Join Jeff Bartels for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating quick plots, part of AutoCAD 2014 Essential Training: 6 Sharing Drawings with Others.
At some point in the design process, you'll need to create a copy of your work. In this lesson, we'll explore how to print a drawing to a measurable scale. On my screen is a drawing of a proposed parking lot. This is a civil engineering example, so the units in this drawing are set to feet. Let's say I need to create a print of this drawing so I can take it to a meeting. The print doesn't need to be formal with a title block and a company logo, I just need to put the drawing on paper so I can show it to a client. To do that I'm going to move up to the Quick Access Tool Bar>Plot Button.
This opens the Plot dialogue box from here I'll open the Printer Plotter Menu and select a printer. Everyone's system is unique so I'm sure my printer list looks different then yours. What Id' like you to do is select any printer that can accommodate an eight and a half by 11 inch sheet. I'm going to move over to the right, and I'll drag this slider down to the bottom. Note that the icons look different down here. These represent virtual printers that are installed with AutoCAD. For the purpose of this demonstration I'm going to select DWG to PDF.
This printer will allow me to print this drawing as a PDF file. Once the printer is selected, we can then open the paper size menu and select a sheet size. The number of options that you see in this menu will depend on the printer that was selected earlier. Since I chose a virtual printer, I have a lot of choices. I'm going to stick with the default, NCA, eight and half by 11 inches. Next, we'll take care of plot area, how much of the drawing do we want to print. To specify that, I'll open this Menu>Window.
Using the window option, I can click twice to define a rectangle here in model space. Anything that falls completely within this rectangle will print. Then we'll take care of plot offset. Where would we like the drawing to appear on the paper? If you wanted to be very precise, you could assign specific X and Y offset measurements. In this case, I'm just going to click Center The Plot. And when I do, notice that whenever we make an adjustment in this dialogue box, the small preview over here updates.
Finally we'll take care of Plot Scale. What size do we want to print the drawing? By default this is set to Fit to Paper to ensure that the drawing fits on the sheet. I'd like to print the file to a measurable scale so I'll remove the check from this setting and if we look down below we can see that when it was set to Fit to Paper this drawing would have fit to a scale of 1 inch equals 24.75 units, or feet. Remember the units in this drawing are set to feet. So this drawing would have printed at apporximately 1 inch equals 25 feet.
I'm going to open the scale menu and select 1:30, or 1 inch equals 30 ft. Note that if you wanted to create your own custom scale, you could edit these numbers manually. And, as a side note, if this drawing was created using architectural units, we would be selecting one of these standard architectural scales at the bottom of the menu. Now, that I'm finished with the settings. I'm going to come down and click the preview button. This opens AutoCAD's Plot Preview. The plot preview works very similar to model space.
If I roll the wheel forward I can zoom in, roll it back, I can zoom out, and if I hold the wheel down, I can pan. Now this doesn't look too bad with the exception of all of the geometry is going to print using the layer colors. That being the case, these dimensions are going to be hard to read. Let's fix that. I'm going to move up and click the X to close the Plot Preview and then I'll come down and click the More Options button. This gives us access to additional plot settings. From here I'll open the Plot Style Table >Monochrome.
I will then click Yes when prompted. Using the monochrome pens, all of the layer colors we'll plot as black or monochrome. Once again I'll come down and click Preview and I'll zoom in. This looks much better. To complete the plot, I'll close the preview, and then, in the Plot dialog box, I'll come down and click OK, and since I'm plotting this drawing to PDF, I need to save the file. I'm going to save this file on the Desktop. I'll keep the default name, and I'll click Save.
This completes the plot, and opens the file in my version of Adobe Acrobat reader. So, the next time you need to take your work to a meeting, simply plot a window of your geometry in model space. Even though the line work is represented to true size, AutoCAD makes it easy to print your drawings to a measurable scale.
- Creating quick plots
- Choosing line weights
- Creating, organizing, and reusing labels
- Using the Annotative property to size text and multileaders
- Creating custom scales
- Saving drawings to other formats
- Plotting to PDF and DWF
- Sending drawings via email or eTransmit