%R Unexpected Behavior


I have this:

When I am expecting this:

Both have these properties:

There is nothing apparently different between the two symbols; even with a text editor I can not determine any difference that may be causing this behavior.

Anyone have any ideas?


It’s REF**, not **REF.

%R is the “secondary” refdes; it tells that it’s replaced with the same text as REF**.


Is this fixed in the version you are using?

ON EDIT: Note, that the “**REF” text was auto-generated by KiCad by the field having “%R” in it.


In the official libraries REF** is used in the Silk layer, %R in the Fab layer. But when you look at the view (the fp editor or the board editor), you see REF** in both layers until the footprint receives the reference designator from eeschema.

I have a development version here, but the rules should be the same.


I don’t think this matters. At least not if used in the real reference field. It would matter in the user text field. (Meaning in the second reference field)


Ah, I didn’t know that, only checked a footprint.

I hope my previous post answers to Sprig. You write %R in the field but see REF** (or **REF) in the view, that’s normal.


In the footprint editor yes. In pcb_new only if the footprint has no connection to a symbol (meaning if you manually added the footprint to the board) And in that case you would have both shown as Ref**, not one as U1 and one as Ref**


Text in the one that works as expected:

(fp_text reference **REF (at -3.175 -5.842) (layer F.SilkS)
(effects (font (size 0.762 0.762) (thickness 0.127)))

Text in the one that does not work as expected:
(fp_text reference REF** (at -0.1 -3.9) (layer F.SilkS)
(effects (font (size 0.762 0.762) (thickness 0.127)))


This is only one of the text fields. Maybe also show the user text field


Are your footprints from the footprint files or from the board file? Who made them? Can you give the whole files?


All seems fixed now… I made quite a few changes while working through this, so I am uncertain what the underlying cause was.

Just out of nowhere I happened to pick the only symbol that had “**REF” in it’s Footprint. And, I have no idea how that got there.

While working through the problem, I had placed “REF**” in the field for the problem Footprint; such was the case when creating the screen-grabs.

What a head scratcher.


I should pay more attention to original posts; I can see the screenshots are from a board.

Good you got it fixed, but we still don’t understand how it happened. Can you clarify, which one actually worked, REF** or **REF? Do you mean that one of those two possibilities didn’t work at first and when you changed it, it worked?


I have no idea what the underlying cause was.

My mistake was not making only one change at a time. I forgot to go back and change the field in Eeschema; from “REF**” to the tilde “~” symbol that I typically use.

I have gone back and




seem to be interchangeable.

There was probably just some typo on my part that I just could not see.

However, THANKS! for the help; the comments really helped me to focus and get things back to normal.