Do the instructions online not apply to mac?

Hi there. I of course, am new to this. I am trying to save footprints associated with parts into my own library. I assumed this would be one of the most commonly asked questions in this forum so went about searching for directions of how to do this. However, it seems all the instructions I come across don’t apply to my setup.
For example, if I go here and read the instructions about footprint libraries, most of the instructions I can’t seem to translate to my mac: Footprint Assignment Tool | 6.0 | English | Documentation | KiCad
I’m on a macbook pro/monterey 12
Am I kinda on my own as far as the instructions go? seems most are geared for linux or windows.
Any tips for someone in my situation?
thx in advance for any help…

Can you be specific about what discrepancies you’ve encountered? You should be able to attach images, or go read a few more posts to get enough karma to attach images. KiCad uses a cross-platform UI so the menus and items should be the same, but will look slightly different on each platform. UI behaviour should be the same.

What’s your KiCad version? Copy and paste the info displayed by Help > About KiCad > Version. If you are running v5, the instructions for v6 will be somewhat different. You should install v6.

Generally that section of the manual is quite outdated, that might be more of the issue than macOS vs other platforms.

Can you elaborate on what you’re having problems with in that section? Then we can provide more specific guidance.

However, if you’re trying to save footprints into a new library, that is probably not the right tool to use.

Generally for moving footprints in libraries you should use the Footprint Editor – open the footprint you want to save, then you can “save as” into a different library. I don’t know of an easy way to only look at the footprints in your design with this tool, though.

A different way would be to open the PCB editor with your board, and click File → Export → Footprints to Library. That should do what you want.

The above is assuming you’re using version 6.0.

Hi there. thx for the reply.

So it turns out it was a glitch. I wasn’t able to make the changes and choosing the part was unresponsive. I closed out the program, did a computer restart, and that seemed to fix it. I was able to save a test footprint to my library.

Thx so much for taking the time to respond to my question tho!

This leads to my next question.

  1. Once I have my parts sorted (saved all repetitive parts I need), is there a way to go into the footprints, and have it only show my customized parts?
    I realize searchig for the part via the search bar isn’t that hard, but would be cool to have it nice n tidy once sorted.

Thank you!

Here is my version info:

Application: KiCad PCB Editor

Version: (6.0.5-0), release build

wxWidgets 3.1.5
libcurl/7.77.0 SecureTransport (LibreSSL/2.8.3) zlib/1.2.11 nghttp2/1.42.0

Platform: macOS Version 12.2.1 (Build 21D62), 64 bit, Little endian, wxMac

Build Info:
Date: May 3 2022 12:26:25
wxWidgets: 3.1.5 (wchar_t,wx containers)
Boost: 1.78.0
OCC: 7.6.2
Curl: 7.64.1
ngspice: 35
Compiler: Clang 12.0.0 with C++ ABI 1002

thx. I replied below

KiCad doesn’t have a great solution here, unfortunately.

If you really only want to see your customized parts in your own libraries, and never want to see the default libraries, you can delete the libraries you don’t want from your library table (Preferences → Manage Footprint Libraries…). But that will make it hard to ever get parts from those libraries again; you’d have to re-add those libraries to the table again. So I don’t really recommend that.

Another thing I’ve seen people do is name their libraries with a 000 prefix or something so they’re always at the top of the list.

Before you delete anything, have you tried un-checking the items in the Global and Project list?

I have a handful of user folders with my parts/symbols/footprints.
I start the names with ‘z’ so they go to the bottom of the panel…

I’m using a Mac (osx Monterey)

1 Like

Unchecking is a better idea… thanks.

great idea thx so much!

yes, would rather not delete the whole library. Thx for the tip.

is there a way to import a single footprint? for example, there is a switch I use that is pretty common, but not in the kicad. There are some footprints online so hoping to be able to pull it in without having to manually make one.

Yes, if it’s a KiCad footprint file you can import it from the Footprint Editor with File → Import → Footprint. There are a few other types that are supported as well.

this all happens within PCBnew I assume? Having a prob where I created a new part in eshema, with a footprint. But now, the library I created for that part does not show it in pcbnew. (tried closing and reopening both programs).

However, I did an experiment and created a part and footprint in pcbnew, saved to a new library, and this does show up in eschema.

I hope that makes sense.

actually, I misspoke, library in PCBnew not showing in eschema.

So the question is, how to link the two…

Some investigative homework is needed… Clue: Symbols are used in Eeschema.

Footprints are used in PCBnew. Two different beasts (though the Symbol and Footprint can be set in the same panel. Just Double-Click the panel and fill-in the fields…)

but what if I already attached a footprint in eeschema? I assume the option to choose a footprint is there so this can be done?

As I said, some homework is needed (by you).

Different folks approach developing code differently and some folks put all the info a user needs in plain-site. Others want a user to Click and see what pop’s up…

I understand this, and I have been doing a ton of searching (hours actually). It is difficult with kicad because much of the help online is old and given for past versions of Kicad.

I would more understand what you mean if when in eeschema choosing a symbol from the library, there was no option to choose a footprint. It would then make sense that you’d have to go into pcbnew choose the footprint, then link it to the symbol. I do understand that the two things are separate.

However, since one can be in eeschema, choose a part, then choose a footprint, it would imply that the designers decided to make it easy for the user and automatically link the two together for you. After searching a long time, I could not find an answer for this specifically. I assumed that there was something very simple I was missing and couldn’t sort it. So that is why I brought it up.

I did not mean to be Cheeky…

I summarize:

Create a Symbol for the Schematic (done in Eeschema, symbol Editor)
In the Symbol’s panel, you see the field ‘Footprint’ ? Click in the field and look a the right-hand side of the field - you should see a tiny file icon… Click it and locate your Footprint.

Naturally, you’ll want to Annotate and NetList. Then, go to PCBnew…

Of course, you also need to setup your Paths to the folders…

FYI - you don’t need a schematic to use PCBnew and Footprints, (I seldom use schematics and prefer hand-sketched circuits).


Consider this: A Symbol in schematic can reflect a physical part (a footprint). But, what if your symbol is simple resistor using a typical resistor symbol and, you want different physical parts (1/8w, 1/4w 1x …etc). You probably wouldn’t want a Footprint linked to the Symbol and might simply want to determine which physical resistor to use later… Thus, not linking a Footprint…

I also do my schems by hand (have for many years) and generally hire someone else to make the layout. However, I am getting tired of constant delays in getting the job finished, flakyness on the part of the people I hire, errors happening between my schem and the layout person, wasted time, etc, so I decided to look into doing the job myself to skip over all that runaround and allow me to change things on the fly, etc.
I figured that by creating the schem in eeschema and using that to make the layout, I would be able to better streamline the process and lock the layout to the schem.
However, I think what I was expecting isn’t really the reality of how it works. I thought that the schem and PCB design would be “live” and linked together always automatically. Meaning, change one thing in the schem, it automatically is updated on the layout. an example of how I believed it would work:

Make parts and footprints in eeschema, position the parts in pcbnew.
Lets say I have to change a resistor from 0805 size to 0603 size
I’d pop in the new part in eeschema, and that would tell pcbnew to automatically update that footprint on the pcb.

But I think I was oversimplifying the way I thought it worked (or haven’t figured out how to do it yet).

Regarding changing sizes and such, my plan was to make my own library, have something called “SMD-0805-resistor” then “SMD-0603” resistor (same for the rest of the components I use frequently that have different sizes), and use as needed (as opposed to changing the footprint as needed for a single part in PCBnew like you suggested). This seemed like a clean solution less prone to error.

However, it seems the libraries are trickier than I expected. Right now, I’m trying to simply delete a part I made in my library, something I thought would be as simple as highlight and there would be a delete button. However, it seems that’s not the case…

thanks for your help.

I hope this makes sense.

PS, I did figure out the delete part thing, haha

Yes, it makes sense.

FYI - I’m not promoting Fritzing but, I used it several years and, after getting over the hurdle on making Parts, using it was a breeze. It does ‘Live Updating’ of PCB, Schematic and BreadBoard, as you desire, but it’s only for One/Two layer pcb’s.

In Kicad, you can make a nice library of Symbols and Linked Footprints that are your typically-used parts. Easy to do and setup… And, use, simple drop your footprint onto a PCB…