How To Edit Symbol in KiCad

I was recently asked how to edit a symbol in KiCad. The question was actually how to stretch a component that was in the standard library, so I made a quick walk-through on how to do that.

You can edit the symbol in the symbol editor. Just right-click on the symbol that you want to edit in the schematic and choose Properties, then Edit With Library Editor.

Choosing Edit with library editor

But you’re not allowed to overwrite the standard KiCad libraries, so unless you already have a custom library you need to create a new library to save the new symbol in first:

Click on File -> New Library

Choose where you want to save it. Then choose if this should be a Global library that all projects will have access to or a Local library that only this project will have access to.

Now you need to create a copy of the symbol in your custom library. Just right-click on the symbol and choose to Save a Copy As…:

Save copy of symbol

Find the library you created above and save the copy in that library.

Now you can edit the symbol. Hold your mouse over the lower border of the component and press g on your keyboard. Then you can drag it and make it larger:

Stretching the component symbol in kicad

Then move the pins apart by holding your mouse over a pin and pressing m on your keyboard.

When you’re finished go to File and select Save. Then close the window.

Now you can go back to your schematic and add the new symbol you just created:

Adding the edited kicad symbol back to schematics

I was a bit short on time, so I didn’t actually move the pins, but you get the picture.

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2 thoughts on “How To Edit Symbol in KiCad”

  1. I was trying to create a symbol for a 747 dual op amp by modifying the existing 741 symbol. I created a new library in the current project folder and tried putting a copy in it but my modification ended up changing the original which is now nowhere to be found. How is this possible if you’re not allowed to overwrite the standard library symbol? I even tried opening an older project that I knew used the 741 and encountered errors that needed to be “rescued” first. I use V5.1 on both a Win7 and a Ubuntu system.


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