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How to make a footprint in KiCad?

by: Apr 10,2021 25184 Views 1 Comments Posted in PCB Design Tutorial

PCB Design Tutorial PCB layout Circuit KiCAD

Summary:       In this post, I show you how to create a footprint in KiCad in a few simple steps.

When designing a new circuit it happens very often to use components with not very common footprints. In these cases the KiCad core library cannot help us, so we look for the footprint on some specific platform. Downloading footprints from little-known websites is not very recommended as they may not match the component you are using. Or at least check that the measurements of the downloaded footprint respect the dimensions of the components indicated in the manufacturer's documentation. If you get a footprint size wrong it could compromise your PCB, so pay close attention to the footprint size when downloading or designing a new one.

Step 1

Open a new project on KiCad and click on "Symbol editor" as shown in the screenshots below. Why do we need to create a new symbol before creating the footprint? You can also not do it, but usually, a symbol is associated with each footprint. Then of course there are exceptions. However, if you feel that you don't need the symbol, move on to the next steps.

Step 2

Once the editor is open, click on "Create new symbol", select the library where you want to save the new symbol, and click ok, as shown below.

Step 3

Once the new symbol has been created, a window will open for you to enter the properties of the new symbol as shown in the screenshot below.

Step 4

Now you can draw the component symbol you need for your project. To draw the symbol you just need to use the tools on the right. Below I have put the screenshot where I show the position of all the tools.

Be very careful how you declare the individual pins, respect the pinout because it must be identical to that of the footprint.

Step 5

Once you have drawn the symbol you can save it with the combination "CTRL + S" and if you want you can also close the editor.

Step 6

Now that we have designed the symbol for our new component we can design the footprint. Once the editor is open, click on "Create new footprint", select the library where you want to save the new footprint.

Step 7

We decide the name of the footprint, for convenience, I suggest you use the same name you used for the symbol. Once the name is written, click OK as shown in the screenshot below.

Step 8

Now we can make the footprint for our new component. On the right, there are all the useful tools. Let's select the item related to the creation of a new pad. In the screenshot shown below, I'll show you how to do it.

Step 9

If you double-click on a pad, you open the settings for that pad, as shown below.

Step 10

If you need to position pads in a certain position or distance from the other pad you can use the coordinates, or this tool that you find on the right.


After designing the footprint, you can save and use it at the design stage. I hope this post has been useful for you to develop your PCBs. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

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