KiCad – Free Electronics Design Automation Suite

KiCad is an open source software suite for the creation of electronic schematics. It helps design of schematics for electronic circuits and their conversion to PCBs (printed circuit board) design. KiCad was originally 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 and Gerber files, and 3D views of the PCB and its components.

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.

Features include:

  • KiCad is made up of five main constituents with a common interface:
    • kicad – the project manager.
    • eeschema – the schematic capture editor.
    • cvpcb – footprint selector for components used in the circuit design.
    • pcbnew – PCB layout software with 3D view. It uses the 3D model from Wings3D CAD.
    • gerbview – Visualize Gerber photoplotter documents.
  • Both eeschema and pcbnew have library managers and editors for their components and footprints.
  • Create, edit, delete and exchange library items.
  • Documentation files can be associated with components, footprints and key words, allowing a fast search by function.
  • Most components have corresponding 3D models.
  • 3D viewer which you can use to inspect your design in an interactive canvas.
  • Make professional PCB layouts with up to 32 copper layers. KiCad now has a push and shove router which is capable of routing differential pairs and interactively tuning trace lengths.
  • Official library for schematic symbols and a built-in schematic symbol editor help you get started quickly with your designs.
  • Migrating tools for components (from other EDA software tools).
  • 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.

Support: Documentation
Developer: Dick Hollenbeck
License: GNU GPL v2


KiCad is written in C++. Learn C++ with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

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