Join Jeff Bartels for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating quick plots, part of AutoCAD 2013 Essentials: 06 Sharing Drawings with Others.
At some point in the design process you'll need to create a hard copy of your work. In this lesson, we'll explore how to print a drawing to a measurable scale. On my screen I have a drawing that represents a proposed parking lot. This is a civil engineering example, so the units in this file are set to feet. Let's say that I need to create a print of this drawing so I can take it to a meeting, and the print doesn't need to be formal with a title block and company logo. I just need to put the drawing of paper so I can show it to a client. I'll start by moving up to the top of the screen and clicking the Plot icon.
This brings up the Plot dialog box. From here, I will open the Printer/plotter menu and select a Printer. Now everyone's system is unique, so I'm sure your printer list will look different than mine. Feel free to select any printer that accommodates an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper. For my example, I'm going to drag down to the bottom of this list. Notice the icons are different down here. These printers are virtual printers that are installed with AutoCAD. I'm going to select DWF6 ePlot as my printer.
This allows me to print my drawing as a DWF file, which is similar to a PDF. After selecting the printer, I will then open the Paper size menu. The sheet sizes that you see in this list will be specific to the printer that was selected earlier. Since I chose a virtual printer, I have a lot of sheet sizes. I'm going to stick with the ANSI A 8.5 x 11 inch sheet. Next, I'll come down to Plot area. This is where I select the amount of my drawing I'd like to print. If I open the menu, we have a few choices.
I like to use Window. If I select this option, I can pick two points onscreen to define a rectangle, and everything that fits within the rectangle will show up on the sheet. Next, we'll address the Plot offset. This determines where the print is going to be on the sheet. If you want to be very specific, you can adjust the X and Y offsets or you can check this box to center the plot on the sheet. Note that each time we make an adjustment this preview over on the right updates. Now, by default, this drawing is going to plot such that it fits on the paper.
I'd like to print it to a measurable scale, so I'm going to uncheck this setting. As you can see, it will fit at a scale of 1 inch equals 25.97 units. Remember, the units in this drawing are feet. So this will fit at pretty close to 1 inch equals 30 feet. I'm going to open the Scale menu and I'll select 1:30. As you can see, it updates the numbers below. We can also update these values manually. And as a side note, if I was working with an architectural drawing, I would use one of these standard scales at the bottom of the menu.
At this point, I'll click Preview so we can take a look at the print. The Print Preview area works just like model space. So I can pan and zoom using my mouse wheel. Now, this looks pretty good. The only problem I have is that the geometry is going to print using the color of the layers, and that's going to make these dimensions hard to read. So I'll move up and click the X to close the preview. I will then click the More Options button to expand the Plot dialog box. In the upper-right, I'll open the Plot style table menu and I'll select the monochrome pens. And I'll choose Yes when prompted.
By selecting monochrome pens, it will ensure that all of the colors will print as black. Let's come back to the preview and take a look. As I zoom in, I can see this looks much better. Now that I'm finished, I'll move up and click the X to close the preview, and then I'll click OK to print the drawing. Since I'm printing this drawing to a file, I'm able to give it a name. I'm going to accept the default, and I'll click Save to save this out on the Desktop. When the file is finished printing, I can come down to this icon that's speaking to me, right-click, and choose View Plotted File to open the drawing in Autodesk Design Review.
This program functions a lot like Acrobat Reader. In the viewer, I can pan and zoom using my mouse wheel just like we can in AutoCAD. As I pan around, this file looks pretty good. If I move up and click the Zoom Extents button, we can see the entire sheet. 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 drawn at true size, AutoCAD makes it easy to print your drawings to a measurable scale.
- Creating quick plots
- Choosing line weights
- Organizing layouts
- Sizing text, dimensions, and multileaders using the Annotative property
- Changing a drawing's plot scale
- Creating custom scales
- Plotting to PDF and DWF
- Packaging and sending drawings using eTransmit