KiCad 5 – How to align and distribute multiple footprints in Pcbnew 

 March 12, 2019

By  Peter


A question that I received from a student of KiCad Like a Pro Second Edition, is how to align components, or I should say, footprints in Pcbnew so that they all aligned nicely to the left, to the right, to the middle and so on.

So in this quick video I'd like to show you a quick example of how to do just that.

First, make sure you are not using legacy tools mode. The alignment and distribution feature will not work if you do.

So, I've got a blank canvas here and I'm going to drop a few resistors (exactly the same thing that you can do with anything else with any other footprint).

Copy this just select it, and do Control-C...

I'll drop a couple more. I'm going to put them in just weird positions, not aligned.

Put one more say right here.

And now, let's say that I want to align them all so that all of them are aligned to the left.

And the alignment is going to work by KiCad looking at what is the left-most edge of all the components that I have selected and then move the rest at that location.

So first I need to select them all and I'm going to do a right click and then select all of them like this.

So they are all highlighted.

Then I'm going to pick one of them.

Let's say this one here right click and in the menu that appears, go to Align/Distribute and I've got choices to make.

Let's say a line to the left. There you go.

All of them will be moved towards the left most edge of the existing footprints.

And there will be aligned as such.

While I've got them here another thing that I can do is...

That's good, Google Home. Sorry about that.

So, let's say that I want to distribute them now nicely vertically.

So while I've got them at this location, at this position, I'm going to do right click and they're still all selected, and I'm going to go align, distribute vertically.

And that will space them nicely here.

And you can experiment in the same way to do all sorts of other types of alignments and arrangements.

So I hope this was helpful.

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Peter Dalmaris is an educator, electrical engineer, electronics hobbyist, and Maker. Creator of online video courses on DIY electronics and author of three technical books, and has recently released his book Maker Education Revolution.   As a Chief Tech Explorer since 2013 at Tech Explorations, the company he founded in Sydney, Australia, Peter’s mission is to explore technology and help educate the world.  Tech Explorations offers educational courses and Bootcamps for electronics hobbyists, STEM students and STEM teachers. A life-long learner, Peter’s core skill is in explaining difficult concepts through video and text. With over 15 years of tertiary teaching experience, Peter has developed a simple yet comprehensive style in teaching that students from all around the world appreciate.  His passion for technology and in particular for the world of DIY open source hardware has been a dominant driver that has guided his personal development and his work through Tech Explorations. Peter’s current online courses have helped over 60,000 people from around the world to be better Makers. 

Peter Dalmaris

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