Simplify AutoCAD Plotting by Hiding System Printers

AutoCAD Plotter Configuration

With the plethora of available options, plotting from AutoCAD can feel intimidating no matter how long you’ve used the software. A common question I receive from both veteran AutoCAD users and novices is why they get inconsistent plots when plotting to the same plotter. Though the answer to this question is as nuanced as plotting itself, a common reason is you didn’t actually plot to …

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Converting PDFs to AutoCAD DWGs using Adobe Illustrator

The ubiquity of PDFs make them a great choice for collaboration when you’re not sure what software a recipient is using. By sending a PDF you can rest assured whomever the recipient – they’ll be able to open it. But what if you’re the recipient, who has AutoCAD, and you really needs a DWG version of the PDF? Modern versions of AutoCAD come packed with …

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Disabling AutoCAD Layer Output when Plotting to PDF

As the near ubiquitous electronic plotting format, chances are more than one client has asked you for a PDF version of your drawing. Although more robust PDF tools certainly exist, the DWG to PDF.pc3 driver that’s included with AutoCAD is more than sufficient for many users. By default, the out-of-the-box PDF driver includes the layer information from your drawing. When the resulting PDF is opened in an …

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Automate Sheet Setup with Action Macros

Although there’s no shortage of ways to customize AutoCAD, nearly every one requires some familiarity with programming. Given the barriers of learning a programming language, I find so many of the AutoCAD users I come across simply survive with the tools they already have verses learning to create new ones. This is the fundamental reason I love Action Macro’s so much; they allow users, with or without programming experience, to create new AutoCAD tools in an instant.

The beauty of Action Macros is the way that anyone who can use the command line inside AutoCAD can also customize AutoCAD. Given how simple they are to create, I have found a wide range of ways to create and apply Action Macros over the years. One of my longtime favorites is using them to automate the setup and creation of new drawing sheets.

The best way to ensure all of the sheets for a project plot the same is to create every sheet from a common layout template with the same page setup applied. While the procedure for doing this isn’t especially hard, it does involve several steps, and frequently becomes cluttered among the library of different sheet sizes used by most companies (Letter, Ledger, Arch D, etc). Using Action Macros I can dramatically simplify this process by creating a series of custom commands that will automatically create a new layout tab at the desired size.

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Creating Metric Drawing Sheets with Imperial Page Sizes

Although imperial measurements remain the prevalent standard in the U.S., a growing number of projects are indeed utilizing metric measurements. This combination of both imperial and metric measurements creates a unique challenge for many architects and engineers. After all we’re taught paper space (layouts) should always be 1:1, yet using a standard imperial paper size like Arch D (24 in x 36 in) will yield …

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Name That Page Setup and Win (Save) Money

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.

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