When you first open a Layout tab, you see the Page Setup dialog box. Since Layout tabs show you the layout ‘of your drawing as it will appear when it is plotted, layouts need to be linked to a sheet size..You can also link each Layout tab to a different plot style table. This means that you can produce two completely different looking plots from the same drawing file. This chapter already explained that you can set up several layouts, each with their own layer settings ad title block information. With the ability to attach different plot style tables to each Layout tab, you can also plot presentation-style drawings alongside construction documents.
Once you’ve got your Layout tabs set up, the Plot dialog box offers a set of options that will allow you to plot multiple tabs at once. The What to Plot button group in the Plot Device tab of the Plot dialog box offers four options: Current Tab, Selected Tabs, All Layout Tabs and Number of Copies.
The functions of these options are pretty clear, although one option needs a bit of explaining. If you want to selectively plot certain tabs in your drawing, you can Shift+click the tabs just before you plot. You can then choose the Selected Tabs radio button in the Plot Device tab of the Plot dialog box to plot the selected Layout tabs ..
The Plot to File button group lets you save your plots to a file on your hard drive. This can be helpful if you have multiple plotters and printers. You can save your plot files and send them to the different printers or plotters at a later time. This can be helpful if you are on a network and want to send plots to a network plotter. Or you can send your plot file over the Internet for plotting at a remote location.
Adding an Output Device
This chapter mentioned that you can have AutoCAD set up for more than one output device. You can do this even if you only have one printer or plotter connected to – your computer. There are many reasons why you might want to have multiple printer configurations in AutoCAD. You may want to have your system set up so that you can print to a remote location over a network or the Internet. There are also other printer configurations that are strictly. file oriented, such as the AutoCAD DWF format for Internet Web pages, or raster file output. (See Chapter 19 for more on DWF files).
AutoCAD works best with printers and plotters configured as Windows system devices. While you can add devices through the AutoCAD Plot Manager, Autodesk recommends that you set up your plotters and printers as Windows devices, then use the System Printer option in AutoCAD to select your output device.
You can also configure additional printers through the AutoCAD Plot Manage . Here’s how it’s done.
- Choose File > Plotter Manager. The Plotters window appears.
You can also get to this window by.clicking the Add or Configure Plotter button in the Output tab of the Options dialog box. It’s just an Explorer window showing you the contents of the Plotters directory under the main AutoCAD directory.
- Double-click the Add-A-Plotter Wizard icon. The Add Plotter wizard appears.
- Click Next. The next page of the wizard lets you select the type of setup you want:
Here you are offered three options: My Computer, Network Plotter Server, and System Printer. The My Computer and the Network Plotter Server options offer plotter options based on AutoCAD-specific drivers. The main difference between these two options is that the Network Plotter option asks you for a network server name. Otherwise, they both offer the same set
- If you click the My Computer option, then click Next, you see a listing of plotter models that are supported by AutoCAD directly through AutoCAD’s own drivers.
If you use a PostScript device, or if you want to convert drawings to raster formats, this is the place to select those options.
- Once you’ve made a selection, click Next. You are then asked if you want to use an existing PCP or PC2 configuration file for the selected plotter. PCP and PC2 configurations files are plotter configuration files from earlier releases of AutoCAD.
- Click Next on the Import PCP or PC2 page and if you selected My Computer in step 4, the Ports page appears .
If you selected a different option in step 4, you should skip this option and the Plotter Name page appears.
- Enter a name for this configuration in the space provided, then click Next.
- The Finish page of the Add Plotter wizard gives you the option to make adjustments to the configuration you’ve just created. Click Finish to exit the Add Plotter wizard. Your new configuration appears in the Plotters window.
In step 7, you can further adjust the plotter settings by clicking the Edit Plotter Configuration button. If you click this button, the Plotter Configuration Editor dialog box appears .
This editor lets you fine-tune your plotter settings. For example, you can calibrate your plotter for more accurate scaling of your plots, or if you’re creating a raster file output configuration, you can create a custom page setting for extremely high resolution raster images.
Plotting Image Files
If your work involves the production of manuals, reports, or similar documents. you may want to add the Raster File Export opt’on to your list of plotter configurations, The Raster File Export option lets you plot your drawing as PCX, Targa, Tiff, or 8MP files that you can later import into documents that i.Cctpt bitmap images. Images can be up to 8000 x 8000 pixels and can contain as many colors.as the file format allows. tf IOU need several different raster formats, you can use multiple instances of this or any plotter configuration .
you would like to convert your 3D wire frame models into 20 line drawings, add the Post Script file output format. like the OXB option, you can plot a 3D image to a file, and then import the resultant EPS file using File > Import. for best results, make sure that when you configure the post Script printer, you ‘use the highest resolution available, and that you use the largest media size possible when you’re plotting.
Editing a Plotter Configuration
In step 7 of the previous exercise, you exited the Add Plotter wizard without editing the newly created plotter configuration. You can always go back and edit the configuration by opening the Plotters window (File > Plotter Manager) and double-clicking the configuration you want to edit. You can also double-click the .PC3 file of the configuration you want to edit.
Many users will use their Windows system printer .or plotter for other applications besides AutoCAD and frequently, the AutoCAD settings for that printer will be different from the settings used for other applications. You can set up AutoCAD to automatically use its own settings so You don’t have to reconfigure your Windows system printer every time you switch applications. To do this, take the following steps.
- Choose File > Page Setup.
- Select the Plot Device tab in the Page Setup dialog box.
- Select the printer that you want to configure in the Name drop-down list of the Plotter Configuration group
- Click the Properties button to the right of the drop-down list. The Plotter Configuration Editor appears.
A list box appears, showing all of the properties of the printer or plotter. Not all of these properties are editable, however. Each time you click a property in the list box, the options in the lower half of the dialog box change to offer the options associated with that property.
- Click the Custom Properties item in the list box. The options in the lower half of the dialog box change to display the Custom Properties button.
- Click the Custom Properties button You’ll see the Windows system printer options appear. These are the same options you see when you edit the properties of your printer from the Start > Settings > Printers option on the Windows Desktop..
- Adjust these settings the way you want them when you plot from AutoCAD, then click OK.
- Back in the Plotter Configuration Editor dialog box, click the Save As button. A standard file dialog box appears.
- Enter the name of the plot configuration you’ve set up, or accept the default name, which is usually the name of the Windows printer or plotter, then click OK.
- Click OK in the Plotter Configuration Editor dialog box, then dick OK in the Page Setup dialog box.
The Plotter Configuration Editor offers a wide variety of options that are fairly technical in nature. If you want to know more about the Plotter Configuration Editor, you’ll find a detailed description in Appendix A.