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Plot settings

May 20, 2011

       When you create a drawing, you do most of your work on the Model tab. At any time you can print your drawing to see how it looks on paper. It's easy to startup printing, and then later create layouts and custom print settings to enhance your printed output.


To start printing

  1.   Choose File > Plot.

  2.   Click OK.

Standard toolbar\

Command line PLOT

       There are many options that you can set before printing, such as the scale of the drawing, print area, print style tables, and more.


Before you print, you can set up many aspects of printing:

  •      Select and configure plotting device.

  •      Specify paper size and orientation.

  •      Specify size of the paper used for plotting, including which portion of a drawing to print and the origin of the print area.

  •      Choose whether to print and scale lineweights.

  •       Choose whether to implement print style tables to control colors, pen widths, line types, and lineweights.


Set Paper Size

      The paper size here refers to the size of the drawing, needs to be set before plotting regardless of which working space you select. You can assign the paper type from pull down list of the Paper text box. The available paper types provided in the pull down list are decided by current configuration. If you want to setup paper size, you should configure plotters first, all the available plotters are both system plotters of Windows configured and non-system driven.

       You can specify a printer or plotter to be used when printing any drawing. You can print your drawing on any printer or plotter that is compatible with Windows, including raster printers.


To select a printer or plotter

  1. Choose File > Plot.

  2. From the Printer Name list, select a printer or plotter, and then click OK.

Standard toolbar \

Command line PLOT


       Default paper size used for creating new layouts through editing PC5 files associative to plotters can be assigned to the paper. With this technique, you can assign different paper size for Windows and ZWCAD separately.

       If you set a system variable PAPERUPDATE to 1, prompts display if the selected plotter doesn't support the paper size. So that the paper size will be updated automatically to default paper size that plotters provide.


To select the paper size and orientation

  1. Choose File > Plot.

  2. Select the paper size and paper orientation by specifying paper type, and then click OK.

Standard toolbar \

Command line PLOT


      You can also adjust the orientation by printing a drawing upside down on the paper. Each layout in your drawing can specify whether to print upside down.


Use a Custom Paper Size

       You can also add customized paper size to non-system plotters through plotter configuration editor. Usually customized paper size is not able to add to Windows system plotter, but you can modify the plotted area according to the paper size associated to system plotters.


Position the Drawing on the Paper

You can adjust the position of the drawing to be plotted on a paper before plotting.


Specify the Printable Area

The selected plotter and paper size determines the paper size.


Set the Origin of Print Area

     You can specify the position of the drawing to be plotted on a paper by entering a positive or negative value in the X and Y Offset boxes. Select Center on Paper to locate the drawing at the center of the paper.

     The offset value makes a compensation to the page pitch by aligning the left lower corner of the title bar with that of the drawing paper. The offset are usually negative, determined by measuring the distance between the page edge and plot information.


To specify the print area origin

  1. If necessary, click the desired Layout tab or the Model tab.

  2. Choose File > Plot.

  3. Click the Origin of Print Area tab. Do one of the following:

  • To center the specified print area on the printed page, select the Center on Page check box.

  • To specify an origin for the print area, type the x- and y-coordinates.

  1. Select Save Changes to Layout, and then click Apply to Layout.

Standard toolbar \

Command line PLOT


Set Drawing Orientation

    The drawing orientation determines whether to plot a drawing portrait or landscape.

      If you select Landscape, plots the drawing using the length edge as horizontal. While selecting Portrait to plot the drawing using its minor edge as horizontal Changing the drawing orientation just like rotating the paper under the drawing. Meanwhile, selecting Plot upsize-down to control whether to locate the drawing upsize-down on paper.


Set Plot Scale

      Plot scale of the drawing can be specified directly from the scale pulldown list, and also customize plot scale of your desire, or choose Fit to Paper to scale the drawing to fit onto the selected paper size.

     Generally, you draw objects at their actual size. That is, you decide which unit to be applied to the size (an inch, a millimeter, a meter) and draw objects at a 1:1 scale. For example, if you select the measurement unit as millimeters, then every unit in your drawing represents a millimeter. When you plot the drawing, you either specify a precise scale or fit the image to the paper. Plotting is usually working under precise proportion.

    The plot scale set here represents the ratio of plot unit and actual unit used for drawing models.


Set a Specific Scale

      The plot scale together with plot unit and drawing unit must be specified before plotting. For example, if you select the paper size to mm, entering 1 under mm and 10 under Units blank produces a plotted drawing with each plotted unit represents 10 actual millimeters.

    The following figure shows an instance of plotting objects at three different scales.

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To automatically scale the drawing for printing

  1. If necessary, click the desired Layout tab or the Model tab.

  2. Choose File > Plot.

  3. To scale the drawing to fit on one printed page, in Print Scale, click Fit to paper.

  4. Select Save Changes to Layout, and then click Apply to Layout.

Standard toolbar \

Command line PLOT


To specify the scale factor yourself

  1. If necessary, click the desired Layout tab or the Model tab.

  2. Choose File > Plot.

  3. In Print Scale, do one of the following:

  • Select a predefined scale. For example, choose 1:2 if you want 1 printed unit (inch or millimeter) to equal 2 drawing units.

  • Select Custom, and then under User Defined Scale, type the ratio of printed units of measure (inches or millimeters) to drawing units.

  1. To specify the printed units of measure, click Inches or Millimeters.

  2. Select Save Changes to Layout, and then click Apply to Layout.

Standard toolbar \

Command line PLOT


Scale the Drawing to Fit the Page

      To plot the view at the largest possible size that fits the paper. The height and width of the drawing will be adjusted according to the paper size.

      Any changes to the ratio of plotted units, drawing size, plotters, plot origin, plot orientation and plot area will be reflected to plot scale.


Set Options for Plotted Objects

The following options show plot patterns with instructions on how to plot objects.

  • Plot Object Lineweights. Specifies that lineweights assigned to objects and layers are plotted.

  • Plot with Plot Styles. Plots a drawing with specified plot styles. Plots lineweights automatically once selecting this option automatically. If you do not select this option, objects are plotted with their assigned properties and not with the plot style overrides.

  • Hidden Plot. Suppresses the plotting of objects that are located behind other objects regardless of how it's displayed on screen.

  • Save Changes to Layout. All the changes you make in the Plot dialog box will be saved to the layout if you click OK.


To set lineweight options

  1. If necessary, click the desired Layout tab or the Model tab.

  2. Choose File > Plot.

  3. Choose Plot Object Lineweights:

  • Plot Object Lineweights – Specifies whether the lineweights assigned to objects and layers are plotted.

  • Scale Lineweights – prints lineweights in proportion to the scale you set on the Plot scale. If not selected, lineweights print at their assigned size without adjustments for the print scale. (A Layout tab must be active to scale lineweights.)

  1. Select Save Changes to Layout, and then click Apply to Layout.

Standard toolbar \

Command line PLOT

NOTE Print styles can also affect how lineweights print.


Specify the Area to Plot

      To determine where to plot the drawing , you must specify an area for the drawing. The following options under Plot Area are provided in The Plot dialog box.

  • Current View. Plots the contents in current view.

  • Save View. Plots a view saved previously with the VIEW command. You can select a named view from the list provided. This option is unavailable if there are no saved views in the drawing.

  • Extents. Plots current space together with all the objects of the drawing.

  • Limits. When plotting a layout, plots everything within the printable area.

  • Window. Plots any portion of the drawing you specify within the rectangle window. Click the Window button to use a pointing device to specify opposite corners of the area to be plotted, and then return to the Plot dialog box.


To specify a portion of the drawing to print

  1. If necessary, click the desired Layout tab or the Model tab.

  2. Choose File > Plot.

  3. Under Print Area, click one of the following:

  • Current View – prints the view on the screen.

  • Saved View – prints the selected saved view.

  • Extents – prints the displaying area for all of the drawings.

  • Limits – prints to the limits defined for the layout or drawing.

  • Window – prints the portion of the drawing contained in the specified window, maintaining the aspect ratio of the windowed area to the drawing.If you clicked Window, you must specify the window. Under Windowed Print Area, specify the area on the screen by picking corners of the window.

  1. Select Save Changes to Layout, and then click Apply to Layout.

Standard toolbar \

Command line PLOT


Preview a Plot

        Viewing a drawing before printing gives you a preview of what your drawing will look like when it is printed. This helps you see if there are any changes you want to make before actually printing the drawing.If you are using print style tables, the preview shows how your drawing will print with the assigned print styles.

     System automatically generates preview results as soon as you setup relevant plotting properties.


To preview a drawing before printing

  1. If necessary, click the desired Layout tab or the Model tab.

  2. Choose File > Plot Preview.

  3. Do one of the following:

  • To print the drawing, click Plot .

  • To return to the drawing, click Exit.

Standard toolbar \

Command line PREVIEW


Printing a drawing

       The print setting options available under each tab on the Print dialog box were described in the previous sections.

NOTE You cannot print a rendered image directly to a printer. To print a rendered image, you must first save the drawing to a different format and then print it from another graphics program.


To print a drawing

  1. If necessary, click the desired Layout tab or the Model tab.

  2. Choose File > Plot.

  3. From the Print dialog box, make any adjustments to the settings.

  4. Click OK.

Standard toolbar \

Command line PLOT

NOTE Instead of using the print settings you saved with your layout, you can select Previous form the Page setup pull down list.


Commands Reference

PLOT: Plots a drawing to a plotter, printer, or file

LAYER: Manages layers and layer properties

LWEIGHT: Sets the current lineweight, lineweight display options, and lineweight units

OPTIONS: Customizes the ZWCAD settings

PROPERTIES: Controls properties of existing objects

PREVIEW: Shows how the drawing will look when it is plotted

ZOOM: Increases or decreases the apparent size of objects in the current viewport

System Variables Reference

PLOTROTMODE: Controls the orientation of plots 

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