How to create a symbol that places custom reference

I was wondering if there was a way to create a symbol, and have that symbol already annotated for the reference designator. For example, let’s say I choose a 10k Resistor value for R10 in my schematic, and I want the part to have its value and reference designator without typing it in, is there a way to do this?

Whenever I create a symbol it seems to only save the part value and not reference designator:

If I place this part it will place it as R1, is there any way to make it automatically place it as R10?

The normal (and quickest and easiest) workflow is to draw the whole schematic and fill in the values and use Tools > Annotate Schematic to automatically annotate all Refs on the schematic. Various options are available on the annotate menu.

It is good… no symbols get missed :slightly_smiling_face:

If you then make modifications, re-annotate the schematic again.


If you could do it that way and you needed qty 100 resistors on your PCB you would get very bored creating the 100 symbols . . . and even more bored while you created the 150 capacitors . . . etc.

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So should you only create custom symbols when it’s not available in the library? One of my co-workers insisted on creating a symbol for every part that you use with the manufacturers part number, not really sure how professionals create schematics as I am still early on in my career.

I’m pretty sure that’s normal behaviour . . . you can use a standard symbol and add the manufacturers part number as an additional field . .

For example:



That is one way. It is usually called a Data Base. This is available in Kicad.

Another system is to use Personal Libraries, either exclusively or in conjunction with Kicad libraries.
This can save a lot of scrolling especially for jelly bean components.

eg: Resistors. Have a personal library of resistors, each symbol with a different footprint and a Ref to reflect that footprint.
Rs0402 = SMD resistor of 0402 size
Rt04 = THT resistor with 4/10 inch spacing between pads.
This sort of style.
Also libraries for capacitors, Inductors, commonly used or created connectors, transistors, etc.
As I mentioned above, saves a lot of scrolling through the Device library.

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Yeah I’m aware of this feature and have used it before I just wasn’t sure cause if I remember correctly even Youtubers like Robert Feranec suggested creating custom components for each part, I don’t remember what video it was but maybe he meant to add the manufacturing part number for every symbol you have in the schematic that way when you make the BOM it transfers over, which is similar to what I do now.

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Would you say that creating a Data Base for a project is useful? Or is it case sensitive?

It all depends on your uses and goals. As @RaptorUK has demonstrated, you can add extra fields to you symbols to store some extra data.

Below are a couple of links to threads in this forum.
The opening post of the first link describes the sort of information stored in a database.
The second link is to a member’s experience creating a data base.

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