About Plotting

About Plotting

Understanding terms and concepts that relate to plotting makes your first plotting
experience in the program easier.

What is the Difference Between Printing and Plotting?

The terms printing and plotting can be used interchangeably for CAD output. Historically, printers would generate
text only, and plotters would generate vector graphics. As printers became more powerful
and could generate high-quality raster images of vector data, the distinction largely

In addition to paper output, electronic delivery of multiple drawing sheets uses
the encompassing term, publishing. The process of generating physical models in plastic and metal is called 3D printing.

Plotter Manager

The Plotter Manager is a window that lists plotter configuration (PC3) files for
every non-system printer that you install. Plotter configuration files can also be
created for Windows آ® system printers if you want to use default properties different from those used by
Windows. Plotter configuration settings specify port information, raster and vector
graphics quality, paper sizes, and custom properties that depend on the plotter type.

The Plotter Manager contains the Add-a-Plotter wizard, which is the primary tool
for creating plotter configurations. The Add-a-Plotter wizard prompts you for information
about the plotter that you want to set up.


A layout represents a drawing sheet, and typically includes

  • A drawing border and title block
  • One or more layout viewports that display views of model space
  • General notes, labels, and possibly dimensions
  • Tables and schedules

Usually a drawing file contains only one layout, but you can create as many layouts
as you need. The first time you display a layout, it is initialized and a default
page setup is assigned to it.

Once initialized, layouts can be modified, published, and added to sheet sets as sheets.

Page Setups

When you create a layout, you specify a plotter, and settings such as paper size and
orientation. These settings are saved in the drawing as a page setup. Each layout
can be associated with a different page setup.

You can control these settings for layouts and for model space using the Page Setup
Manager. You can name and save page setups for use with other layouts.

If you do not specify all the settings in the Page Setup dialog box when you create
a layout, you can set up the page just before you plot. Or you can override a page
setup at plot time. You can use the new page setup temporarily for the current plot,
or you can save the new page setup.

Plot Styles

A plot style is an optional method that controls how each object or layer is plotted. Assigning
a plot style to an object or a layer overrides properties such as color, lineweight, and linetype when plotting. Only the appearance
of plotted objects is affected by plot style.

Plot style tables collect groups of plot styles, and save them in a file that you can later apply when

The Plot Style Manager is a folder that contains all the available plot style tables, along with the Add-A-Plot-Style

There are two plot style types: color-dependent and named. A drawing can use only
one type of plot style table. You can convert a plot style table from one type to
the other.

For color-dependent plot style tables, an object’s color determines how it is plotted. These plot style table files have
.ctb extensions. You cannot assign color-dependent plot styles directly to objects. Instead,
to control how an object is plotted, you change its color. For example, all objects
assigned the color red in a drawing are plotted the same way.

Named plot style tables use plot styles that are assigned directly to objects and layers. These plot style
table files have .stb extensions. Using them enables each object in a drawing to be plotted differently,
independent of its color.

Plot Stamps

A plot stamp is a line of text that is added to your plot. You can specify where
this text is located on the plot in the Plot Stamp dialog box. Turn this option on
to add specified plot stamp information—including drawing name, layout name, date
and time, and so on—to a drawing that is plotted to any device. You can choose to
record the plot stamp information to a log file instead of plotting it, or in addition
to plotting it.


A drawing file or drawing template file that was created with an educational version
will always be plotted with the following plot stamp: PRODUCED BY AN AUTODESK EDUCATIONAL
PRODUCT. Blocks and xrefs created with an educational version and used in a commercial
version will also result in the educational plot stamp being plotted.

Learning AutoCad

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