Duplicating and saving a footprint "save as..."

Hi, I’m frustrated trying to easily make a copy of a component footprint that i have and saving a duplicate, under a different name, in a different library folder. essentially i want to create my own small/manageable library of footprints that i use regularly, and in many cases modify some parameters so that they fit my needs.

So what i would like to do (for example) is to select “CP” in one of my schematics, save a copy in my own library folder, and create a derivative footprint in the related .pretty library. I want to give them unique names so that I can identify them easily.

I have tried the usual methods of right clicking to “save as” or “make a copy” or whatever, but no such option exists.

One of the problems i face is that the set of footprints is so overwhelming that i waste way too much time finding the one i need, and even then i may get the wrong one. I’d like to save the ones i use regularly in my own private location.

Thank you.

Can anybody help?

I did what you want to do and, for about the same reasons.

I posted the below link with follow-up’s and think it will help (be sure to see the Link about half-way down the page on Library Management, posted by Rene_Poschl.


Thank you! I’ll go read that.

I’m not sure if understand well your problem. For example I don’t understand what “CP” is.
I am working with my own libraries and I don’t remember any problem with creating them. Those time (4.0.7) I probably just copied (in file manager) selected *.kicad_mod files to later modify them.
In (5.1.6 Windows) footprint editor when you point with the mouse any footprint and right-click you will see only this:


I have never used this functions.
But if you first left-click any footprint and then right-click at it you will see:


From that menu I am using Save As… where you can select the library and give the footprint the new name.

I believe you need to go through the Footprint Editor first. In pcbnew (not eeschema) locate the component and choose View in Footprint Editor. You can then edit it and Save As to your own library.

I know you asked for editing from eeschema, but I can’t find a way of editing the footprint from there short of using the identifier to locate it the Footprint Editor. Maybe I missed something. But if you can locate the footprint you want (CP = Capacitor Polarized?) from the Footprint Browser, then you don’t need to go through eeschema or pcbnew. I used this method to create modified footprints for some old components. FB shows you a preview anyway.

Hi Poitr,

I’m just back from some travel and will provide a more thoughtful answer later but two simple answers are here:

  1. “CP” is the KiCAD library code for “capacitor, polarized”

  2. I am not having trouble creating new entries from scratch - i do not wish to do that. I wish to click on a symbol (in the schematic or PCB layer, depending on which it is), make a copy (clone) in a private library, and either keep it for easy access or modify it and keep it for easy access. It is the simple point-and-click cloning that i cant seem to figure out. This is how nearly all graphical interfaces work – but not in this case.

2b) or, as an alternative, i would like to click on the entry in the library browser and do the same thing.

Note that i don’t want to duplicate entire libraries - half of my goal is to reduce 1000s of options down to a few dozen that I actually use.



Ok, I understood.
I have never used not my schematics as a source of elements. In my schematics I use only elements from my libraries so I have to have them there before they will be at any schematic so I have to copy them there from libraries.

I used library browser only during my first look around in KiCad. I really forgot it exists. If I wont a new footprint I typically start from copying one of my footprints.
When I wont to copy a footprint from KiCad library I do it in file manager. It is because I look for the right footprint at one computer, and my libraries I have at second one. There I excluded KiCad libraries from my library list, but I have them at HDD. So it is faster for me to copy right file in file manager then to modify my library list to have that footprint in footprint editor to copy it to one of my libraries.

Exactly what I have done.

It sounds like we have similar goals. Your method will work - its just not as convenient, since by the very fact of using schematic elements and footprints in designs i am selecting the specific devices that i use regularly. OS i hoped that i could simply “save as” and move on.

The alternative (and apparently only way to do it…) - if KiCAD people are watching is a lot of needless work - open a schematic element, find the linked footprint, jot down which it is, go to the finder/file manager, find it, copy, – all pretty wasteful :frowning:

Thank you very much for your help.


Yes, i can do that. As i note several replies below, the problem is simply one of a lot of needless work to find the “needle in the haystack”. I’d be also OK clicking on it in PCB…i just want to be able to focus on the parts i have already searched for and selected. Thanks [Ken?]


Reading all the excellent input is helping me crystallize what i really want. The reason that I was to go through the schematic editor is that i want to pre-link appropriate footprints to generic parts that i use such as TO-92 BJTs, polarized capacitors, film capacitors, resistors, etc.

SO idea on hwo to do that? My guess is:

  1. duplicate in finder
  2. find the best/nearest footprint
  3. duplicate that footprint
  4. link that footprint
  5. edit that footprint (or not)

OK, this gets a bit more curious. I wanted, for example, to make a personal copy of the schematic element and footprint I used for a TO-220 317 regulator. When i open that element in eeschema, it says that element is “LM317_3PinPackage”. No such individual file exists in the library when i search it (MACOSX). But apparently that text is part fo a bigger library called “Regulator_Linear.lib”. Must i make a copy of the entire library? If so what are the consequences to me (trying to simplify)?

My way is different. I first decide what element I will use, then I ensure I have a symbol and footprint for it and then I use it at schematic. My symbols are directly connected with footprints so I skip the step of assigning footprints. That gives me 100% sure that if element was once used and checked I will never get an error by for example selecting the footprint with wrong pin numbering for that element.

I don’t use generic parts.

I’m sure you you must not, but when I have collected the symbols (under 4.0.7) the symbol editor worked differently then in V5 - not sure how it is now.

I don’t have that footprint association in the properties because that device exists in several form factors which can be chosen later. In your own copy you can assign a default footprint. Maybe you are one of those people who had v4 libraries previously?

that screen is not familiar to me. I thought i did a clean install of KiCAD 5 though.

I’m just wondering if you are conflating symbol and footprint. You say you have a bunch of “generic parts”, though I think you mean a bunch of commonly used parts in your drawers with known packages (footprints). In that case what you would do is make your own copy of the symbol using the symbol editor and save it in your own symbol library under your name, say MyLM317. At the same time you can fill in the footprint property of your symbol so that it’s already assigned when you use it in a schematic.

As a gross oversimplification for symbol think device model and for footprint think package.

I understand the difference and what you suggest is pretty much my objective That said i also realize that more generic parts like “CP” will map to many or even dozens of footprints. But its also not hard to remember, so that’s perfectly ok.

As i experimented i did find it difficult to make a library of my parts. A few issues:

  1. LM317 for example is only part of a bigger library called regulator_linear.lib
  2. I cannot seem to find a way to make a “MyLibrary” (or whatever i wish to call it) and then add individual parts to it. There is no browser window that let’s me select it.

Footprints on the other hand i have no problem copying, and saving where i want them. Its really odd that similar capabilities are not provided for both - heck, the same code base could then be used :slight_smile:

Well I’m proof it can be done but I forgot how. I think I created a directory then added it to the list of libraries. Then I could Save As to it. I’m sure it’s covered in the FAQ.

Footprints used to be done like symbols (in single file .mod libraries of multiple footprints). PCBNew (and the footprint management) went through a major upgrade and one of the things was to split the footprints into individual files inside .pretty folders. Now that is mostly stable, the next step (will be coming in v6) will be to do a similar treatment to EESchema and the symbols. You just happened to come in the middle of the big sea change on how the different KiCad parts handle their data models.

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In symbol library right click at symbol and select Export Symbol - then you can find the place at HDD and give the name for your new library containing that one part you export. Later you can add more parts using Save a Copy As… and edit them and even delete the first part you used to make the library.
I didn’t checked that way. When I setup my libraries it all worked (4.0.7) completelly different - in my opinion much more complicated and difficult to imagine where you are. You had to open one library and select the part for edition, then you had to change the ‘active’ library and save that part. By saving element was not saved to its original place but to the currently active lib. Current way is much more simple for me, and when it will be organised (V6) like footprints it will be as simple as I can imagine.

After reading what I have written I’m not sure if it is right - may be it was a way of footprint saving.

Edit later:
One more info about symbol libraries. In one library each symbol have to have unique name, but you can have the symbols with the same name in separate libraries. Knowing that I decided to change my way of specifying resistors. Previously in my libraries (not in KiCad) 1k was a symbol for 1k 0603 and 1k_4 was a symbol for 1k 0402. Now I have R library (for 0603) and R1 (1 means 1mm) for 0402. So I can have at schematic two resistors named 1k and one of them is 0603 and other 0402. The main reason was that previously I used Univers Condensed font and in KiCad I couldn’t and the name 1k_4 seemed for me too long.

I didn’t care to read this long thread fully. I’m just confused by the original question. Is it aobut footprints or symbols?

If you open either the symbol editor or the footprint editor, there’s Edit -> New Library. You can create a new empty library and choose whether it’s project-local or global.

After that you can select an existing footprin in the footprint editor or the or a symbol in the symbol editor and open the context menu on that component name in the list. There’s Save a Copy as… in the symbol editor and Save As… in the footprint editor. Give a name and choose an existing library to save to.

Is there something difficult in that, or do you need something else?

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