Reannotation in Kicad 6

Some of the users of RenumKicadPCB have asked me about using the program now that Kicad V6 has been released. Kicad 6 is a big improvement over prior releases but it has different file formats to accommodate novel features. Rather than spend the time and effort updating RenumKicadPCB as a standalone program I collaborated with the Kicad devs to add the code to Kicad 6.

Geographical reannotation (ie RenumKicadPCB) is now a standard feature of Kicad 6. It works a little different and there are some quirks but it works fine. Unfortunately, not all RenumKicadPCB users are aware of this and after Alan Miller reached out to me to ask how it is done so I thought I’d make a quick post.

1) PCB Editor Tools Geographical Reannotate. Note that the default “sort grid” is 1 inch (25.4 mm) so you have to set this to something sensible like 1 mm. Note there are two tabs where the most common options are in the Options tab, while rarely used options are in the Reference Designators tab. Make your selections and click Reannotate PCB.

2) Assuming you want to proceed click Yes to the pop up.

3) Note the “Warning: PCB annotation changes should be synchronized with schematic using the “Update Schematic from PCB” tool.”

4) Note and correct any errors or issues (other than the warning) and click close.

5) PCB Editor Tools Update Schematic from PCB to push the new references to the schematic.

Important: Make sure Options “Re-link footprints to schematic symbols based on their reference designators” is unchecked, “Update Reference designators” is checked and the other selections (Update Values, Footprint assignments, and Net names) set according to what you want to do. If you don’t do this the schematic will not be updated with new reference designations.

6) Schematic Editor Tools Update PCB from Schematic or just hit F8. This regenerates the netlist to use the new reference designations. If you don’t do this, and run DRC in the PCB Editor with “Test for parity between the PCB and schematic” checked, you will get errors.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

6 thoughts on “Reannotation in Kicad 6”

  1. Hi — I’m trying to use Geographic Reannotation with Kicad V60.7 under Linux Mint 21. I can reannotate in pcbnew and that works fine and I can save the pcb file OK. But when I try to “update schematic from board” eeschema comes to the foreground but I don’t get the expected export dialog box — the Kicad windows become non-responsive (mouse and menus work, but no actions occur) and I can’t exit any of the Kicad programs; I have to use “kill” to terminate the process. It’s very much as if there is a dialog box that needs to be dealt with, but I can’t find an additional open window anywhere on the system. Do you have any idea what might be going on and how to correct it? Thanks!


    1. John: This is most likely an issue with Kicad or Kicad under Mint, not the Reannotation function per se. I had initially included the update schematic but the lead developers removed that and instead ask you to update the schematic from PCBNew. Essentially this is a separate function written by a different guy.

      I suggest you log an issue with Kicad They are pretty responsive to serious issues like this.

      Let me know what happens


      1. Hi Brian —

        Thanks for the quick reply! And I’m sorry about multiple posts —
        WordPress requires me to login after finishing the comment, then seems
        to lose it so I don’t know if it went through or not.

        Anyway, I’ve reported the bug to KiCad. I don’t think it’s limited to
        Linux Mint as I found a report of the same problem in 6.0.7 from a Linux
        Arch user:
        He says the issue was not present in 6.0.6; unfortunately I’m not able
        to test that version without going through major pain.

        Thanks again,


      2. No problem. WordPress is a bit weird sometimes but comment approval is
        pretty necessary otherwise I get flooded with spam.

        I am sure they’ll sort it out quickly: the app to app communication
        system (sockets?) is pretty core to Kicad but it is a little heavy. My
        bet is one of the Linux libraries got updated and now they have to fix
        Kicad to deal with it.

        For what it is worth, the function does still work on Windows.

        I am glad to hear you are using the Reannotate function though: it was a
        tough slog to convince the community it would be a useful feature but
        lack of reannotation was always a major issue with Kicad for me, which
        is why I wrote it.


  2. I’m trying to back annotate in Kicad V6.07 under Linux Mint 21. The geographic annotation in pcbnew works fine, but the “update schematic from board” doesn’t. When I click that (either in pcbnew or eeschema) nothing more happens; I don’t see the usual update option window. Kicad becomes mainly non-responsive and I have to use kill to exit the main Kicad process. It is very much as if there is a hidden dialog box that needs action — I can’t find it anywhere on the desktop. Do you have any idea what might be going on, or suggestions to resolve it? Thanks!


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