Any nice way to display names for PCB components?

I asked this question a few years ago (old thread: How to avoid Annotate adding numbers? - #5 by apurvdate ) and was hoping there’s some new KiCad features that would make this easier?

I have a bunch of trimpots on my board. Their VALUE are set to the resistance (101, 104, etc) and their REFERENCE is set as RV1, RV2, etc. I’d love to have a NAME associated with each one (EG: “+15V-Trim”) that could also be displayed on the silkscreen layer, and be associated with the footprint - so it will move around with it and avoid getting confused or mislabelled?


Nice enough? :grin:

Create a new line with the “+”.
Fill in the text, show , size and layer.


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Very nice JMK, is there a way to have this new field sync up with the schematic as well so it can be displayed there too?

I’m not sure what you want, but in KiCad 6 you can add a field to the symbol and it will be transferred to the footprint. In the footprint you have to a add a text item and use string replacement variable syntax. For example, in the symbol you have a field named “Name1”. In the footprint you set the text item text as


and it will follow the symbol field’s value.


As eelik mentioned, the name is “text variables” and they were first introduced in v6, a good reference is this post:


Oh that’s interesting!

Does that also mean I can pull variables from the Page Setup menu (Like Revision and Date) to have those automagically populate on the silkscreen layer?

I’ve been hesitant to update to KiCad 6, since I have some pretty big projects going in 5 right now and everything is working flawlessly. I’ll have to read up more about updating, I’m sure it’s pretty painless.

AFAIK kind of… you can declare you own variable in Schematic setup → Project → Text variables or Board setup → Text & Graphics → Text variables and use them in the PCB, Page Setup and Schematic

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Sorry, missing since yesterday.
I’m not sure if you can fill a new field in Schema and have it show in PCB. I’ll have a play tonight.

yes, you can, that “TEXT_VARIABLE” text that I used as example, I created it on Eeschema


If / when you decide to try out “6”, during the installation, you will be asked if you want the libraries. Make sure you select “yes” … the “recommended” method, otherwise problems occur.

I installed 6 with the “recommended” method. Unfortunately opening up existing projects from Kicad 5, the rescued symbols weren’t showing up in the schematic. So I had to manually change them… those were things like “D_ALT” and “CP”, all schematic symbols that have been renamed in KiCad 6.

Also 3d models weren’t showing up in 3D view, but I found a thread that showed adding an additional path solved that.

So now I have 6 working, just hoping I won’t regret switching midway through a project. Will mess around with the text variables tonight.

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More of an FYI…

When you want more Labels/text changing gimmicks, you can make a Simple-Plugin then, populate with the Labels/etc you created in the plugin… Many posts on making ‘Simple-Plugin’

(not shown but, I setup my Page-Templates to include my custom Labels…


Thanks for that information.

I didn’t know. I exclusively use symbols from personal libraries to draw schematics, so that problem has never occurred for me.
I don’t like the pin length of symbols in the Kicad libraries (most everything else is OK), so I will always shorten the pin length, if nothing else, then place that symbol in a personal library.

BTW, I should have mentioned; had you not selected “yes” you would have had no libraries in the installation.

Maybe I’m not doing this right…

In KiCad 6 now…

in EESCHEMA, I’m editing a specific part RV1 and adding the new field “Label” with the value “Output Volume”.

in PCBNEW, I’m editing the associated footprint for RV1 and adding a new field with value of ${Label} but it doesn’t work. Neither does ${RV1:Label}.

Am I doing something wrong, or did I just totally misunderstand how I thought these new variables would work?

I just want to have my potentiometers with REF’s as RV1, RV2, etc. and an associated Label for their function that shows on the schematic and can be displayed on the silkscreen of the PCB. I can’t be the first person to want to do this?

Hold the phone, ${Label} worked. I just had to “update PCB with changes to schematic” Duh!

Okay, I can make this work… thanks everyone for the help. My PCB and BOM will look a lot nicer now without references like “OUTPUT-VOLUME1”


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