Plotting 101
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Plotting 101

Plotting is one of the most important parts of CAD design. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the trickiest if you're not familiar with the AutoCAD plotting settings.

Plot from Paper Space – Not Model Space

Paper Space is called "Paper Space" for a reason. You should always be plotting from Paper Space – not Model Space. 


Make sure you're setting up your drawings and sheets correctly, including setting up your Paper Space sheets

CTB Plot Styles

Plotting in AutoCAD is controlled by layer colors. The assignments for each color you plot are best controlled by color-dependent, or CTB, plot files. When you create a CTB file, or modify an existing one, you are simply telling AutoCAD which colors and lineweights it will plot for each layer of linework in your drawings.


For information on CTB plot styles, visit our documentation sections on:


Changing Layer and Line Colors

You have complete control of the layer colors, as well as the color and lineweights (thickness) in which each layer of your drawing will appear when plotted. Our software makes it easy to change the default line and layer colors to meet your office standards. For more information, visit our documentation sections on:

A Linetype is Plotting Too Thick or Too Thin

If one of your lines is plotting too thick or thin (heavy or light), you'll need to check the lineweight setting for that line in the CTB plot style you are using. Here's how to do that.




Examples of Different Lineweights (Plant Outlines)


Here's an example of a drawing with the plant outline layer set to a relatively thick lineweight:




And here's an example of the same drawing with the plant outlines layer set to a thinner lineweight:


Plotting a Colorized Drawing

Need to plot a plan you've created using our Color Render tool? Color drawings have some specific plotting instructions. See our Plotting a Colorized Drawing page for more information.

Plotting to PDF

If you need to plot your drawing to PDF, we recommend using a third-party PDF printer rather than the built-in AutoCAD option. See our recommendations.

Related Webinars

  • All About Plotting: Plotting from AutoCAD is an imperative step in achieving the all-important final product. We'll cover all aspects of plotting, including best practices in choosing and using physical plotters, managing page setups and plotter configurations, and producing the best possible PDF plots of your designs. (52 min)
  • Plotting in Style: CTB & STB Files Explained: We'll show you how to use proper plot-style setup to achieve your desired look in a plotted plan. We'll examine how plot styles work, highlight the differences between STB and CTB plot styles, and explain why we recommend CTB styles to minimize the confusion and maximize your time spent designing. (48 min)
  • Irrigation Sheet Setup and Plotting: We go over our recommended workflows for setting up your project and Preference Set, ensuring your viewports and layouts scale and plot correctly, and working with aerial images and PDFs. (1 hr 4 min)


Having trouble plotting? See our plotting troubleshooting article.

Last modified on Thursday, 19 January 2023 11:11
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