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I am being asked by my print shop to provide my file in a DWG format, which I have done, but, also to provide info on 'line weight' via a " .CTB" file. I am supposedly able to export this .CTB file, but I cannot find it anywhere.

Any suggestions please?

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why cannot your print shop print from pdfs? converting to dwg for printing sounds scarry. how do you check it to make sure the conversion went ok?

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The difference between printing from DWG/DXF files is considerable. I am fortunate enough to be able to view in Autocad as well as Vectorworks and the VW images are far more subtle.

My best advice and what I have done is to download a copy of the VW Viewer and ask your reprographics viewer to install, they can then view and print the files in their true form. Printing from pdfs may also lose some quality unless you create reasonably high resolution output.

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Those are good suggestions, especially since Autocad doesn't support everything that VectorWorks can do. By restricting you to that format your print shop is limiting what you can do.

But some print shops are stubborn. If yours is one of those, and if you can't find a better shop, do as follows:

1. As Mechanix said, you should look at the file with a DWG viewer before sending it to them, to make sure it looks the same as in VectorWorks. You could also print a small section of it on your own printer to prepare yourself for the poor print quality that Aqueous referred to. There are free and low-priced viewers available -- do a search for "cad viewer".

2. You don't need a CTB file. Just tell them to set the Plot Style Table to "None" and set Plot Options to "Plot object lineweights".

The CTB, or "Color Plot Style Table" file is part of an obsolete Autocad system (which, nevertheless, nearly everyone still uses) in which objects have no lineweight on screen, and are printed out in lineweights determined by their color. Autocad has supported real lineweight for the last 5 years, so even Autocad users have the option to print without CTB files.

3. If you use any fonts that aren't Windows standards, be sure to send your print shop the font files as well. Tell them that you're using TrueType fonts (rather than the Autocad-only SHX fonts) and that you're including the TTF font files with the DWG file.

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The issues of poor print quality using pdf's Aqueous mentioned is not something I have experienced. I do however set my resolution to no lower than 300 dpi and don't see a difference in this over printing straight from VW to my printer.

What it does do on using pdf for external print services is to ensure, as jan15 touched on, your fonts of choice print correctly without the worry of supplying them etc. and you can view them with Adobe's free Reader.

As for pdf creation, inbuilt if using OSX and if on Windows XP use pdf995 which will go to the larger drawing sheet sizes, downloaded from their web site.

Alan

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i print all the time from pdf and have my print res. set to 300 dpi. everything comes out fine.

i thought pdf was set up by adobe, who made it for high end graphics people to send to the printers. am i missing something?

to spend time viewing drawings on an autocad viewer to see if everything went well is asking for trouble & time consuming. i would not even assign this task to my most diligent checker. i would find another printer. maybe kinkos.

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Jan 15 says that CTB is an obsolete AutoCAD system. Thats news to me. A few versions back AutoCAD introduced the ability to set Lineweights by Layer, and they have always had the ability to give a plines a thickness. That being said everyone that I have worked with using AC, still use color as the method for plotting line thickness. Our office generates PDF files from VW, and we send these to the print shop, so far the quality has been good, and PDF seems to be consitant in that the PDF we print in house looks the same as the PDF from the print shop.

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David,

Before release 11 there were no xref's and no paperspace, and so the only way to have multiple scales on the same page was to draw something the wrong size. You could draw the detail at the proper size and then scale it up, but that was such a nuisance that noone ever did it.

With R11, I started creating viewports in paperspace, and zooming in to create the illusion of scale, which I think is the most common practice today. It's a pain in the butt compared to having the software handle all scale issues for you, as VectorWorks does; but it's much better than constantly trying to figure out such things as that to show an object 2 1/4" thick in a detail at 1 1/2" = 1' scale on a sheet whose scale is 1/8" = 1' you have to draw it 27" thick.

But I know lots of people who are still using that pre-R11 method today. They're not using layout tabs or xref's or anything new in the last 20 years. But they still buy each upgrade to a new version.

The sad thing about it is that with all these new features that noone uses Autocad can be almost pleasant -- not like VectorWorks, but much easier than old Autocad.

[ 02-13-2006, 08:03 PM: Message edited by: jan15 ]

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Tom,

It's obsolete in the sense that it was necessary in the days of MS-DOS and pen plotters but isn't necessary now. Noone would ever have thought of it if they'd had today's equipment and operating systems.

Yes, most people still use it, as I said in my original comment. I believe that's because their heads are reeling from the complexity of managing an Autocad file, and they're deathly afraid to try anything new.

Similarly, a lot of people aren't taking advantage of Autocad's recently aquired ability to have several paperspace drawing sheets in a single file, or of the ability to draw plans of different floors in register by using Layer States and by freezing layers in viewports. A lot of people still aren't using paperspace at all. But the practice of drawing details 4 times their real size so they can be printed at 1" scale on the same sheet with a 1/4" scale plan is an obsolete practice, no matter how many people use it, because there's a newer, better way to do it. By the same token the use of color to represent lineweight is an obsolete sytem now that it has become possible to use lineweight to represent lineweight.

As you say, lineweight was introduced in version 2000 -- not just by layer, but also by object. Plot-out lineweight can also be assigned by an object's or a layer's "plot style", which is another system for assigning plot lineweights different than on-screen, using an STB plot style table file instead of the old CTB. That's good news for people who thought Autocad wasn't complicated enough already.

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Autocad's recently aquired ability to have several paperspace drawing sheets in a single file, or of the ability to draw plans of different floors in register by using Layer States and by freezing layers in viewports.

My head is still reeling from AutoCAD. But the newer features revealed by Jan15 would have me unable to cope.

But the practice of drawing details 4 times their real size so they can be printed at 1" scale on the same sheet with a 1/4" scale plan is an obsolete practice

In this case I would have used XREFs rather than drawing a detail at the wrong scale on the same sheet.

AutoCAD has a steeper learning curve than VW, and it's easy to forget after a weekend of partying. So what you have to do is work out "procedures" for everything that you do, and then document them so that you'll remember them on Monday morning.

The same applies to VW. I can never remember all the settings I have to change in order to establish a new layer with a different scale. So I plan to create a check list so that I can get it right the first time.

Sorry, that had nothing to do with the original post.

Regarding the print shop, I would go for the PDFs. They are a wonderful development.

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jan15,

Obviously you are an AC user. I've used the program since (version 9). With each new release, the first thing I do is buy a book and read through all the new procedures. I've always drawn one to one, most of my projects consist of a single drawing file, with all plans elevations, details etc, drawn somewhere in the model space and set up on paperspace tabs.

Drawing everything real size then using viewports to set the scale is second nature to me, I forget that many people have trouble with this concept.

I've only been using VW for 2 months now. The first hurdle that I had to overcome was wrapping my head around setting layers to a scale.

But back to the colour thing. I still like using colour to control lineweight, because I am just so conditioned mentally to being able to see on my computer screen, cyan line = very thick, yellow = thick, red = thin etc (my lineweight settings)

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This is just a personal bug with me, but here goes anyway.

It is not true that in AutoCAD you draw everything at 'real' size, or you would need a monitor a couple of hundred feet square. You draw everything at the scale of 1 drawing unit to 1 foot (or whatever), with the drawing zoomed in or out to fit what you need to work on on the monitor. You enter 3 feet to draw a 3 foot item.

In Vectorworks, you still enter 3 feet to draw a 3 foot item, and zoom in or out to fit the monitor, no matter what scale layer you are drawing on. You don't draw/dimension any differently. The difference is that with a layer scale set, you can see what your drawing will look like printed, with line weights visible and text sized properly, and you can include the appropriate amount of visual info. If you draw a detail knowing you want it at 3" = 1'-0', you can tailor your drawing to that. With AutoCAD, and every thing drawn on the same scale layer, the act of drawing something is more disconnected from what that something will look like printed.

So, everyone is drawing to some scale, and everyone is entering an input dimension to represent the same dimension in the 'real world', but with scaled layers you are drawing with the final printed output in mind from the beginning.

End of rant. Sorry for your time.

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Working on a drawing board always meant working to a scale that suited the information you wished to impart and the size of the choosen drawing sheet.

This method of working was therefore perfectly natural in transition over to a computer using VW.

What it also gave was the freedom of choice to choose at any stage to change and present the drawings at any scale on any sheet size without the penalty of redrawing the work as you would have had to do back on the board.

I've had the impression more than once that people using Autocad believe that they truely are drawing at actual size, and that this somehow makes their drawings more accurate than mine.

It's they who cannot grasp the concept that you can input information at any scale but it will visually always be at a constantly changing scale, veiwed from the monitor screen in front of you and only when printed will it truely attain the scale defined by the setting given within the program.

Why if need be I can even draw at a scale greater than actual size, how about that.

The actual advantage with VW is that it also conveys this scale in relationship to the paper it is proposed printed on, therefore giving a more "accurate" representation of how the finished drawing will appear.

Rantastic...

Alan

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Another thing about scale in VectorWorks is that it handles the relationship between model size and paper-sized features such as text size, dimension arrow size, linetype scale, and hatch scale. All of those have to be managed manually in Autocad. It always infuriated me that Autocad couldn't do that. After paying thousands of dollars for a computer and software, it seemed beyond ridiculous that I had to do all the tedious arithmetic.

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jan15, alanmac, Antone,

Sorry Antone, I didn't mean to get under your skin, about the real size thing. You are correct the units sets one to one is technically still not real size. This is a perception thing, in one's head I mean, when you are used to working in a virtual world.

Also I said that I had to wrap my head around the layer to scale thing. I like this feature, I think it really simplifies things. It just to ok me a few hours to get used to idea that VW was doing pre, automatically what AC was doing post, manually.

Although I did have a person call me for help one time. He said that he kept drawing a 2" x 2" square, and it kept coming out the wrong size in the this stupid, useless CAD program (AC). What I was able to finally figure out was that he was drawing a 2" x 2" square, then pulling out his scale and measuring it on his computer screen. I clued into what he was doing, when he asked how he was going to be able draw a part that was 20" long by 1/2" wide, and he only had 15" monitor.

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Jan15 said:

Before release 11 there were no xref's and no paperspace,

Ya know, you're right. I didn't remember when xrefs and viewports came in. We went from release 10 straight to 13.

and so the only way to have multiple scales on the same page was to draw something the wrong size.

What? Didn't you "insert" blocks? I drew details as separate drawings and then inserted them at a relative scale into the target drawing.

About scale.

All CAD programs draw at full size. Scale has to do with plotting only. The objects are drawn at 1:1. The notations and dimensions have to be enlarged (x96 for 1/8" scale, for example) so that they will plot properly when the drawing is reduced to plot scale.

In AutoCAD, notes and dimensions have to be enlarged manually.

In VW, these things will be enlarged automatically once you enter the scale at setup (Page > layer scale) and page size (Page > set print area). The whole drawing will be automatically reduced to the proper size when plotting.

The advantage in VW is that, should you change the drawing scale midstream, it automatically changes the sizes of the notes and dimensions. In AutoCAD, you're screwed, because it doesn't change anything, or at least it didn't up to release 2000i. You have to go in and manually change the size of these items.

valerie leal-bennett

I think mechanix and alanmac have good responses to your topic. You should try to use PDFs. Using .dwg will only lead to unreliable results and wasted hours.

My Mac outputs perfect PDFs and I can even import them into "Pages," the new Apple word processor.

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Tom,

Great story, about the 2" x 2" square.

I don't think anyone was offended by what you wrote before. I certainly wasn't. Feel free to express yourself.

Glad to hear you're getting used to VW. You have to learn new methods, but they're easier and give you greater control and capabilities.

In particular, don't try to use VW layers as you used Autocad layers. Use VW classes for those purposes. And you may find you don't need to use as many classes as you did AC layers. I personally hardly ever use any classes other than the two default classes, "None" and "Dimension". And usually only one layer for each scale on each sheet.

VW layers are for sheet management and for other purposes which don't exist in Autocad: scale, layering (keeping certain things in front of other things so they'll cover up part of the background), and groups (a group is a sub-set of a layer, and a very useful feature of VW; the AC group is nothing like it).

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I have to agree with jan a bit here..with paperspace tabs, which we did in release 14, makes having a whole job in one file (like VW) has made things easier (also no more setting limits!0 The real drawback with AC is there is no WYSIWYG, not that great things can't be done with it, with a little effort.

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Actually, Autocad can do WYSIWYG now. It's still an obnoxious piece of software that requires you to devote a lot of energy to managing the software rather than to design, but at least there's an option to see the drawing while working on it.

I'm not sure if they intended it, and I've never heard of anyone else using it, but to draw while seeing everything just like it'll look on the print-out:

1. Set layout background to white.

2. Turn lineweight display on.

3. Check "Display plot styles" in Page Setup

4. Lock viewport display (in Properties palette)

Then work in the viewport. You can zoom in and out without changing the viewport's scale, and as you zoom in you can see lineweights just as they'll print. It works whether you use object lineweights or a mapping of color to lineweight via CTB file, or even the newer STB mapping. The "Display plot styles" setting does the translation.

If you want to see the dashes as they'll print, both in the viewport and in the model tab, you can set psltscale = 0 and give each dashed line a linetype scale equal to the scale factor.

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Hi Tom

Great story about the guy measuring on screen with a scale rule. No, wasn't upset really, but I would be if my boss said we were switching from VW to AC ;~)

Alan

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To Tom K and almanac.

Tom, sorry for the stridency. You didn't get under my skin, I was just having a bad day. My boss just DID say we are switching from VW to AC.

[ 02-16-2006, 01:13 PM: Message edited by: Antone Cepernich ]

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Jan,

yes you are correct in terms of WYSIWYG in the viewport..then you work in 'floating model space" for dims & text, with dimscale set to viewportscale. Some offices work this way, others believe in doing all text and dims in paperspace..either way its much more convoluted than VW.

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quote:

Originally posted by valerie leal-bennett:

I am being asked by my print shop to provide my file in a DWG format, which I have done, but, also to provide info on 'line weight' via a " .CTB" file. I am supposedly able to export this .CTB file, but I cannot find it anywhere.

Any suggestions please?

If you have VectorWorks 12, have the map line weights to colors option checked in the export dialog, and if you are exporting to a supported version (2000 and higher), then the CTB file will be created in the same folder as the exported DWG file.

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