Tech Tip: AutoCAD Electrical Project Batch Plotting

22 March 2023AutoCAD, autodesk, Electrical, Fabrication, MEP, Services & Supportautocad electrical, Graitec, plotting

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There are two options for plotting a project in AutoCAD Electrical, and they are located in the Publish/Plot tool in the Project Manager palette.

Clicking the drop down on the printer tool gives you an option to Plot Project or Publish to PDF/DWF/DWFx. Many times AutoCAD Electrical users have trouble getting a good plot using these tools, but it’s not because the tool doesn’t work! The issue comes from an AutoCAD setup that many AutoCAD Electrical users do not know they have to set up – making sure your drawing has the Page Setup created in the file. This tells AutoCAD how you want to plot/publish the file.

When experienced AutoCAD users migrate to AutoCAD Electrical, this usually isn’t an issue since they already have this completed. But for users who skip standard AutoCAD, the page setup is not completed.

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You can access the Page Setup several ways:

  • Type PAGESETUP at the command line.
  • Right-click on the Model or Layout tabs at the lower left, then select Page Setup Manager.
  • Use the drop down at the upper left flyout for the Print option, and select Page Setup.

This document will not go through the steps to create a valid page setup, but if you do not have one set up, the Page Setup Manager dialog will look like this:

The image above is if you are working in Model Space. Here is what it looks like if you are setting up Paper Space:

Here is an example of how a drawing using a properly established page setup would look:

Having a properly created page setup will solve the Publish to PDF, but if you are going to plot to a printer, you should create a .pc3 file that matches your printer. This option often gets missed for AutoCAD Electrical users too. This document will not go through the steps to set up the .pc3 file, but one way to create this file would be using the drop down at the upper left flyout for the Print option and selecting Manage Plotters.

After selecting this option a Windows Explorer session will open showing the existing .pc3 files. The location is controlled in the Options under the File tab. There is a file called “Add-A-Plotter Wizard” listed at this location. Double-clicking on this file will open a wizard that steps you through setting up the .pc3 file to work with your printer.

Once you get the Page Setup and .pc3 file setup completed, you should have no issues using either of the tools located in the Project Manager:

The Plot Project option allows you to print any combination of the project drawings using a .pc3 file that is configured to your printer.

There are many options, so experimenting with them is the best way to determine which works for you and your company.

The option to Publish to PDF allows you to make a multi-sheet PDF.

This option also allows you to choose any combination of drawings that are in the project. There is an option to include the Parent-Child Hyperlinks (cross-references).

After selecting OK. You may get a message box saying there is a DSD Settings Conflict. Click Close; you can ignore this.

A Publish dialog box will open allowing you to set/adjust additional options. As with the Plot Project option, run experiments on what the best options will be for you and your company. At a minimum, clicking the “Publish Options…” button at the upper-right area to set the location of where the PDFs are saved would be best.

Click Publish at the bottom and the “Specify PDF File” name the dialog will display. Use the default name of the project file, or give it a different name, and click Select. Not sure why they called it Select, other than confirming you like the file name displayed, but it works the same as other save dialog boxes that say OK. You will get a message box asking if you want to save the current list of sheets. Most people select No here. You can experiment with this too.

The publish will be done in the background, and an icon will show up at the lower-right corner of the AutoCAD Electrical software letting you know this is happening.

Once the publishing is completed in the background, a message will display letting you know it has completed.

Once the PDF is created and opened, you can hover over the various cross references. When the mouse pointer turns to a hand, you can click on the component, and you will automatically be sent to the linked component.

Experiment with these options by trying different settings to see what works best for your company requirements. Going right to the Publish to PDF option seems to be the best because of the settings available in the Publish dialog and getting the cross references added to the PDF in a multi-sheet file. If you need to print to paper, use this PDF to do that, as it gives you the best of both options.


Partner with Applied Software, Graitec Group to work with technical experts like Todd Schmoock. For more information contact Applied Software today.


 

 

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