The concept of “cut copy and paste” goes back to a time when people hand wrote all of their documents. The modern concept was introduced to the computing world by Xerox PARC and Apple’s Lisa / Macintosh Now nearly every piece of software offers some level of copying and pasting, including CadSoft’s EAGLE Schematic and PCB software.
As your schematics grow in complexity, it isn’t always possible to draw simple connections between chips or devices. Sometimes it isn’t possible to put two parts next to each other like a pin header and I/O chip meaning that wires have to run all over the schematic to make the connection. That gets messy quick and not very easy to follow.
EAGLE automatically connects all nets (or wires) inside of a schematic when they have the same name. This means even if they are not physically connected on the schematic giving them the same name will connect them together. Using this trick, it is pretty easy to break up nets across the page.
A couple of weeks ago I posted an EAGLE Tutorial on creating Ground Planes. That tutorial has now been updated with the above YouTube video showing the steps. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do to make it more clear.
Creating PCBs in Eagle is a straight-forward process once you understand how EAGLE works. In fact, most users can get up to speed enough to draw a Schematic and then layout a simple PCB. Making the connections between components is not only fun but can be a form of artwork.
Often overlooked is how much space is left wide open. For example, a board might look like this:
TLC5940NT Painter Board
The area in black will have no copper. For circuits that don’t require a ground plane, this may not be an issue. However, it rarely hurts to fill in empty area with a ground plane. EAGLE makes it very easy to do this, after your circuit design is complete.
A very little known feature of EAGLE is the ability to type commands instead of clicking an icon on the toolbar. This can come in handy when trying to perform multiple actions like selecting a group and moving it to a different part of the schematic. For me, since I use OSX trying to use function keys in EAGLE can be more cumbersome than typing a few letters.