Based on his long history with the company, Vice President of Autodesk Labs, Brian Mathews, provided some insight on the "layout not initialized" message that can appear when publishing a DWF file from AutoCAD. Using AutoCAD 2007, ignoring this message and attempting to publish a DWF file that includes an uninitialized layout leads to the error message:
AutoCAD no longer requires that you associate a specific plotter with a layout. You can have NONE specified as the device. The "layout not initialized" error message is normally the result of one or more phantom layouts or other layouts that have not had settings applied. The solution is to either delete these layouts, deselect them from the publish list, or fully initialize them with real paper settings.
To understand uninitialized layouts, you need to know the history. In the old days there was just model space. People plotted from model space and had to set lots of settings to map model space onto a piece of paper. This was a pain. Later paper space was introduced which allowed people to arrange their paper with multiple viewports and title-blocks in paper coordinates. Paper space was a great idea, but often people needed to print a specific model in a variety of ways (different scales, viewport layouts, layer visibilities, colors, pen settings, etc.). The answer was to allow the definition of multiple paper spaces which were called Layouts.
Layouts were great, but many long time AutoCAD users were still unfamiliar with the productivity gains of paper space let alone understanding Layouts. The marketing team wanted customers to understand that they could now have multiple paper space layouts with the Layouts feature. To accomplish this, AutoCAD was updated to create two “phantom” layouts whenever a new drawing was created in model space (Layout1 and Layout2).
By automatically creating two layouts for every new drawing, users would see two extra tabs for “Layout 1” and “Layout 2” in their AutoCAD session and might click on them to learn about their productivity features. The fact that there were two of them was meant to communicate that the old limitation of a single paper space had been removed from the product and that users were encouraged to make as many layouts for their projects as needed.
Those two phantom layouts are the infamous “Uninitialized Layouts,” since they don’t really exist. They don’t exist because a Layout by its very nature needs to know what size paper it represents, what pens should be used, what printer driver should be used (if any), what viewports should be defined and at what scale. They are “uninitialized” until you click on them the first time and supply them with settings (clicking on them populates them with some default settings from your default template).
Now when the Publish command is used to create a DWF, it may encounter those phantom layouts. If you tell Publish to publish them, it cannot since they are not fully defined with a paper size and such. That’s why you get a publishing error. The solution is to either delete the layouts you don’t want, deselect them from the publish list, or fully initialize them with real paper settings.
It has been suggested that future AutoCADs should ignore uninitialized layouts automatically when using the DWF Publish command in order to simplify things. I love that idea.
Who knew that the Phantom of the AutoCAD was a layout? I had always thought it was Shaan Hurley: