Please Rework the Library UI

I had only to do a final check on my project, and with V7, there are so many problems with the same project.

[The Electrical Rules Checker complains about missing connectors–which are pretty standard fare, and part of Kicad 6. I’ve imported parts into my project, which can be seen in both in the schematic editor and the PCB layout editor–yet, apparently, they are missing. They were recovered before, but now, there’s a problem. The fact that you have recovery functionality indicates that Kicad has a systemic problem.].

Currently, we have symbol libraries and component libraries. I think that would be beneficial to think of them as component or parts, whether or not they are schematic ideas, or PCB physical parts, and then whether or not we have both a symbol and/or footprint comes later. In other words, a single folder would have everything we need to place that part down. The files inside could be sorted in the folder by their extensions, which has been all the rage for the last half century.

[Also noting that the template path has its own slash direction. C:\Program Files\KiCad\7.0\share/kicad/template]

For instance, I would like to see a document on how to export a complete project–with everything needed to work on it, to work on it on another machine. How long would that take under the present system?

[Though, to be honest, I would export everything right where it is–in the faint hope that I might not lose my ability to work on my project.]

I do want Kicad to get better and evolve, but it would be nice to know that once we finish a project, and need to someday open it, that it can be used.

Sorry, not quite.

Currently we have Kicad supplied: Symbol libraries, Footprint libraries and 3D Image libraries.
If your project also has any modified Kicad, created or imported: symbols, footprints and 3D images;
you will need Personal Symbol, Footprint and 3D Image libraries as well as the Kicad supplied libraries.

To work on your project on another computer, that computer will need to have installed the Kicad program plus the Kicad libraries plus your Personal libraries.

The Eagle way. Unfortunately it scales very badly. How many different symbols share the same SOIC-8 footprint and 3D model?


And by the way: symbols and foorprints used in the design are stored within the project (not sure about 3D)

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This indicates that you do not work with a consistent grid. My recommendation is 50 mils, both in the schematic and the symbol editor.

No, Brenda has no problem with the grid, but with missing symbols.

Reading the original post I think the problem is a older kicad v6-project, imported into a current v7 installation.
Typically the v7 installation points to it’s own libraries, so there is a big chance some of the symbols/footprints are missing in the installed libraries. This is reported by the ERC (standard severity is a warning: “current configuration doesn’t include library xyz” or “symbol abc can’t be found in library xyz”). These are harmless warnings/errors, but can alarm unexperienced users with thin nerves. (One project for next year: writing a overview for most common ERC/DRC faults - and how to interpret them)
possible causes for mising symbols:

  • not all library paths are correctly set (for v7 version)
  • some libraries are disabled in the library tables (in the v7 version)
  • changed content inside the libraries: there is a development in the libraries, and some parts may be removed or renamed
  • the user has modified the original v6 libraries and with new installed v7 libraries these modifications/additions are gone

All of these things are not really important (see @ML9104 ) - since version v6 kicad stores the symbol/footprint definitions inside the project files itself so the schematic/board is working even with missing symbols/footprints. (one of the major improvements of v6).

In general I bet we will see such forum threads again in the upcoming months, as v8 will be released and many users will migrate from v7–>v8. All path variables must be correctly set to the new v8 library locations, all personal libraries must be duplicated for working with v8 (unless one wants to completely migrate to v8, without a v7 backup).

Regarding the organising idea from @BrendaEM :
I don’t think that using a folder-based library system will be implemented, it’s a different approach/solution than the current library table based approach. And changing a fundamental design decision of a matured project needs more than only some small advantages.

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To further clarify @mf_ibfeew 's comments:

Even when the symbols are correct and present in the Schematic, the ERC, when used, will ALSO check to make sure all the libraries containing the symbols, and the paths to those libraries, are correct.

If anything is not correct in the paths, or the libraries, the ERC will give a warning.

They are not - just too large


@MitjaN , in another thread here posted this link to his Plug-in for storing 3D images in Project Files.

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I just wanted to be able to add/maintain parts to my project. It UI should not be as needlessly complicated as it is.

[I am still struggling to fix a nearly finished 4-layer board. I realize that a lot of people are working hard to make Kicad better, but I had a nearly finished 4-layer board–which I have been struggling to fix after an upgrade. : (

Just a word of caution, It is not a good idea to upgrade until a design is finished as this adds another layer of uncertainty when problems arise especially now as Kicad is improving at an astonishing rate :slightly_smiling_face:

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This has been said so often here, and few people listen: if you want consistent libraries, make your own.
Every KiCAD update will also update the default libraries (with unwanted consequences).

Please use the FAQs (top right screen) in the future. This one is indicated:

I am sorry; communication is a two way thing; I must not have made my point clear. I will try again…

Please make the adding and maintaining parts a more coherent process.

While I am glad that Kicad is becoming better, I think that there is a serious problem if users cannot effectively upgrade their software.

If a design should become effectively locked to a particular version of Kicad, and it’s unrealistic to improve an existing design, or fix bugs in it, then there is a problem.

In nearly every other program I have ever seen that has made changes, there is a import saved version. In the spirit of that, could not something be done to make sure that a project has all the materials that are needed for that project?

It’s not the libraries themselves that are the problem–its the user interface around them.

in no other program global libraries get saved to a state of a project unless you make them local, the same can be done with kicad. kicad in v7 also now includes the rendering information etc. of symbols directly in the schematic file so they don’t change unless you actively decide to update them. you also have the option to export all symbols in a project to its own library and use that as your local base. if you want to have a complete project based backup of your libraries, that’s something you need to take care of in the background, e.g. with library versioning or something similar. but that’s also not different in eagle or altium.

I don’t see any problem with the interfaces KiCad offers compared to other solutions on the market.

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And I am sorry that, although communication is a two way thing, it appears the other members are not able to communicate with you.

Kicad libraries, like the Kicad program, are continually evolving. Kicad libraries, like any other library in the whole wide world, change.

The only way you will be able to have a completely stable library is to make one.

Because of this continual change, Kicad make it very easy to create and stock personal libraries. It generally takes less than a minute to create each library and fewer than 30 seconds to enter each symbol or footprint into its appropriate library.
Do this, and you will have no more continuing problems.

Am I communicating???


Good news, it was done for pcb side of things in v4 and for schematic side of things in v6. So while you will have some pain upgrading from v5 it will be much easier from then on.

The only thing that is not saved with the project itself right now are 3d models from global libs.


Amen ! If you are a student or a hobbyist looking for some basic footprint assistance, built in libs are a nice and easy starting point to help you out , but if you are a pro designer or part of a big pro team, you will only use customized libraries. Kicad libs should be seen as examples, and you might be able to use them as they are. You have to assume every footprint you get for free or for no time has some error or is defficient in some way. I am sure there are many fine footprints in the kicad libs but I wouldnt use any of them without careful examination.


Yes it is, but you don’t seem able to listen. It’s now been stated from several users that you need to maintain your own libraries.
And also, that it’s not difficult. Which it isn’t. Just copy the default libraries to your user space and it’s done. Period.

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