What have you recently discovered in KiCad that you wished you knew long ago?

Been using KiCad for years and only recently found out you can use arithmetic symbols in things like size/co-ordinates etc.

So instead of calculating co-ordinates you can use 2.54*3 or 2.54+100

Another thing I found out is you can reference the page settings fields in the PCB. I always populate the revision field and now on the PCB you just add text for PCB ${REVISION}
This can also be used in output directory when generating gerbers.

Fantastic. I always used to manually do this! :smiley:

What other good to know features don’t I know about!?


Before first time installing KiCad in 2017 (4.0.7) I have read all pdf-s. I supposed to learn from them how to use KiCad. But later I found that these pdf-s were rather for KiCad V3. I remember from that reading that I can use expressions in fields but I have never needed it.

I have recently found (someone told me here) that after first time updating PCB from schematic and with having set in Preferences - Common - [v] Focus follows mouse between schematic and PCB editors then after selecting a block at schematic then moving cursor to PCB the hotkey P is Fantastic. Just today I have used it about 10 times :slight_smile:


What a great feature - didn’t know about that one either. I have multiple monitors and was just thinking this would be a nice FR :smiley:

Google translator does’t want to tell me what FR means.
Feature Request? But why Request as it is ready?

I meant it would have been a good feature to request but then you said it could already be done with the “Focus follows mouse between schematic and PCB”

Having this checkbox not checked (and not knowing about it) I had a problem to move at PCB elements I have just selected in the schematic. M moved block at schematic and not at PCB. Clicking at PCB unselected footprints (but not unselected symbols). I have asked how to move selected that way footprints. And I got info about that setting and also about P hotkey.
For me P is more fantastic than this focus following mouse (this can be bypassed by clicking PCB icon or at the top of PCB window). But of course it is better to not have to click.

Since V7 was released I had no time to carefully look through all menus and settings. For half a year I’ve been in a situation where I don’t know what to put my hands in.

One thing I like to do when exact positional component placement is required:

I draw the PCB in a CAD (like Fusion360) and import the sketch as a .dxf into the User.Drawings layer.
KiCad then snaps to the graphics elements of the sketch, or use Ctrl+shift+P to align in.
That is a faster workflow for me as in proper CAD, I find it easier to design. And a lot less of manual calculating.

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There are now some exact positioning tools for the PCB and Footprint Editors.

Right click on the item to bring up the selection list. Half way down is “Positioning tools”. There are four choices… needs a little experimenting to work them out. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Although I know and enjoy the new object selection paradigm, I recent realised ctrl-click is also useful to subtract from a group, in addition to append to it. Say you have a bunch of objects that can be selected with a region, except for one or two pesky objects you don’t want. Just draw the rectangle to select the region, then use ctrl-click to remove the exceptions.

Then apply the group operation.


Yeah, that in itself is a pretty cool function. :slightly_smiling_face:

Control-click to make some in the selection stay placed.

Good to know, although, I find it find easier to draft in CAD where I can use parameters and set constrains. I often need some time to play around until I found a layout I’m happy with.

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Having worked with kicad, many things are made easier than with altium, but constant shortcomings and low prevalence, even in comparison with the eagle, make it limitedly suitable … The main problem is not full integration with altium projects where the percentage of users is much higher. As soon as a full-fledged importer appears, I think that things will get better

I was told about this two days ago. In PCB, use backtick to highlight a complete track.


Some time ago I found that zones can be modified not only by dragging the corner points (squares) but also by dragging segment center points. This worked for me well for rectangle zones, but when I had also 45 degree segments dragging a segment by its center point destroyed angles of neighboring segments.
Today I found that if I have (0,45,90) mode switched on than dragging by center points works perfectly provided I have all segments in 0,45,90. That mode makes more difficult to modify corners (you need 2 moves to move to ‘wrong’ direction) but benefits are bigger (you always can toggle that mode by Shift+Space hotkey).
If you have simple zone shapes it is not important, but at some PCBs my zones are unexpectedly (for most people, I think) complicated so how editing is easy/difficult is important for me. Here is one my zone example:


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