Converting an AutoCAD Drawing into PDF File

Tutorial Created by Brijesh Bhatha, 2004. Updated 2006 by Corinne Stewart (corinnestewart@gmail.com)

GRAPHICS TUTORIAL # B2 Converting an AutoCAD Drawing into PDF File
CP-208 Plan Preparation Studio - Prof. Elizabeth Macdonald
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In this tutorial we will learn to create a PDF File from an AutoCAD drawing. There are four possible methods to bring an AutoCAD drawing into an Adobe Illustrator file. Method 1. To directly place an AutoCAD drawing in the Illustrator file. Method 2. Converting an AutoCAD drawing into a PDF format and placing the PDF in the Illustrator file. Method 3. Copy and paste (only to be used if 1 and 2 are not successful) Method 4. Save as an EPS Method 1 is the simplest, as one can simply place the AutoCAD drawing in the Illustrator file by using the place command. However in this method the drawing is not at any particular scale and needs to be scaled manually using a scale bar as a reference. This process can be tedious and not highly accurate. Method 2 involves one extra step of making a PDF file out of the autocad drawing. The advantage in using this method is that the output PDF can be at the required scale. Thus when we place the PDF into the Illustrator file it is at the required scale and requires no further adjustments in terms of scale. Creating a PDF: Note: Adobe PDF writer / Acrobat distiller are required to be able to convert a drawing from AutoCAD to a PDF. Creating a PDF is similar to printing from AutoCAD, the only difference is to selection of the Adobe PDF writer or Acrobat distiller as the printer. STEP - I. Selecting the Printer: 1. Open AutoCAD and open the footprint map created in the TUTORIAL # B1 2. Type ‘plot’ in command line. From the “File” menu select “Plot..” 3. A “Plot” dialog box will appear. 4. Click on the “Plot Device” tab if it is not already active. 5. Under the “Plotter Configuration” select the printer which is the PDF writer OR Acrobat distiller.
Printer/Plotter Pulldown

Select Plot Style Manager

GRAPHICS TUTORIAL # B2 Converting an AutoCAD Drawing into PDF File
CP-208 Plan Preparation Studio - Prof. Elizabeth Macdonald
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STEP - II. Selecting the Print Area: 1. In the “Plot Settings”, under the “Plot Area” section click on “window” button.

Click on Window to select the plot area

2. 3. 4.

In the AutoCAD command line specify window for printing, “Specify the first point will appear”. Select a point on one corner of the area to be printed. The AutoCAD command line will prompt “specify the other corner”. Select the other corner which is diagonally opposite to the first selected point.

For this tutorial, select the approximate area shown in the diagram below.

Selected first point

Selected Area

Selected second point

GRAPHICS TUTORIAL # B2 Converting an AutoCAD Drawing into PDF File
CP-208 Plan Preparation Studio - Prof. Elizabeth Macdonald
4

STEP - III. Setting up the Plot Scale: Note: The scale at which you plot the footprint map to a pdf file is the scale at which it will be in when imported to Adobe Illustrator, so you need to make the scale decision at this point. Typical scales for footprint maps are 1”=20’, 1”=50’, 1”=100’, 1”=200’, 1”=400’ etc. 1. 2. In the “Plot Settings” change to custom in the “Plot Scale” section in the scale tab. Type in the required scale. The drawing is at 1:1 scale which is the real scale in the model space in AutoCAD. If the drawing is in inches as the basic units, inches has to be selected in the printable area section as shown above. For example, to print the drawing at 1”=100’ type the unit, which is 1 inch and type 1200 for drawing units. To print the drawing at 1”= 200’ type the unit, which is 1 inch and type 2400 for the drawing units.

1. Pull down custom page size

2. Type in 1 inch equals 1200 units

For this tutorial, select 1”=100’ as the scale.
Plot menu

STEP IV. Selecting the Paper size: 1. Click on the “Plot Settings” tab. Under the “Paper size and paper units” select a paper size from the available options. If the required paper size is not available in the list, a custom paper size can be made using the following steps: To set the custom paper size, go to the “Paper size” pulldown menu, and select “Post Script Custom Page Size”.

2.

3.

3. Go to Paper size menu, pull down and select “Post Script custom page size from the menu

GRAPHICS TUTORIAL # B2 Converting an AutoCAD Drawing into PDF File
CP-208 Plan Preparation Studio - Prof. Elizabeth Macdonald
5

4. 5.

Click on the “Custom Properties” Button. Click on the “Paper/Quality” Tab, Select “Color”, then hit the “Advanced” button.
6. Then Click on Paper/Quality

5. Click on Custom Properties Button

7. Click on ‘Color’

8. Click on ‘Advanced’

6. Click on the “Paper Size” window, which will open a pop-up window. Select the “PostScript Custom Page Size”. 7. Type in 48 and 36 in the width and height boxes. Click Inches. 8. Create a temporary PC3 file for the plot. Click OK.
PostScript Custom Page Size Definition Box

11. Type in 48 and 36 in the Page size boxes 12. Select “Inch” for Units

9. Click on the Paper Size Pulldown

13. Click OK

10. Select PostScript Custom Page Size

14. Create a temporary PC3 file

15. Click OK

GRAPHICS TUTORIAL # B2 Converting an AutoCAD Drawing into PDF File
CP-208 Plan Preparation Studio - Prof. Elizabeth Macdonald
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9. The window below shows how the settings should look. The PostScript Custom Page Size should be selected. The Plot scale should be 1 to 1200 units.
1. In Plot window, select the PostScript Custom Page Size

2. Center the plot

3. Plot scale should be at 1 inch = 1200 units

STEP -VI. Viewing the Print Preview: Note: It is good practice to generate a preview of the plotted drawing before sending the drawing to the printer or plotter. Generating a preview saves time as you can be sure of the end product. You can generate a preview from the Plot dialog box that shows exactly how the drawing will look when plotted, including lineweights, fill patterns, and other plot style options. 1. To create a full preview click on “Preview” at the bottom left corner of the “Plot-Model” window.

GRAPHICS TUTORIAL # B2 Converting an AutoCAD Drawing into PDF File
CP-208 Plan Preparation Studio - Prof. Elizabeth Macdonald
7

Paper Size Full preview showing how the drawing will print

Note: The preview shows the same colors as used in the drawing and same thickness for all lines. However most often we need to print the drawing only in black lines and different line thicknesses for different layer. To change this we need to make a new plot style.

GRAPHICS TUTORIAL # B2 Converting an AutoCAD Drawing into PDF File
CP-208 Plan Preparation Studio - Prof. Elizabeth Macdonald
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STEP -VII. Making a new Plot style: 1. Select ‘File...Plot Style Manager’ 2. Double Click on the “Add A Plot Style Table Wizard”.

3. 4.

Click “Next”. Select “Start from scratch’ and Select “Next”

5. Select the “Color-Dependent Plot Style Table”. 6. Type in the File name.

GRAPHICS TUTORIAL # B2 Converting an AutoCAD Drawing into PDF File
CP-208 Plan Preparation Studio - Prof. Elizabeth Macdonald
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7. Click on the Plot Style Table Editor

8. Use this plot style table

STEP - VIII. Changing the Output Color: 1. 2. Click on the “Plot Style Table Editor”. A dialog box will now appear. Select all 256 colors by pressing the shift key and selecting all in the “Plot styles’ under “General” tab. In the Properties section, select “Black” instead of “Use object color” which appears. This will change all the colors to print as black. When placing a drawing into Adobe Illustrator, it is best if all lines in the AutoCAD drawing are in individual colors so that they can be pulled into individual layers using the “select by color” tool.
Select all the colors you require to change the output color Selecting the output color

GRAPHICS TUTORIAL # B2 Converting an AutoCAD Drawing into PDF File
CP-208 Plan Preparation Studio - Prof. Elizabeth Macdonald
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STEP - IX. Assigning Line Weight to Various Lines Based on Color:

Note: One advantage of using different colors for different AutoCAD layers is that you can assign different line weights to each color and then every line drawn in a particular layer will print at the assigned line weight.
1. 2. 3. 4. Select the color whose line weight you want to change, and click on “lineweight” and select the weight from the various available options. This process can be repeated for any number of colors whose lineweight you want to change. You will be able to see the line thickness change in effect when you see the full preview again. Click on “Save and Close” button to finish the “Plot style editor” session.

Note: How to Identify the colors used for different layers is explained in TUTORIAL # B1 -“Creating a Footprint map using AutoCAD and an Aerial Photograph”.

• For the purpose of the tutorial select the following lineweights for different layers. These are the two layers that need to be printed. Curb - Yellow -0.2500 mm Footprint- Green - 0.6000 mm Parcel - Cyan -0.1800 mm These lineweights will ensure that the building footprints will stand out from the curb lines, and the parcel lines will be the lightest.
Select the Color to change its lineweight

Select the lineweight from the available options

GRAPHICS TUTORIAL # B2 Converting an AutoCAD Drawing into PDF File
CP-208 Plan Preparation Studio - Prof. Elizabeth Macdonald
11

STEP - IX. Checking the print preview and printing a PDF: 1. To check the various color and lineweight changes click on the “Full preview” to see the preview. You can zoom close to check it closely by clicking on the right click of the mouse. If the drawing looks as required hit “plot” in the pop up menu or hit exit and click on “OK” to print.

Note: If the results are not satisfactory in the preview, you can go back to editing the plot style by clicking on the “Edit” button in the “Plot style Editor” section before making the pdf.
1 “Save PDF file As” dialog box will now appear.

Plot Preview

Use the right click of the mouse to get this menu

2

Type an appropriate name for the file, select the location where you want to save it and hit “Save”. 3 A PDF file will be saved on the selected location.

Note: When this file is placed in Adobe Illustrator the drawing will be at the scale it was plotted to Acrobat distiller in.

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