# Guide

KiCad project generator does not generate PCBs ready for fabrication. User needs to design microcontroller circuit and route everything together.

In this guide I'm using Default 60% preset from keyboard-layout-editor.


Recommended workflow contains following steps:

  • Download json layout of your design (attention: this is not data from Raw data tab. Use Download JSON button).

  • Go to keyboard-tools's (opens new window) KiCad Project Generator tab (1), choose project options (2) and upload keyboard layout (3).

    In this example I decided to use Cherry MX footprints and I enabled routing. Because I did not used key annotations (see this) I used Automatic matrix option.

    If everything succeed, after few seconds, PCB preview and Download project button (4) should appear:


  • Download and unzip project. Open project located in keyboard directory. It should contain following structure:



    Generated project has entire selected switch library bundled in. This makes footprint replacement easy.

    keyboard.kicad_pcb file should have switches and diodes placed according to provided layout like this:


    • Run DRC check. In this example, there is one invalid track.


      In order to fix it, simple remove faulty track segment and route it manually, for example:


      Also check if DRC report any unconnected items. For some layouts, current router implementation does not attempt to connect items (mainly diodes with different Y coordinate).


      Always run DRC check on imported projects. Implemented router does not guarantee that rules are met, for details see this.

  • From this point onward, PCB needs to be finished by user.

    • Open Schematic Layout Editor, because schematic is not generated there will be following prompt:


      Select yes.

    • Design microcontroller circuit, for example:


      For connecting key matix rows/collumns use Global Labels with following name convention: ROW{number}/COL{number}


      Generating MCU circuitry is planned in future releases.

    • Generate netlist (Tools->Generate Netlist File). Remember to rename it, otherwise key matrix netlist will be overwritten (by default, KiCad names netlist same as project).

    • Open keyboard.kicad_pcb and load microcontroller netlist.


      Click Upadate PCB and Close. New components will appear on PCB.

    • Finish placement and routing.