Why not supporting multi-pcb for one project


Currently, KiCad only support one project one PCB. But sometimes, we need to have one project some PCBs, for example: one PCB is single board and the other PCB is panelized board, or, one PCB is rigi-board(soft board), and the others are Stiffener boards…

In these conditions, I think it’s will be better if KiCAD can support multi-board in one project.

It’s just the way KiCad evolved, the paradigm is one project one schematic one board. Your can have multiple projects in a directory.

Honestly I think it is not a good paradigm and being investigating a situation where I would need one schematic and 2 layouts I found something strange. I did the schematic and everyting needed to be able to create the PCB design, then I created the PCB design (for me was just a way to test if all the components where OK also for the new 3D models I used) then using Save As I saved this PCB design with 2 more different file names (I appended -1 and -2 to the original file name). After that Kicad by itself created 2 projects having the same file name and .pro extension of my -1 and -2 designs. Kicad does not recognize the original schematic as linked to the 2 new PCB designs and asks if I want to create it. Apart that is quite stupid to ask if I want to create a schematic having a PCB layout project filled of components and connections between them but looking in the .pro files I found that every 3 files at the last rows reported the reference to the same schematics so to the original schematics and its sheets.

I think the problem here is one of nomenclature!
The term ‘Project’ should’nt be used perhaps, say, ‘Design’ would be better.

I agree with the OPs original statement. If you are doing a project then that project might involve a number of schematics and a number of boards which you would want to keep together (even copies of one board with different saved versions might be nice). The one schematic to one PCB rule would still hold true using this scheme.

Why have such a large ‘Project’ area laid out in such a way that suggests to the user it could hold more files when it doesn’t - would a path/tree format be better

It would be nice if this area of KiCAD could be looked at in future versions.


This may help - it’s how I do it… And, a curious person might try more than one schematic/pcb…

I think it’s just one of those things one needs to get used to. Words are sometimes imprecise. Programming IDEs organise software by projects too, but nobody thinks that a single program project always covers everything.

A “project” might involve other non-PCB aspects so just accommodating multiple PCBs might not be sufficient.

BlackCoffee very handy and interesting to know - thank you for posting I will look further into this.

retiredfeline - absolutely! But in the context of the original post which I responded to, I feel KiCAD has reached a level of maturity that a nod to having multiple designs in a ‘Project’ is not unreasonable. Especially as the devs seem to be increasingly targeting the big boys’ requirements more and more with included functionality eg SQL based Libraries.

On a personal note, once you realise that ‘Project’ does NOT mean Project there’s no problem (just annoying). I have recently finished some boat electronics incorporating 9 PCBs it would have been nice to have the name of the boat as a project header with subfolders for the individual parts of the whole - thus keeping the whole PROJECT together utilising one name. This would not break KiCAD’s requirement of only having one schematic associated with one PCB etc.


Perhaps the solution lies outside of KiCad. If you expand the vision perhaps some kind of project browser that can launch various applications for all kinds of project directories, not just PCB designs but other CAD tools, simulation tools, documentation tools, etc. Is the way to go. Then there’s no problem with KiCad’s one board per project since it’s just part of a larger Project.

I once did a “Hierarchical project” test in KiCad V5.1, and back then it did seem to work.

I had a “global project”, and some “sub projects”. The Idea was a (fictive) project which had a main PCB and several daughter boards. In the “Global project” you had an overview of the whole schematic. You could use the hierarchy to switch between the different “daughter boards”, and you could do ERC checks on the whole project.

In each of the sub projects, only a single PCB was visible, and this worked for designing each PCB in the project.

When I did a search to find my thread above, I also found quite a lot of interest from others in this issue:


My best guess is that “The KiCad Developers” are both aware and interested in this, but there is no consensus or time table of how and when to support this and how the pieces should best fit together. One PCB per project works quite well, and there are lots of more pressing issues to improve for KiCad and implementing real support for this is probably several years into the future.

Guys, the reason to have one schematic associated to many PCBs is practical. We can have a design for 2 layer boards and 4 layer boards, or 2 different placements or 2 different releases with 2 different packages for the same component and so on. It is the same problem to manage releases. Schematic, PCB and BOM may change independently one from the others but continue to be linked together. About nomenclature: normally a HW project is done by a schematic, at least one PCB and a BOM. A set of projects may be called workspace or group or multi-board project.

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In that case, whip out your wallet and buy software for yourself that will support that.
There’s enough backlog and open issues to be fixed as is.
Apart from that, I have no problem with the “one SCH, one PCB” thing.
That can be fixed very elegantly with an external project management system that keeps track of your design files (usually gives you a lot of “check-in, check-out” traffic, though.
Grumpy comment from happy KiCAD user.

That’s going to be tricky given that currently the schematic holds footprint information and that back modification is possible. A more abstract representation of the schematic might be needed. Don’t hold your breath waiting on progress for a more comprehensive architecture.

Design patterns or modules which are useful for other reasons could go part way towards reusuable schematics.

I am late but in Project browser, there is File/Save As option. That saves the whole project to a new name.

I just organise my PCBs as Document/KiCad/projects/proj_name/PCB1, Document/KiCad/projects/proj_name/PCB2etc

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