Can't Move or Rotate $Reference in Part Footprint

I’ve got a strange problem (at least strange to me).

In designing pc boards, I was able to move and rotate the Reference numbers ‘outside’ of the Footprint Editor.

Now, for some reason, I can no longer do this.

Here’s a link to a video that shows the problem.

The Reference that is in the middle of the part can’t be moved or rotated outside of the Footprint Editor. Up until recently, I could select this ‘test’ on a PC board layout and move/rotate it without any problem. Now it’s ‘attached’ to the rest of the footprint, such that it won’t move separately from the rest of the footprint (like text on the Silkscreen layer can be moved/rotated).

Something seems to have changed, but I can’t figure out what.

John Rayfield, Jr.

You already moved the Reference (12 secs into the video), what you are unable to move is the “Value”.

What I can’t move is what’s shown as $Reference in the Footprint Editor for that part.

I’ve got the Value turned off so it’s not displaying.

Here’s a screenshot: Dropbox Capture

The Value is 10K and I can move/rotate it just fine.
The ‘RV1’ that’s outside of the part’s square outline is on the Silkscreen layer and I can move/rotate it just fine.

The ‘RV1’ that is in the middle of the part’s square outline is the text that I can’t move/rotate. In the Footprint Editor, if I move/rotate the $Reference, then this ‘RV1’ is moved/rotated.

If I bring up the Footprint Properties and I unclick the ‘Show’ checkbox, for the ‘Reference’ line, the ‘RV1’ on the Silkscreen layer disappears.

Maybe I’ve placed some parts on the PC board, with the wrong layer selected?

I guess you are on V8 ? I don’t think the $Reference can be moved in V8 in layout, as you have mentioned it can be re-positioned in the Footprint editor, in layout on V7 it can be moved, perhaps this is a V8 bug.

I’d been doing it. If I left clicked on the text, it often brought up a dialog windows that allowed me to select ALL items to move/rotate, which allowed both the Silkscreen AND the $Reference text to be moved. Now that isn’t happening. So it was working…and now it isn’t.

I thought maybe I had inadvertently changed a setting that would cause this, but I can’t find any setting that would affect this.

If I could turn off the $Reference text from displaying on the PC board, that would be ok. I found that if I But I can’t find any way to do that, either, without turning off the Visibility for the F.Fab layer, then it turns off the $Reference on the screen and on a printout. Hopefully that doesn’t mess up files that are generated for producing the PC board.

To me it looks like you have difficulty selecting the text without selecting the footprint. First, you had the clarification menu under the cursor but you didn’t use it. Second, if you unselect ‘Footprints’ in the selection filter you can’t select the whole footprint accidentally.

This is a known bug that has been fixed:

It’s reported at least 3 or 4 times and I did not hunt down the actual commit that fixed it, but still, it should be resolved in KiCad V8.0.3.


Yes, this is the problem that I’m experiencing.

V8.03 isn’t available yet.

But, thanks for finding this for me.

Now, this does bring up another question in my mind.

If I turn off the ‘visibility’ in the PCB Editor for the F.Fab layer, then I don’t see the $Reference text on the pc board on my screen. Neither is it printed out, if I do a print of the pc board.

But, is this information still part of the board, such that it won’t affect anything if I generate files to send to PCBWay?


Indeed, that is a non existing KiCad version, and it will also never exist. Please mind the extra dot, those three numbers have specific meanings in the KiCad version numbering system.

Turning off visibility of a layer does not change the content. On top of that, the fabrication layers are not a very important layer, and it’s not needed for PCB production. It’s intended use is to make notes for assembly of the PCB. (There is very little info about the F.Fab and B.Fab layers in the manual).

I see what you mean. I should have typed ‘8.0.3’. :slight_smile: You should see the version numbers that Motorola Solutions comes up with for the two-way firmware - unbelievably long with 3 to 4 dots.

Thanks for the information on the fabrication layers. I’ll just leave that layer turned off when I’m working on a board, for now. That solves the problem… for now.


ah ha! and for the last 3 weeks i thought i was making my footprints wrong.