Tech Tip: Linking .PC3 Files to AutoCAD Electrical Layout Sheets

12 March 2024AutoCAD, Electricalautocad electrical, plotting, Tips and Tricks



In the April 2023 blog “Tech Tip: Creating .PC3 Plotter File for AutoCAD Electrical Drawings,” we looked at creating a .pc3 file to help print project files the same way consistently. This article takes that further for alternative size formats.

Many times there is a need to have layouts plotted to full D-size and to smaller formats like B-size. Creating .pc3 files for each of these formats will allow you to use the Plot Project tool to plot all of the drawings located in the project file, or any combination of drawings located in the project file.

For this tech tip, you will be using finished .pc3 files. So, if you do not have yours completed, make sure to review the instructions in the April 2023 blog to create your company-specific .pc3 files that will use your printers.

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You have created the .pc3 files specific to your company printers, and now you want to apply them to the AutoCAD Electrical layout tabs so you can use the Plot Project tool. The .pc3 file can be used with the model space, but this blog will be only looking at the page layout option. It will be starting after a valid title block is correctly set up on the page layout. It is important to get page layouts in the template file so any drawings created will be able to use the .pc3 file and produce accurate prints for distribution. However, applying the .pc3 file to previously created drawings is very easy and will also be discussed here.

As you look at a drawing with completed layout tabs having a D-size tab, which is the full size drawing with an attributed title block, and a layout tab where you want the D-size plotted to a B-size, here are what the tabs look like:

AutoCAD Electrical .PC3 files

The attributed title block with a viewport on each of the layout tabs looks like this:

AutoCAD Electrical PC3 files plot layout

Now you will want to apply the .pc3 file to each of the layout tabs so they can be printed to the correct sizes. The first step is to right-click on the layout tab you want to add plotting information to. Starting with right-clicking on the D-size tab, you would select the Page Setup Manager… option:

AutoCAD electrical page setup menu, PC3 files

The Page Setup Manager dialog displays. Selecting the Modify… tool to access the Page Setup dialog will allow you to set up the correct plotting options using the previously created .pc3 file.

AutoCAD Electrical page setup menu, PC3 Files

If the drawing does not have a previously identified plot style, it opens a dialog that allows you to select the .pc3 from a list of available .pc3 files. This is the full size D layout, and the .pc3 file shown is the one created for this layout tab. Once the .pc3 file is set to the layout tab and remains a valid printer, this dialog box will not display in the future.

AutoCAD Electrical new printer menu, PC3 files

If you pick a .pc3 file that has a plotter identified but not installed on the computer, you will get this AutoCAD Warning message:

AutoCAD Electrical warning, PC3 files

If a valid .pc3 file is selected when clicking the OK button in the Update PC3 File with New Printer dialog, the Page Setup dialog will open.

AutoCAD Electrical D size plotting menu, PC3 files

Notice the .pc3 file listed in the printer/plotter section. Other items that are typically set in this dialog are:

    • Paper size
    • Plot area
    • Plot scale
    • Plot style

This blog will not go into the details of each option available in the Page Setup dialog. Adjust these options and select the Preview… button at the lower-left corner to see how each option will affect the output. Once you get the preview representing what is needed for your company, these options will remain set for future printing.

Repeating the same process for the D_Size_To_B_Size layout tab would give these results:

AutoCAD Electrical menu for D size to B size, PC3 files

Now that the layout pages are set up to use the correct .pc3 file, the AutoCAD Electrical Plot Project tool can be used. This is the AutoCAD Electrical version of the batch plot option. You can select the layout tab you want and the .pc3 file to use. Here is an example:

AutoCAD Electrical batch plotting options, PC3 files

Having a .pc3 file identified that works with the company printers will give the ability to print drawings in an AutoCAD Electrical project the same way each time they are needed for distribution. Ultimately, this will save time by avoiding time spent configuring how to print drawings each time they are needed for distribution. Using the AutoCAD Electrical Plot Project tool gives the option to print all drawings in a project or any combination of drawings, which will save time too.

Using AutoCAD Electrical rather than standard AutoCAD for controls drawings saves time, but some knowledge of how standard AutoCAD works is a very important step in getting AutoCAD Electrical configured correctly at your company. If you started AutoCAD Electrical without any knowledge of standard AutoCAD, taking the time to learn some basics like printing/plotting, layers, blocks, and attributes will be the difference between a good or bad implementation.

The technical specialists of Applied Software, GRAITEC Group look forward to assisting you with GRAITEC and Autodesk products. Whether you’re just beginning to embrace technology and automation or seeking to optimize a new product integration, GRAITEC Group meets you where you are. Reach out today and partner with the service mindset that can help your business grow and thrive.



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