Help me fix up my libraries!


I’m in the process of fixing up my schematic libraries. Can I reconfigure paths to make my libraries look like this without breaking all of my designs and sending components astray?:image


Yes. Assuming you habe a global setup. Projects refer to libraries via their nickname. A reorg should work as long as you do not vhange them.

If you use a local setup then this will be more work.


Ok, thanks Rene_Poschl! That’s good to know.

I’m somewhat confident that I can set up all of the libraries I need on one machine now with the instructions above. Unfortunately though, I run into problems when I try to use multiple machines and store files remotely on GitHub. Currently, the standard library set up by Kicad installer on both machines is located at usr/share/kicad/library and I don’t have any problems with it between machines. I’ve got another library folder for Git in home/Documents on both machines. Ideally, I’d like both machines to share the Git library folder and keep everything on it.

I can’t figure out how to get Kicad libraries to work properly when I switch between computers. Sometimes I’ll run into trouble when I try to open a file on a different computer. I’ll get a box with a question mark where my component should be. Changing the library to the Git folder fixes it temporarily and then it breaks when I change machines.

Does anyone have suggestions for library setup with GitHub? I need to access the same libraries on a few different machines and not have to deal with lost components. Also, I’d like to add other libraries like Digikey’s to the Git libraries.


I think I understand the library configuration now, but I’m still having trouble with symbols. In the Configure Paths window on the Kicad start window, I’ve got KICAD_USER_SYMBOLS and KICAD_USER_FOOTPRINTS pointing to their respective folders. When I click on Manage Footprint Libraries from the dropdown menu, a screen opens and I can point to the global folder path that shows and I can see all of the components in the library when it’s time to assign footprints to symbols.

Symbols really throws me off though. I can’t point to the global folder in the same way. I can only point to individual components. Is there a way around this?


The current difference between the file/part structure of symbols vs. footprints is:

  • A symbol library is the combined .lib and .dcm files of the same name (you need both, but only point the library manager to the .lib file) that contains 1 or more symbols. Usually you will have many symbols in the .lib and .dcm file pair.
  • A footprint library is a .pretty folder with 1 or more footprint files, each file is an individual footprint.

So to answer this:

You aren’t pointing to individual component symbols, you are pointing to individual library files that each contain multiple component symbols.

There are plans to make the symbol libraries similar in structure to the footprint libraries, but don’t expect to see that until at least KiCad v6, Because KiCad v6 isn’t in the immediate future (probably about 2 years away) ignore the possibility of the libraries being structured similarly for now.


How does KIGITHUB in the Configure Paths section work? I’d love to learn how to put all of my stuff on GitHub.


The github plugin only “works” for footprints. It does not use git forr communication but uses the zip download links instead. The footprints are only temporary stored and the complete library is downloaded everytime kicad needs information from this library. Kicad will always use the master branch.

All of these problems combined resulted in the official lib no longer relying on this type of distribution.


Sometime ago I Invented the environment variable “KICAD_DATASHEET_DIR” and started using it as the root location of all the datasheets for the IC’s I use, and it works as expected.


FWIW I put my own libraries in Dropbox and use that to share between machines - it works very well and automatically. I also have local clones of the stock KiCad libraries and fetch updates fairly regularly for each of my machines.


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