Changing the designator value


I know the recommended method of changing the designation (footprint reference) for components (i.e. R1, R2, R3 to R3, R1, R2) should be done in the schematic editor and then updating the PCB in the PCB editor.

This is a little tricky if you want the laid out board to have the designation in a specific order based on board design and not schematic. I know I can change the footprint reference however how do I then get that reflected back in the schematic? Is this even supported?



  • first: make sure that pcb and schematic are syncronized (run update board from schematic)
  • change reference designators in pcb as you like (maybe tools–>geographical annotation could be interesting for you)
  • run Rools–>Update schematic from pcb. This back annotates your modifications from the pcb to the schematic.

As you have changed the RefDes make sure the option “Relink based on Reference designators” is unchecked.

additional note: It’s always a good idea to give a indication which kicad version you use. As the development is constantly evolving the answer often depends on the used kicad version.


Hello @mf_ibfeew ,

That worked a treat, especially like the bonus tip of geographical annotation. Will also remember to include the KiCad version if/when I need to ask a question in the future.

Thanks for your help,


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