Overview of Plotting

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

Plotter Manager

The Plotter Manager is a window that lists plotter configuration (PC3) files for every nonsystem printer that you install. Plotter configuration files can also be created for Windows. 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 you want to set up.


A layout represents a plotted page. You can create as many layouts as you need. Each layout is saved on its own layout tab and can be associated with a different page setup.

Elements that appear only on a plotted page, such as title blocks and notes, are drawn in paper space in a layout. The objects in the drawing are created in model space on the Model tab. To view these objects in the layout, you create layout viewports.

Page Setups

When you create a layout, you specify a plotter and settings such as page size and plot orientation. These settings are saved in a page setup. You can control these settings for layouts and for the Model tab using the Page Setup Manager. You can name and save page setups for use with other layouts.

If you don't 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 controls how an object or layer is plotted by determining plotted properties such as lineweight, color, and fill style. Plot style tables collect groups of plot styles. The Plot Style Manager is a window that shows all the plot style tables available.

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. You can also change the type of plot style table a drawing uses once it has been set.

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.

NoteA 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.
See Also