HELP! Libraries are not recognized (schematic symbols)


I have kicad on several machines. I tried, once to put my libraries and projects in a dropbox folder where they may be shared. KiCAD works fine off my “main” machine, but on my travel machine, i get an error that the libraries are not there.

Attached is a screenshot of one of the error dialogs. It presents 100s of identical ones, one for each library file. Yet, in the second attachment, you will see that they are all there - in the local users/me/library/applications_support/kicad/library folder. As they ought to be. They are ALSO, just in case, in the alternate path i set to my KiCAD dropbox.

No matter what i do, i get an error that the file is not where it is. And it is there, as you can see.

WTF do I do? TIA,

OK, i also cannot seem to attach the screenshots. Sigh. Trust me - the files are in the path i noted above, yet KiCAD says they are not. Instructions for adding libraries are pretty un-helpful. All i want is 1) where do i get them? 2) how do i download them? and 3) where do I place the resulting files? Cant find that.

See the list of the Frequently Asked Questions: (Start Here) Frequently Asked Questions. There are some articles about the library system.

IIRC there have been problems with shared files. But it’s also possible that you just haven’t set up KiCad correctly. After reading the FAQ articles you will know if that was the problem.

I read the part of .lib. It does not help me one little but. Basically it says “use the add symbol library dialog to add the file”. 1) how? 2) from where and c) why does any of this matter since they are precisely where KiCad tells me it wants to see them already? Folks, this is not intuitive and i suspect someone knows what the common bugs are.

OK, i fixed it- so for those others who don’t want to know too much, here’s the skinny. Unless you change the default path – and that appears to be buggy, KiCAD libraries goes in: /library/application support/KiCAD/… Note what i typed; root of hard drive/Library; NOT /users/you/library/blah blah. So unlike 99% of all application support files it does nto go in your user directory, but in the shared root.

This is highly non standard. I’m sure there’s a reason for it, but I can’t think of one, except to allow libraries to be shared on a multi-user system. Who does that? Its not 1972.

To the community helpers - In my request for help, I typed explicitly my path, which showed that my libraries were NOT what KiCAD expects, and i got (useless) suggestions without apparently even reading what I wrote. No one pointed out the real problem. Disappointing.

I suggest these basic be in help and the FAQ. They are basic blocking and tackling. Rene’s existing FAQ is actually very useful, but not for this problem.

I’d still like to have one place that i can keep shared and custom libraries where i can get at them from any machine I can connect to dropbox (or one’s favorite cloud storage facility – icloud, google drive, etc.) Right now i have that as the alternate, with the files there,but no joy. brute force however, worked.

(punctuation and clarification minor edits April 11th)

Pretty much everyone. Shared files are supposed to go to shared folders. Of course if you phrase the question “who does that on a mac?” then answer may be different, because macs are “special”.

In general not a lot of forum members here use macs so don’t be surprised that you don’t get quick answers specific to that OS.

1 Like

Not only that, but sadly the number of the developers and espcecially packagers for mac is low and because Mac is, well, “different” as a platform, KiCad on Mac sometimes behaves unexpectedly and it’s difficult to get help. We would love to see a couple of knowledgeable Mac users joining the packaging team and helping other users here.

For each problem there are usually several Windows or Linux users answering here, but not for Mac specific.

At least that has been my experience over a couple of years.

You got exactly one answer. That answer contains a hint about shared folders. As well as pointing to the generic FAQ section.
I am really not sure what you reference here. Maybe a discussion somewhere else? But complaining here is the completely wrong place in that case.

No it’s not. It’s perfectly normal.

Default libraries go to places where everybody can use them.
If you want to use custom libraries, then put those, and only those, wherever you like them

This is highly non standard though. “application support” is a Windoze thing as I recall, but Windoze uses back slashes. Linux uses slashes, but does not use “application support”.

I’m not going to ague with you but look at most macs, - 95% of application support files are int eh user’s folder. regardless, the point is that a) instructions are unclear and b) no one even read my explicit paths before making unhelpful comments. And no, it a mac thing, further emphasizing that you may not be all that familiar with what is “standard” int he normal (non software development) world.

Hi Renee - correct. I got one answer (not a great feeling) and that answer did not pick up the path issue, and ok “hinted” at shared libraries but “hinting” is nto very helpful. You FAQ, as I noted has lots of good info, but nothing on this which is an essential basic. And despite what is written below, the kicad libraries are not placed where most mac libraries are placed – which is in the users–> you folder. Examples: apple mail, Microsoft office, other cad programs hat I have all use the users --> me folder. So adding that would be really helpful. Thanks.

Above you asked about what i was referencing. Just this thread. The first post is my question. Can i clarify anything? Be well, Grant

I’m not going to argue what’s normal or not. I have all my libraries in a folder in /home/pedro…

@Just_Me, could you send a screenshot of the Manage Symbol Libraries window of both machines?
Like this one

And the path of both ${KICAD_SYMBOL_DIR} variables in case you are using them.

I would not argue that the problem you face is part of the basics to be honest. If it would be then kicad would be in trouble
In other words: it is not normal to have trouble getting the default libs up and running, getting personal libs running is however handled in the FAQ. Including tips on how to work in multi-user or multi PC setup.

KiCad has no internal mechanism to write protect its own assets. This is why the default lib is placed in a system directory that is protected by the operating system. Plus the fact that this is the default way how it works on windows and linux. (KiCad is a multi platform program which means it is not as well integrated in each of these platforms)

Your own libs should not be placed in the same directories anyway! this is because the next KiCad update would remove your libs if they are placed mixed into the default libs. (Again something explained in great detail in the FAQ)

Hi Pedro - When i am near that laptop, sure. You have yours when i originally put mine, and where i would prefer they go. That said, putting them in root library rather than home library fixed the problem. Presumably you are looking for a config that tells kicad where to look? I thought I pointed it to my home ibrary several times. Will get it, tomorrow latest.



Here you go. When you ask form “both machines” - both is pretty ambiguous. I have it on lots of machines, not all easily available, and most without issues. here’s the picture from the offending laptop (which now works since i moved them ot root/library).

You yourself talked about one machine that works and one that does not. We do not care which exact working setup you post about.

they all work now that i moved the libraries (on the non working machine, the location of which i just posted) to the root library directory (where i don’t want them), and away from where they were auto-installed. let me re-iterate that last point: if i recall correctly, they were auto installed into the users/me/library location - where they did not work…

Here’s the “main” machine’s window:

bear in mind, now that i figured out how to solve this problem, and solved it myself, i am asking: 1) for more understanding of where libraries cna go and how they ought to be configured - in general and b) better documentation for all users – e.g.: added to your already existing and otherwise useful FAQ. TIA

Everywhere where your operating system allows KiCad to read from. You just need to point KiCad to the correct location. If the lib table uses path variables then point the path variables to the correct location. If not then you need to set the file path correctly in the lib table.
See Library management in KiCad version 5

Adding my comments to those from Rene,

You have {KICAD_SYMBOL_DIR} pointing to a local directory. It’s OK but bear in mind that the directories in all your machines must contain the same libraries if you want to work in the same projects.

And {KIPRJMOD} variables are different, so they also see different libraries. Same as before, trevor-riaa… or riia-discrete… should contain the same libraries in order to share the same projects.

When you say " i have"… pointing to a local directory - I didn’t point them anywhere. I have no idea how to point it to directories. Whatever is there was done by KiCAD itself. I am, in part, asking how i set my library location.

Now, you also emphasize the point of “local” directories. I presume you mean “on this machine”. Yes. It, IMO, needs to be that way or i could not work remotely - on a plane, in some airports - anywhere i don’t have good internet connection. So yes, i have everything local. I would prefer to have them in dropbox and synchronized, but again, i have no idea how to do that. KiCADs admin features are far from intuitive.

Can you help?