Assigning Footprints

Before routing a PCB, footprints need to be selected for every component that will be assembled on the board. Footprints define the copper connections between physical components and the routed traces on a circuit board.

Some symbols come with footprints pre-assigned, but for many symbols there are multiple possible footprints, so the user needs to select the appropriate one.

KiCad offers several ways to assign footprints:

  • Propriet√† del simbolo

    • Symbol Properties Dialog

    • Symbol Fields Table

  • While placing symbols

  • Strumento di assegnamento impronte

Each method will be explained below. Which to use is a matter of preference; one method may be more convenient depending on the situation. All of these methods are equivalent in that they store the name of the selected footprint in the symbol’s Footprint field.

The Footprint Library Table needs to be configured before footprints can be assigned. For information on configuring the Footprint Library Table, please see the PCB Editor manual.

Assigning Footprints in Symbol Properties

A symbol’s Footprint field can be edited directly in the symbol’s Properties window.

Assigning footprint in Symbol Properties

Clicking the library icon button in the Footprint field opens the Footprint Chooser, which shows the available footprints sorted by footprint libraries.

The Footprint Chooser filters footprints by name, description, and keywords, as well as any fields that are shown as columns, according to what you type into the search field. * and ? wildcards are available. The footprint search behaves the same as in the symbol chooser dialog.

If the symbol defines any footprint filters, the apply footprint filters option can be used to hide footprints that don’t match those filters. If the filter by pin count option is selected, only footprints that match the symbol’s pincount will be listed. You can choose to sort search results alphabetically or by best match by clicking on the sort button button.

Single clicking a footprint name selects the footprint and displays it in the preview pane on the right. You can switch between a 2D and 3D preview of the footprint by clicking the 2D component icon and 3D component icon buttons. Double clicking on a footprint closes the chooser and sets the symbol’s Footprint field to the selected footprint.

Selecting a footprint in Footprint Chooser

Assigning Footprints with the Symbol Fields Table

Rather than editing the properties of each symbol individually, the Symbol Fields Table can be used to view and edit the properties of all symbols in the design in one place. This includes assigning footprints by editing the Footprint field of each symbol.

The Symbol Fields Table is accessed with ToolsEdit Symbol Fields…​, or with the Symbol Fields Table Icon button on the top toolbar.

The Footprint field behaves the same here as in the Symbol Properties window: it can be edited directly, or footprints can be selected visually with the Footprint Library Browser.

Bulk editing footprint assignments with the Symbol Fields Table

For more information on the Symbol Fields Table, see the section on editing symbol properties.

Assigning Footprints While Placing Symbols

Footprints can be assigned to symbols when the symbol is first added to the schematic.

Some symbols are defined with a default footprint. These symbols will have this footprint preassigned when they are added to the schematic. If a symbol has a default footprint, the footprint will be graphically previewed in the symbol chooser dialog when the symbol is selected. For symbols without a default symbol defined, the footprint dropdown will say "No default footprint", and the footprint preview canvas will say "No footprint specified".

Default footprint in Add Symbol dialog

Symbols can have footprint filters that specify which footprints are appropriate to use with that symbol. If footprint filters are defined for the selected symbol, all footprints that match the footprint filters will appear as options in the footprint dropdown. The selected footprint will be displayed in the preview canvas and will be assigned to the symbol when the symbol is added to the schematic.

Footprint options will not appear in the footprint dropdown unless the footprint libraries are loaded. Footprint libraries are loaded the first time the Footprint Editor or Footprint Library Browser are opened in a session.

For more information on footprint filters, see the Symbol Editor Documentation.

Assigning Footprints with the Footprint Assignment Tool

The Footprint Assignment Tool allows you to associate symbols in your schematic to footprints used when laying out the printed circuit board. It provides footprint list filtering, footprint viewing, and 3D component model viewing to help ensure the correct footprint is associated with each component.

Components can be assigned to their corresponding footprints manually or automatically by creating equivalence files (.equ files). Equivalence files are lookup tables associating each component with its footprint.

Run the tool with ToolsAssign Footprints…​, or by clicking the Footprint Assignment Tool icon icon in the top toolbar.

Footprint Assignment Tool Overview

The image below shows the main window of the Footprint Assignment Tool.

The main window of the Footprint Assignment Tool
  • The left pane contains the list of available footprint libraries associated with the project.

  • The center pane contains the list of symbols in the schematic.

  • The right pane contains the list of available footprints loaded from the project footprint libraries.

  • The bottom pane describes the filters that have been applied to the footprint list and prints information about the footprint selected in the rightmost pane.

The top toolbar contains the following commands:

save 24

Transfer the current footprint associations to the schematic.

library table 24

Edit the global and project footprint library tables.

icon footprint browser 24

View the selected footprint in the footprint viewer.

left 24

Select the previous symbol without a footprint association.

right 24

Select the next symbol without a footprint association.

undo 24

Undo last edit.

redo 24

Redo last edit.

auto associate 24

Perform automatic footprint association using an equivalence file.

delete association 24

Delete all footprint assignments.

module filtered list 24

Filter footprint list by footprint filters defined in the selected symbol.

module pin filtered list 24

Filter footprint list by pin count of the selected symbol.

module library list 24

Filter footprint list by selected library.

The following table lists the keyboard commands for the Footprint Assignment Tool:

Right Arrow / Tab

Activate the pane to the right of the currently activated pane. Wrap around to the first pane if the last pane is currently activated.

Left Arrow

Activate the pane to the left of the currently activated pane. Wrap around to the last pane if the first pane is currently activated.

Up Arrow

Select the previous item of the currently selected list.

Down Arrow

Select the next item of the currently selected list.

Page Up

Select the item one full page upwards of the currently selected item.

Page Down

Select the item one full page downwards of the currently selected item.

Home

Select the first item of the currently selected list.

End

Select the last item of the currently selected list.

Manually Assigning Footprints with the Footprint Assignment Tool

To manually associate a footprint with a component, first select a component in the component (middle) pane. Then select a footprint in the footprint (right) pane by double-clicking on the name of the desired footprint. The footprint will be assigned to the selected component, and the next component without an assigned footprint is automatically selected.

If no footprints appear in the footprint pane, check that the footprint filter options are correctly applied.

When all components have footprints assigned to them, click the OK button to save the assignments and exit the tool. Alternatively, click Cancel to discard the updated assignments, or Apply, Save Schematic & Continue to save the new assignments without exiting the tool.

Filtro dell’elenco impronte

There are four filtering options which restrict which footprints are displayed in the footprint pane. The filtering options are enabled and disabled with three buttons and a textbox in the top toolbar.

  • module filtered list 24: Activate filters that can be defined in each symbol. For example, an opamp symbol might define filters that show only SOIC and DIP footprints.

  • module pin filtered list 24: Only show footprints that match the selected symbol’s pin count.

  • module library list 24: Only show footprints from the library selected in the left pane.

  • Entering text in the textbox hides footprints that do not match the text. This filter is disabled when the box is empty.

When all filters are disabled, the full footprint list is shown.

The applied filters are described in the bottom pane of the window, along with the number of footprints that meet the selected filters. For example, when the symbol’s footprint filters and pin count filters are enabled, the bottom pane prints the footprint filters and pin count:

Filter details when symbol footprint filters and pin count filter are enabled

Multiple filters can be used at once to help narrow down the list of possibly appropriate footprints in the footprint pane. The symbols in KiCad’s standard library define footprint filters that are designed to be used in combination with the pin count filter.

Automatically Assigning Footprints with the Footprint Assignment Tool

The Footprint Assignment Tool allows you to store footprint assignments in an external file and load the assignments later, even in a different project. This allows you to automatically associate symbols with the appropriate footprints.

The external file is referred to as an equivalence file, and it stores a mapping of a symbol value to a corresponding footprint. Equivalence files typically use the .equ file extension. Equivalence files are plain text files with a simple syntax, and must be created by the user using a text editor. The syntax is described below.

You can select which equivalence files to use by clicking PreferencesManage Footprint Association Files in the Footprint Assignment Tool.

Managing equivalence files
  • Add new equivalence files by clicking the Add button.

  • Remove the selected equivalence file by clicking the Remove button.

  • Change the priority of equivalence files by clicking the Move Up and Move Down buttons. If a symbol’s value is found in multiple equivalence files, the footprint from the last matching equivalence file will override earlier equivalence files.

  • Open the selected equivalence file by clicking the Edit File button.

Relevant environment variables are shown at the bottom of the window. When the Relative path option is checked, these environment variables will automatically be used to make paths to selected equivalence files relative to the project or footprint libraries.

Once the desired equivalence files have been loaded in the correct order, automatic footprint association can be performed by clicking the Perform automatic footprint assignment icon button in the top toolbar of the Footprint Assignment Tool.

All symbols with a value found in a loaded equivalence file will have their footprints automatically assigned. However, symbols that already have footprints assigned will not be updated.

Formato file delle equivalenze

Equivalence files consist of one line for each symbol value. Each line has the following structure:

'<symbol value>' '<footprint library>:<footprint name>'

Each name/value must be surrounded by single quotes (') and separated by one or more spaces. Lines starting with # are comments.

For example, if you want all symbols with the value LM4562 to be assigned the footprint Package_SO:SOIC-8_3.9x4.9_P1.27mm, the line in the equivalence file should be:

'LM4562' 'Package_SO:SOIC-8_3.9x4.9_P1.27mm'

Ecco un esempio di file di equivalenze:

#integrated circuits (smd):
'74LV14' 'Package_SO:SOIC-14_3.9x8.7mm_P1.27mm'
'EL7242C' 'Package_SO:SOIC-8_3.9x4.9_P1.27mm'
'DS1302N' 'Package_SO:SOIC-8_3.9x4.9_P1.27mm'
'LM324N' 'Package_SO:SOIC-14_3.9x8.7mm_P1.27mm'
'LM358' 'Package_SO:SOIC-8_3.9x4.9_P1.27mm'
'LTC1878' 'Package_SO:MSOP-8_3x3mm_P0.65mm'
'24LC512I/SM' 'Package_SO:SOIC-8_3.9x4.9_P1.27mm'
'LM2903M' 'Package_SO:SOIC-8_3.9x4.9_P1.27mm'
'LT1129_SO8' 'Package_SO:SOIC-8_3.9x4.9_P1.27mm'
'LT1129CS8-3.3' 'Package_SO:SOIC-8_3.9x4.9_P1.27mm'
'LT1129CS8' 'Package_SO:SOIC-8_3.9x4.9_P1.27mm'
'LM358M' 'Package_SO:SOIC-8_3.9x4.9_P1.27mm'
'TL7702BID' 'Package_SO:SOIC-8_3.9x4.9_P1.27mm'
'TL7702BCD' 'Package_SO:SOIC-8_3.9x4.9_P1.27mm'
'U2270B' 'Package_SO:SOIC-16_3.9x9.9_P1.27mm'

#regulators
'LP2985LV' 'Package_TO_SOT_SMD:SOT-23-5_HandSoldering'

Visualizzazione dell’impronta corrente

The Footprint Assignment Tool contains a footprint viewer. Clicking the footprint viewer icon button in the top toolbar launches the footprint viewer and shows the selected footprint.

Visualizzazione di un’impronta

The top toolbar contains the following commands:

refresh 24

Refresh view

zoom in 24

Zoom in

zoom out 24

Zoom out

zoom fit in page 24

Zoom to fit drawing in display area

shape 3d 24

Show 3D viewer

The left toolbar contains the following commands:

cursor 24

Use the select tool

measurement 24

Interactively measure between two points

grid 24

Display grid dots or lines

polar coord 24

Switch between polar and cartesian coordinate systems

unit inch 24

Use inches

unit mil 24

Display coordinates in mils (1/1000 of an inch)

unit mm 24

Display coordinates in millimeters

cursor shape 24

Toggle display of full-window crosshairs

pad number 24

Toggle between drawing pads in sketch or normal mode

pad sketch 24

Toggle between drawing pads in normal mode or outline mode

text sketch 24

Toggle between drawing text in normal mode or outline mode

show mod edge 24

Toggle between drawing graphic lines in normal mode or outline mode

Visualizzazione del modello 3D corrente

Clicking the 3D Viewer icon button opens the footprint in the 3D model viewer.

If a 3D model does not exist for the current footprint, only the footprint itself will be shown in the 3D Viewer.
Vista modello 3D

The 3D Viewer is described in the PCB Editor manual.