Creating plotter configuration files (PC3) in AutoCAD

Oct 31, 2014


You want to know if there is an easy way to configure plotter settings, such as color depth, media type, improved raster and vector print quality, media source and merge controls, at plot time. You would also like to save these settings for later use.


Many new capabilities have been added to plotters over the past several years. Features such as color depth, media type, improved raster and vector print quality, media source and merge controls are now common on many devices. A plotter configuration file, or PC3 file, enables you to easily configure a plotter and to save the settings for later use. You can set up multiple configuration files for the same plotter by selecting a different configuration in the Plot dialog box.

To create a plotter configuration file

  1. In AutoCAD enter the PLOTTERMANAGER command.
  2. In the Plotters window, double-click the Add-a-Plotter Wizard icon.
  3. On the Add Plotter-Introduction Page, click Next.
  4. On the Add Plotter-Begin page, select the appropriate option. Click Next.
    • My Computer: The application uses an HDI driver for a plotter/printer connected to the computer.
    • Network Plotter Server: The application uses an HDI or a System Printer driver with a plotter/printer connected to another computer on the network.
    • System Printer: The application uses a System Printer installed on the computer. Select this option when you already have a System Printer configured and want to use different settings for the application compared to other Windows® applications.
  5. Follow the prompts on the next page. The option that you selected in Step 4 determines which page will be displayed.
  6. If you want, select an older PCP or PC2 file in the Import dialog box. Click Next.
  7. Select the port that you want to plot to. Click Next.
  8. If you selected a network device in Step 4, this step will not be necessary. In the Plotter Name dialog box, enter a name for the device that you have just configured. Click Next. This step is very important. The name that you enter will be displayed in the dialog box when selecting a plotting device. You may also choose to configure the same device several different ways. For example, you may want to create a configuration for each page size you use. Make sure the name is descriptive to help you identify it later (for example, HP Design650 B size).
  9. On the Finish page, edit the settings for the device, calibrate the plotter, or finish creating the PC3 file.
  10. Click Finish.

To see the new PC3 file, open the Plotter Manager.

Tip: Plotter configuration files can be easily distributed and shared on a network.


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