Help librairie methods

Hello everyone
I’ve done a few simple kicad projects, and I’m having a lot of trouble with libraries, and it’s difficult to find my way in the jungle of tutorials, so I have simple questions that I can’t answer (I’m now in V8)
1- is there a kicad V8 doc which gives the standardized extensions and their function?
2- I use Kicad on the network at home, a MAC version and a WINDOWS version, and I would like to put my projects on my NAS, and my personal libraries, is there a path declaration to make?
3- for personal libraries, which I use in my various projects, is it better to create a single library directory on the NAS, or leave them at the level of each project? strategically I have difficulty.

There you go, sorry for my barrage of questions, but I won’t be able to work properly until I have locked down these important starting points.
Thank you in advance?

  1. You can find info on file extensions and file formats on:
  1. I don’t work with a NAS myself. Apparently it works, but it also seems to have some troubles every now and then.

  2. For library setup. Whether you use global libraries, or project based libraries is a personal choice. For beginners, creating symbols or footprints ad-hoc and on a project basis is a logical choice. Beginners also do not have enough “content” to put in libraries, or organize categories. Once you find yourself searching for that symbol or footprint you know you made once, it’s time to put some more organization in your personal libraries.

I am also still struggling a bit with project organization. Some projects are PCB only. (Put in a KICad directory) Some also have software (they often end up in a directory for the uC used (AVR or ARM) and then a sub category). Other projects are mostly mechanical, for example a CNC machine, and it’s in my FreeCAD directory, but it also needs software and a PCB.

@paulvdh hi thank’s

are you sure it was the last ? if I have understood, .lib +.dcm are replaced in V8 by .sym, and .mod by .pretty , no ??

Yes , but when I have installed V8, alls my personals lib integrated in global libraries are been deleted… :hot_face: it is for this I want use my NAS for personal kicad project an libs.

They shouldn’t have been deleted, but V8 just doesn’t know about them, you have to tell V8 where they are.

Best I know, default libraries can be overwritten during updates. You should never mix your personal libraries with the default libraries. But also, on a fresh KiCad install, your personal libraries are not present in the library tables. You have to add their locations to those tables (sym-lib-table and fp-lib-table) yourself.

If you really have lost them, then you can re-extract them from the projects you used them in.

@paulvdh @RaptorUK
Ok there are again in my project, but I must add them one by one in the librairies manager ?

Other question, is it possible to grouped my personal lib, in the same “rubric” in librairie manager ?
For example: my_RF_components

You can add library entries to those with: … / Preferences / Manage Symbol Libraries … and … / Preferences / Manage Footprint Libraries …

There are two tab pages (for global and project specific libraries), and you can add an entry with the + button. Entries are made one by one. If you want to make a lot of modifications, it’s easier to edit the sym-lib-table or fp-lib-table files with a text editor, or even use a program like meldmerge

I use only my own libraries and after making a list once I never needed to make it one by one again. But after changing to new KiCad version (V5->V6, V6->V7, i didn’t tried V8 yet) I had at first run of schematic and first run of PCB to show KiCad my library list file. As in opened for it window KiCad didn’t show (Windows) system/hidden files I had, before this first run to copy my library list files to any TMP folder to be able to select it. If you mix KiCad libraries and your own the easiest way is probably to copy a right part from your library list file from previous version into current library list file.

I think it could be the first run option to make by KiCad library list consisting of KiCad new version libraries and user libraries from previous version. If you think you need it (I don’t) you can write such feature request.

very good soft :grinning:

impossible kicad don’t want same nickname. ‘my_rf’


I 'll saw when an other update, perhaps I do mistakes

My first guess is that every library needs to have an unique name.

yes but in kicad , the libraries are sorted by theme’s and that’s really good, I would like to do the same :grinning:

A ‘xxx.kicad_sym’ is a Uniquely named Symbol File containing many individually listed symbols. In particular, your “xxx” is the name of the File with (generally) a ‘.kicad_sym’ extension.

You have ‘two’ F1SSF 10G TVT.sym (that is a strangely named file… should be ‘some_unique_name.kicad_sym’) and one appears correctly-named file, ‘SF2446E.kicad_sym’, I can’t clearly see the other full name.

It looks like you ‘seem’ to want a Symbol file inside another Symbol file.

Symbols themselves don’t have ‘.sym’ or ‘kicad_sym’ names, the File that contains the Symbols has the ‘kicad_sym’ name-extension.

Open a sym file with Text-Editor and review the included symbols in it and you’ll see… Variations/multiples of a Symbols get auto-named with extension numbers

Regardless of the above, if you can manage it, use ‘my_rf1’ and ‘my_rf2’ or other unique names

Example below…


yes exactly ! if I have understood,the only solution is to build it manually by an editor.

Yes of course, it is an very good idea :+1:

and ok for syntaxe. “some_unique_name.kicad_sym”

It’s unlikely you’ll successfully embed another Symbol file inside of another Symbol file (you’d most likely want the embedded one to appear as an embedded folder you can open/select from… good luck!

As a clarification, below shows my User Symbol (sym-lib.kicad_sym) that Name is Auto-Generated upon creating/saving My symbols and copying stock symbols. Yes, I could rename it if desired…and, create another Symbols Library… you see one called projector.kicad_sym

You see I place my Symbols and Copied/Edited stock into a folder called z_My_Symbols (‘z’ so it gets listed at the bottom of the list).
It contains about 100 symbols that I use - two examples are shown and how they get listed…

it is clear now, thank you for your drawing.
Finally I use prefix solution, it is easy to find , and I have declared NAS path for my project
all is OK now.
Thank’s all for your support.
Capture d’écran 2024-05-20 à 18.41.42

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i continue my setup, alls is perfect for symbols libs, I try to do the same thing whith pads libs, when I want add new footprint ( .kicad_mod or .mod) my directory files is gray??? thank you

Symbols are contained in file (library). Footprints are contained in folder (library). Each footprint is a file while symbol is not a file.

Your method for using Personal Libraries is not good. You will end up with a vast number of Personal Libraries, each with one symbol only.
What you have done is made each symbol a library.

Kicad is only able to create libraries. Folders in which to place Personal Libraries need to be created with your Operating System (in your case: Windows).

When you have created and named folders, and folders inside folders, you then use Kicad to create the Libraries to place in your Folders.

In Your case, you will create one library called TVT.
You then place all the symbols you wish into the one TVT library. Using this method will give you the below result when you open your Symbol Library Browser:

Highlighting your TVT library will now show all your symbols in the one library.

To transfer your symbols from their current libraries to one single library, it is easiest to open the symbol in the Symbol Editor then:
File > Save Copy as > Edit the name by removing the “TVT_” and scroll to and highlight your new TVT library. press OK.

This FAQ: hopefully will explain all.

If you have any questions, please ask.


what you are offering me is really what I wanted to do.

no problem for this

That’s what I just did, and it’s perfect, I do the transfert.

is there an easier way to do this from the start, from the library manager, without going through File > Save Copy as ???

The library manager is for manipulating the libraries, not for manipulating the contents inside the libraries.

“Save as” allows you to move one item between Kicad libraries while changing the name.
“Copy/Paste” allows you to move one or more items between Kicad libraries but not change the name (name changing must be done independently).
“Import” allows you to add items to a Kicad library from an external source.

Other methods of moving items between Kicad libraries are discussed here.

Moving items in script form can also be used to populate libraries.
Others may comment on this method.