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Plot to PDF Natively
Tip# 3580 By Mitch Hirschklau On 13-Feb-2011
Rated By 2 users
Categories : Plot/Print
Software type : AutoCAD 2011
Rename File To : No Files to download.
Using Plot to PDF instead of plotting directly from AutoCAD has many advantages.

Space Management Specialist Mitchell Hirschklau shares a tip about plotting to PDF natively in AutoCAD.
"I would suggest that users make the AutoCAD 2010 Plot to PDF function their default plot routine (except for in-house 'check' plots). The disadvantage of an extra step — i.e., having to create the PDF rather than plot directly from AutoCAD — is more than made up for by the following advantages:

  • The user now has a ready-made file that can be exchanged or exported to other users (even non–CAD users).
  • Users have a 'plot file' whereby they can, using the retained AutoCAD layer controls, plot multiple versions without opening AutoCAD or loading up the requisite file. For example, a floor plan with furniture can be quickly accessed and re-plotted with the furniture turned off.
  • The ability of non–CAD users to manipulate this file is not to be underestimated! Whether they are in-house or around the world, they can plot and re-plot the file, with or without various layers.
  • Also, Plot to PDF files generated in AutoCAD 2010 (and newer) have a much smaller data file footprint than those generated with previous versions — we're talking KB instead of MB! Before, only a single PDF could be e-mailed, at most; now you can e-mail a complete drawing set!"

Notes from Cadalyst Tip Patrol: It is good practice to create a static archive file of all drawings that are submitted to a client, vendor, or state agency. That way there is a historical record of what was done.

Plotting to PDF in AutoCAD is done in the same way any file is plotted. Select PDF instead of your plotter or printer. If you use the Plot to PDF setting that comes with AutoCAD, you don't need to purchase third-party software, and it retains the layers. When a PDF that was created with Autodesk's PDF option is xref'd, AutoCAD can snap to the linework.

I would also suggest you consider DWF or DWFx files as an alternative to PDF files. They are easier to handle and can do more with the markup manager in AutoCAD.


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User comments
Comment by nemirovsky,len
Posted on 2011-02-14 16:16:21
Very good practice to plot to PDF, we are doing so for last three years, but not to that extent. We using that option when plotting/printing several sets of large amount of drawings (20-100 sheets) and plotting to PDF from SHEETSET, then sending PDF file to printer for 11X17 prints or to Plotter for Full Size.
Comment by Sisco,Bob
Posted on 2011-02-15 11:08:43
This is a great tool. On a non-AutoCAD side, one thing to note when plotting from a PDF is to make sure the scaling is set to none. PDFs are great, but I've seen alot of people print out the PDFs using the default settings and the scale is lost by the fit to paper or shrink to paper options in PDF reader programs. Making a PDF version of plans and drawings for historical reasons even in-house is a plus. Great tip. Thanks.