Guest post by Paul Munford (The CAD Setter Out)
Have you been Plotting or Printing Adobe® ‘Portable Document Files’ from your AutoCAD drawings? Check out AutoCAD's Export to PDF tool for a simple alternative.
The ability to ‘Plot’ PDF files directly from AutoCAD has been on the AUGI wish list for many years. PDF remains the standard ‘Electronic’ file format for drawing exchange in the AEC Industries. PDF support was finally added to AutoCAD in 2009.
If you have worked with previous versions of AutoCAD before release 2009, then you may have added a ‘Virtual’ PDF plotter to your computer. To create a PDF you would have had to send your Plot file to this Virtual Plotter, which would create a PDF instead of a paper plot.
This feature has now been built directly into AutoCAD. You can send your plots straight to AutoCAD's DWG to PDF.pc3 Plot configuration file to create your PDF’s.
But there is a faster and easier way…
How to ‘Export’ PDF files from AutoCAD Drawings in two simple steps.
Exporting PDF files from an AutoCAD drawing is a simple two step process:
- Click the export button
- Type in a file name (optional!) and hit the ‘Save’ button.
It’s as easy as that!
How to Export PDF files from AutoCAD drawings – in a little more detail!
The Export to PDF command can easily be found on the ‘Export to DWF/PDF’ panel of the ‘Output’ tab.
If you are not using the Ribbon, you can export from the command line by typing ‘EXPORTPDF’.
This will open the ‘Save as PDF’ dialogue, where you chose where to save your PDF, and what you want to call it. Click ‘Save’ and you are done!
To make sure your PDF plot looks how you are expecting it to, make sure that your Layout is set up to plot from your regular plotter first. If you set this up in your template file – you should only have to do it once.
Fine tuning the Export to PDF process
If the two step process is to simple for you - there are a few more options you can use to tailor this process to your needs.
The Export dropdown allows you to choose whether to Export the current Layout or all layouts in the file.
If you are in Model space, you will also have the option to choose ’Display’, ‘Extents’ or ‘Window’ plot.
The Page setup dropdown allows you to use the current plot settings, or override them.
If you chose ‘Override’ the PDF Page setup Override dialogue pops up, which contains a simplified subset of the usual Plotting options.
This dialogue allows you to control whether your Layer information is included in the PDF and how the lines merge on plotting. You can also override the precision of the Vector’s in the PDF file here.
The two options I use most frequently are the default file path Location and the Type.
The Default File path Location saves you having to tour around your folder structure each time you Export a PDF.
The Type drop down gives you the choice of Single-sheet or Multi-sheet PDF’s. The Single-sheet option will create one PDF per layout. The Multi-sheet option will create one PDF which contains all your layouts.
Back to the Save as PDF Dialogue box
The ‘Current Settings’ panel gives you some feedback on where you are in the process. You can click the options button to bring up the ‘Export to PDF’ dialogue.
You also have the option to adjust whether you want to export the current layout, or all layouts in the file, and you can override the plot settings from here as well.
Finally, there are a couple of options that are not available elsewhere – you can choose whether to add a plot stamp to your PDF file, and you can choose whether you want to see your resulting PDF in Adobe reader when the job is done.
What will you do with all that time you saved?
Although plotting your PDF’s gives you a great deal of control over the final output, Exporting your PDF’s is quicker and is simple to set up and use. So what will you do with all that time you saved? Shh, I won’t mention it to your Boss!
You can find out more about the EXPORTPDF command in the AutoCAD 2011 Online help.
About the CAD Setter Out.
Paul Munford is a Joinery draughtsman (a ‘Setter Out’) for Beck Interiors, a UK based international Interior Fit out contactor which specializes in Museum Interiors.
Paul uses AutoCAD and Autodesk Inventor to create manufacturing ‘Workshop’ drawings day in – day out.
In his spare time Paul writes the ‘CAD Setter Out’ Blog and wishes he got out more.
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Thank you for the post Paul.