Imagine that a design partner sent you a set of drawing files with 100 sheets. You want to plot all of the sheets to fit on a letter-size paper using your LaserJet. Unfortunately, each of those 100 layouts has been saved to plot to E-size paper on a DesignJet. Has this ever happened to you? What do you do? Using traditional methods, you probably open a drawing, select the layout, choose Plot, set the device, set the paper size, set the plot area, set the scale, and send it to the plotter. And then, repeat the same process 99 more times! If you are a full-time plotter, you might think of it as job security! Otherwise, you probably consider it an incredible waste of your valuable time!
In AutoCAD 2005 and 2006, the sheet set manager enables you to use named page setups to quickly plot an entire sheet set (or any selected sheets within it) to any page setup configuration. If you are not familiar with named page setups, now is the time to learn! In this post, I’ll show you how to create a named page setup from your sheet set. However, for more general information about named page setups, I suggest you first read my previous post (Resolve to save your page setups).
When you create a new sheet set, AutoCAD uses a default template file for the named page setups. Since it is unlikely that those default named page setups will meet your needs, I suggest you start by creating your own template file. If you already have a template file for creating new drawings, you can use that same template file to store your named page setups or you can use a completely different file. I prefer to store the page setups in the same template file that I use for creating new drawings so that I have fewer files to manage… but it really doesn’t matter to AutoCAD.
First, you need a custom template file (DWT). If you already have a custom template file, you can skip this procedure. However, you might want to read the information regarding template file location in step 3.
- In AutoCAD, begin a new drawing using whatever AutoCAD template you typically use.
- From the file menu, select Saveas.
- In the Save Drawing As dialog box:
- Change the Files of Type to AutoCAD Drawing Template.
- Navigate to the folder where you want to store your template file. By default, AutoCAD will save it in the local user’s Template folder. This location will work fine for your sheet set; however, I suggest you place it somewhere more obvious and accessible. You will probably want to reuse this template file for other sheet sets so place it in a location that make sense for all of your projects. For example, if you have a Projects folder (locally or on a network), you might create a Templates folder within or next to the Projects folder.
- Enter a name for your template file.
- Choose Save.
Next, you need to assign your sheet set to use your template file for page setups. It doesn’t matter if your template file doesn’t yet contain named page setups.
- In the Sheet Set Manager, right-click on the sheet set title and choose Properties.
- Click on the Page Setup Overrides File. The browse button will display within the field.
- Select the browse button and navigate to the template file you want to use for named page setups.
- Select the template file and choose Open. If the template file you selected does not contain page setups a warning dialog box will display. Select OK to dismiss the warning dialog.
- In the Sheet Set Properties dialog box, choose OK.
Finally, you need to create named page setups. If your template file already contains named page setups, you can create additional ones or modify the existing ones.
- Right-click anywhere in the sheet list and choose Publish>Manage Page Setups. If your template file already includes some page setups, they will be displayed in the Page Setup Manager.
- In the Page Setup Manager, choose New.
- In the New Page Setup dialog box, enter a name for the page setup. Possible names might include: Test Plot, Final Plot, LaserJet Letter-size, DesignJet E-size, E-size Monochrome, etc.
- In the Page Setup dialog box, specify the device and other page setup options and then choose OK. The named page setup is automatically written to the template file. This is one of the few sheet set functions that might write information to an existing file without you knowing it. The only other ones are the “hints” that I described at the end of my November 7th Sheets Happen post.
- Continue to create new page setups, modify existing ones, or import named page setups from other files. All of the page setups in the template file will be available for you to use when plotting from the Sheet Set Manager.
- Close the Page Setup Manager
Now that your template file includes named page setups, you can easily plot your sheet set to any configuration that is stored in the named page setups.
- Right-click on the sheet set title or any combination of sheets that you want to plot.
- Choose Publish>Publish Using Page Setup Override. Notice the page setup options that you created.
- Select the named page setup that meets your need for the current plot.
Think of how much time you will save by not having to open and reconfigure every layout each time you want to plot to a different device, scale, etc. And, since these name page setups are saved in a template file, the next time you create a sheet set, the process will be even easier! Just use the same template file!