Send PDF directly to plotter

I am trying to set up a plot driver that will create a .pdf file and also sends the .pdf file to a networked plotter. I've seen some old posts that describe using a post-plot command but this was being done in XM. It seems to me that the dialog boxes have changed or been added from XM to v8i SS3. Is there a way to do this?

I did an experiment where I copied the pdf.pltcfg and under the Default Print File Name tab I defined File Name as the network plotter path/share name. This worked sending it to an HP 1200 large format plotter but there were some quality issues. The plot consisted of vector and raster data. The raster attachments are aerial photos (either jpeg2000 or Mr SID). I an area where there was vector data over the raster the raster was lighter than the rest of the raster. There were small blocks in these light areas (the boxes were the lighter part of the raster).

I want to be able to do this because we use roll plots with aerial images under roadway designs for public meetings. We also use a lot of shaded areas (vector data) filled with transparent fill. If we use a normal plot drive and use the "rasterize" check box some of the vector data shows up very thin or sometimes even dotted. Th .pdf driver does not require using the "rasterize" check box. I really do not want to create a .pdf, open it with Adobe and then print from there. We have some issues with Adobe. The colors never match the direct plot and the scale is never correct when printing through Adobe.

Microstation v8i SS3

Windows 7 Pro

  • Does anyone have an opinion on this matter?????????

    Microstation CONNECT

    ORD CONNECT 2021 R1

    Microstation v8i SS 10

    Power InRoads v8i

    ORD CONNECT 2021 R1


  • We are running MicroStation V8i (SS2) on Windows 7 x64.

    We don't seem to have any scaling issues when creating PDFs from MicroStation, then opening/plotting with Adobe Reader.

    We (I) maintain 4 drivers for each client (for each office): Full and half-size "direct print" and full and half-size PDF.

    I am intrigued by your suggestion - that after creating the PDF, that it also be automatically plotted to a specific device.

    I know there is a setting in the PDF driver to automatically open the PDF after creation... but that only gets you half-way there.

    I am wondering if you set the output location of the PDF to a directory on the file server that automatically plots any PDF that shows up in the folder - to a specific plotter? You could set up different folders for each printer/plotter in your office?

    This is sort of how the old eQuorum "DOS" queues used to work.

    Just a thought.

    May be worth talking to your IT folks if they could set up such a directory?

    David Allen

    Transportation CADD Manager

    Pennoni Associates Inc.

  • David,

    Thanks for the reply. I will check with my IT department and see what they can do.

    Microstation CONNECT

    ORD CONNECT 2021 R1

    Microstation v8i SS 10

    Power InRoads v8i

    ORD CONNECT 2021 R1


  • When printing from the PDF print dialog, are you using the "Actual Size" option, rather than "Fit"? Make sure you use Actual Size to get proper scaling.

    No clue on the other stuff, sorry.

  • Regarding "print to file & printer simultaneously", this is typically accomplished by using a post-print program.  You can find this in the printer driver configuration editor, under the Programs tab.  This section allows you to define a collection of operating system commands that execute either before or after print processing.

    For your workflow, you could set up a variant of pdf.pltcfg that wrote a PDF file to somewhere on your hard drive (either automatically or via the interactive file picker).  In the .pltcfg, you could define a post-print program that does something like "copy $(MS_PLTOUT) \\server\printer".  The result would be both a PDF file on disk and a printout.  Note that post-print programs are only executed when print processing is successful.

    However, you should be aware that the plot file interpreters built into the plotter firmware are not all created equal.  If you're getting good results using printer.pltcfg to print to the plotter via the vendor's preferred Windows printer driver, you may not receive the same level of quality when sending a PDF to the plotter directly.  In the same way that 3rd-party PDF viewers struggle with advanced concepts such as transparency, plotter firmware may not honor everything that can be defined inside a PDF file, or honor it in the same way that Acrobat does.

    MicroStation does not have the ability to create a plot file on disk using one printer driver, as well as drive a plotter using a different printer driver, all at the same time.  This could probably be accomplished in sequence using keyins, though.