Autocad Plotting, What is hidden beneath the Plot Dialogue arrow?


Did you notice that Little Arrow in the bottom corner of AutoCAD’s Plot Dialogue? Find out what’s hidden beneath this little Easter Egg in this post…

This post follows on from ‘AutoCAD Plotting 101‘.

The ‘More Options’ Arrow.

In this post I will discuss the additional plotting options that are available to you when you click on the ‘More Options’ arrow at the bottom right hand side of AutoCAD’s Plot dialogue.

The AutoCAD Plotting Dialogue - More Arrow

When you click on the more options button you should see an extension to the normal plotting dialog box.

The additional AutoCAD plotting options - revealed!

More Plotting Options – Revealed!

1. ‘Learn about plotting’. Clicking on this text opens up the help file. The help file is there to help! Don’t be afraid to click here to learn more about plotting…

Plot style table (pen Assignments)

AutoCAD's pen table assignments

2. Plot style table (pen Assignments). This dialogue controls which Plot style or ‘Pen Table’ Autocad will use to plot your drawings.

AutoCAD's available Pen Tables - Plot Styles

Colour base pen tables (CTB)  convert the colour of the line on screen to a line weight on your plotted drawing.

Style based pen tables (STB) allow you to set the lines weight and colour e.t.c independently from the colour you see on the screen.

The button to the right of the drop down takes you into the pen table editor. You can pick ‘New’ from the bottom of the list to create a new pen table.

Pen tables are worth going into in more detail so I will cover them in a separate post. For the time being you will probably want to use the Monochrome CTB/STB for Black and white prints.

Shaded Viewport options.

AutoCAD's Shaded Viewport Options Drop down

3. Shaded Viewport options. The ‘shade plot’ drop down will only be available in Model Space. This drop down allows you to pick a rendering style for your plot.

If you are plotting from Paper Space, this option will be greyed out. When plotting from Paper Space you set this option per viewport instead, via the styles manager or the properties palette.

The ‘Quality’ drop down sets the Plot resolution. You can pick different pre-set resolutions from this control.

You will notice that the value in the DPI box changes, even though it remains ‘greyed out’. If you pick ‘Custom’ from the drop down you can enter your own DPI.

The AutoCAD Plotting Quality Drop down

The DPI value can vary from 100 DPI to the maximum your plotter supports. If you are plotting mainly black and white line work 300 DPI (i.e. ‘Normal’) will be sufficient.

The higher the DPI, the larger your plot file will be and the longer it will take to plot.

If you want to know what ‘DPI’ stands for, you can find out from Wikipedia.

Plot Options

4. Plot Options. This section of the dialogue controls how objects are plotted and the order in which they are plotted.

The ‘Plot in back ground’ check box allows you to have AutoCAD process the plot in the back ground whilst you keep working. If you are on a fast computer with a good network connection to your plotter, this can help you to make efficient use of your time.

You will find that you can’t use the ‘Plot’ or ‘Publish’ commands whilst Autocad is plotting in the background.

If you find that Autocad ‘Lags’ or ‘Stutters’ whilst you are trying to work and plot at the same time – uncheck the Plot in back ground box. Without background plotting set, you may have to wait for a short time for the plot to be sent to the plotter. I’m sure that you can find something else to do (make the coffees for example!).

Plot Object Line weights’ specifies whether the line weights that you have applied to your geometry will be plotted. If you have ‘Plot with plot styles’ checked, this will be applied automatically and the check box will be ‘greyed out’.

Plot with plot styles’ applies the Plot Style that you picked from the Plot style table drop down to your plot.

Plot Paper space Last’ Plots Model Space geometry first. Paper Space geometry is usually plotted before Model Space geometry. This is checked by default, and you can just leave it like that.

‘Hide Paper space Objects’ is available only from a layout tab. This option only applies to objects drawn in Paper Space. When this option is on 3D objects drawn in Paper Space (such as a Region) will ‘Mask’ objects that are behind them (you won’t see the effect of this unless you hit ‘Preview’).
AutoCAD Plotting options, Hide paper space objects - Checked

AutoCAD Plotting options, Plot stamp onPlot Stamp On’ Turns on plot stamping. This option places a plot stamp on a specified corner of each drawing and/or logs it to a file.

The plot stamp can contain information such as who plotted the drawing, when they plotted it and what size it was originally plotted.

When you check the plot stamp option a new button will appear next to the check box. Clicking this button will take you into the plot stamp settings dialog. Once again there is enough here to warrant a separate post.

Whether you need a plot stamp or not is entirely up to you. It’s worth mentioning that you can now do much the same thing with ‘Fields’.

The AutoCAD Plot stamp dialogue

Save Changes to Layout’  Saves the changes that you make in the Plot dialog box to the layout, without you having to click the ‘Apply to layout’ button.

This is probably not a good idea if you want to fiddle around with a lot of different options. I suggest that you leave this option unchecked and use the ‘Apply to Layout’ button instead.

Drawing Orientation

5. Re-orientate your plot – Just like it says.

AutoCAD Drawing Orientation = Portrait
AutoCAD Drawing Orientation = Landscape

 AutoCAD Drawing Orientation = Portrait upside down

AutoCAD Drawing Orientation = Landscape upside down

That’s it for the ‘More Options’ Area of the dialog. Don’t forget to hit the ‘Apply to Layout’ option when you’ve got the plot looking how you want it. This will save your changes so you don’t have to do it again next time.

If you do this in your template file you can save yourself a lot of time. My final recommendation is that you use ‘Page set ups’ to save this information and share it between drawings.

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