AutoCAD 2008 Essential Training
Illustration by Don Barnett

Selecting a pen table


From:

AutoCAD 2008 Essential Training

with Jeff Bartels

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Video: Selecting a pen table

You may be wondering why it's necessary to select a plot style table when printing your AutoCAD drawings. We certainly don't need a plot style table when we print for Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop. Remember that AutoCAD is a vector based program, which means that the information we see on our screen is mathematically based lines and curves and not pixels. Each color choice we have available in AutoCAD represents a virtual pen that can be configured to plot however we like. Let's talk a little about plot style tables. So I'm going to open up a drawing, I'm going to click Open and I'm going to come down and open up drawing number 2, the 90s Game Controller.
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  1. 3m 27s
    1. Welcome
      1m 6s
    2. Introduction to AutoCAD
      1m 29s
    3. Using the exercise files
      52s
  2. 23m 16s
    1. Modelspace
      2m 21s
    2. Toolbars
      3m 24s
    3. Pulldowns
      3m 36s
    4. AutoCAD's command line
      1m 46s
    5. Dockable palettes
      3m 23s
    6. The Status bar
      2m 59s
    7. Saving your workspace
      2m 12s
    8. Essential settings
      3m 35s
  3. 19m 8s
    1. Opening an AutoCAD drawing
      3m 1s
    2. Mouse functions
      2m 2s
    3. Zooming, panning, and regen
      5m 11s
    4. The multiple-document environment
      3m 24s
    5. Saving your work
      2m 34s
    6. Using templates
      2m 56s
  4. 16m 37s
    1. The Line command
      3m 17s
    2. ORTHO and POLAR modes
      5m 45s
    3. The Circle command
      3m 27s
    4. The Heads-Up display
      4m 8s
  5. 15m 51s
    1. Defining units of measure
      6m 13s
    2. Drafting with architectural units
      5m 1s
    3. Drafting with metric units
      4m 37s
  6. 20m 52s
    1. Cartesian coordinates
      5m 50s
    2. Object snaps
      10m 27s
    3. Automating object snaps
      4m 35s
  7. 23m 33s
    1. Rectangle
      4m 22s
    2. Ellipse
      6m 0s
    3. Hatch
      8m 34s
    4. Polygon
      4m 37s
  8. 23m 28s
    1. Move and Copy
      6m 45s
    2. Rotate
      5m 6s
    3. Offset
      6m 1s
    4. Erase
      2m 6s
    5. Undo and Redo
      3m 30s
  9. 12m 38s
    1. Windows and crossing windows
      4m 49s
    2. Removing from selections
      3m 44s
    3. Using key-ins
      4m 5s
  10. 1h 4m
    1. Trim and Extend
      6m 55s
    2. Fillet
      5m 3s
    3. Chamfer
      6m 36s
    4. Array
      8m 2s
    5. Mirror
      6m 54s
    6. Stretch
      5m 51s
    7. Scale
      5m 19s
    8. Grips
      7m 37s
    9. Explode
      4m 17s
    10. Polyline edit
      7m 48s
  11. 26m 8s
    1. Layers
      3m 32s
    2. The Layer Properties Manager
      9m 8s
    3. Layer control
      4m 30s
    4. The ByLayer property
      5m 27s
    5. The Layer Previous command
      3m 31s
  12. 43m 16s
    1. Single-line text
      3m 47s
    2. Text justification
      7m 3s
    3. Text styles
      7m 31s
    4. Multi-line text
      6m 30s
    5. Editing
      3m 24s
    6. Bulleted and numbered lists
      4m 7s
    7. Symbols
      6m 19s
    8. Spell-checking
      4m 35s
  13. 29m 0s
    1. Creating dimensions
      8m 36s
    2. Dimension styles
      6m 39s
    3. Callouts
      6m 42s
    4. Tweaking dimensions
      7m 3s
  14. 14m 53s
    1. The Distance command
      4m 17s
    2. The Property Changer
      6m 31s
    3. The Quick Calculator
      4m 5s
  15. 25m 10s
    1. Creating and inserting blocks
      10m 16s
    2. Using blocks
      5m 47s
    3. Modifying blocks
      4m 8s
    4. Building your library
      4m 59s
  16. 48m 45s
    1. Quick plots
      6m 42s
    2. Selecting a pen table
      5m 37s
    3. Layouts pt. 1: Choosing paper
      3m 23s
    4. Layouts pt. 2: Inserting a title block
      3m 13s
    5. Layouts pt. 3: Cutting a viewport
      6m 18s
    6. Layouts pt. 4: Reusing layouts
      4m 16s
    7. Scale factors
      4m 0s
    8. Sizing modelspace text
      7m 17s
    9. Sizing modelspace dimensions
      4m 48s
    10. Sizing linetypes
      3m 11s
  17. 10m 1s
    1. Drawing compatibility
      3m 5s
    2. E-transmitting
      3m 12s
    3. Saving to the Design Web format
      3m 44s
  18. 20s
    1. Goodbye
      20s

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Watch the Online Video Course AutoCAD 2008 Essential Training
6h 58m Beginner May 13, 2008

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AutoCAD is a computer-aided drafting and design program that is the industry standard for a wide variety of 2D and 3D work. AutoCAD 2008 features several improvements over previous versions, but the core functionality and workflows have remained consistent for years. Users who have any of the more recent editions of the software will find AutoCAD 2008 Essential Training to be a valuable resource. Instructor Jeff Bartels has taught and used AutoCAD for a decade, and in this course he focuses on the difficult to master concepts that matter most to professional AutoCAD users. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Opening, viewing, saving, and sharing drawings
  • Customizing the workspace
  • Mastering drawing fundamentals and specialized commands
  • Defining units of measure and controlling accuracy
  • Making primary modifications and major changes to a drawing
  • Organizing layers and reusable content
  • Annotating and dimensioning
  • Plotting with layouts
  • Sizing linetypes, modelspace text, and dimensions for a plot
Subject:
CAD
Software:
AutoCAD
Author:
Jeff Bartels

Selecting a pen table

You may be wondering why it's necessary to select a plot style table when printing your AutoCAD drawings. We certainly don't need a plot style table when we print for Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop. Remember that AutoCAD is a vector based program, which means that the information we see on our screen is mathematically based lines and curves and not pixels. Each color choice we have available in AutoCAD represents a virtual pen that can be configured to plot however we like. Let's talk a little about plot style tables. So I'm going to open up a drawing, I'm going to click Open and I'm going to come down and open up drawing number 2, the 90s Game Controller.

I will highlight him and click Open. Now to talk about plot style tables I first want to go to our Layer Properties Manager. Let me come up and click the icon and notice in the Properties Manager I can take and select a color for each of my layers. For the sake of science, I'm going to come up and click the color selector for Layer 0. This brings up AutoCAD's Color Picker. As I move my cursor around on top of these colors notice in the lower left hand corner right down here it says Index color and it gives me a number.

Technically speaking this is not a color picker, it's a pen picker. Each one of these colors that we see on screen represents a pen in AutoCAD. It's kind of like a box of crayons. We have 255 choices available and each one of these pens can be configured to plot a different way. Now here is the way we look at it. I'm going to bring my cursor down and I am going to move over the red color swatch. If I hover over this guy I can see he's index Color1 or he's Pen1.

That means that if I select Pen1 for my layer, the layer will appear red on the screen. If I select Pen2, Pen2 happen to appear yellow on the screen. Pen3 happens to appear green and so on. What we are really doing here is we are selecting pens and not colors. Let me close this dialog and I will close this one too and I want to go into our Plot dialog box. Let me come up and click Plot. This is right where we left off we selected the monochrome pens.

What I'm going to do is I'm going to come over and click the Edit button. Let's edit this pen table. And when the plot style table Editor comes up and notice I have a list on the left. They're all labeled Color. They should be labeled Pen1, Pen2, Pen3. Notice we can drag all the way down to Pen255. Now if I highlight a pen, I can come over and adjust the properties on the right. This will control how that particular pen is going to plot on paper. Since this is the monochrome pen table each one of these pens that I highlight is going to plot black. Alright, that's the way it works.

Now pen tables are a little bit beyond our scope, but when has that ever stopped me in the past? I'm going to close this and we are going to make a change to our pen table. In our drawing let me click the Layer Properties Manager. Notice I have a layer, the dark grey plastic layer, is set to pen number 252, which happens to appear grey on our screen. Remember that number, Pen252. Let's close the Layer Properties Manager and let's go back and plot this drawing. I'm going to come up and click Plot. Let's go to our pen table. I'm going to click Edit, and what I'm going to do is I'm going to come down and change my pen table.

I'm going to come down and say you know what Color252, let me highlight that pen, I want that pen to plot red so I will select a color from this dropdown. These aren't the only choices. We can always click Select Color and get more than we know what to do with. Let me hit Cancel. I'm just going to select Red. Now I don't want to overwrite my monochrome pens so I'm going to come up and click Save As and I'm going to call this test pens and we'll click Save.

Here we go. Now I can close my dialog and let's select our new pens. Let me click the dropdown. We'll select the test pens file. Once again I will click Yes. Alright let's pick our plotter. I'm going to grab Adobe PDF. You can grab a plotter on your machine that can accommodate an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. I'm going to leave the letter size paper. I'm going to click the dropdown and then define my window. Let me click my first corner and my second corner.

We will center the plot and lastly we will set this to 1 to 1. So I will remove the check from Fit to paper and on the Scale list I will select 1 to 1. Let's come down and click Preview. Let me zoom in and notice the difference. Everything that was on the grey plastic layer was assigned Pen252. I said Pen252, which should appear red. That is how a pen table works. Let's finish the plot. When I close my preview and click OK. Once again since I'm printing to a PDF I'm going to click Save. Your paper is probably already coming out of your printer and here is the copy of my final print.

One of the benefits of having a pen table is that you can customize AutoCAD to your own office standards. Most offices will configure a pen table to be used for all of their plotting needs. For now as a beginning student, it's probably best to stick with the monochrome pen table such that all of our line work with plot using the color black.

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