Output options vary greatly in quality and price. Quality and paper
AutoCAD can use the Windows XP or Windows 2000 system printer, so any device that Windows supports is also supported by AutoCAD. You also have the option of plotting directly to an output device, although Autodesk recommends that you set up your plotter or printer through Windows and then select the device from the Plot Configuration
So many types of printers are available these days that it has become more difficult to choose the right printer for your application. This section describes the broad categories of printers available and how they relate to AutoCAD. You will also want to consider the other uses for your printer, such as word-processing or color graphics. Here are a few printing options:
Laser printers Laser printers produce
high-qualityline work output. The standard office laser printer is usually limited to 8.5 ² 11 ² paper; however, 11 ² 17 ² laser printers for graphics and CAD work are now becoming affordable and are commonly used for proof plots. Resolution and speed are the major considerations if you are buying a laser printer. An output of 300dpi (dots per inch) produces very acceptable plots, but 600dpi is fast becoming the standard. You should also look for a laser printer with sufficient built-in memory to improve spooling and plotting speeds.
Color Ink-jet printers These printers offer speed and quality output. Some color ink-jet printers even accept 17 ² 22 ² paper. Because ink-jet printers are competitively priced, they can offer the best solution for low-cost check plots. And the 17 ² 22 ² paper size is quite acceptable for half-size plots, a format that many
architectsand engineersare using now.
PostScript printers If you want to use a PostScript device to output your drawings, the best method is to use File Export or the Psout command. These options convert your drawing into a true PostScript file. You can then send your file to a PostScript printer or typesetting machine. This can be
especiallyuseful for printed circuit board (PCB) layout that requires photo negativesfor output. If you are an architect who needs presentation-quality drawings, you might want to consider using the Encapsulated PS (*.eps) option in the Export Data dialog box. Often service bureaus that offer a raster plotter service can produce E-size PostScript output from a PostScript file. The uses of this option are really quite open-ended.
Another option is to export your drawing to an illustration program such as Adobe Illustrator and make any refinements to your drawing there. You can save files in the AutoCAD 2005 DXF file format or use the File Export option to export files to the Windows metafile format. Most illustration programs accept either of these formats.
Printer technology has changed significantly since the early versions of AutoCAD. This is especially true in the area of large format plotters. Output devices intended for CAD were once dominated by pen plotters, but now color ink-jet plotters and printers are commonplace. Ink-jet technology offers far greater flexibility and speed, giving you many more options in the look of your output.
You can also find laser or electrostatic plotters at a much higher price. Ink-jet plotters offer the best value; they are fast and
If you need large plots but can't afford a large plotter, many blueprint companies and even some copy centers offer plotting as a service. This can be a very good alternative to purchasing your own plotter. Check with your local blueprinter or CAD service