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There are times that a design is given constraints in the placements of components. For me, I would like to start from placing them first before creating the schematic.

Is there such a capability in Eagle? As I remember, such function is available elsewhere in OrCAD or other tools

Also, I want to know if this is a practical requirement in design i.e. is it common?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why wouldn't you need the same schematic regardless of the placement of the components? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 14, 2013 at 3:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ That sounds like starting a road trip before you've planned it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Samuel
    Nov 14, 2013 at 5:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Samuel It's like checking the capacity of one's car before the road trip. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 14, 2013 at 6:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ several years ago, I used Proteus and OrCAD as the tools but stopped using them since then. Now I'm back and new with Eagle coz' it's free. \$\endgroup\$
    – Shawn Le
    Nov 14, 2013 at 6:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm running into the exact same problem. For those wondering why you would ever design a board this way - consider how you would design a keyboard. Designing the layout first and then connecting it all together is clearly the simpler option, but it seems as though you can't connect to components that are off the grid... I'll report back if I find a solution :/ \$\endgroup\$ Mar 1, 2015 at 6:27

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In Eagle, you can add component footprints to the board without creating a schematic. It can be handy for placement studies sometimes. But, I wouldn't say that this approach is very common. Usually, the schematic has to be drawn anyway, and it's drawn first, and the schematic drives the size of the board. Over time, you also develop intuition as to how much you can fit.

Hypothetically, this can be useful when you have PCBs with complex outline. And/or you have multiple PCBs and you need to figure out what's the best way to split the schematic between the PCBs.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ thanks for all the answers as warm welcoming for me! I can't be more eager to dig in this stackexchange. if there had been (I had known) this community 7 years ago (I was a student), life wouldn't have been so hard. I also love stackoverflow for programming \$\endgroup\$
    – Shawn Le
    Nov 14, 2013 at 6:39
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In Eagle, you can add components to the schematic but not wire them up. That will allow you to place them on the board. I'm not sure why you would want to do this, however; the layout is heavily influenced by the schematic.

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