Tech Tip: Creating .PC3 Plotter File for AutoCAD Electrical Drawings

5 April 2023Architecture and Engineering, AutoCAD, autodesk, ElectricalApplied Software, autocad electrical, plotting, Tips and Tricks



AutoCAD Electrical allows you to plot some or all of the drawings in a project. The AutoCAD Electrical plot project tool is located here:

AutoCAD Electrical toolbar

Many times, AutoCAD Electrical users have trouble getting a good plot using these tools, but it’s not because the tool doesn’t work! Creating a .pc3 file will help you print the project files the same way every time. To see the current .pc3 files you have to use the “Manage Plotters” option located in the Print flyout under the Application menu at the top left corner:

AutoCAD Electrical plotter menu

This will open a Windows Explorer dialog. In the list of .pc3 files, you will see an “Add-A-Plotter Wizard” option:

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AutoCAD Electrical plotter wizard menu

Double-click on the “Add-A-Plotter Wizard,” and this will start the wizard:

AutoCAD Electrical add plotter introduction page

Click “Next” in the Add Plotter – Introduction Page dialog, and the wizard allows you to choose how to configure the printer/plotter you want to use.

AutoCAD Electrical add plotter begin menu

Here you choose how to configure your printer/plotter. Once you understand the entire process, you may want to try different .pc3 options and experiment so you can find the best option for your company. This document will use the “System Printer” option to show you how to complete the .pc3 file and will use the HP Deskjet as an example.

AutoCAD Electrical add plotter system printer list

After clicking Next, there is an option to import a previously used printer/plotter setup. Since this is a new setup, Next will be selected.

AutoCAD Electrical add plotter screen plotter name

You can give the .pc3 file a unique name. But using the default name is the most common, especially if you have several .pc3 files, so they match the printer/plotter it was created from.

Clicking Next presents the “Finish” dialog that allows you to configure paper size.

AutoCAD Electrical add plotter finish screen

Selecting the “Edit Plotter Configuration…” option allows you to select the paper size the printer/plotter offers. Typically, you would select the “Custom Properties…” option and configure the options that match the Page Setup defined in your AutoCAD drawing.

AutoCAD Electrical plotter configuration editor

Since this step is unique to every company, depending on the printer/plotter being used, it cannot be documented here. You will need to experiment with different options if the choices are not obvious.

AutoCAD Electrical plotter configuration editor screen

Now that you defined the paper size the printer/plotter will use, which matches the Page Setup in the drawing, select OK, and you will be back at the Add Plotter wizard. Selecting Finish will create the file and add it to the list of .pc3 files shown earlier. Looking at the list of .pc3 files, you will see the new printer/plotter listed.

AutoCAD Electrical plotter list

Back in AutoCAD Electrical, start the Plot Project from the project manager:

AutoCAD Electrical project manager toolbar

Pick the drawings you want from the “Select Drawings to Process” dialog. To save time and paper, you could select just one or two drawings and select OK.

AutoCAD Electrical select drawings to process screen

After selecting OK, the “Batch Plotting Options and Order” dialog opens. Since the Page Setup was completed in the drawing, it automatically defaulted to the correct plot. If you have more than one page setup completed, you can use the drop down to select the one you want. Also, this is where you change the option to use the .pc3 file. Once everything is selected, click OK, and your project drawing selection will plot.

AutoCAD Electrical batch plotting options menu

If you discover there is a change you need to make to the .pc3 file, simply double-click on the .pc3 file you created for the printer/plotter. In this example, double-clicking on the “HP DeskJet Plus 4100 series.pc3” in the listed plotters location will open the “Plotter Configuration Editor” dialog.

AutoCAD Electrical plotter list AutoCAD Electrical plotter configuration editor screen

Selecting the “Device and Document Settings” tab and clicking the “Custom Properties…” option in the middle of the dialog box will allow you to make the required changes.

AutoCAD Electrical device and document settings screen AutoCAD Electrical HP Deskjet Plus 4100 series toolbar

Once you complete the tasks of setting up the drawing’s page setups and the .pc3 files that match your printers/plotters, the issues that were occurring using the AutoCAD Electrical plot project will go away. Do not get frustrated if your first round of creating these steps doesn’t give the result you want. Try different .pc3 files and page setups, or simply modify the ones you previously made. If you are new to AutoCAD, it may take a couple trial runs to get it right. Since every printer/plotter may have different options, making adjustments to the .pc3 file and the page setup will be required steps.

The technical specialists of Applied Software, Graitec Group are always glad to assist you with Autodesk products, whether it’s research, evaluation or usage questions. Applied has the deepest technical services in the industry. Contact Applied Software today and discover the service mindset that can help your business grow and thrive.


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