AutoCad - Printers: Windows or AutoCAD?

One of the most common misconceptions in printing from AutoCAD is that you just select a printer from the drop-down list in the Plot dialog box and click OK. What you may not know is that all printers and plotters that show up in the drop-down list are not created equal. Figure A shows a portion of the Plot dialog box with the drop-down list expanded.

Figure A Printers That show a PC3 extension use AutoCAD's print driver engine.

If you look at that figure, you'll notice that the printers listed first show only a name or UNC path (\\server\printershare format). If you use any of these printers (those without a .pc3 ending), you are using as little of AutoCAD's print engine as possible and going directly through the Windows system printers. This gives you the least amount of flexibility, performance, options, and quality. For this reason, we recommend that you always create a PC3 plotter configuration for each device you wish to print to.

Before you do that, you can configure AutoCAD so it won't display those system printers in the first place. To do so:

  1. Choose Tools | Options from the AutoCAD's main menu to open the Options dialog box.
  2. On the Plot and Publish tab of the Options dialog box, place a check mark in the check box labeled Hide System Printer.

Now only those printers with a PC3 extension are available for selection on the drop-down list of AutoCAD's Plot dialog box.

Read the next tip Create plotter configurations.

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