Library Problems

I’ve been using KICAD for over a year, but am far from proficient. Library management issues are my major issue.

Specifically, setting paths for the libraries and the environmental variables available, and how to use them…there seems to be no way to edit what you’ve setup once you do it, and it survives even after a delete and reload of the SW.

I really don’t want to do anything fancy, just have a place that’s available to all projects, and a second place for parts and footprints of parts I create. My setup is likely really screwed up, and I’ve no ideas how to setup the environment for all the crap KICAD uses…

I can’t seem to find all the parts I’ve used in previous projects when I start a new project. Occasionally, I do some cleanup, which causes more problems…I tend to delete stuff I don’t think I need, like cache and bak files, which cause more problems.

Any advice on how to setup the system so it’s EASY to use???

Hi @crusader27529. Which OS are you running?
I’m using Windows, and i haven’t experienced too many issues.

I’m using my own libraries, and they are stored in a different location to the installation.
So in my case, the libraries themselves are stored at:

  • G:\ApplicationFiles\KiCad\Libraries\Footprint
  • G:\ApplicationFiles\KiCad\Libraries\Symbol

As you will know, the configuration of symbols is set by “project_name”.pro (currently) in the project location and Footpints are set by the fp-lib-table.

There is a “global” fp-lib-table stored somewhere like C:\Users"user"\AppData\Roaming\kicad\ which is created when KiCad is installed.I don’t use the “project” fp-lib-table, so i won’t mention it.

What i do is keep “master copies” of the .pro file and the fp-lib-table file in G:\ApplicationFiles\KiCad\Template and update only these files. I do this so that KiCad updates/reinstallations do not affect my settings.

If i update the “master” files, i then run a batch file to copy “master” fp-lib-table to C:\Users"user"\AppData\Roaming\kicad\ (overwrite it) and the “master” .pro file to C:\Program Files\KiCad\share\kicad\template (overwrite it). It can be done manually of course.

The fp-lib-table is not project dependant, so it can be updated when a project is ongoing and new/updated footprints will be available immediately.

The file in C:\Program Files\KiCad\share\kicad\template will be used when you create a new project, but you can always update mid-project if you overwrite the existing one in the project folder:

  • Copy updated file from C:\Program Files\KiCad\share\kicad\template to project folder.
  • Delete existing .pro file in project location.
  • Rename to

I believe that symbols in future releases will be handled using a similar lib-table concept.

Regarding environment variables:
KISYS3DMOD is G:\ApplicationFiles\KiCad\Libraries\Footprint
KISYSMOD is G:\ApplicationFiles\KiCad\Libraries\Footprint
Set in “system variables”

Once set correctly, they shouldn’t be an issue (i think even an uninstallation will not remove them, not sure).

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