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Kicad logo new.png
KiCad Pcbnew OpenGL.png
KiCad Layout Editor
Original author(s) Jean-Pierre Charras
Developer(s) KiCad developers[1]
Initial release 1992[2]
Stable release BZR-4022[3] / July 7, 2013; 2 years ago (2013-07-07)[3]
Written in C++[4]
Operating system FreeBSD, Linux, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X (experimental)
Available in Multilingual (8)
Type EDA
License GNU GPL v2, GNU LGPL v2.1[1]
KiCad Eeschema for Schematic capture.
KiCad Pcbnew for layout design.
KiCad 3D Viewer showing both VRML and IDF features on a demo board.
KiCad 3D Viewer

KiCad is a free software suite for electronic design automation (EDA). It facilitates the design of schematics for electronic circuits and their conversion to PCBs (printed circuit board) design. KiCad was developed by Jean-Pierre Charras, and features an integrated environment for schematic capture and PCB layout design. Tools exist within the package to create a bill of materials, artwork, Gerber files, and 3D views of the PCB and its components.


The KiCad suite has five main parts:

  • kicad - the project manager.
  • eeschema - the schematic capture editor.
  • pcbnew - the PCB layout program. It also has 3D View.
  • gerbview - the Gerber (photoplotter documents) viewer.
  • Bitmap2Component - tool to convert images to footprints for PCB artwork.


KiCad uses an integrated environment for all of the stages of the design process: Schematic Capture, PCB layout, Gerber file generation/visualization and library editing.

KiCad is cross-platform program, written with wxWidgets to run on FreeBSD, Linux, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. Many component libraries are available, and users can add custom components. The custom components can be available on a per-project basis, or installed for use in any project. There are also tools to help with importing components from other EDA applications, for instance EAGLE. Configuration files are in well documented plain text. This fact helps with interfacing to CVS's or SVN and with making automated component generation scripts. Up to 32 copper layers are supported.

Multiple languages are supported, such as English, Catalan, Czech, German, Greek, Spanish, Finnish, French, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovene, Swedish, and Chinese.

The 3D PCB viewing function is based on VRML models and the board model can be exported for CAD integration.

KiCad has a built-in basic autorouter. Alternatively, the open source java-based FreeRouting can be used. To do that, a PCB design is exported to a Specctra DSN file, which is then loaded into FreeRouting. After the autorouting is done, the result is saved as a Specctra session and imported back into KiCad's pcbnew module.

Over the last years CERN added important features for high speed PCB routing, like track length matching, differential pair support and a new Graphic Abstraction Layer based on OpenGL.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ JP Charras said me that the first drafts were made in 1992 for a DOS version, but not diffused :-) , (kicad-users) Re: About KiCad first release By Remy, 08 Jul 2007
  3. ^ a b "KiCad author's home page". Retrieved 2013-07-07. 
  4. ^ "KiCad in Launchpad". Retrieved 2011-01-20. 

External links[edit]

Complete Basic Kicad Tutorial (video)

7 Parts, approx. 4 minutes each

Symbol Libraries
  • HackRF One, an open source SDR platform
  • TimEX3 FPGA based multi-purpose 3U compact PCI board released under CERN OHL License
  • Mooltipass, featured on hackaday