14. Plotting and Printing

14: Plotting and Printing

14.1 Understanding Plot Styles

14.1.1 Basics of Plot Styles

Plot styles play a crucial role in AutoCAD as they determine how objects are displayed and printed. By understanding plot styles, you can control the appearance of your drawings when plotted or printed. Let’s delve into the basics of plot styles. Definition and Function of Plot Styles

A plot style, also known as a pen assignment or pen table, is a set of properties that define how objects are plotted or printed. It controls line weights, colors, and other plot settings. Plot styles are stored in plot style tables, which can be either color-dependent or named plot style tables.

Plot styles are especially useful when you want to standardize the appearance of your drawings or when working with different output devices or mediums. They provide flexibility and consistency in plotting or printing. Differences Between Color-Dependent and Named Plot Styles

AutoCAD supports two types of plot style tables: color-dependent and named plot styles. Understanding the differences between these two types is important.

  • Color-Dependent Plot Styles: In a color-dependent plot style table, plot settings are based on object colors. Each color in the drawing is associated with a specific plot style, and the plot style determines how objects of that color are plotted. This type of plot style is useful when you want to plot objects based on their colors.
  • Named Plot Styles: Unlike color-dependent plot styles, named plot styles are not tied to specific colors. Instead, they are associated with layers or objects in the drawing. Each named plot style has its own set of plot settings, such as line weights and screening options. This type of plot style offers more control over the plotting appearance.

14.1.2 Managing Plot Style Tables

Plot style tables are essential for controlling the plotting behavior in AutoCAD. Let’s explore how to manage these tables effectively. Creating and Modifying Plot Style Tables

To create or modify plot style tables in AutoCAD, follow these steps:

  1. Access the Plot Style Manager by typing PLOTSTYLE in the command bar or by navigating to the Output tab in the ribbon and clicking on the Plot Style Manager button.
  2. In the Plot Style Manager, you can create a new plot style table by clicking on the New button. Specify a name for the table and choose whether it should be a color-dependent or named plot style table.
  3. To modify an existing plot style table, select the table from the list and click on the Edit button. This opens the Plot Style Editor where you can make changes to the plot styles.
  4. In the Plot Style Editor, you can modify various plot settings such as line weights, screening options, and color assignments. Make the necessary adjustments according to your requirements.
  5. Click OK to save the changes and exit the Plot Style Editor. Assigning Plot Styles to Layers and Objects

Once you have created or modified plot style tables, you can assign them to layers or objects in your drawing. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Layer Properties Manager by typing LAYER in the command bar or by navigating to the Home tab in the ribbon and clicking on the Layer Properties button.
  2. In the Layer Properties Manager, select the layer to which you want to assign a plot style.
  3. In the Plot Style column, click on the Plot Style field for the selected layer. A drop-down menu will appear.
  4. Choose the desired plot style from the list. If you have created named plot styles, they will be available for selection.
  5. Repeat the above steps for other layers or objects that you want to assign plot styles to.

By assigning plot styles to layers or objects, you can control the appearance of specific elements in your drawing when plotted or printed.

14.2: Plotting Drawings

14.2.1 Overview of the Plotting Process

Plotting drawings is an essential step in the AutoCAD workflow, as it allows you to create physical copies of your digital designs. This section provides an overview of the plotting process, discussing when and why you should plot your drawings and introducing the concept of Plotter Configuration Files (PC3). When and Why to Plot Drawings

Plotting drawings becomes necessary when you need to share your designs with others who may not have access to AutoCAD or when you require hard copies for documentation, presentation, or reference purposes. Additionally, plotting allows you to review your designs in a physical format, which can often reveal details that may not be as apparent on a computer screen. Understanding Plotter Configuration Files (PC3)

Before executing the plot command, it’s important to understand Plotter Configuration Files (PC3). These files contain printer and plotter settings that control various aspects of the plotting process, such as paper size, plot styles, lineweights, and plotter-specific settings. AutoCAD provides a set of default PC3 files, but you can also create custom PC3 files to match your specific plotting requirements.

To access the Plotter Configuration Files, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Output tab in the Application Menu (the big red A).
  2. In the Plot panel, click on the Plotter Manager button. This will open the Plotter Manager dialog box.
  3. In the Plotter Manager dialog box, double-click on the Add-A-Plotter Wizard icon. This will launch the Add Plotter – Introduction dialog box.
  4. Follow the step-by-step instructions in the Add Plotter – Introduction dialog box to add a new plotter or modify an existing one.
  5. Once you have selected or modified a plotter, click Finish to close the Add Plotter Wizard.
14.2.2 Executing the Plot Command

After understanding the basics of plotting and configuring the necessary plotter settings, you can proceed with executing the plot command. This section will guide you through the process of plotting your drawings. Navigating the Plot Dialog Box

To execute the plot command and access the plot dialog box, follow these steps:

  1. Type PLOT in the command line and press Enter. This will open the Plot dialog box.
  2. In the Plot dialog box, you will find various tabs and options that allow you to customize the plotting parameters according to your requirements.

Insert an image here: Plot Dialog Box Setting Plot Parameters: Area, Scale, Output, etc.

Once you have the plot dialog box open, you can proceed with setting the plot parameters based on your specific needs. The following steps outline the key parameters and their functions:

  1. Plot area: Specify the area you want to plot. You can choose between plotting the entire drawing or selecting a specific window, layout, or even a portion of the drawing using the “Window” or “Viewport” options.
  2. Plot scale: Determine the scale at which the drawing will be plotted. You can select a predefined scale or specify a custom scale.
  3. Plot style table: Select the plot style table that defines the lineweights, colors, and plot settings for objects in the drawing. AutoCAD provides several default plot style tables, but you can also create custom plot styles to achieve the desired appearance.
  4. Plot settings: Configure additional settings such as plotter, paper size, plot area, plot offset, plot rotation, and plot scale options.
  5. Output: Choose the output device where you want to send the plot, such as a printer or a plotter. You can select a specific PC3 file that corresponds to your chosen output device.
  6. Plot options: Set additional options like plot transparency, plot stamp, plot date stamp, and plot quality.

Insert an image here: Plot Parameters

Once you have adjusted all the necessary parameters, click the OK button in the plot dialog box to start the plotting process. AutoCAD will generate the plotted output based on your specified settings.

This concludes Section 14.2, where you learned about the overview of the plotting process, the importance of plotting drawings, understanding Plotter Configuration Files (PC3), and executing the plot command. In the next section, we will explore advanced plotting techniques and troubleshooting common plotting issues.

14.3. Saving Plot Settings with Page Setups

14.3.1. Introduction to Page Setups Purpose and Advantages of Page Setups

In AutoCAD, Page Setups allow you to save and manage plot settings for different layouts within your drawing. A Page Setup includes a combination of plot settings such as paper size, plot scale, plot style, and plot device, among others. By using Page Setups, you can easily switch between different plot configurations without manually adjusting each setting every time.

The advantages of using Page Setups are:

  1. Time-saving: Once you have defined and saved a Page Setup, you can quickly apply it to any layout without reconfiguring the plot settings manually.
  2. Consistency: Page Setups ensure that all the layouts in your drawing follow the same plot settings, maintaining consistency throughout the project.
  3. Flexibility: You can create multiple Page Setups for different purposes or plot requirements and switch between them effortlessly. What Settings are Included in Page Setups

Page Setups include a variety of plot settings that determine how your drawing is plotted on paper or other output devices. Some of the commonly included settings are:

  1. Plot style: Specifies the plot style table (CTB or STB) to be used for controlling line weights and colors during plotting.
  2. Plot device: Defines the output device to be used for plotting, such as a printer or plotter.
  3. Paper size: Determines the size of the paper on which the drawing will be plotted.
  4. Plot scale: Sets the scale at which the drawing will be plotted on the paper.
  5. Plot area: Defines the portion of the drawing to be plotted, whether it is the entire drawing or a specific window or viewport.
  6. Plot offset: Specifies the position of the plotted drawing on the paper.
  7. Plot rotation: Sets the rotation angle for the plotted drawing, allowing you to align it as desired.
  8. Plot view: Determines the view or views to be plotted, such as the model space or specific layout viewports.

14.3.2. Creating and Implementing Page Setups Accessing the Page Setup Manager

To create and manage Page Setups, you can use the Page Setup Manager. Follow these steps to access it:

  1. Click on the Print or Plot button in the Output tab of the Ribbon. The Plot dialog box will appear.
  2. In the Plot dialog box, click on the Page Setup… button. The Page Setup Manager dialog box will open.

Page Setup Manager

  1. In the Page Setup Manager, you can view, create, modify, and delete Page Setups. Saving and Applying Page Setups to Layouts

To save a Page Setup and apply it to a layout, perform the following steps:

  1. Access the Page Setup Manager as explained in section
  2. In the Page Setup Manager dialog box, click on the New button to create a new Page Setup.
  3. In the New Page Setup dialog box, provide a name for the Page Setup and specify the desired plot settings, such as paper size, plot scale, and plot style. Click OK to save the Page Setup.
  4. Close the Page Setup Manager dialog box.
  5. Open the layout to which you want to apply the Page Setup. You can do this by double-clicking on the layout tab or using the Layout drop-down list in the Ribbon.
  6. Once the layout is active, open the Page Setup drop-down list in the Ribbon and select the saved Page Setup from the list.

Applying Page Setup

By following these steps, you can create and implement Page Setups in AutoCAD, allowing you to easily manage and apply plot settings to different layouts within your drawings.

14.4. Plotting to PDF and DWF Files

14.4.1. Understanding the Use of PDF and DWF Formats

In AutoCAD, you have the option to plot your drawings to either PDF (Portable Document Format) or DWF (Design Web Format) files. Both formats serve different purposes and have their own advantages. This section will help you understand the differences between PDF and DWF in terms of quality, size, and interactivity. Comparing PDF and DWF: Quality, Size, Interactivity

Quality: When it comes to quality, PDF and DWF are both capable of preserving the accuracy and visual fidelity of your drawings. The quality of the plotted output depends on the settings you choose during the plotting process.

Size: In terms of file size, PDF files tend to be larger compared to DWF files. This is primarily because PDF files can include additional features such as embedded fonts, images, and editable text. DWF files, on the other hand, are specifically optimized for design data and typically have smaller file sizes.

Interactivity: PDF files offer more interactive features, such as hyperlinks, bookmarks, and attachments. These features allow you to navigate through the document and access additional information or related files. DWF files, while lacking some of the interactive features of PDF, provide a lightweight and efficient way to share and view design data. Typical Use Cases for PDF and DWF Output

PDF Output: PDF files are commonly used for sharing drawings with stakeholders who may need to review, mark up, or print the drawings. PDFs are widely supported and can be easily viewed using various applications, making them a versatile format for collaboration and distribution.

DWF Output: DWF files are often preferred when the main purpose is to share design data for viewing and markup. They are particularly useful when you want to provide a lightweight, non-editable representation of your drawing to clients or colleagues who don’t have AutoCAD installed. DWF files can be viewed using Autodesk’s free Design Review software or web-based viewers.

14.4.2. Process of Plotting to PDF and DWF

To plot your drawing to either PDF or DWF format, follow these steps: Selecting PDF or DWF in the Plot Dialog Box
  1. In AutoCAD, navigate to the “Output” tab on the Ribbon.
  2. In the “Plot” panel, click on the “Plot” button to open the Plot dialog box.
  3. In the Plot dialog box, under the “Printer/Plotter” section, click on the drop-down menu to select either “PDF” or “DWF” as the plotter.

Please refer to the following image for the Plot dialog box with the drop-down menu:

Plot Dialog Box Configuring PDF/DWF Plot Settings: Resolution, Layers, etc.

Once you have selected either PDF or DWF as the plotter, you can configure various settings to customize the output. Here’s how you can configure PDF/DWF plot settings:

  1. In the Plot dialog box, navigate to the “Plot Settings” section.
  2. Under the “Plot options” tab, you can adjust settings such as plot area, plot scale, plot offset, and plot style table (CTB/STB).
  3. To configure PDF-specific or DWF-specific settings, click on the “PDF Options” or “DWF Options” button respectively. This will open a separate dialog box where you can modify resolution, layers, line widths, and other format-specific settings.

Please refer to the following images for the “PDF Options” and “DWF Options” dialog boxes:

  • PDF Options:

PDF Options Dialog Box

  • DWF Options:

DWF Options Dialog Box

Once you have configured the desired settings, click on the “OK” button to return to the Plot dialog box.

  1. Back in the Plot dialog box, you can further adjust the plot settings under the “Plot options” tab, such as choosing the paper size, orientation, and plot scale.
  2. Finally, click on the “Preview” button to review the plot output or click on “Plot” to directly generate the PDF or DWF file based on the selected settings.

By following these steps, you can plot your AutoCAD drawing to either PDF or DWF format, customizing the settings to suit your specific requirements.

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