050907 2215 trackplotti11Well today I just saved a lot of money on my car insurance, and I didn’t even have to switch my insurance to Geico. In fact the only thing I had to do was wait for the clock to strike midnight. Today my friend is my 25th birthday. At exactly one-quarter-century old, I am officially 7 months older than the first release of AutoCAD in December 1982 (phew glad I made the deadline). My first experience with AutoCAD was in 1996, and thus I do remember the first AutoCAD (technically MS DOS) command that I typed; that being ACADR12. I don’t know about you, but for me cold hard cash is always an acceptable birthday gift. So in the spirit of birthdays, and cash gifts I give you FREE plot tracking in AutoCAD!

AutoCAD has the ability to write a log of every plot that is sent from AutoCAD. We have two options; a separate plot log file can be created for EVERY plot you make, or the friendlier option to make one “continuous” plot log for every plot you make. Making this feature even more helpful is the fact we can define where we want the log file to be written. Thus if you give everyone write access to a directory on your server, you can have AutoCAD generate a single plot log file for your entire company. So how exactly is this done?

  1. Go to the “Plot and Publish” tab under options (OPTIONS command). To enable the logging feature, click “Automatically save plot and publish log”, and select the “Save one continuous plot log” radio button.

     Plot Publish Tab windowslivewritertrackplottingfromautocadforfree 10266tcg plot1 thumb5

  2. After enabling the feature, go to the “Files” tab (also under options), and find “Plot and Publish Log Location”. Change that path to a shared directory, and hit [Ok].

     Files Tab windowslivewritertrackplottingfromautocadforfree 10266tcg plot2 thumb1

AutoCAD will create a CSV (comma separated) file in that location. Each time someone sends a new plot it will be appended with the information about that plot. Using that CSV file you can use something like MS Excel to analyze the file and generate a billing report for your plotting.