Back in the stone age, reprographers would receive native DWG files. Reprographers would fire up a copy of AutoCAD, load the DWG files, apply the pen mappings using CTB (Color Table) or STB (Style Table) files, and generate PLOT files specific to their devices. They would then send the device-specific files to their high-speed printers. If anyone wanted to know how a printout was processed, the reprographer could point to the CTB or STB file to show what line thicknesses and line patterns were applied.
Now reprographers receive DWF files. The CTB and STB settings have already been applied. The resulting lines widths and patterns are in the DWF file. All the reprographer has to do is print. Still, sometimes the question comes up - "How was the file processed to generate the printout?"
Autodesk has a free tool, CTB and STB Printing Tool for AutoCAD 2007, which is available for download from the Autodesk web site. This could be used to provide a permanent record of how a DWF file was processed. A user would:
- Use the CTB and STB Printing Tool (table_print_tool.exe) to convert the CTB or STB to text (TXT) file.
- Rename the TXT file to a comma separated list (CSV) file. (Attempting to directly convert a CTB or STB to a text file with a CSV extension crashed the table_print_tool application.)
- Load the CSV file into Microsoft Excel. Print from Microsoft Excel to the Autodesk DWF Writer for 2D to produce a 2D DWF file showing the mappings.
- Use Autodesk Design Review to combine the sheet from the 2D DWF file with other design data that is being sent to the reprographer.
An alternative to this process is to open the CSV file in Microsoft Excel, save it as a workbook, and insert the workbook into one of the layouts of the DWG. The layout would then be published to the DWF along with the other layouts.
I tried a simple example:
- Download monochrome.stb (0.4K)
- Download monochrome_stb.csv (1.0K)
- Download monochrome_stb.dwf (3.0K)
When anyone asks how the sheets in the DWF file were processed, a reprographer could look at the sheet in the DWF. The information would be right there - all in one place - the DWF file.