Plotting in Style: CTB & STB Files Explained
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Plotting in Style: CTB & STB Files Explained

Feb 05, 2021
Video Length:  48:16
Presented By:  Alex Zahn

With so many possible settings and file types, plotting (exporting or printing) your plan can become a confusing experience. Throw in the need to manage hundreds or even thousands of layers, and you might find yourself wondering whether you'll ever be able to achieve your desired look in a plotted plan. We'll show you how to use proper plot-style setup to realize that seemingly elusive goal. 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.

Webinar Contents:

Note: The following catalog of content covered in this webinar is time stamped to allow you to follow along or skip to sections of the video that are relevant to your questions. You can also search for content on this page using the FIND command in your browser (CTRL + F in Windows, Command + F in Mac OS.)


  • Intro/TOC
  • Duck Management (Layer Management)
    • Goals
    • Manual Method (No Plot Style Table)
    • STB (Name) Method
    • CTB (Color) Method
  • Demo in F/X CAD
    • The Plot Dialog
    • Importing CTB Files
    • Selecting Between CTB Files

0:00 – 3:29: Intro/TOC

What is plotting? (2:33)

  • "Plotting": Exporting a plan out of CAD, either to a plotter/printer or as a file (e.g., PDF)
  • "Plot Style Table": A collection of plot styles, wrapped up into one file – either STB or CTB
  • "Plot Style": A collection of settings that describe how certain objects in CAD should appear when plotted

3:30 – 14:13: Duck Management (Layer Management)

Goals (3:30)

You are a flock administrator who works with ducks (layers) of all shapes and sizes, sometimes hundreds or thousands at once, from many different suppliers and many different buyers, each with unique yet valid preferences for duck appearance. Your job:

  • Ensure the ducks (layers) delivered to your clients and partners meet their standards.
  • Maximize the efficiency and organization of your internal duck (layer) management methods.
  • Ensure smooth and quick translation of ducks (layers) from one set of standards to another.



Manual Method (No Plot Style Table)



STB (Name) Method (5:00)

STB: Each layer has a name that determines its plot style.


STB advantages (8:19):

  • Can alter layers' in-CAD appearance for better visibility while designing.
  • Can use multiple STB files to quickly change appearance settings for all layers at the time of export.


STB drawbacks (8:42):

  • Easy to confuse layers that look the same in CAD but have different plot style settings.
  • To change a particular plot appearance across the board, you have to track down every layer by name that uses these plot style settings – one per layer.



CTB (Color) Method (10:10)

CTB: Each layer color represents a plot style.


CTB advantages (11:55):

  • Can alter layers' in-CAD appearance for better visibility while designing.
  • Can use multiple CTB files to quickly change appearance settings for all layers at the time of export.
  • Managing plot style settings is cleaner, easier, and more flexible: 1 style per color = 256 max


STB Drawbacks (12:43):

  • None we can think of, except it might be slightly easier to reference STB styles while working in CAD (although you can just print out your CTB styles for the same purpose).

14:14 – end: Demo in F/X CAD

Layer Manager (14:14)


The Plot Dialog (14:45)

The manual method (no plot style) (15:00)


CTB styles (15:31)


Discussion of how many plot styles you really need (19:14)


Using our Change All Layer Colors tool to change the layer colors in a single drawing temporarily (21:11)


Using our Block Layers tool to apply your layer color standards to default Land F/X blocks (22:35)


Documents we offer to help you configure Land F/X to work with your office standards for plot styles:

  • The LFX Pens drawing (25:19)
  • The Land F/X Line Color Worksheet (27:11)


Converting the line colors in a drawing using our Convert Layer Colors tool (29:02)


Importing CTB Files (29:27)

Importing CTB files from the LandFX/Admin folder


Plot Transparency (30:03)


PC3 files (These files are only related to the particular plotter you're using.) (30:36)


Why STB files exist (31:30)

STB files are better for product creation. They're not as suitable for architecture or engineering.


Selecting Between CTB Files (40:00)

The various Land F/X CTB files (40:00)


The importance of adding descriptions for the colors you actually use and putting the word "unused" in the description (42:13)


Why Land F/X is unable to create a better dialog box for dealing with CTB files: STB files are encrypted. (45:00)

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