AutoCAD 2015 and AutoCAD LT 2015 Bible

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Layout and plotting tips for AutoCAD

AutoCAD plotting tipsAlmost everyone needs to plot or print drawings. Here are some tips for working with layouts and plotting. Please leave a comment with your own tips so we can have a great plotting resource all in one place!

(Thanks to Jozef2011 for the image, found at

Working with layouts

  1. To see what is on a layout tab without displaying it, hover your cursor over the tab to see a preview.
  2. To quickly rename a layout tab, just double-click , type the new name and press Enter.
  3. Re-order a layout tab by dragging it left or right.
  4. To move through layouts using the keyboard, press Ctrl + Page Down (to move right) or Ctrl + Page Up (to move left).
  5. To quickly create a configuration of floating viewports on a layout, use the VPORTS command. In the Viewports dialog box that opens, choose a configuration and click OK.
  6. To go into model space within a viewport on a layout, double-click inside the viewport. You can then draw and edit. To return to paper space, double-click outside the viewport.
  7. To cycle from viewport to viewport while in model space, press Ctrl + R.
  8. To set the scale for a viewport, select its border and open the Properties palette. From the Standard Scale drop-down, choose one of the standard scales (or use the Custom Scale text box to specify a custom scale).
  9. Once you have set the scale, you should lock the viewport. A quick way is to click the Lock/Unlock button on the status bar, next to the VP Scale pop-up list. (You can also use the Properties palette.)

Plotting a drawing

  1. Create page setups for the various plotting scenarios, then plot using the page setups. To create a page setup, right-click a layout tab and choose Page Setup Manager, then click New. The Page Setup Manager is just like the Plot dialog box; it’s a way of assigning a name to a group of settings. To use them, at the top of the Plot dialog box, choose your named page setup from the Name drop-down list in the Page Setup section.
  2. Press Ctrl+P as a shortcut to open the Plot dialog box
  3. Click the right arrow at the lower-left corner of the Plot dialog box to display advanced settings. For example, plotting transparency is NOT the default. In the Plot Options section, you can check the Plot Transparency check box.
  4. Use the What to Plot drop-down in the Plot dialog box to choose to plot a layout, the current display, extents or a window. If you choose Window, you’ll be prompted to select a window.
  5. Be sure to click the Preview button in the Plot dialog box before you plot, to make sure the results will be what you want!
  6. To filter the list of paper sizes, so you don’t choose a size that you don’t want or can’t plot, in the Plot dialog box, click the Properties button next to your plotter’s name. On the Device & Document Settings tab, in the User Defined Paper Sizes and Calibration item, choose Filter Paper Sizes. Lower down in the dialog box, you can then uncheck any size that you don’t want to appear as a paper size in the Plot dialog box.
  7. When you set up a plot in the Plot dialog box, you can save your settings to the Model tab or any layout tab. In the Plot dialog box’s Plot Options section (click the right arrow to see it, if necessary), check the Save Changes to Layout check box. Then, the next time you plot from the same tab (Model or layout), the default settings will be the same and you can just plot.

Do you have any more tips for layouts or plotting? Please leave a comment so others can benefit!

Ellen Finkelstein

13 comments to Layout and plotting tips for AutoCAD

  • Tom Holder

    If possible please have tipsters specify the version of AutoCAD in their tips. This tip in itself will aid everyone moving forward to new releases and make each tip even more valuable.

  • Murray Clack

    Here are additional PLOTTING tips:

    Tip #1. If you want to Preview a plot, you can do so without having to use the PLOT command, simply enter the command PREVIEW

    Tip #2. If you have a drawing that “never plots correctly”, simply do the following: PLOT a “good” drawing like you normally would. Then, go into the “bad” drawing and start the PLOT command; from the “Page Setup” pull-down menu, select “Previous Plot”; make sure the “Save Changes to Layout” check-box is checked on; then plot the drawing as needed.

  • Mark

    Wow, all those years of command-line entries and I never discovered “PREVIEW”!!
    Neat-O-Matic! Excuse me while I go create a “PRV” alias….

  • Vicky

    Wow, is right what an awesome tip “PREVIEW”….thanks for that one!!!

  • Doug

    I have LT 2010 and 2011. When I create a layout using the wizard and select the titleblock dwt, I see the thumbnail image of the titleblock but it never gets added to and visible on the drawing. Any idea what I am doing wrong?

  • Ellen

    Perhaps it’s the location of the template? Usually, it’s automatically in the support file path, but it sounds as if LT isn’t finding it. Try adding the folder with the DWT file to the support file path, OPTIONS command, Files tab.

  • prave

    how to give equal space to print(Ex:Each sides are 5mm gap)…in Auto cad 2010..

  • Ellen

    Do you mean that you want some blank space on either side of the text? You can use a background mask that’s the same color as the drawing background. Select the text and turn on the mask in the Properties palette.

  • SumathyRam

    What is meant by underlay in Auto CAD software?
    Please explain me………..

  • Ellen

    Well, you can add PDFs, for example, as an overlay, so the drawing would be the underlay. As far as I know.

  • azodnem

    What is the command to control the printing to the other user network so that they can’t inserting in the 1st list.

  • Kelly

    when I plot a drawing to pdf using cad the preview of the drawing is horizional but when I plot it comes out vertical, I want the plot to be horizonal in the pdf what am I doin wrong to get the plot horizonal….

  • Annie

    How to use facetrec command and how to add hyperlink to it

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