The ppa version might be the nightly build version.
(And you might be talking about the component selector by @c4757p)
Be careful when using the nightly build!
It is not guaranteed to be compatible with the stable release. It sometimes even breaks compatibility with older nightly build versions.
It sometimes has nasty bugs. (It is the development build after all.)
You could do something similar in the stable release. After placing your symbol open the symbol properties [press e] and set the footprint field using the footprint browser.
If you use multiple components that need the same footprint assigned just copy this one component.
Or in cvpcb select all components that should have the same footprint assigned and assign all off them at once.