"Change footprints matching reference designator"

I hereby certify that I am not simply asking someone else to design a footprint for me.

This is an auto-generated message that is in place on the “footprints” section of the KiCad.info forum. If I remove it and ask for a footprint to be designed anyway, I understand that I will be subject to forum members telling me to go design my own footprint or referring me to a 3rd party footprint site.

I want to “bulk modify” the footprints of identical components without fiddling with “The TXT-files”…

So… I’m trying to bulk modify a footprint of identical components in PCB, looked everywhere but did not find any real helpful hints.
There is a selection called “Change footprints matching reference designator” where it is possible to select a component e.g. R1 but is it possible to select e.g. R1, R2, R3…?
I want to modify the SMD footprint e.g. from 1206 to 0805, if I want to modify this component by component I’m busy for a while… and introduce inconstencies.

Application: KiCad x86_64 on x86_64

Version: 7.99.0-2304-g373fb56fb7, release build

wxWidgets 3.2.2
FreeType 2.13.0
HarfBuzz 7.3.0
FontConfig 2.14.2
libcurl/7.87.0 (SecureTransport) LibreSSL/3.3.6 zlib/1.2.11 nghttp2/1.51.0

Platform: macOS Ventura Version 13.3.1 (Build 22E261), 64 bit, Little endian, wxMac

Build Info:
Date: Aug 19 2023 02:06:24
wxWidgets: 3.2.2 (wchar_t,wx containers)
Boost: 1.82.0
OCC: 7.7.0
Curl: 7.77.0
ngspice: 40
Compiler: Clang 13.0.0 with C++ ABI 1002

In “CHANGE FOOTPRINTS” there is also “Change selected footprint(s)” but there is no way to select more than 1…
Am I missing something or just plain stupid? :crazy_face: :face_with_spiral_eyes:

Both probably, or just short sighted :slight_smile:

(You asked for it).

There are several different ways tho change or update a lot of footprints quickly, but what method is best suited for your situation is difficult to see in my crystal ball with the sparse information you give here.

One (out of many) ways is with: **Schematic Editor / Tools / Edit symbol fields, where you can cop & paste footprint links between schematic symbols. Another way is: Schematic Editor / Tools / Assign Footprints, and after using these tools you have to push the changes to the PCB with [F8].

If those methods don’t work for you, then describe your use case better, so we can give a better answer.

Indeed, both…
Problem was that I was working only with PCB and not looking back to Schema … but admit it is confusing when I see in PCB the choice to “select” different ways of selecting.
I thought to modify everything in PCB and check it with the 3D viewer which is a tremendous tool when tinkering! And after all things done simply back-annotate the thing.
But maybe again this is my simplistic way of thinking…

You can use that dialog too, with the Change footprints with library id, but it would change all the footprints with that library id to the new one. And you will still have to push the changes back to the schematic to keep them in sync.

Sometimes this is a handy dialog, for example if you first used the same library id for all resistors, and then found out that those handful of shunt resistors cook of your PCB, then you can use the Change footprints matching value:

But whatever method you choose, keep some neatness in your work by keeping the schematic and PCB synchronized. In KiCad, the schematic is usually the reference for footprints, values, netlist and such.

admit some selections “suggests” more can be done in the “Change Footprints”
1st. line, there is a suggestion more than 1 footprint(s) can be checked, which is not true.
2nd. line, “Change footprints matching etc.” again there is a suggestion more reference designators can be checked but that seems impossible.
I also didn’t find any references to this in the help files (maybe I didn’t look well…)

Some clarification would be nice here somewhere in a “user manual” or other.

But why not being able to change things in PCB because once you work in it you need to switch to Schema and with only one screen this can be… a.p.i.t.a. :face_with_raised_eyebrow: and after all modification are done then back-annotate, there is some logic in this, no?
Maybe a suggestion for improving the ease of use.
Just pondering this…
But for the rest Kicad is great!!!
I work with the nightlies as my work is not vital for our company, I’m the dad that helps his kids in some aspects not urgent for their their design company. They prefer to work with Eagle as they mainly do industrial design etc… but sometimes… “Dad we have little problem…” :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
Have a nice day!

Worked for me.


Here I used Ctrl-Click to select two SOIC-16 footprints, and I could send them to Change Footprints. I could have also selected by area.


No way I can select more than 1 but I use a Mac, maybe that makes a difference…

Yeah, you have to find the equivalent modifier key.

Command-click? Select items on your Mac screen – Apple Support (AU)

No way I can select more than 1 but I use a Mac

I’m sure that selection multiple footprints simultaneously works also on a mac. Otherwise we would have seen many many complaints about this in the past. But admittedly I don’t have a mac to prove this.

There are multiple ways to select multiple footprints:

  • select 1st footprint (single mouse click), then add additional footprints with mouse-click while holding the modifier key (see post above)
  • box-selecting footprints: draw a rectangular selection box. Note the difference in drawing from left–>right and right–>left.
  • use the search-panel and select multiple footprints simultaneously in the search-panel. The selection propagates to the main canvas view

The dialog can’t be opened from the context menu if more than one fooptrints are selected, but it can be opened from the main Edit menu.

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This last one did the trick! THANKS!!!
But it is still a little awkward… why is there a difference between menu & R-click???

Have a nice day!


I didn’t checked anything of what was discussed.
I think that R-click is logically connected with what mouse points, and mouse can’t point more than one footprint at the same moment. Menu is logically connected with whole PCB.
Of course if more than one footprint are selected than with mouse at one of them that dialog box could be in context menu.

I don’t know Eagle. Does it have some special advantages for industrial that KiCad doesn’t have?
I don’t think so and I think they are a few years behind in their decision to move to KiCad :slight_smile:

No, it’s connected to the selection. If there’s more than one item selected the context menu isn’t intelligent but shows only items common to the whole selection, which can be arbitrary.

It’s simple, as a industrial design co. they use Autodesk Fusion360 a lot so they have a licence for Eagle, it keeps their designs in 1 locker… only reason.
But they start to think about Kicad under my influence… :wink:

But it is still a little awkward… why is there a difference between menu & R-click???

Because this inconsistency was so small that no one reported it as bug until two days ago.
Then someone took some time (regards to c.connor), reported it, seconds later it was fixed and today you could check it out with the newest v7.99 nightly.

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