Essential gEDA Library

put together by: Kai-Martin Knaak

General remarks

The catalog of symbols and footprints presented here is supposed to provide reasonable defaults for simple electronics projects. It is self consistent. That is, the default footprint attribute of a symbol points to one of the footprints given in the footprint section.

Note: All symbols, footprints and scripts are licensed GPL 3 for distribution, and unlimited for use. See for the details


The symbols of the essential lib are designed as generic, yet ready for use. They contain footprint attributes that match items in the footprint section of this lib. The symbols also demonstrate the recommended use of some none-mandatory attributes like "documentation", "comment" and "symversion". There is no need to add attributes to the instances of the symbol in the schematics. The symbols are "heavy" in the context of the geda library debate. (see a recap of the debate in the gschem-FAQ). The set of symbols tries to deliver a look and feel consistent with accepted standard practice in electronics. The choice of symbols is by no means complete. But they should allow for simple projects.

Visible attributes

With a few exceptions, all symbols contain these three visible symbols:
  1. refdes
  2. value
  3. footprint
On placement of the symbol, these attributes are promoted to the schematic. They can be changed per instance in the schematic with the attribute editor. To avoid clutter, only the value of these attributes is visible. Their color is "detached attribute", size is 10 units, except for the footprint attribute, which is size 8. These three attributes are generally placed on top of each other somewhere near the graphics. For slotted symbols, the slot attribute is also visible in the canvas.

Hidden attributes

All symbols in the lib contain these standard attributes in a hidden way:
  1. description
  2. comment
  3. documentation
  4. symversion
  5. author
  6. dist-license
  7. use-license
The hidden attributes are placed top to bottom in this order somewhere above the symbol graphic. Font size is 8, color is "Attribute", line separation is 200 units. In case there is no value known for the standard attributes, but should be replaced with the instance in the schematic, their value is set to the string "unknown". If no value is the intended value, then the value is set to the string "none".

Additional Attributes

There are some attributes which are not (yet) in the set of standard attributes hard coded in source of gschem.

IEC number

If symbols comply with IEC 60617, they may contain a pair of attributes who point to the number and name of the symbol in the standard. Example:
  1. IEC-name=noiseless ground
  2. IEC-number=02-15-02

List attributes

For some symbols there is more than one reasonable footprint in the lib. Most notably, many components come in SMD and thru hole variants. Other symbols may most likely be attributed with one of a small set of standard values (e.g. 1N4148, or 1N4001 for diodes). To make this discoverable, there are two attributes which contain a comma separated list of values. Currently, these lists are purely informational. Check "show inherited attributes" in the attribute editor to get them displayed. Future versions of the attribute editor may put the items in a drop-down list so you can choose from them with a simple mouse click.


In addition to the standard attributes, the symbols meet the following design criteria:



Generic discretes



These symbols provide a specific net





Generic SMD

Generic Thru Hole




A changelog of the essential library is here

Copyright 2014, all rights reserved unless specified otherwise. is maintained by DJ Delorie