I am just wondering what the convention is for putting designators for tightly packed areas. It is best just to put arrows to the designators, make the designator smaller and put it inside the component etc Here is an example, the R4-R12 are all the resisters below IC1.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Step 1: Ask your actual Fab how small your silkscreen is allowed to be, because to me, with 2016 tech and pricing, your designators look huge. Other than that, whatever you or the person building it thinks is most clear. \$\endgroup\$
    – Asmyldof
    Aug 17, 2016 at 23:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Putting designators inside the components is not so great since you can't see the designators after you've built the boards. You might want to do that for debugging or just to check your assembly. \$\endgroup\$
    – The Photon
    Aug 17, 2016 at 23:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ Step 2: If step 1 does not give enough space, consider using ellipsis i.e. R4...R12. The ellipsis replaces R3 to R11 and no longer splits them up. Obviously this only works if you have components arranged this way. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andrew W.
    Aug 18, 2016 at 0:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Another trick I have used when there is space nearby is to arrange the designators in the same layout as the physical components, but just place them all off to the side. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andrew W.
    Aug 18, 2016 at 0:27

1 Answer 1


Around 0.15 min line width and 1.5 mm height should be big enough.

There isn't any standard about how to arrange the ref des in the PCB. Just try to make it as useful as you can. That's the reason that there is no point in putting it underneath of components.

As some mentioned, ellipsis (Rx.. Ry) are fine, as well rearranging the ref des in the same way than the physical components in a space nearby.

The key point is thinking about who is going to read/use that silkscreen.

If something is ambiguous, I would delete it. It can cause more problems.


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