AutoCAD plotting is driven by Plotter Configuration files. AutoCAD Plotter Configuration File guidelines include:
- Plotter configuration files have a PC3 file extension.
- Plotter configuration files should be standardized and appropriately general.
- Layouts and named page setups store the name of the plotter configuration file for future plotting.
With newer versions of AutoCAD, DWF files can be created from AutoCAD using the PUBLISH command. Newer versions and older versions allow DWF files to be created using the PLOT command. When you use the PLOT command directly to make a DWF file, you are selecting a different driver (the DWF driver), and you often get that driver's default settings. If you make a copy of a Layout and apply the DWF6 ePlot driver, you will get the DWF6 ePlot driver default settings which may not be what you want.
Even though DWF is not directly associated with a plotter, DWF files support line merge. Line merge affects how colors are blended when geometric items, such as lines, overlap.
The DWF6 ePlot PC3 allows the user to configure line merge.
The DWF6 ePlot PC3 also has various DPI settings. These have different effects on a DWF.
- Vector resolution sets the resolution for vector graphics in the DWF file in dots per inch. The default setting is 1200 DPI. This value would only need to be increased if DWF files are to be measured using Autodesk Design Review in addition to printing them.
- Gradient resolution sets the resolution for gradients in the DWF file in dots per inch. The default setting is 200 DPI. Increasing this value only makes DWF files bigger.
- Color and grayscale resolution sets the resolution for raster image colors and grayscale in the DWF file in dots per inch. The default setting is 200 DPI. This value is sometimes set to 400 DPI to produce better quality images.
- Black and white resolution sets the resolution for black and white raster images in the DWF file in dots per inch. The default setting is 400 DPI which should be sufficient for black and white printing.
Setting the vector resolution DPI too low results in small DWF files that cannot be measured to a desired precision. Setting the gradient, color and grayscale, or black and white resolution DPIs too high results in DWF files that are larger than they need to be for printing.
As part of the process of configuring a Layout or naming a Page Setup, you select a plotter. The plotter name is saved and referenced by the Layout or Named Page Setup. If someone else opens the drawing and does not have a printer or plotter with that name, he gets a warning message stating that the plotter configuration cannot be used with a list of possible reasons. Hence it is recommended that you try to give plotter configuration files fairly standard or general names. Some examples include:
- Small Printer
- B-Size Prints
- Large Format Plots
- D-Size Plots
By naming the plotter configuration files using general names, different people can have different plotting or printing devices and still plot a drawing file without having to select a specific named plotter that can handle the print configuration they want to use. If you do not include the plotter manufacturer's name and model in the plotter configuration name, you avoid having to select a different plotter in older files you open and plot after you have gotten a new printer or plotter. You only need to create a new plotter configuration file for this new device and name it the same as the old plotter configuration file.
This information was provided by Travis Jones, Content Manager, Autodesk. You can purchase AOTC (Autodesk Online Training Course) courseware from http://estore.autodesk.com > Learning & Training > Courseware. Thanks Travis.