In FreeCAD and in this documentation, an addon is any component that is not part of the base installation, but that can be added to the system by certain methods.
There are three types of addons:
- Macros: short snippet of Python code that provides a new tool or functionality in a single file ending with
- Workbenches: collections of Python files that provide related Gui Commands (tools) centered around a particular topic, for example, tools to design cabinets, or tools to work with architecture, or tools to design boats, etc. These workbenches usually define new toolbars where commands are placed as buttons.
- Preference Packs: distributable collections of user preferences. introduced in version 0.20
The recommended way to install addons is with the Addon Manager.
But for macros and workbenches manual installation is also possible:
Information for developers
If you have developed a macro or workbench, and want to see it included in the Addon manager, read how to do so on the repository pages: (FreeCAD-addons and FreeCAD-macros). If you add your macro to the Macros recipes page, there is nothing else to do, it will automatically be picked up by the Addon manager.
For Python workbenches, you don't need any specific approval to have your workbench added to the Addon Manager. In addition, because your Addon is outside the FreeCAD source code, you can choose the license you want. If you request for your workbench to be added to the Addon Manager's default list (we will not add any new workbench without a request from its authors), either by asking so on the forum or by opening an issue on the FreeCAD-addons repository, your code will stay on your own git repository, we will just add it as a submodule to the FreeCAD-addons repository. Of course, before adding your workbench, we will take a look at it and make sure there is nothing potentially problematic with it. For more details about structuring your Addon, including information about metadata used by the Addon Manager, see Workbench creation.
If you develop a workbench in C++, it cannot be run directly by users and must be compiled first. You then have two options, either you provide precompiled versions of your workbench yourself, for the different operating systems, or you should request to have your code merged into the FreeCAD source code. For that, you should use the LGPL license (or a fully compatible license like MIT or BSD), and you must present your new tools to the community in the FreeCAD forum for review. Once your code has been tested and approved, you should fork the FreeCAD repository, if not done yet, create a new branch, push your code to it, and open a pull request so that your branch is merged into the main repository.