Dividing Device with Many Pins into Different Symbols (Parts)

When a symbol gets to have a huge number of pins, it becomes unwieldy and it would be nice to be able to divide the symbol into unequal “parts”. I know this is done with parts that have more than one unit of the same type. There is a place in the Properties for a symbol for the number of units. But I am talking about subdividing a symbol in parts that are different. I have seen this done in schematics and the sections seem to have been called “Banks”. When you go to associate a footprint to all of these symbols then, somehow you have to be able to assign one footprint to all of the symbols that were used to represent that one footprint. Is this possible in KiCAD and, if so, how is it done and what is the terminology used for such a thing?

KiPart* can create multi-unit parts with a large number of pins for you. Then you can edit the part in KiCad’s symbol editor to make it look how you want.

  • KiPart currently only outputs parts for KiCad version 5. You’ll have to let KiCad convert the symbol before you can work with it in KiCad 7.
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In Kicad they are called units.

hermit: Units are of the same type. I am talking about dividing a symbol arbitrarily into different symbols that have different organization from each other. When combined, they represent the whole footprint. Units does not do this because each sub-part has to be of the same sub-type.

When you say large number of pins we are talking something like a cpu? I thought you could build a unit with whatever you wanted. Power pins are often separated into a different unit. Check out unit E in the above example.

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Says who?
Units in multiple gates are the same, but there’s nothing prohibiting different graphics in the units.
Otherwise the power unit wouldn’t be possible.

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It is easy to check.
The first element in first symbol library (4001 in 4xxx.kicad_sym) shows that it simply is not true.
Its Unit E is different than all others.

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So in the symbol editor, there should be an option in the left click menu to select which unit you are editing but I see no such option. Where would it be located?

First you define a new symbol and select how many units it has.
Then you can select each unit in the top tool list (Unit A etc.).

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I see it. If you have an already existing symbol and you bump the number of units to a higher number, it seems to duplicate the existing graphic into all the new units. Then you modify them individually. That will work for me.

Yep, you got it. The graphics per unit are independent.

Hi @PabloMack

Right click on an empty space in the Symbol Editor to bring up Symbol Properties, after you have started or modified a symbol, then set these in the General section.
Or, if you choose “New Symbol”:

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