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What you didn’t know about EAGLE: Assign



Creating EAGLE shortcuts will help you work faster. Many users hit Crtl+C for the CUT command, or click F11 or Ctrl+R to Ratsnest a board. Another great one to setup, Ctrl+B, for an instant BOM view from the schematic. Setting up shortcuts like these in EAGLE is easy using the Assign Command. These shortcuts are not part of the default installation of EAGLE but are easily designated using the ASSIGN command. I’m going to show you how to use the ASSIGN command, and provide you the necessary steps to make these assignments load with every project!

Assigning a Command
Under the pull down menu Options you will find the ASSIGN command (Figure 1)

Figure 1

The following dialog Box will appear (Figure 2)

Figure 2
Notice that 2 columns appear inside the ASSIGN dialog box, the Key Stroke assignment and the command that will be executed. The command works exactly like the command line works in EAGLE. The best part of the ASSIGN option is the ability to combine commands or execute a ULP. For our first example, we will create a new assignment (CTRL-R) to run Ratsnest command, it is one of the most used options while working on a board. To begin the process click on NEW in the Assign dialog box. A series of keystroke options appear: Modifier and an Assign Command field (Figure 3).

Figure 3
Don’t forget to place the ‘;’ character at the end of the command so it executes.  Press OK, an error occurs L.  Any assignments other than the F Keys needs to include a Modifier. The modifier can include the SHIFT key if you if you want to use the same letter. I will get back to that last sentence in a minute.

Figure 4 shows the selected modifier with the CTRL+R appearing on our list of assignments Figure 4.

Figure 4
Every time you press CTRL+R, the unrouted connections will optimize and your polygons will be poured. Much easier than hunting down an icon or typing in the command. But let’s continue building on this simple example. Perhaps you would like to use the RATSNEST command to optimize your connections, but you want the polygons to automatically return to their original outline mode (FYI: RIP @;). We already know that that CTRL+R processes Ratsnest, let’s use Shift+Ctrl+R to run Ratsnest again but return polygons to outline mode (Please see Figure 5)


Figure 5
In order to use the ‘R’ character, we included the ‘Shift’ + ‘Ctrl’ key in our modifier. When you are finishing a project, you will be constantly switching between board and schematic. Assigning this to a keystroke can certainly optimize design time. For this example we will:

  • In the board editor we will assign Shift+Ctrl+S to ‘edit .sch;’ to switch to schematic
  • In the schematic editor we will assign the Shift+Ctrl+B to ‘edit .brd’ to switch to board.

NOTE:  If you assign shortcuts on the board, they will not appear on the schematic, each editor can have its own set of assignments.


Assigning ULP Shortcuts

For our grand finale, lets assign a few keystrokes to some useful ULP’s. As your project grows, it will be important to keep track of your components. Being able to quickly see your Bill of Material (BOM) is helpful. Let’s create the shortcut, in the Schematic editor click on Options/Assign, in the dialog box select NEW, in the Key option select B and tick the CTRL Modifier for the Assign Command type ‘Run bom.ulp;’.  Now every time you need a quick look at your BOM, click Ctrl+B and your BOM appears.

‘Show’ is another command that is quite useful, and helps finding components on a design. It does a great job but just the highlight might be enough on dense designs. Running the find.ulp will provide you coordinates and zoom in on the part. Copy/Paste this command to your EAGLE command line Board or Schematic editor:  ASSIGN Ctrl+F run find.ulp;’ The best part of using Ctrl+F is that it finds components in any sheet.

To have your assigned Key functions load every time, it’s best to add them to your EAGLE.scr file.  You can find those details here:

Let us know what’s your favorite assigned command and why!
Your comments and suggestions are welcome.

EAGLE Support Team!!

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