Unable to create component symbol in KicAD 5.1 tutorial


I was trying out KiCAD 5.1 getting started tutorial. As per pg 33/7.1/insturcution 2, when I click ‘New Component Icon’, I get a list of existing libraries (not a form to define the name of the new component MYCONN3). Attaching the snapshot. Pls guide me as to where I am going wrong.


Arvind Gupta

Spend some time searching what is ‘New Component Icon’. I have never used it before.
I get the same as you if before that I didn’t selected any symbol. If I click that icon when I have a symbol selected I get the other window.

I am using only - right click at a symbol in the list and ‘Save a Copy As…’ and then I edit it.

I am unable to find the “New Component Icon” as per the tutorial. I am stuck at the tutorial. Requesting someone to assist me further.

Thanks and Regards,
Arvind Gupta

In KiCad all schematic symbols reside in libraries.
So to be able to make a new schematic symbol, you first have to choose a library to put it in, and yo do that in the Select Symbol Library popup from your first screenshot.

There is a bit of a problem though.
All the default libraries are read-only (for good reasons). So you first have to create a new library. (Unless you already did that of course)

So how you showed snapshot with the list of existing libraries you get when you use that Icon?
I just assumed that you use wrong name but you use that button. In ‘my’ KiCad it is named “Create new symbol” and … read what I have written.

I also started (in 2017) from reading official tutorials, but now I know it is not the best way. They are not up to date. The most up to date are FAQs here at forum so the better way would be probably to start from:

and then decide based on their titles what other FAQs to read.

The other way (that given me a lot) was to make in spreadsheet a list of all menu positions and then trying to describe each one by one. And the most important in my opinion is to make your own cheat sheet with Hot-keys organised not alphabetically but by stage of design each key will be useful and then by expected frequency of use.

Yeah that conundrum brings back memories. I discovered the tedious way that you need to have a writable library before you can save a symbol you created.

I hope v6 does it better. It isn’t hard for the New Symbol action to check which libraries are writable and also provide a New Library option with the possibly empty list.

Exactly. First I need to define a user-modifiable library where I can first define my symbol and then go about making it. But as per the tutorial, I need to directly make the symbol (the tutorial does not talk about defining a user-modifiable library first). Hence, how to define a library and add its path to the existing list of read-only libraries?

Arvind Gupta.

It’s the topmost entry in:
Footprint Editor / File / New Library

It first asks you for a path/filename, and then lets you choose if it should be added to either the global or project library table.

Or you can do it from KiCad’s project manager with Preferences / Manage Symbol Libraries and then the “Plus” icon near the bottom of the screen.

I am using right-click at symbol in library list and “Export Symbol…” allows you to give the new library name you want and place it when you want it. You get the library containing that one symbol.
With Preference Manage Symbol Libraries you can add your lib to visible libraries and then you can edit that symbol in your library.

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