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AutoCAD® 2007-2009 DWG to PDF Output Analysis

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5 Reasons that you don't want to use the AutoCAD 2007 or 2008 PDF Output PC3:

1.) PDF file sizes are huge -- email, FTP, printing, and viewing are cumbersome.
2.) No support for lines merge -- PDF files created will NOT view or print exactly as they would from AutoCAD.
3.) Doesn't convert True Type Text as searchable text in the PDF -- reduces the utility of the PDF.
4.) True Type Text comes out thicker than it should -- PDF will not print correctly.
5.) Can't create PDF's from any other application other than AutoCAD.
 

 

Analysis

AutoCAD 2007 and 2008 does include PDF output by means of a '' DWG to PDF.pc3 '' plotter. After doing some investigating and analysis we have determined that the file sizes, PDF accuracy, utility, and ease of use will leave the CAD User looking for something more robust for their PDF output needs.

The AutoCAD 2007 '' DWG to PDF.pc3 '' plotter creates PDF files that are not text searchable in Acrobat® Reader®. Although a user selects landscape rotation when previewing and plotting the resulting PDF file is still incorrect for orientation.

Lines merge support in PDF's is when overlapping lines, hatch patterns, and solid fills are transparent. This function is not supported in the AutoCAD 2007 PDF output meaning that the PDF files created will NOT view or print exactly as they would from AutoCAD.

Controls for selecting what to plot or convert to PDF are limited to the AutoCAD 2007 plotting and publishing interfaces. Converting DWG files to PDF requires additional settings that are simply not found in the '' DWG to PDF.pc3 '' plotter.

The PDF file sizes are very large when compared to other software applications that convert DWG files to PDF. One D-size drawing is any where from 800KB to 3.1MB in file size when plotted to PDF from AutoCAD 2007. Multiply this file size buy the number of sheets in a design set and emailing, printing, viewing AutoCAD 2007 PDF's becomes a very painful task. Detailed file size comparisons are listed below.

The basic functionality the AutoCAD '' DWG to PDF.pc3 '' plotter has simply doesn't meet all the CAD User's needs. On most projects there are other file types like PLT, TIFF, CALS, DOC, XLS, that are included in the project set. Companies need a PDF software application that is capable of supporting these file types as well as the ability to create a PDF from ANY Windows application in order to remain competitive and efficient.
 


PDF Output File Sizes by Software Application

We have tested AcroPlot Pro, Adobe Acrobat 7.0, and AutoCAD 2007 with several files to determine the file sizes provided below. All the DWG files were output at 300 dpi. Typically the Wilhome.dwg file that is included with AutoCAD 2002 is good for testing because it can be used to test with all versions of AutoCAD. Although the Wilhome.dwg is a sample file, Autodesk has made some modifications to it over the years. Thus, we have provided the file size results for each version released.

 

Using the AutoCAD 2002 Wilhome.dwg

Output Created ByFile Size (KB)
AutoCAD 2007 DWG to PDF.pc32,681
Adobe Acrobat 7.0  PDFMaker Plug-In **748
AcroPlot Pro -- WINS with the smallest PDF!172
  
AutoCAD 2007 DWFePlot71

** Because the Acrobat PDFMaker toolbar is not yet available for AutoCAD 2007 we tested using AutoCAD 2006.

Click here for the zip file with the results (4.2 MB)

 

Using the AutoCAD 2004 Wilhome.dwg

Output Created ByFile Size (KB)
AutoCAD 2007 DWG to PDF.pc3818
Adobe Acrobat 7.0  PDFMaker Plug-In **748
AcroPlot Pro -- WINS with the smallest PDF!173
  
AutoCAD 2007 DWFePlot71

** Because the Acrobat PDFMaker toolbar is not yet available for AutoCAD 2007 we tested using AutoCAD 2006.

Click here for the zip file with the results (2.4 MB)

 

Using the AutoCAD 2007 Wilhome.dwg*

Output Created ByFile Size (KB)
AutoCAD 2007 DWG to PDF.pc3485
Adobe Acrobat 7.0  PDFMaker Plug-In **214
AcroPlot Pro -- WINS with the smallest PDF!137
  
AutoCAD 2007 DWFePlot21

* In AutoCAD 2006 Autodesk changed the Wilhome.dwg and removed much of the text and information. This is why the file sizes are smaller.
** Because the Acrobat PDFMaker toolbar is not yet available for AutoCAD 2007 we tested using AutoCAD 2006.

Click here for the zip file with the results (1.0 MB)

 

Please note that the AutoCAD Wilhome.dwg sample drawing has changed through the years. AutoCAD 2000-AutoCAD 2005 have relatively the same PDF output file sizes when converted with AcroPlot Pro and Acrobat. But, there is a large variation in PDF output file size when each version is converted to PDF using the AutoCAD 2007 DWG to PDF.pc3 plotter. Although we haven't determined why this occurs we will provide an update in the future when the question is answered.

AutoCAD 2000-2005
(Located in the \Samples Folder)
AutoCAD 2006-2007
(Located in the \Help\Tutorials Folder)
 

How Did We Test The Files?

Listed below are how to configure each application we tested to so that the PDF output is as consistent as possible. Since PDF files do not list DPI in their properties it is very important to pay close attention to the DPI settings when running these tests. Embedding True Type Fonts (TTF) in PDF files will also affect the final out put file size. Embedding all the TTF fonts used in the DWG into the PDF will ensure that when the PDF file is displayed or printed on a different computer that it will in fact be accurate. Otherwise, if the TTF fonts used are not embedded and those same exact fonts are not currently installed in the computer the PDF is being displayed on, then most PDF viewing applications will SUBSTITUTE the missing fonts with a similar font. The substitution results can be very different from the original PDF. Always embed all used fonts.
 

AcroPlot Pro and AcroPlot Jr. Settings

By default the resolution of the resolution of AcroPlot Pro is 400dpi. Below is a screen shot of the settings we used for the AcroPlot toolbar inside AutoCAD 2007.

 

Changing the AutoCAD 2007 DWG to PDF.pc3 Settings

By default the resolution of the AutoCAD DWg to PDF.pc3 driver is 400 dpi. To be consistent we had to change the resolution to 300 dpi. To do this first select the AutoCAD File->Plotter Manager menus. Then select the DWG to PDF.pc3 plotter and right click on it for Properties. Then on the "Device and Document Settings" click on the "Custom Properties" in the list and then click on the "Custom Properties" button.

When the dialog comes up set all of the resolutions to 300 dpi starting from the bottom and working your way to the top.

Then select "OK" and then "OK" in the Plotter Configuration Editor. It will then prompt you to save for the current plot only or save it as the defaults for the DWG to PDF.pc3 printer. Select the ''save it as the default''.

 

Changing the Adobe PDF Settings.

This one is a bit trickier as you really want to make sure that you have all applications closed down and then use the Windows->Start->Control Panel->Printers and Faxes menus. Select the Adobe PDF printer and right click on it for "Properties".  On the Adobe PDF Settings Tab we used the following settings:

Although there is a DPI setting if you hit the "Edit" button, that setting is not used when converting either through the driver or through the PDFMaker toolbar in AutoCAD 2006. So the tricky part is that you have to switch over to the "Paper/Quality" Tab and then select the "Advanced" button.

Now we can set the DP to 300 and "OK" the rest of the way out.  Then start AutoCAD and you should be set.

 

Changing the AutoCAD Settings

Basically we left the AutoCAD settings the same and just made sure that when we selected the printer to test that the paper size was Arch D (24"x36"). Here is a screen capture of the test settings.