LT On-line: Lesson 17

31 Jul, 2001 By: Mark Middlebrook

Plotting Layouts, Plotting to Scale, and Plot Preview

Page 1: Plotting Layouts

Last month's lesson introduced you to AutoCAD LT plotting, the complexities that result from different kinds of printer drivers, and a basic procedure for plotting the model space portion of a drawing. This second installment in our series of plotting lessons covers how to plot paper space layouts, plot to scale, and use the two plot preview modes to troubleshoot problems before they make it onto paper.

The procedures described here work with AutoCAD LT 2002, 2000i, and 2000, as well as with the corresponding AutoCAD versions. These procedures do not apply directly to LT 98 or AutoCAD Release 14, because plotting changed dramatically in AutoCAD and LT 2000.

Plotting the layout of the land
The previous lesson showed you how to plot the model space representation of your drawing by making sure that the Model tab is active when you open the Plot dialog box. However, paper space gives you many additional options to control the look of your output without having to modify the underlying geometry or the way it looks to someone working on the DWG file. So in some drawings, you want to plot a paper space layout instead.

About paper space layouts and plotting
As I describe in lesson #5, paper space is a separate "space" for composing a special printed version of your drawing. The following two figures show model space and paper space views of the same drawing. AutoCAD LT 2000, 2000i, and 2002 allow more than one paper space layout per drawing and connect each layout with specific plot settings for that layout.

Figure 1. Model space view.

Figure 2. Paper space view.

Whether you should plot model space or a paper space layout in a drawing depends entirely on how you set the drawing up. If you or someone else went through a layout setup procedure similar to the one in lesson #5, then you probably should plot the paper space layout. If not, then plot the Model tab.

Tip: If you don't know whether a drawing contains a legitimate paper space setup, click each of the tabs and see whether any of the layouts look like they were set up properly (for example, with a title block that's appropriate to the job and with a reasonable view of the model space geometry). The procedure in the next section tells more about how to inspect paper space layouts.

Five more steps to (paper space) plotting success
Plotting a paper space layout is pretty much like plotting model space, except that you need to find the appropriate paper space layout first and make sure that its tab is selected before you open the Plot dialog box.

1. Open a drawing that contains, or that you suspect contains, a paper space layout.

Tip: If you don't have any paper space drawings handy, you can use one of the AutoCAD LT sample drawings, such as the architectural floor plan drawing stored in \Program Files\AutoCAD LT 2002\Sample\1st Floor.dwg.

Warning: The presence of a Layout1 tab next to the Model tab at the bottom of the drawing area doesn't necessarily mean that the drawing contains a paper space layout already set up. AutoCAD LT 2000 through 2002 normally displays a Layout1 and Layout2 tab when you open any drawing created in AutoCAD or LT 2000 through 2002. (It displays only a Layout1 tab when you open a drawing created in earlier versions of AutoCAD or LT.)

2. Click the first tab to the right of the Model tab at the bottom of the drawing area.

AutoCAD LT gives the default names Layout1 and Layout2 to layouts, but the creator of the drawing may have renamed them to something more descriptive.

Warning: Don't confuse the Model tab at the bottom of the drawing area with the MODEL/PAPER button on the status bar. The tabs control which view of the drawing (model space or a paper space layout) fills the drawing area. When a paper space layout fills the drawing area, the status bar button controls whether drawing, and editing takes place in paper space or model space inside a viewport.

3. If the Page Setup dialog box appears, click Cancel, and when the dialog box disappears, click the Undo button on the Standard toolbar to return to model space.

You guessed wrong-the current drawing doesn't contain a paper space setup! The Page Setup dialog box is AutoCAD's way of saying, "This paper space layout hasn't been set up yet. What do you want me to do?" Lesson #5 tells you what to do to set up a paper space layout. For now, skip the next step and plot model space instead.

If the Page Setup dialog box doesn't appear, but instead you see a view of your drawing, perhaps with a title block around it, you've found an already-set-up layout, and you can continue with the rest of these steps.

4. Make sure that the MODEL/PAPER button on the status bar says PAPER. If it says MODEL, click it to change it to PAPER.

This step ensures that you're plotting the entire contents of the paper space layout, rather than just the model contents of a particular viewport.

5. Jump to Step 3 (in which you zoom to the drawing's extents) in the section "The 18 steps to plotting success," in the preceding lesson.

From this point, the simple plotting procedure for a paper space layout is the same as for model space.

Plotting Layouts, Plotting to Scale, and Plot Preview
  Page 1: Plotting Layouts
  Page 2: Scaling: To fit or not to fit?
  Page 3: Preview one, two

About the Author: Mark Middlebrook

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