Create a Plot Style (Color-Dependent)
Do you need a way to integrate flexible display into your
plots? For example, you may want to produce draft plots that use
less ink. Or you may want to plot all in black, or shades of
gray. You may want to change solid fills to hatches for some
The way to create multiple plot variations is to use plot styles.
You can create as many variations as you want, save them, and use
them for any drawing. Plot styles are saved in plot style table
There are two kinds of plot style tables: named (*.stb) and
color-dependent (*.ctb). Named plot styles are more flexible, but
are not the default type of plot style. Your choice of plot style
table type is saved in the Windows registry, not in the drawing. To
switch, you change the type and then open a new drawing.
In this tutorial, I'll show you how to create and use a
color-dependent plot style that sets the lineweight to 0.05 and the
screening to 25%. Screening specifies the amount of ink used for a
color and the default is 100%. Setting the screening to 25% is a
useful technique for saving ink for a draft plot.
Set the Plot Style Type
To set the plot style type, follow these steps:
- Choose Tools>Options and click the Plot and Publish tab.
- Click the Plot Style Table Settings button.
- In the Plot Style Tables Settings dialog box, choose Use
Color Dependent Plot Styles or Use Named Plot Styles. You can
also specify a default plot-style table other than the standard
acad.ctb (color-dependent) or acad.stb (named) plot style. For
this tutorial, choose Use Color Dependent Plot Styles, if it
isn't already selected.
- Click OK.
Create a Color-Dependent Plot Style Table
You're now ready to create a color-dependent plot style table.
- Choose File>Plot Style Manager. You'll see a Windows
Explorer window, like the one you see here. Notice the
Add-A-Plot Style Table Wizard shortcut and the other plot style
table files that come with AutoCAD -- including one that sets
screening to 25%.
- Double-click the Add-A-Plot Style Table Wizard shortcut to
open the Add Plot Style Table wizard. (You can combine steps 1 &
2 by choosing Tools>Wizards>Add Plot Style Table.)
- Click Next.
- On the Begin screen, choose the source for your plot style
table. For this tutorial, choose Use an Existing Plot Style
Table and click Next.
- In the Browse File Name screen, choose acad.ctb, which is
the default plot style table. Your new plot style table will be
based on this one. Click Next.
- In the File Name screen, enter a file name. I used
Draft-screen-lwt. Click Next.
- On the Finish screen, click the Plot Style Table Editor
button. The Plot Style Table Editor opens.
You've now created a color-dependent plot style table and you're
ready to define a plot style for that table.
- In the Plot Style Table Editor, click the Form View tab. On
the left you see all the colors from 1 to 255. You can select
more than one color and make changes on the right to apply those
changes to all selected colors.
- Click Color 1 (red). Use the scroll bar to scroll down to
the last color, Color 255 (white). Press and hold Shift and
click Color 255. This selects all the colors.
- For the Screening item, change the value to 25.
- For the Lineweight item, choose 0.0500.
- Click Save & Close. You're now back in the last screen of
the Add Plot Style Table wizard.
- Click Finish.
You've now created a plot style. If you need to edit it, you can
access it from several places. One option is to choose Tools>Options
and click the Plot and Publish tab. There you can choose Add or Edit
Plot Style Tables. You're now ready to apply your plot style.
Here's the drawing. You can see that it uses solid fills in two
places and a heavy lineweight around the window shutters.
Attach a Plot-Style Table to a Layout
You need to attach a plot-style table to a layout. You can attach
different plot-style tables to different layouts to easily create
plot variations. Follow these steps:
- Open a new drawing and draw some objects. Choose a layout
tab in your drawing and set up one or more viewports. (In
AutoCAD 2007, by default, the layout tabs are not displayed. To
display them, right-click the current layout's button on the
status bar and choose Display Layout and Model Tabs, as shown
- Right-click the layout tab and choose Page Setup Manager.
- In the Page Setup Manager dialog box, choose an existing
page setup, if you have one, and click Modify. Otherwise, click
New, name the page setup and click OK. You now see the Page
Setup dialog box for the layout.
- In the upper-right corner, choose your plot-style table from
the Plot Style Table (pen assignments) drop-down list. For this
tutorial, you choose Draft-screen-lwt.ctb.
- Just below, check the Display Plot Styles check box. With
this box checked, you'll see the effect of your plot styles on
your layouts. (If the Display Plot Styles check box is already
checked, you'll need to use the REGEN command to display the
- Click OK.
- In the Page Setup Manager, make sure that the page setup is
selected and click Set Current.
- Click Close to return to your layout.
You should now see the results of your page style. Compare the
layout below with the drawing I showed earlier.
You can see that the solid fills are much lighter and the
lineweight is lighter as well. That will save lots of ink!
In my book,
AutoCAD 2007 and AutoCAD LT 2007 Bible, I include a tutorial for
creating a named plot style in Chapter 17.
About the Author
More AutoCAD Step by Step Articles by Ellen Finkelstein