Changing Plot Style Table Types

Plot styles are assigned to layouts in a drawing.  Although each layout may use a different plot style table, each drawing may have only one type of plot style table type assigned to it.  All layouts in a drawing must use all CTB files or all STB files exclusively.  One drawing may not mix and match these file types.  The type of plot style used in a drawing is assigned when the drawing is created.

One common problem that appears in AutoCAD 2000 drawings is that Named Plot Style tables (STB files) are inadvertently assigned to a drawing, and the user wants to assign Color-Dependent Plot Style tables (CTB files) instead.  Or vice versa for users who want to use Named Plot Styles.  This document recommends some solutions and identifies probable causes for this problem.

Before attempting to change plot style table types in a drawing, make sure that you have AutoCAD 2000 Migration Assistance (AMA) installed on your machine.  You can tell that it is installed on your machine if AutoCAD 2000 Migration Assistance exists in the Start -> Programs menu of Windows.  If it isn't installed, you should install it from the AutoCAD 2000, Map 4, ADT 2, or LDDT 2 CD, whichever software you own.  Do a partial installation of AutoCAD Migration Assistance.  AMA has two commands that you can type at the command line that will convert AutoCAD 2000 drawings from one plot style type to another.


Converting a drawing from STB to CTB file types

Open the drawing in AutoCAD 2000.  Run the command CONVERTPSTYLES.  A dialog box will appear that tells you that named plot styles will be removed from objects and layers.  Click on the OK button to do this.  Afterwards, you will notice that the plot styles assigned to the layers in the layer dialog box change from anmed plot styles to color_1, color_2, etc. depending on the color that is assigned to the layer.  Now, when the AutoCAD drawing is plotted, its appearance is controlled by the colors of the objects on the AutoCAD screen.

Next, assign a CTB file to model space or any layouts you wish to plot.  After a conversion to color-dependent plot styles, no CTB is assigned to the layout tabs.  Run the PAGESETUP command, and click on the Plot Device tab to assign a CTB file to the current layout.


Converting a drawing from CTB to STB file types

Be sure that you have an STB file created before converting the drawing to use Named Plot Styles.  If you do not have an STB file to use yet, one of your CTB files may be copied and converted into an STB file.  To do this, type CONVERTCTB at the AutoCAD 2000 command line.  Select a CTB file to copy from, then specify a new file name for the STB file.  The STB file will contain plot styles named Style 1, Style 2, etc. for as many colors with unique plot parameters in the CTB files.  This means that if you have edited colors 1 through 6 in the CTB file, only 6 named plot styles will exist in the new STB table.  If you wish to rename the named styles, do so now by going into the Plot Style Manager, and opening the new STB file.

Next, open the drawing in AutoCAD 2000 that you want to convert to use Named Plot Styles.  Run the command CONVERTPSTYLES.   A dialog box will appear, warning you to have an STB file created already, or to convert an existing CTB file into an STB file.  Click on the OK button to do continue converting the drawing, or click on the Cancel button to postpone this process.   If you clicked on the OK button, select an STB file to assign to all layouts in the drawing.  The drawing will then be converted to use named plot styles.

There is one restriction to using named plot style tables that have been converted from color-dependent plot style tables.  Once the STB file has been created, additional plot styles may not be added or removed from the named plot style table.  This is done to allow AutoCAD 2000 to use this STB file when converting AutoCAD 14 drawings to 2000 format and to attach plot styles to existing layers and objects by their color.  A color mapping table is stored internally within the STB file to do this.  If you want to add or delete plot styles from your STB file, this color-mapping table must be removed.  To do that, open the converted STB file in the Plot Style Manager, and click on the General tab.  Click on the button that says Delete R14 Color Mapping Table.  You will be warned that you will not be able to assign this STB file to AutoCAD 14 drawings opened in 2000.  Click on Yes to continue, then specify a filename for a new STB file to create.  Use the existing file name if you want to overwrite the previous plot style table.


Probable Causes

Settings in the Options dialog box

If you start a brand new drawing from scratch, or if you open a drawing created in earlier releases of AutoCAD, settings in the Options command govern which plot style table type is assigned to the drawing.  To check and change these settings, run the OPTIONS command, and click on the Plotting tab.  Under Default Plot Style Behavior for New Drawings, choose color-dependent (CTB) or named plot styles (STB).  You may specify a default plot style table to assign to the layouts in your new drawings, although this may easily be changed in existing drawings.  If named plot styles are selected, choose the default plot style for layer 0, and choose the default plot style for objects.  We recommend keeping the default plot style for objects ByLayer so you can control plotting properties in the Layer dialog box.

LDDT Users and Template Drawings

Plot styles are also assigned to template drawings (DWT files) as they are saved.  If you create a new drawing from a template, the template's plot style table type will apply to the new drawing.  When creating a template drawing from scratch, make sure the correct plot style type is assigned to it.  If not, use the recommendations in the Options dialog box in the previous paragraph to help setup new drawings from scratch with the correct plot style type.

LDDT users always use template drawings when creating files.  Therefore, they have to think about which template drawing they want to assign to a new drawing.  The list of template drawings appears on the lower-left corner of the LDDT New Drawing dialog box:

If a template drawing is not selected, then the template drawing on the top of the list will automatically be selected, and for most users, that is ACAD-Named Plot Styles.dwt, a template with named plot styles.  If you want to use color-dependent plot styles, use the acad.dwt, acadiso.dwt, aec_i.dwt, or aec_m.dwt template drawings.  Or, create your own template files to use in LDDT 2.  You can also remove template drawing files you do not use.  Template files are located in the Template directory of LDDT 2, or the Drawing Template File Location path in the AutoCAD Options dialog box.  In any case, always select a template drawing when creating a new drawing in LDDT 2.