Use the Publish Command and Simplify Your Plotting from AutoCADAuthor: Steven LaKose, CAD & Computer Consulting
Date Published: September 1, 2009
I am amazed at the number of companies who plot one drawing at a time. It's tedious work but more importantly, it's time consuming. Autodesk has provided one of the nicest productivity tools you can ask for—the Publish command.
Even if you are comfortable using this command, skip to the end of this article for some hidden surprises and options.
Years ago, I spent countless hours writing a custom utility for a client to batch plot hundreds of drawings at a time. Then AutoCAD® 2004 introduced the Publish command, a feature that started putting a stake through the heart of my custom utility. With improvements in later AutoCAD releases, my custom routine is dead and buried.
This is the Publish command dialog box with AutoCAD 2010. In various releases, the interface has been slightly rearranged, but it works the same.
Here's an example of the Publish dialog window:
The list section of the Publish window includes the following columns:
Sheet Name. This column consists of the drawing name and the layout name with a dash (-) or the word "Model" if it's model space.
You can change the name shown in the Sheet Name column by clicking Rename Sheet on the shortcut menu (right-click). Drawing sheet names must be unique within a single DWF or DWFx file.
Page Setup / 3D DWF. This column consists of the drawing name and the layout name with a dash (-) or the word "Model" if it's model space.
Displays the named page setup for each sheet. You can publish to the page setup that is already selected, or select another from the Page Setup/ 3D DWF drop-down list.
Note: The drawings are not modified when they are published.
You can change the page setup on multiple sheets or all sheets and set a page setup to publish them to, but you have select from the top sheet in the set. You also have the ability to import page setups from another DWG file through the Import Page Setups for Publishing dialog box (a standard file selection dialog box).
If you have been following this series of articles, the previous article described how to setup a page setup drawing that can be used for this purpose.
You can set the page setup for model space sheets to 3D DWF or 3D DWFx, but is not available for layout entries in the sheet list.
This column displays the status of the sheet when it is loaded into the list of sheets.
Add files to publish with the add sheets button, as it spawns a standard Select dialog box. You can also just drag and drop files into the command. This is especially handy when you have used a Windows search to find specific files to publish.
Remove sheet or sheets to publish with the remove sheets button. You can also just highlight the sheets you want to remove and press the Delete key.
These two buttons move the selected sheets up or down one position in the list.
You can also highlight the sheets you want move and click and drag them up or down to accomplish the same affect.
Brings up the Load Sheet List dialog box (again a Select dialog box), allowing you to select either a DSD file or a BP3 (Batch Plot) file to load. If you already have a list of sheets to publish, then a Replace or Append dialog box pops up. If you click on append, sheets will be added to the current list. Clicking on replace will replace all sheets in the current list.
Brings up the Save List As dialog box allowing you to save the current list as a DSD file.
Previews a single sheet as it will appear when plotted. This button is grayed out when a sheet has a 3D DWF page setup or when you select more than one sheet.
Flips the plot order. Simply put, if your printer/plotter outputs FACE DOWN (most laser printer), you want it with the arrow down, ie top down.
If your plotter outputs FACE UP (most large format plotters), you want it in reverse order, i.e. bottom up.
Brings up the Plot Stamp dialog box, allowing you to specify the information contained in the plot stamp. Drawing name, layout name, login name and date are just a few that can be that you can have in a plot stamp.
Brings up the Publish Options dialog box, which really only covers options for DWF and other electronic file outputs (ie PDF files and PLT files).
Default output location allows you to specify a folder for the output files. There does not seem a way to place them in the same folder as the drawing.
Most of the other options are pretty much self explanatory. Two that are very interesting are DWF data options to include layer and block information. By including layer information you give someone the ability to change what is displayed in a DWF file. Including the block information can provide someone with additional information that you may or may not want someone to have. Before you include either of these, you should discuss or review just what the repercussions are later down the line.
Show Details button
Displays additional information (shown below) on the file path, layout name along with the breakdown of the page setup information. It also toggles the button to Hide Details.
Starts the Publish operation. If Publish in background is checked, you will see an icon in the sys tray (lower right corner of your screen) that looks like a plotter. Otherwise you will see the sheet opened and plotted.
When the Publish operation is completed, a balloon notification will pop up display that the plot is complete with a link to display the Publish details. This information is also saved the Plot and Publish log file. You can also see this information if you run the ViewPlotDetails command.
Cancels the Publish operation.
Launches the help screen with the available options.
Publish Output Options
Include plot stamp
Setting your plot stamp information does not mean it's displayed, you must check this box for the plot to be stamped.
Publish in background
Checking this box allows the Publish command to allow you to continue to work while it publishes "behinds the scenes". It works by using "spare" processor power while you are working. If you are a power user, or are working with processor intensive items (3D work, rendering, etc.), it can take a while to publish. My personal preference is to uncheck this. When I publish, it's usually because someone needs something ASAP.
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