This FAQ relates to:
Please use that as the main reference
Creating your first own KiCAD libraries is simple:
The key is: “Use and modify what’s already there”… meaning the standard libraries.
There are two basic ways of going about this:
1: Copy a standard library to your own library and hide/delete symbols you don’t need.
2: Create an empty library, and copy selected symbols from the standard libraries into it.
This T&T only addresses option #1.
There are plenty of useful (as well as exotic) libraries included in a standard KiCAD install, but it makes sense to concentrate on an essential one first:
“Device” - you’ll always need this library.
Copy the library file to your personal library directory, either using KiCAD (Symbol Editor → Save Library As…) or the OS file manager.
Rename the new personal file Device.kicad_sym to 0_Device.kicad_sym (you’ll see why below).
Add your new personal library to KiCAD using the " Preferences → Manage Symbol Libraries…" menu and add your file to the “Global Libraries” with full path/file name.
Your personal “0_Device” library will now be first in the list when adding symbols to your schematic.
NOTE: it’s a very good idea to use the path definitions in menu “Preferences” → Configure Paths…" like this (use your own paths as needed):
It makes library/file management simpler. In the “Preferences → Manage Symbol Libraries…” it will then look like this:
Personalizing the new “0_Device” library means optimizing/reducing/adding so only symbols needed all the time are predominant, and the rest are out of the way.
You can do this by deleting unwanted symbols, but that’s somewhat brutal. And you never know what you might need in the future. (KiCAD 6 does not support hiding symbols.)
A more restrained method is to force all frequently used symbols to the top of the list. This saves immense scrolling time when adding symbols to a schematic. KiCAD 6 does not support this functionality either, but there’s a way around that.
The idea is to have all the frequently-used symbols keep their existing names, adding an underscore ("_") character to the beginning of rarely used symbol names. This will modify the (alpha-numeric sorted) symbol list. To do this, you’ll need to edit the library file directly. It’s plain text/ASCII format.
(Do not be afraid of this step, you’re only modifying a file copy that can be recreated any time.)
The best tool here is an ASCII-only text editor like WordPad, FeatherPad, emacs etc.
1: Open your new 0_Device.kicad_sym library file with the text editor.
2: Start the “Search/Replace” function.
3: Do the following exact text replacements for the complete file:
(symbol " (symbol "_
(property "Value" " (property "Value" "_
4: Save the file.
Open KiCAD 6 and start the Symbol Editor. All symbols in the “0_Device” library should now have the underscore prefix ("_").
Browse the modified “0_Device” user library and pick the symbols constantly or most often needed, eg, R, C, D, C_Polarized etc.; open each one and delete the leading underscore ("_") in the “Value”-field. They’ll subsequently appear at the top of the symbol list when using Eeschema.
The “0_Device” library will in the future look someting like this:
This method works with all personal symbol libraries.