Warning: This topic has been diverted from the original question which was about footprints only. This post only handles symbols
For everyone unsure what that means (short version):
- Symbols are used in eeschema and are the abstraction of the function of a component.
- Footprints describe the physical landing pattern. They are used in pcb_new
- Linking symbols to footprints is done via the footprint field of a symbol. In kicad there is no such concept as “component” or “part” as one might know from other cad programs.
Now for the real content with more details as compared to the post by @hackscribble
The post linked to by @bobc explains how you can setup kicad to add installed libs to every new project. It does not explain how you get them into your current project.:
Open kicad main
window -> preferences -> configure paths. You want to know what the variable KISYSMOD is set to.
It will be
kicad_system_path\modules. (we want the
kicad_system_path part of it. For windows it should be
Open the directory
kicad_system_path\library in any file browser and note what is in there. There should be about 180 files in there. Give or take a few. (This is where the kicad installer copies the official symbol library. How many files you have depends on your kicad version. The number i state should be what you find for kicad 4.0.6)
You can add these libs to your current project in eeschema -> component library.
Use the top add button. A browser will open. Navigate to
kicad_system_path\library and select all files you want to add. If you do not start with zero libs in the project kicad might complain that you try to add duplicates. Just ignore this warning this just means that the lib in question is already active in the project.
If you want the libraries automatically added for every new project you create, you need to edit the main kicad template file found under
This is what is described in great detail in the post linked by @bobc
If these 90 libs are not enough for you, you need to search for third party libs. (You can also download the current lib directly from github. A lot of stuff has been added since the last release. You can also wait for 4.0.7 which might be released soon.)