Plot Multiple Drawings at Once in AutoCAD (Batch Plot in Sheet Sets!)

The main reason that made me want to learn how to work with Sheet Sets is Automated Plotting. This is one of the greatest benefits Sheet Set Manager gives us.

Too often we waste way too much time on Plotting drawings. Even plotting a single sheet that is already set can take a sufficient time for locating the drawing on the disc, opening it then going to the Layout and running Print Preview before printing. Then doing all those steps for all the drawings in our project when there might be 10, 20, 50 drawings, sometimes more.
But this time is well wasted, right? Wrong! Imagine plotting all these 50 drawings with just one click of a mouse? Yes! This is possible using Sheet Sets!

Plot the Project (Plot Multiple Drawings at once)

It is important to note, that in order to be able to plot the project using Sheet Sets, we must have set our Layouts’ page settings right when we’ve created our Sheet Set.

If you have to use two or more printers/plotters don’t worry just set them up and they will be printed simultaneously when the plotting of the project begins!
To start plotting just follow these simple steps:
  1. Start Sheet Set Manager (CTRL+4) and open your project.
  2. Go to Publish and hit Publish To Plotter. As easy as it is!
    Note: You can Choose Publish to PDF or Publish to DWF if you desire so it will all happen automatically!

Let’s briefly discuss the other interesting options that Publish gives us.

  • Publish using Page Setup Override by using this option we can force plotting on sheet size D for example.
  • Edit Subset and Sheet Publish Settings give us the opportunity to choose what to plot, for example, we would need to plot only the drawings without the cover sheets.
  • Publish in Reverse Order is pretty self-explanatory
  • Include Plot Stamp and Plot Stamp Settings… are for people that use plot stamps. The menus are easy, you just have to set your stamp.
  • Manage Page Setups… is here to help us with setting up our sheet plot options, but as previously said it is best to do that in the beginning while creating the Sheet Set.
  • Sheet Set DWF Publish Options… here we can choose if we want our Project to be plotted to Multi-sheet File or to Single-Sheet Files. There are also options for Name, Location and DWF Data options.
  • Sheet Set PDF Publish Options… here again we can choose the Location, Multi or Single Sheet files we need, name, Quality and PDF Data options.
  • Publish Dialog Box… Opens a window where we can control all Publish Options.

As you can see Plotting with Sheet Sets Manager is like a Miracle! Next week we will learn how to Pack the entire Project and send it to a Third party.

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Sheet Set – Managing your Projects

In our journey to understanding No:1 AutoCAD Secret! – Sheet Sets we have already created our Sheet set and set a title block for it.
Now we are going to rename our drawings and renumber them using the Sheet Set Manager. This will automatically be updated in our Title Blocks!

Sheet Set Properties

In the previous post when we have created the Title Block we have also created Fields that will update our Drawing name, sheet number, job number and version. Now we will create other fields that contain information for Date, Job, Version, Plot Date, Scale, Design by, Drawn by, Checked by etc.

There are two types of data we need for those. One is generic for the whole project like Job Numer, while another type of data is different for every layout like Scale.

Sheet Set manager gives us the opportunity to do just that! When opening Field Window under SheetSet Category, we can see there are two main Name types. CurrentSheet… – data concerning only the current layout and CurrentSheetSet… – data that concerns the whole project.

To add custom properties to our Sheet Set we have to go through 3 simple steps:

  1. On Sheet Set Manager (we can open it with CTRL+4) right click on current SheetSet and we choose Properties

  2. A window will pop up, we Click on Edit Custom Properties…

  3. On the next Window, we Click on Add.. and we finally can Type Name and Default Value for our Custom Property.

    Note: On the lower left corner we can see Owner it is very important to Choose the right one. For Example, we can choose SheetSet for our Date because it will most likely be one date for the whole project, but we have to choose Sheet for Scale because it will be different for every Layout.

Now we can Fill up all the fields. By using CurrentSheetCustom or CurrentSheetSetCustom Field names.
Note: I Like to Create separate Fields for Signed Day, Signed Month, Signed Year because that way they can be placed in the seal too.

Project arrangement

It is really useful to arrange the drawings in our project. We can be using one sheet set for different phases of the project to different specialties like architecture, grading, construction. In order to arrange the workflow, we can use new Subsets.  In the example, we will create a new subset of Cover sheets and one for the actual drawings.

To do that we right click on the Sheet set Name and choose “New Subset…

In the new window we assign a name to our new Subset for the example we will use Cover Sheets.

After creating Cover Sheets Subset, we create another one called Drawings.

Now we have to just drag and drop the drawings into their places.

Rename and Renumber

As previously said renumbering is one of the biggest advantages that sheet set manager gives us. We can not only renumber but rename our drawings at any given time. This can be done by simpy rightclicking on the specific sheet and choosing Rename & Renumber…

A new window will pop up, there we can change:
1. Number
2. Name
3. Change layout’s or drawing’s name to match the Sheet name and number. In our example we will change only layout name.
By using Next and Previous we can circle between the different sheets in our Sheet Set.

Add and Remove Layouts

The process of removing sheets from our project is pretty straight foreward. We just have to right click on a specific sheet and choose Remove Sheet

Adding Sheets is also fairy easy job. To do that we have to right click on our Project name or Subset Name if we already have one and choose Import layout as a Sheet.

A window will pop up, here we go to Browse and find the drawing we want to add. After choosing our drawing, AutoCAD will show us all the layout the selected drawings. In our example we have only one new Layout to add.

Managing project using Sheet set is really easy! Next week we will learn how to create a Library with typical details for our projects using Sheet Sets.

Setting a Title Block for Sheet Set Use

We already know the No:1 AutoCAD Secret! (7 Benefits of using Sheet Set!) and how to Create Sheet Set (5 Easy Steps!) it is now time to start exploring the benefits of Sheet Sets. Today we will learn how to Set a title block and automatically update the text in it!

Why would we need an automatic updating text? Let’s imagine that we need to change the name of the person who Checked the project? Or even change the whole name of the project? Another thing that may happen is to delete a drawing and/or add a new one. Usually, we will have to open all the drawings and change the information in text objects. If there are a lot of layouts it is almost sure to end up with a mistake or two. That is why using Sheet Set is great. We can change all this without the need of opening a single drawing!

The best practice is creating a Title Block once and using it from now on. In the example, we will be drawing everything in the layout without actually creating a Block. I prefer using Xref for linework of the Title Block and fill the data using Fields. You can create an actual Block, but in order to update the fields in the Block, you will have to use UPDATEFIELD command. With that said let’s start creating the actual Fields.

Automatic Field Creation

First, we will create a Field that contains the name of the project.

Create a Multiline Text Object and while in editing mode right click in it and choose Insert Field…

In the last post, we have assigned our project name in the SheetSetDescription, because it gives us the opportunity to use more symbols than SheetSetProjectName. So we just select that Field Name from the right side of the window. On the left we can choose the format, in the example we will choose Uppercase so no matter how we type the information it will always be UpperCase.

That way we fill up other text in our title like:
CurrentSheetDescription for drawing/layout name
CurrentSheetNumber for Sheet Numbering
CurrentSheetSetProjectNumber for Job Number
CurrentSheetSetProjectPhase for Version

We will discuss in the next post how to Manage the Sheet Set Properties and how to add Custom Field Names for Specific text fields.

After filling up our data we can now copy the Title Block and Fields or Xref and fields on all the other Layouts.

By creating Title Block using Sheet set we can always update the information at any time without even opening the drawings, just by using Sheet Set Manager. This can save lots of time and mistakes.

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No:1 AutoCAD Secret! (7 Benefits of using Sheet Set!)

One of the most useful features of AutoCAD is Sheet Set Manager! However, it is one of the least used ones. It is almost like a Secret that only few CAD designers use, even though it has been a part of AutoCAD since 2005! If you spend just a little time on it, you will be amazed how useful it really is!

I am sure everyone has had issues with managing drawings, finding details and creating title blocks. The biggest issue I personally had was changing data in my title blocks, like the name of drawings or renumbering them.

All of the above problems can be easily solved by using Sheet set Manager, however, first, we have to start using Layouts in our Drawings (AutoCAD Layouts (8 Reasons to Start Using them!)). If you already use them then here we will go through 7 specific Benefits of using Sheet Sets.

Manage a Whole Project

When using Sheet sets you can manage really easy all your Drawings (Layouts) using only one file. The file has .dst extension and you manage your drawings in pretty much the same manner as a folder in Windows. You Can create Subset under your Sheet that way you can classify your layouts even more. For example, you can have Subsets: Survey, Land Develop, Road Design and so on, that way the whole project can be managed from one single file. (You will still have your drawing files somewhere on your server but you will be able to manage them faster and easier using a Sheet set)

You can keep all your .dst files in one folder for a specific year for example. That way all the drawings you’ve used during the year will be easily reachable.  There are many ways to manage your work using Sheet set, you just need some imagination.

Automatic Title Block Filling

You can use Sheet Set to fill the data in your Title Blocks automatically. That way every time you create a new sheet your data will be automatically filled in.
The other benefit of filling your data Automatically is that if there is a change you can change it directly in the Sheet Set Manager and the text will be updated on all sheets without even opening them!

Publish Multiple Drawings

Using Sheet Set Manager, you can enhance the functionality of the Publish Command. Now you will be able to publish multiple drawings on multiple plotters/printers faster (with only 1 click!)

You can choose to publish all the drawings in your Sheet Set. Or if you want to publish only a specific Subset you can do that as well. Also, you can choose just specific set of drawings to be published, no matter of the Subset they are in. In other words, you can do everything you can think of related to Publishing drawings!

In addition, to Publish to plotter you can as well create .dwf or .pdf files of your drawings having the same benefits like publishing to a plotter.

Create Transmittal for The Whole Project

Sheet Set Manager has another great feature that allows us to manage multiple drawings at once. This time it is creating a Transmittal file by using eTransmit functionality for the whole Sheet Set.

In other words, you can pack and send all drawings in your project with all dependent files with just one click of the mouse!

Automatic Drawing List Table

You can create Automatic Drawing List Table of your entire Sheet set or just of a specific Sub set. The procedure is really easy, you just have to click on Insert Sheet List Table.. and that is it.

The best thing is that you can add every property of your Sheet set not only the drawing number and name. For example, you can add the specific Scale, Drawn by, Signed by, Signed date and so on.

Automatic View Titles

Sheet set can recognize your views in sheets and if you place your views using Sheet Set AutoCAD can also fill in some useful preset information like Project name, drawing name, sheet number, scale and more custom properties of the sheets that you’ve preset in the beginning.


Creating Custom Detail Palette

With the help of Sheet Set Manager, you can create a Palette with different Details that you commonly use. And every time you decide to insert one of them into your drawing,

Continuation of the Sheet Set Topic is divided into several posts you can find them here:


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AutoCAD Layouts (8 Reasons to Start Using them!)

Even now 2018 I still receive drawings that are drown entirely in the Model space. And their Borders and Title Blocks are also set there. I just Can’t figure why!

Yes, people from the older generation are more used to Model space, but if you are younger than forty there is just no excuse for you!

Using Layouts can bring so much great benefits that will help you dramatically increase your productivity! Here are 10 Reasons I could think of why you should use AutoCAD Layout:

Always draw in Real Scale

You can have as many scales as you want in your Layout and still draw everything in full scale 1:1. This is Done by using viewports with different scales.

It doesn’t matter if you have 2, 4, or 10 different scales in your sheet later. We can always draw in full scale 1:1. Even for beginners can easily complete the drawing without having to think how they need to scale the drawing, creating different dimension styles, etc.

Have Different Viewports

We can show different areas of our Model space in different viewports. For example, if the drawing is too big for one sheet, or if we want to “Zoom in” something specific. That way we can easily update the model space and all the viewports will be automatically updated!

Easy to Change Scales

Using Layout it is dead easy to control the Drawing Scale. As previously discussed, everything is drawn 1 by 1 and the scale can be easily arranged into the layout. The change is done by simply choosing the scale you need. Either by selecting the viewports and going to properties or at the bottom right corner of the screen.

Different Layer Properties

When drawing everything in Model space and using our standard layers and colors we will create our design but when using Layouts we can use different Layer States for the different viewports. That way we will have different layer properties of one single drawing in one file drawing it only once!

The Advantages of Annotations

By using Layouts we can have less Text and Dimension Styles and use the advantages of Annotation scales. That way we won’t need to create several different Text and Dim styles for Different Scales. Annotation scales will automatically scale the objects so they will look identical on every scale you choose. This also can be applied to Blocks that use Annotation Scales!
If you are already using Annotation scales and are looking for a way to stop the annoying Annotation Preview Look at our Post about that topic: How to Turn off Annotation scale Preview

Different Drawing Orientation

You can Configure each Viewport to have its own Orientation. For example, you want the show your Axis perpendicular to the sheet, it is an easy job using the view layouts!

Print Drawings more Easily

Remember your layout is the same thing as your sheet, so when you are printing use 1:1 scale. If your company has a template then it will be really easy for you to start setting up and plotting your sheets!

If you have ever tried to print something that is drawn in the model space you know that pain of calculating the scale on the plot scale.

Use Sheet Set Manager

The next step you can take to Manage your Layouts is to start using Sheet Set Manager, this way you will be able to Automatically fill up data in your title block, Batch Plot drawings and create transmittals and much, much more. Learn No1: AutoCAD Secret! (7 Benefits of using Sheet Set!)

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