How to print AutoCAD drawing to PDF

One of the most popular output formats of AutoCAD drawing is Portable Document Format or PDF. A drawing exported in PDF format can preserve layer data, custom font styles, and other properties.

If a drawing contains multiple layouts then you can choose to get the PDF output as a single document with layouts in its sheets or you can plot them separately as well. The quality of output can also be controlled using settings of PDF plotters.

In this article, I will show you some basic methods with which you can get output in PDF format from your AutoCAD drawing with many different settings.

Plot to PDF:

To plot a drawing to PDF press CTRL+P on keyboard or type PLOT on the command line and press enter, this will open plot window in AutoCAD. Select DWG to PDF.pc3 plotter from the list of plotters.

If you are using AutoCAD 2016 then you can also select other PDF plotters with some predefined settings like AutoCAD PDF (General documentation).pc3 which has a resolution of 1200 dpi and AutoCAD PDF (High Quality print).pc3 which has a resolution of 2400 dpi.

printer menu autocad

You can also select Publish to web JPG.pc3, Publish to web PNG.pc3 or TIFF plotters to get output in image formats. You can also get high resolution images from AutoCAD by configuring custom plotter.

PDF Export:

Type EPDF on the command line and press enter to start the export PDF command. Select the preset from PDF Preset drop-down menu. You can customize this preset using options button of Current settings panel as shown in the image below.

The PDF settings can be changed as per your requirement using Options button, I have discussed the PDF options settings in next section of the article.

export to pdf options

When you use this command in layout view you will find an additional Export field with the current layout and all layouts options. Select All layouts option from this drop down menu if you want to plot all layouts of current drawing into a single PDF file.

PDF Options:

The 2016 version of AutoCAD saw some major enhancements in the PDF feature. This included additional PDF plotters with various quality preset and an option to control properties of PDF. You can customize all of these PDF related settings from Export to DWF/PDF panel of Output window as shown in the image below.

print AutoCAD drawing to PDF

You can manage the quality of PDF output from Vector Quality and Raster Quality drop down menus. You can change the resolution value to suit your needs, a higher resolution will allow quality printing but it will also consume more ink. So always try to print your drawings with optimal resolution value.

If you are creating the PDF for display on monitors then a higher resolution value can be selected.

The Merge Control drop down menu will control the overlapping lines of the drawings. Lines Overwrite option will create the lines with the colour of line on the top at the intersection point, whereas Lines Merge option will make lines of merged colour at the intersection.

pdf options autocad 2016

There are also several options on Data panel of the PDF Options window that you can use to control your PDF output even further.

If you want to preserve layer information in the output then check the Include layer information radio button. You can also capture TrueType fonts of the drawing and include it in the PDF file so that PDF readers can read the fonts directly from the PDF file and they don’t have to substitute the fonts.

If for any reason you are unable to include your TrueType fonts in the PDF output then you can convert the text into geometry by selecting the Convert all text to geometry radio button. The shape fonts are always plotted as geometry irrespective of the selection made in Data panel

Once you have made your settings click on ok to close the PDF Options window.

Publish to PDF:

One of the advantages of the Publish option is the ability to plot multi-sheet PDF files. To use this option type PUBLISH on the command line and press enter. From Publish to drop-down menu of Publish window select PDF as format and click on Publish Options button as shown in the image below.

print AutoCAD drawing to PDF

From PDF Publish options window select the Multi-sheet file radio button and adjust settings if you want, click on ok and select Publish. Specify the location where you want to save the PDF file and click on Select button to get the final output.

Do you have questions related to this tip? Let me know in the comments below.

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About the Author:

I am a mechanical engineer and I have worked with Design, Manufacturing and Training industries but now SourceCAD is my full-time work and I use it to train students all over the world. I also train corporate clients and help them develop the skill set of their workforce. I am Autodesk AutoCAD Certified Professional and an Autodesk expert elite member. I am a regular contributor of AUGI World magazine and apart from SourceCAD I also develop AutoCAD video courses for Pluralsight and other E-Learning businesses.

5 Comments

  1. Foluso Omolewa February 19, 2018 at 12:34 am - Reply

    I’m on this site looking for how to solve a problem encountered when trying to convert my AutoCAD 2009 drawings to PDF. Normally when dong conversion the PDF images plots to the monitor as an opened file. Such a file could be profiled and given a name through a dialogue form which I usually fill. Now the PDF no longer plot on the monitor. Could you please tell me what has gone wrong with the playing process.

  2. Shashi kumar August 23, 2017 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    After doing this course can I get merit certificate of AutoCAD 2018 professional exam.

  3. sachin kothali May 7, 2017 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    Hi jaiprakashji,
    I am Sachin here,
    Very well supporting site of SOURCECAD.
    currently working on CAD with different suppler drawings with x-refs also in that case,
    when I created a PDF & took it the same PDF prints having some issues, like….existing or proposal entities are not highlighting show same line weights, I tried likewise in layers, some times plot style table settings, some times both, I don’t know where it is the problems? I seen line thickness in PDF but after print there are problems. do you have any proper guidance for any kind of drawings how to get proper line weights in the PDF as well as in the print. and also if I did the drawings in the layers is it required to make also in plot style table settings.

  4. caddyurge February 22, 2016 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    Jaiprakashji,
    Helping those who wish to learn is your task that you have assigned yourself. It is your satisfaction more than money for you to remain with it. We learners have great respect for you.
    I at 72 started learning and the SOURCECAD has helped me in past few months more than a local institute. The desire to learn prompted me look for SOURCECAD and I am happy but delayed informing you.
    You have CATIA tutorial in incubation for long time. Lack of enough time must be the reason. But we learners are waiting for you to double up your resources and be kind enough to serve the dish for us to quench our thirst.
    Jaiprakashji, I shall pray for you that you get the required time and your help will be available shortly.

    Thanking you,
    Sincerely,
    Bhalchandra Khenat

    • Jaiprakash Pandey February 22, 2016 at 4:24 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your appreciation I will try to soon update CATIA contents too

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