The difficulty of adding components to Kicad

I’ve been using Kicad for years now, and each time I need to add a component, that I can’t find in Kicad, I find it almost impossible. (I have a mild form of Dyslexia)

For the last couple of years, I’ve been using an AK8963C compass chip, and when Kicad updates, all seems to be fresh, so I go through the same pain again.

I think it is too frustrating for you to help me, and in time I usually figure it out, but surely a big concern as Kicad, could make it easier.
Cheers, Camerart.

Using personal libraries solves most of the angst.

Hi J,
I’ve tried personal libraries, and had long exchanges here, but it always takes me a long time. The process needs a much more orderly mind than mine :slight_smile:


Your first post was on Januari 2015, over 7 years ago and you’ve posted (worked with KiCad?) regularly, except for a 2 year gap around 2020.

I agree with jmk. Working with personal libraries is probably the best way to go forward.
I guess you have to somehow overcome the urge to stay disorganized and get yourself organized anyway. Sometimes it helps to make notes or a list of what to do. Maybe this helps:

  1. Create a “library project”. No schematic nor PCB, just for working with libraries.
  2. Create a two personal libraries in that project, one for schematic symbols, one for Footprints and make them global.
  3. Make a list of projects you have done. Put them roughly in order or importance.
  4. Open one of those projects, select a schematic symbol you want in your library, then press [Ctrl + E] to load it in the symbol editor, then save it in your personal library.
  5. Close the Symbol Editor.
  6. If those schematic symbols have custom footprints, then also do this with the footprint, and make sure the footprint link in the schematic symbol in your own library points to your personal footprint library.
  7. Switch to your library project (or a simple test project) and verify you can read the schematic symbol, and the footprint also works.
  8. Repeat with other schematic symbols you want to save, and with other projects which have custom parts/components.

It’s relatively boring work to do. some people get into a groove when doing such tasks and can do a bunch of such projects in a row. Others have problems with focusing or concentrating, and it may be better do one project a day or one a week.

If you have a project to work on your library, you can also use it to save your notes.


Hi P,
I don’t have any urge to stay disorganised, on the contrary.

If you and everyone else is happy, I’ll work through it bit by bit with you.

Your first word ‘create’ does this mean, within Kicad or in a folder on my computer? My guess is, in a folder on my computer, which I’ve done.

What I’m trying to do, is make a new component. AK8963C compass module. I think the SCHEMATIC is ok, but I don’t have a FOOTPRINT to assign to it. (Previously, I made one, and have it), but I haven’t been able to connect it to the PCB

You cannot avoid searching for it once, but you can make sure that you never have to look again.
I started using KiCad by creating my libraries before even starting first schematic. Having your own libraries helps as you know how and why you named them your way and having a limited number of elements there also is very helpfull.
My symbol libraries names are: C, C1, Connect, D, Extra, Hole, IcDigi, IcInOut, IcPower, IcProc, IcRest, L, LED, Mech, Module, Power, PTC, R, R1, R2, R3, T, V, X.
I think most of them are self-explaining (C1- 0402 capacitors, Extra - symbols not fitting to other libraries, R1,R2,R3 - 0402, 0805, 1206 resistors (0603 are in R), T-transistors, V-varistors, X-quartz).
Each my symbol has associated with it footprint so during designing schematic and PCB I need only search a symbol (not need to search footprint as I get them automatically). Because of it in my previous PCB designing program I had only one footprint library. Moving to KiCad I decided to have also more footprint libraries. Footprint libraries names are similar to symbol library names, but I have less of them (all footprints for R,R1,R2,R3 are in footprint library R).
Hope it is helpful.

If something works for you, you need not to update each time KiCad updates. I am still using V 5.1.12.

1 Like

Hi P,
Try to keep your replies short and one step at a time, please.

Here is my last question again: ‘Your first word ‘create’ does this mean, within Kicad or in a folder on my computer? My guess is, in a folder on my computer, which I’ve done.’

Hi, have you tried samacsys library loader? It is very easy to use. Just search the component on mouser and click download. Once you download it, SamacSys loads the component automatically, so you can place it directly over KiCAD

I wanted to give once as much information as I can. The conception is in my opinion more important then details.

When I was creating my libraries (KiCad 4.0.7) everything worked differently.

Hi P,
I am trying to be organised, as suggested, and move one step at a time.

Ok, if it’s now different, how do I ‘create’ “library project” now, in a separate folder or within Kicad?

I can see this thread becoming a long one as previously!

Hi A,
Again! For now, I’ll try to exchange with one person in small steps, if possible.

(I haven’t heard of ‘samacsys library loader’)

As you are probably in V6 and I am still in V5 I can’t drive you step by step.

One thing I am 99% sure - you can create footprint libraries by just making directories (using your file manager program) and copy footprints by just copying files (one file contains one footprint).
With symbols it not works that way in V5. How it is in V6 - I don’t know yet.

I think it is the last what I am writing here.
Don’t worry that thread is becoming long.

What kind of footprint file do you have? Does it end in .kicad_mod? If so we can walk you through the steps from there.

  1. Think of a place where you want to store your library. (Only in your head, not in your PC).
  2. Open a KiCad project (Any KiCad project).
  3. KiCad Project manager / File / New Project
  4. In the file browser window, go to the location you thought of in step 1, and create the KiCad project.

KiCad then does this for you:

  1. It creates the project directory.
  2. It creates the project files, with the same name as the directory.
  3. It switches to that project and makes it the active project.

Make notes of what you do. Copy the lines of text from this forum that help you to understand it into a text file, and update that text file in each step.

Hi P,
That’s fine.
I did try using the (file manager program), and know how to do that.
Thanks for your help.

Hi G,
The name of the file I made is (ak8963c.lib) I can now see that if I open it in Wordpad, it is a SCH file, so that must be why I can make a SCHEMATIC.

Yesterday I made a PCB FOOTPRINT, but wasn’t allowed to save it, by Kicad. Either that or I lost it :slight_smile:
Thanks, C.

Hi P2,
I can do that ok, and have tried a few times. Once I get mixed up I clear Kicad, including APP DATA and re-install it, to try again fresh. So far no success.
This is why I want to try ‘small steps’

Forgive roughness and lack of steady-hand/etc… 10 Cups of BlackCoffee!

• Assume you know nothing and are starting from Scratch as a NOOB

• You want a Symbol with a Footprint linked to it (Though, that’s not necessary but, we’ll do it)

• You want a Footprint with Linked 3D representation of 3Dmodel

Thus, these steps:

  1. Create a Folder for your Symbols

  2. Create a Folder for your Footprints

  3. Create a Folder for your 3D (Step and/or WRL files)

  4. Setup the Paths for the Symbols, Footprints and 3D files

  5. Create a Footprint (Footprint Editor)

  6. Create a Symbol (Symbol Editor)

  7. Link the Footprint to the Symbol (in Symbol Editor)

  8. Use them in Schematic and PCB

The videos (gif) show basically the full process

NOTE: I did NOT fuss with accurate dimensions/details - not important for conveying the process steps…
Yes, I know you’re going to use a Chip but, that’s just a small detail and, yes, you can have pads/etc…

The Footprint

The Symbol

Using It

Screenshots of Paths

You might want to look at a chat type platform to ask for help in ‘small steps.’ Discord & IRC | KiCad EDA

Hi BC,
The almost perfect way to answer my question!

I had to learn how to get my GIF viewer to stop/reverse/fast forward etc, so I didn’t have to wait for the loop. (IRFANVIEW)

I’m clearing out all previous instances of the compass, so I don’t bump into them later.

I’ll be back!, once I’ve succeded.

Thanks very much. What kind of coffee do you like?