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KiCAD a Free and Open Source EDA Tool

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KiCAD a Free and Open Source EDA Tool

KiCAD, a free and open source EDA tool, solves the stages: schematic capture, PCB layout, gerber generation or visualization and library editing.
In my OpenAVL project [OpenAVL - an AVL Open Source project (I), OpenAVL - an AVL free project (II) - using an open source compiler too! ], I try my best to use open source software products in the whole project. These open source tools include open source C compiler (WINAVR/WINARM) open source JTAG debugger, and open source EDA tool. I found Kicad, a free and open source EDA tool, which is maintained by Mr. Jean Pierre Charras, a researcher at LIS (Laboratoire des Images et des Signaux) and a teacher in IUT de Saint Martin d'Hères.(France), in the field of electrical engineering and image processing.

KiCad Capture Kicad has been developed for years. It becomes a multilingual, cross-platform and complete independent EDA tool, follows GPLv2 license. It is a set of software tools with a project manager:

  1. eeschema: Schematic Capture;
  2. PCBnew: Board Editor with 3D viewer, requires open source Wings3D as 3D modeler;
  3. Gerbview: GERBER viewer;
  4. CVPCB: footprint selector;
  5. Kicad: project manager.

It offers comparable performance to the popular commercial EDA tools like PADS/OrCAD/Protel. Besides the listed features, Kicad works on three major operation systems, Windows (2000 and XP), Linux/UNIX (Mandrake/FreeBSD/Solaris) and MAC OS.

I highly recommend to the users to read its tutorial and FAQ first, especially to the people who were working on commercial software tools. The work flow and terminologies are slightly different, do not let your previous experience misguide you. This software also offers comprehensive help information and supports PDF document links.

After all, it is a complete, multi-platform, powerful, and handy tool collection for your electronics projects. However it would be better if the author embedded a library sharing web service in Kicad. We can save some efforts in drawing components and footprint libraries.

Read More


One of the official site of Kicad project.






Kicad Libraries (for eeshema and PCBnew)






Multilingual Kicad Wiki site.







Kicad EDA

KiCAD Users is a group for users of Kicad.

Great tool!

KiCAD is a great tool for projects and most of all open source!

Very good indeed

I have been using KiCAD for schematic and PCB design for about 4 months now, and I have to agree it is filling the void on the free software "market".

Besides eliminating the stress of having to use cracked electronic design tools for hobby projects, this KiCAD appeals to me because it is so small in size: only about 160 MB, out of which about 80 MB are datasheets of the default libraries components. This means simply copy/paste on a memory stick and take it to another machine.

I agree, it is not as good as supported commercial tools, but it is small, free, and gets the job done!


KiCAD symbols

Actually I just came across this web page during the last few days:

It allows the quick build of schematic symbols for KiCAD. Each new footprint will be generated in a new library which you can save on your hard drive. Neat idea! I thought of an footprint equivalent for this webpage, but generally, footprints need more tweaking than you can do on a webpage.


RE: Hi, is there a version that

According to the second link of this website:


you can have KiCAD running on Solaris. I am not however, familiar with that OS and I do not know if you need to recompile something or it is just a simple install-and-run process. After reading through the info provided at the link, I hope KiCAD is in the "stable" branch of the software package.

Anyway, good luck with it.


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