How do I exclude component designations from final PCB?

I’m new to KiCad and have a quick question.

I’d like my manufactured PCB to NOT show component designations (R1, C1, Q2, etc). I can hide the designators while I’m designing my PCB by toggling the visibility of “values” and “references” under the “Appearance” → “Objects” tab, but when I preview the finished board in the 3d viewer, those designations are still there.

Is there an easy way to turn this off?


The appearance manager only influences how things look on your monitor, and does not change anything for the output. files.

PCB Editor / Edit / Edit Text and Graphics Properties should do it with the following settings:

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There is also "Plot reference designators in gerber export settings. I have no idea what it does, but sounds related, untested (writing just for completeness) :slight_smile:

I do not think that such setting should appear in final export dialog, because you will get a board with silkscreen not as designed in PCB Editor canvas, an easy way to miss such setting. I just realized I will receive a board with unannotated meanings of board connectors (like “PWR +/-”, “FAN +/-”)", even looked at board 3d representation and reviewed gerbers before passing them to the fabhouse :D. Not having refdes on a small boars can also be easily missed.

I don’t use references at silkscreen so have no experience with it.
I think that if someone has references at silkscreen than he can:

  • place them as he need and than have them at PCB,
  • ignore their right placing and then exclude them from PCB.

For me the simplest way to have these 2 possibilities is the flag you marked.

I use these flags (values and references) while doing documentation. I have value and reference at CrtYd layer. I place them one on the another in the footprint center (if you have an array of 0603 elements there is no other place for them). I then plot CrtYd once with refs and once with values and both that pictures go into documentation.
That solution was decided by me when V4 was changing to V5. I have installed V6 few days ago. There are new possibilities - may be I will change my documentation strategy.

This is a bad Idea. The F & B courtyard layers have special meanings in KiCad, just like the copper, Silkscreen Paste,etc layers and should not be used for anything else.

@Piotr I know you manage your own layers and (ab)use them for your own purposes, and that’s ok. But advising your workflow to others is not. Especially to beginners with KiCad. They may get into trouble while using the default libraries. So please limit your advise on this forum to things that work well with the default settings of KiCad.

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I have no feeling that I recommended anything. I’ve seen this thread before and thought about those flags at export window but didn’t speak up because I use these flags in combination with an unusual layer.
But once I read:

I decided to protest explaining that these flags could be useful. Such a claim should be supported by an example and that is why I have described it in more detail.
Of course if visibility settings from Objects tab would be used while exporting than this settings here would be not needed but they are not used and it would be not a good idea to use them here, I think.

Agree, but I didn’t found the better one. How to make my documentations was first what I was experimenting with KiCad (4.0.6 those time) to find how to do my footprints. Then I started to design symbols and footprints and only then I tried to do first PCB.
I have changed my mind 2 or 3 times with effect of modifying all my footprints but in the end I politely returned to my original solution.
The source of my problem is all KiCad layers having F & B versions have their special meaning and I can use only the layer that swaps top/bottom together with footprint. I know that V6 allows for user defined layers but hadn’t no time to check it yet. If there is the layer having F & B and jumping with footprint I will certainly move with my texts to it, but probably there are no such possibility.
I want my values and references at picture with as big rectangles around elements as possible - such picture is at CrtYd. When I decided to use CrtYd overlaping of CrtYd rectangles was not checked by DRC so adding texts there generated no problems. I have no problem with switching this checking off as it happens that at my PCBs CrtYd intentionally overlaps.

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