"Using Component Library Editor" Doc issues (Newbie)

I just downloaded and installed KiCad 5.1.2 (as it says it’s tested with the FreeRouter)
I am going, step by step, through the Getting Started tutorial guide.

Chapter 4 step 25 says to jump to chapter 7 “Make schematic symbols in KiCad”

Almost nothing in Chapter 7 matches the actual software.

Is there a more reliable doc?

There’s no reason to use 5.1.2 because of freeRouting. That will work with the latest stable as it only requires export of DSN files and import of SES files on the KiCad side.

As for the docs, yes those lag. I don’t have any suggestions. I think I worked it out from videos using 5.1.

“lag” is an understatement. I’m now into Chapter 5, and nothing works.

The “Setup->Design Rules” isn’t there.
Importing the netlist just complains that I have no footprints, even though the schematic actually HAS THEM CHOSEN (At least from what I can tell, that doc is all broken too).

Where are these videos? On YouTube?

Probably those docs describe v4. Anything that mentions v4 should be bypassed.

There are some FAQs from this forum which are more up to date.

I learnt from this e-book which came with videos: https://techexplorations.com/so/kicada/ Not a plug, just my experience. I think some of the videos are on YouTube, search by the author.

Edit: I also saw that hackaday.io is running a KiCad + FreeCAD course, don’t know if it’s free or not.


I searched the forum initially, but got no hits. I’ll continue to dig.

I’m getting closer just hacking at it. i.e. You must regenerate the netlist every time. Apparently simply “saving” doesn’t do that (I’m from Eagle 6… So I’m trying to convert)

I like to support these projects (I’m one of those weird ones who thinks people should be compensated for their work). Are these packages a way of dong that?

Shortcut: you don’t have to export the netlist, you can just Update the PCB. Similarly if you update the PCB you can backport to the schematic.

Peter is on this forum but an educator, not a KiCad developer. By all means support KiCad development and Peter’s courses if you wish.

Umm… no that wasn’t doing it.
The steps were “Save”, “Generate Netlist” (go look, you now have a netlist), “Add footprints”, “Save” (generate netlist again was not prominent), “Open Board”, “Import Netlist”… Got errors

Since I couldn’t create the board to begin with, there is no way to “update” it.

When I finally got past that, I did make a mistake and not assign a pin number to the connector. I was able to go back, add the number to the pin, regenerate the netlist, save, and the board “auto-magically” had the pin number fixed. That is kinda “Eagle-Like”.

Usual sequence is: Draw schematic, Annotate symbols (give them IDs instead of placeholders like U?), Edit symbol fields (to fill in footprints). Once every symbol has a footprint, you can either Export netlist or Update PCB (also works for the first time). Repeat.

The important thing is all symbols must have a footprint or the board cannot be populated or updated.

Edit: Some symbols come with default footprints. You don’t have to edit the symbol in the system library (which is usually read-only) to change that, you can override it per instance. Of course if it’s your symbol library and you’re building it up, you should edit it. For those with no footprints, you have to assign them.

I think the tutorials from Chris Gammell in YouTube are a great help to start with 5.x however, even those tutorials are a bit outdated now.

there is also a bunch of tutorials in the FAQ section of the forum about library management and usual roadblocks for new users in KiCad:


I hope this helps

I have also started (two years ago) from reading docs but I read them without trying to do what there is written - so I got mainly general overview of KiCad. Later I have just got information by following this forum and doing my own cheat sheet by making a list of all menu positions and describing their work.
And later as such questions rise from time to time @Rene_Poschl has written FAQ I suppose is the best place to start (I didn’t read it but believe in everything he has written):

And some more learning resources here

Unfortunately the documentation is sometimes a bit out of date - but this is mainly because the project is active and under development. Generally you are better using a more recent version - there have been quite a few bugs fixed between 5.1.2 and 5.1.6 but much of the unofficial as well as some of the official docs are a bit outdated. Some tutorials - for instance many videos on YouTube are still using version 4. Unfortunately the version being used is often not mentioned and these tutorials will be around on YouTube etc confusing people for years to come.
You will usually get a quick response to a specific question on the forum.

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