Passing comments from schematic to PCB

Im new to KiCad. I just made a PCB and I found myself making notes on a piece of paper like “place 100k R close to J2” or “put silkscreen SDA and SCL next to J3 pin 4 and 5”.

I was wondering if maybe there is any functionality in KiCad itself that I can make comments like that in the schema editor so that they show up in the PCB editor?

It’s common to make text notes either in a text box in Eeschema, or in a separate file, (Or indeed on just a piece of paper) but duplicating such notes in Pcbnew usually is not very useful. I quite often use a text box wit a table of notes in Eeschema myself.

KiCad-nightly V5.99 has “text variables” which can sync between the schematic and the PCB. These can for example be used to have a version number on the PCB update if it’s changed in the schematic, but this is not very useful for generic notes.

You can place a (multi line) text box, both in Eeschema and in Pcbnew and you can copy / paste text between them, but duplicating the same notes in different locations is more confusing then useful.

I meant in particular comments/fields that are attached to a certain symbol/component, even before annotating. On my piece of paper I often had to refer to components by their value because they didn’t have a designator yet. It would be great if I could just add a field to a symbol and those fields would show up in the PCB editor.

Using two screens is very helpful - schematic in one screen and layout on the other. You can cross probe between components.

You can label lines on your schematic - these net names will then be visible in the layout - you will still need to remember to add the silkscreen but the names will carry over.

In a commercial environment the layout notes should be either on the schematic or in a document called out on the schematic.

In a hobby environment I simply add a text file to the project and put all required notes in there. Quite honestly since I designed the circuit and I’m laying out the board, my notes are relegated to documenting special footprints, revisions and what was the reason etc.

Putting layout information on the PCB doesn’t seem useful the way I use Kicad. Once the layout is done, notes on why don’t seem important to document.

Attaching notes to a component might seem like a good idea at first, but I think you will find it cumbersome in the long run.

Labeling connector pins on the PCB Silkscreen is common (and good practice). However, I often do not have enough room on the PCB to put full net names near a connector so I use simple unrelated text strings on the Silkscreen layer.

A useful thing to make is a checklist, and go through the checklist before you create Gerbers and order PCB’s. On that checklist should always be;

  • ERC.
  • Eeschema -> PCB.
  • DRC.
  • Gerber creation settings.

And you can put many more things on that checklist, such as labels for connector pins.

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