KiCad Education and Rage Continues - Symbol Creation


Hi Folks -
I am bumbling my way through the documentation learning KiCad. It’s not going too bad, and I’ve created a little board, done the layout, generated the gerbers and drill files, hell, even uploaded a test .zip to to see if it works and looks like I have the procedure figured out.

Lately, I’ve been delving into the schematic symbol creation and libraries. That’s where some frustration has resulted. The great @Rene_Poschl has some fabulous tutorials and I’ve been reading those to help me along, but there’s one thing that I have not seemed to find anywhere - I want to copy a symbol from a library that was supplied on the install of Kicad (5.0.2) (i.e. a read only library) into a new library that I create. For the life of me I cannot find out how to do it and the eeschema docs seem to be referring to commands that are not even on my screen (I am using Windows and I think the doc is for Linux, so maybe that’s the issue).

Wait - I just checked something before I finished this posting - and it seems to have worked - I have to right click on the part in the “symbol browser” that appears on the left of the screen in the symbol editor, and then copy, then go and right click paste the symbol into my already created library that shows up in this browser…seems to have worked and brought in a bunch of aliases as well ( I can edit those later).

Is this the correct procedure for this, or are there any other workflows I should know about? Is it just me or is the documentation for the symbol creation not in sync with the latest release (5.0.2)? Maybe this is going to all change again when 5.1 comes out officially ?

I really like KiCad by the way despite these quirks and the fact that it’s a fast moving target and evolves quicker than I can keep up with !



The forum has some nice tutorials in the faq. Tutorial: How to make a symbol


Thanks - I have been working my way along though that but was focused on a simple task of just copying a symbol from the KIcad supplied library to my own library first. If in fact I have now broken that “log-jam” I can go and edit that symbol using the knowledge in the tutorials you reference . Thanks for your help (and patience with the noobs !)


I still find this process confusing, even after using KiCad for a couple of years! It is not the most intuitive workflow - some sort of drag and drop into user space libraries would make more sense IMHO. I wish I could get kicadlibrarian running on macOs as this would facilitate moving the necessary symbols and footprints around.


It’s not confusing, it’s a “charming idiosyncrasy”. :wink:
Sort of like the list I keep of “Things My NEXT Wife Won’t Do”. After nearly 45 years, I think it’s up to three volumes and still growing. :hugs:


p.s. - I love you, dear! :star_struck: :heart_eyes:


Kicad v5 has quite good controls here. Not yet drag and drop but the right click context menu of the tree view is a very important step.

@LHC copying complete symbols or only parts of symbols is handled in my tutorial.


Rene - I never saw that right-click copy/paste of symbols between libraries that you outlined in your tutorial until now. I am not that alert at times but at least I did catch it eventually. Thanks for these tutorials by the way - they are great for noobs like me to get comfortable with the library management in KiCad.



LOL…excellent advice …I’ll start my list today…


You oughta see her list of “Things My NEXT Husband Won’t Do”.

With software and people there will always be things that are not the way you would specify them if you had bothered to think it through beforehand. Nevertheless, after dealing with them via your skills of adaptability, resilience, and learning, you recognize that these factors are all part of what makes the person or program the unique creation that it is. The occasional reminder that “this is my CURRENT software tool” (or, “my FIRST wife”) becomes an invitation to continue the partnership of evolutionary development.


P.S. - I have my wife’s permission to say that.

P.P.S. - And I am NOT hen-pecked!


Rene -

I’m still working my way along through all your excellent tutorial articles on symbol creation etc. I keep asking myself - why isn’t this stuff right in the manual for KiCad? Are you somehow deemed “not worthy” or something? I mean this is excellent info and really eliminated the “blind rage” I was starting to suffer from when learning Kicad…

I’ve started to copy/paste all your articles into a massive LibreOffice file on my computer and will print them all out eventually to have handy. My problem is that I am an infrequent pcb designer and when I sit down to lay out another board, I always run the risk of the knowledge having fallen out of my head - at least partially - lol.

I’m using 5.0.2 but it sounds like 5.1 is close at hand so when that appears I may have to re-learn some things, but it looks like you have future proofed some of your info in the tutorials you’re prepared as well with notices and “keep in mind” etc.

Anyway, I for one can’t thank you enough for going to the trouble of preparing all this information for noobs like me that come across KiCad. I can say it’s prevented me from “rage quitting” and I am now an enthusiastic KiCad promoter. I’m starting to preach about it to all my colleagues and the local lads at my Makerspace where they are sniffing around wanting to learn about PCB design…I may even end up teaching some classes on it eventually…

Cheers from sunny Canada - where the skies have been made brighter with your work!



All KiCad official documentation is outdated. They are, like the program itself, volunteer driven. Getting the FAQ articles by Rene there would require structural changes, checking the language etc. Also the Getting Started document needs big changes IMO. It should give the overall workflow and the usual and simple cases (it’s not consistent now in that, it has rotten over time). These tutorials by Rene would continue where the Getting Started left, like “Getting Deeper in KiCad - Symbol Creation” etc.


A simple one line at the start of that “rottten” getting started doc, saying “go here for Rene’s articles” might even help a lot - I started into this by blindly reading the “official” documents and not even venturing into the forum…I would think there’s a lot of old fools like me out there that would do the same - lol…


Me too. But it was an year ago. During my read 4.0.6 was changed to 4.0.7. Those time the doccumentation was closer to real program.
Just before 5.0.0 release I sow information that English doccumentation is ready, and only translations are not ready so when 5.0.0 was released I printed all English doccumentation and read. During my read I noticed more and more informations that I was sure are true for 4.0.7 but not for 5.0.0.

And about the LibreOffise - me too. I have my file containing the important information about KiCad and only it to make time needed to refresh my memory as short as possible.