KiCad Development Highlight: Altium PCB Importer

Exciting news from the KiCad blog:


Altium PCB Importer

As a preview of a feature coming in the next major release, the ability to import Altium PcbDoc files is now available in the latest nightly builds. This was thanks to the work of Thomas Pointhuber in MR#60

The board import option can be found under the File > Import Non-Kicad Board File option and changing the file type filter



After selecting your PcbDoc file and a short delay. Pcbnew will display it’s best attempt at a import and provide warnings if it had any difficulties importing the file.


If you want to give the board import a spin, simply download the latest KiCad nightly and take it for a spin. Feel free to report any issues.

Both this feature and nightly builds are in development, please only use them for testing and experimentation

KiCad Development Highlight: Altium PCB Importer

Altium Board importer for KiCad

Thomas Pointhuber got Twitter excited yesterday with this video of importing Altium design into KiCad: 

Thomas Pointhuber has been developing an Altium importer and it was finally merged into KiCad:

Altium Board importer

This is the foundation to add support for native Altium import. Contributions are very welcome, because this is a quite some amount of work.

The work is mainly based on, which is an existing Altium Designer -> KiCad converter written in Perl. Because Altium Circuit Studio and Altium Circuit Maker uses quite similar file formats, I try to support them as well in one go.

My current workflow is to try to understand the existing code, and build a binary documentation of the Altium format using Kaitai Struct. This allows fast iterations, and tells me if something is parsed incorrect.

CNX Software has a nice blog post on how to build the development version of KiCad:

Screenshot from 2020-04-05 18-03-15

How to Build KiCad on Ubuntu 18.04 and Import Altium PCB Files

KiCad open-source EDA (Electronics Design Automation) suite software is now very popular, and many new projects are designed with the utility. AFAIK, some companies like Olimex switched all their new designs to KiCAD. But since many schematics and PCB layouts have been designed with other tools like EAGLE, Orcad Allegro, or Altium PCB design tools, it would be nice to be able to import those designs into KiCad.

Screenshot from 2020-04-05 18-36-18Screenshot from 2020-04-05 18-36-27

Altium Board importer for KiCad