What is the best way to simply put a hole on the board?

Hi Forum,
New to kiCad, long time engineer. Had some trouble with defining new symbols, then deleting one of them from the drawing, then winding up with little brown boxes. I’ve already had enough of that.
Here is what I need. I will be using the PCB part of the program only. I have done many PCB’s, and am not at all worried about missing a line, I can always redo the PCB.
So I will have questions from time to time.
First question, There will be 64 holes around the outside of the PCB for an LCD glass. What is the best way to simply put a hole on the board? I have already looked through the menus, and have found several possibilities. I need to know which is best.
Thank you in advance for your time,

I’d define a footprint with a single non-plated through hole of the right diameter, and place that multiple times. As long as no copper touches the holes, the fab house will identify these as NPTH and drill them last.

Hi Simon,

Thank you for your answer. These particular holes are for the LCD glass, and are plated thru. I REALLY want to stick to pre-defined footprints, as there are many layers that I don’t even want to think about. I wouldn’t mind placing the LCD glass pin holes one by one. Are there plated thru hole pads already defined? I haven’t found them yet in the footprint list. Once I get past the holes and get to the placement of smt parts, I should be home free.

Other questions; 1) is there an ORTHO setting, 2) is there an offset line draw. I’m sure there will be more questions to follow.

I do have the origin identified, and the LCD glass outline drawn on the EdgeCuts layer. At least nothing has disappeared like my schematic symbols did !


Another question, although I think your answer has already answered this,

All holes are plated through unless not touching copper?

How much smaller is the hole when plated thru? Is this settable?

Thank you again!


Depends on the fab. KiCad exports separate drill files for plated and non plated so the fabs can use that to find out which holes to plate. But not all fabs have their toolchain setup to support this usecase.

Generally you might be interested in a few of our tutorials:

And of course the FAQ: (Start Here) Frequently Asked Questions

Most fabs I’ve worked with wanted a single drill file, and separated plated vs non-plated only by whether there was a copper connection.

It’s usually easiest to define footprints for these yourself – we have a few “mounting hole” footprints in the library, but these are designed for common screw types and leave quite a bit of space.

Plated holes are a few micrometers smaller, but usually not noticeable. For glass inserts, it doesn’t matter which you use. Usually there isn’t even a price difference for the skipped step, because most board houses will combine projects for fabrication.

For traces that aren’t at a 90 or 45 degree angle you need to enable “highlight collisions” mode (because that’s the only mode that doesn’t try to be smart about routing) as well as select the option to allow non-45-degree traces.

For lines at regular intervals I normally use the grid.

Both plated and non plated holes are specified as their final (end of production) nominal diameter.

So if you place a plated hole with hole size 3mm next to a non plated hole with 3mm then both will typically be produced for a nominal final hole size of 3mm (The tolerance ranges can be different and it is likely that the holes will have slightly different sizes as they are produced in different steps with different drills. There is however no reason why the plated one should always be smaller!)

Thank you to all that responded,

Take a look at the bottom of the Test Points pre-defined symbols list. This appears to be exactly what I need. Round pads, square pads, and drill sizes.

Where is it specified in layers that the hole is plated or not? Or is it specified elsewhere?

Thanks again,


I make PCB’s on my CNC Mill… Think this post will answer your question (just posted it)…

In the pad properties. (select NPTH/Mechanical as the pad type)

Thank you for that, you have me off in the right direction!


Thank you! Probably more questions to come, but at least I’m off the ground. R.

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