KiCAD 5.1.2 Footprint Editor

My toolbar does not match the one shown in manual under section 12.4 Top Toolbar in Footprint Editor. As a new user, I can’t post two images in one post to show the comparison. I’m missing the “create new library and save footprint in it” button and a few others.

How do I fix this?

The manual is simply outdated. But the good news is that we have tutorials here on the forum under the FAQ section. In particular these could be of interest to you:

The footprint editor in v5.1 works the same way as the symbol editor. So this will also help (is linked from the create a new footprint library entry, added here for convinience) Creating a new symbol library and a new symbol in KiCad 5

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Thank you Rene, I did find those before I posted my question.

The problem is I don’t have the buttons on my menu bar that are referenced in the tutorials.

If you look at:

I don’t have New Library… or Add Library… buttons on my menu.

Have you clicked the file menu?
Or right clicked onto the tree view?

Like explained in the “how to make a new symbol library” section that is specifically linked in the 5.1 section of the “how to make a new footprint library” post? (Yes i took the easy way out as these tools are now similar enough to not really need a separate tutorial)

Edit: I now updated my tutorials with screenshots from 5.1 in the relevant sections.

Thank you, Rene.

I do see them under the file menu or when I right click the tree view.

I will move forward with that.

Just to understand though, there’s now way to show the tool bar with all the buttons on it?


Toolbars are not configurable in kicad.

Okay, good to know.

On to the next problem…

I’ve created the footprint and I’ve aqdded a VRML file of the part associated with it. I had added the footprint to the board already so I’m adding the VRML file as I finally go finished modeling the component. I can see the component in the 3D viewer of the footprint editor and it seems like everything is configured properly.

I have saved and updated the footprint file, gone back into the PCB and updated the footprints but it will not appear when I do a 3d view of the PCB.

Not sure what I missed in the tutorial.

I do note that when setting up the Preferences>Configure Paths when I navigate to the part folder I created, when I try to add the VRML file, it doesn’t see it in the folder and I can’t select it. The VRML file is there in the lower left window, but the Select Path window from the Configure Paths window doesn’t see it.

Just confused why it is showing in one editor and not the other.

The model was created in Solidworks 2018.



pcbnew caches used footprints in the board. Go to tools->Update footprints and update footprints and your model will appear.


You seem to have updated the footprint already (presuming you selected the right options for updating). Make sure you have Show THT selected in the 3D viewer preferences (and the footprint configured as THT in its own properties).

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Updated footprints and selected Re-associate footprints.


That didn’t work.

However, I went in and individually updated each footprint…

…and now they begin to appear.


“Update footprints” option there means changing footprints after re-assigning different footprints to symbols, i.e. after footprint names in symbols are changed. The UI texts are unclear and the checkbox option doesn’t even have a tooltip. Only “Update Footprints from Library” dialog updates modified footprint files.


Okay folks, one more question…

So I have this array of switches.

Each one will have a different cap.

I have created a VRML of each switch assembly with its respective cap, each with a different name.

Is there a way to associate a multitude of VRMLs to one footprint, then choose which one is showing at each individual footprint on the board?

Does that make sense?

Thanks again for all your help, you folks have been great!

Not that I’ve found. I have a similar issue with resistors. I have a collection of resistor models that have the correct color bands for the value, but so far all I’ve been able to figure out is to manually (or write a script that I haven’t done yet) select the correct resistor model based on the value.

I’ll certainly be paying attention to see if you or someone else comes up with a solution.

a (dirty hack) workaround is to set x,y,z scale to zero for the 3d models not to be displayed … this should work fine on v5
But the solution would be to add a new optionally field ‘opacity’ to models

and here the code to be changed/added on footprints

It could be something to be added only when opacity value less than 100% would be present …
this would break back compatibility but ONLY if transparency is applied (opacity less than 100%).
No need to change all the footprint libraries
something like:

(model ${KISYS3DMOD}/mylib/mymodel.wrl
(at (xyz 0 0 0))
(scale (xyz 1 1 1))
(rotate (xyz 0 0 0))
(opacity 0.25)

opacity field added to footprint ONLY if its value is less than 100%

That small addition in the footprint parser will be an useful feature addition for the 3d-viewer.

whish / bug @ launchpad

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This could be solved with a bit of scripting. As 5.1 has an API to modify 3D models in pcbnew. Footprint should have base 3D model defined. Once you are in pcbnew you could run a script which would:

  • scan through all the footprints and find only the specific footprints
  • add different colored 3D models (colored rings, colored caps) acording to the value. It could also chage the 3D moxel with a colored one. If value is not available directly from pcbnew parsing the .sch files would be necessary.

You would need different script for each different footprint(5mm LED, 3mm LED, 1/4W THT resistor, …)

Or a script that works on a pre-defined set of different footprints and chooses the correct 3D model based on which footprint and value is used on a component ref’d that starts with R.

Such a script could also be adapted for the OP’s use case. Unfortunately for the OP and me, I don’t have current plans to write such a script. My (current) usage is low enough that modifying by hand isn’t that big of a problem.

If you prepare vrml and step models for colored rings for THT resistors from the official KiCad library and a test project I can put this on my backlog. But it might take some time before it will be finished, as I have a couple of high(er) priority issues to solve regarding my plugins.

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