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I'm using Eeschema right now with A4 paper size and I've noticed that many component symbols are simply too large to fit onto the schematic or at least the part selected by the template.

The two most obvious brute force options are to simply set a larger paper size, but since A4 is the standard paper size here, it would make printing more difficult.

The other option would be to simply change the symbols in the libraries so that they are smaller, but that seems like a lot of work.

So is there any smarter idea to fit more symbols on the schematic?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Divide hierarchically, and assign one page to each module? But if one symbol does not fit alone in an A4, this won't help. \$\endgroup\$ – Telaclavo May 7 '12 at 11:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Telaclavo - You can break symbols into multiple 'gates' so that the Vcc and GND pins are one 'symbol' and each I/O port (for example) is one symbol. Take a look at this Digilent Nexys development board schematic for an example: IC8A through IC8F are all groups of the same 324-pin BGA-packaged FPGA. These are the 'functional blocks' mentioned by Steven and I in our answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer May 7 '12 at 14:49
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I don't know Eeschema, but I don't think the actual EDA software is relevant (especially since Eeschema supports multi-sheet schematics).

Don't try to cram too much on your page; give it some air. Net lines are much easier to follow if for every few lines there's some space between them. If your schematic becomes crowded you probably can divide it into functional blocks. Move one or more of these to another page, and use off-page connectors to connect the nets.

The power supply is a good candidate for this, since you'll be using connectors to draw power supply connections anyway (and not line connections).

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And don't clutter your schematic with unnecessary information.

enter image description here

This is part of an A4 size schematic which I had to blow up to over A2 size to be able to read it. (That schematic fails the olin test with honors.) Only show refdes and value on your schematic. The resonator bottom left for instance doesn't even show a refdes(!), but it does show pin designators and the product's ordering code. Don't! Just display "X1" and "16MHz". The pin designators "XTAL1" and "XTAL2" are useless, and the ordering code belongs in the BOM, just like things like package and such. Don't say on your schematic that a resistor is an 0603; you don't have to know that to read the schematic. Is useful for the assembly shop, but they'll only get the board layout and the BOM, not the schematic.
If the "CD1206-S01575" and "TS42031-160R-TR-7260" weren't there I might have been able to read it at A4 size.

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You mention that A4 is the standard paper size. But for what is it the standard? Writing letters? Printing documentation? Or for printing schematics or mechanical prints?

A4 is great for those purposes. However, it's often too small to fit schematics in an easily readable format. It's similarly too small to show sufficient detail on complex mechanical drawings. Go check in your mechanical department and ask what paper size they use, I'll wager that it's at least A3.

If you find that you are struggling often, even after breaking your schematic into multiple sheets and splitting each part into functional blocks, consider increasing your paper size to A3.

Note for those of us still stuck with American and Canadian sizing: A4 is letter size, about 8.5x11 inches, and A3 is ledger size, about 11x17 inches.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The clever thing about ISO 216 (A4, A3,..) is that all "A" sizes have the same aspect ratio, which means that when you scale an A3 down to an A4 it will fit perfectly. \$\endgroup\$ – Federico Russo May 7 '12 at 14:24

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