my boards! Thanks @Rene_Poschl

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