AutoCAD provides an almost infinite number of possibilities when preparing a drawing for plotting. Setting up drawing to plot is like an artist making a reproduction of a painting; the two paintings will look very similar, but they’ll never look exactly the same. This is much like plotting in AutoCAD; you’ll probably find the right combination to correctly plot sheet 1, but reproducing those settings for sheet 2 will likely be a shot in the dark. Even if you do manage to perfectly reproduce those settings for subsequent sheets – how much time did you waste?

You may have seen a quick tips video I filmed for the AutoCAD Exchange with Heidi Hewett where she and I chatted about a solution to this problem – Named Page Setups. Instead of manually configuring the PLOT command for each drawing you produce, why not capture those settings in a way you can quickly and easily apply them to future sheets? This is the exact role Named Page Setups play in every modern release of AutoCAD. Since I could, and well did write several pages on this topic alone in my upcoming book AutoCAD 2011 and AutoCAD LT 2011: No Experience Required, I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version in this post.

Here’s a look at the Plot dialog:

PlotDialog PlotDialog thumb

Figure 1: The Plot dialog box

Now let’s take a look at the Page Setup dialog:

NewPageSetup NewPageSetup thumb

Figure 2: The Page Setup dialog box

The differences here are minimal in appearance, but massive in application. By capturing each of these settings using Named Page Setups you can save yourself the monotonous drudgery of manually changing the same settings for sheet 2, 3, 4 and so on.

ArchDPageSetup ArchDPageSetup thumb

Figure 3: New Arch D Page Setup

Here you can see I’ve configured a Named Page Setup that uses the DWFx ePlot plotter, an ARCH expand D page size, and the acad.ctb plot style table. Instead of manually changing these on each of my drawing sheets (Layout tabs), I’m only going to change one setting for each Layout – the Page Setup. Here’s how:

  1. Set the Layout tab you want to apply a Page Setup to current. In this example I’m going to set my Sheet 1 layout tab current so I can apply the Arch D Page Setup.
  2. Right-click on a layout tab and choose Page Setup Manager.

    PageSetupManager PageSetupManager thumb

    Figure 4: Accessing the Page Setup Manager

  3. Select the Page Setup you want to apply (Arch D in this example), and click Set Current. Your layout tab will immediately update to reflect the settings stored within your Page Setup (Arch D in the example).

    PageSetupApplied PageSetupApplied thumb

    Figure 5: View of sheet after Arch D Page Setup was applied

Not only do Named Page Setups saved you time configuring each layout tab to plot correctly; they prevent Sheet 1 plotting different from Sheet 2 because someone accidentally assigned the ARCH D (36.00 x 24.00 Inches) page size to one sheet and the ARCH expand D (36.00 x 24.00 Inches) to the other. For such a small feature, the standardization benefits can be far-reaching. This post has simply scratched the surface of what’s possible with Named Page Setups; stay tuned as I explore these capabilities in some upcoming posts.