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#79782 by Clay Rogers
Tue May 25, 2021 3:37 pm
We are researching possible enhancements to DataCAD's Batch Plotting feature, and some questions have arisen in the course of our investigation. If you use the Batch Plotting feature in DataCAD we'd like to hear from you. Are there any particular enhancements you'd like to see? If so, please reply to this topic and describe how you use the feature, and tell us what changes you'd like to see in as much detail as possible.

Thank you for your help. :D
#79783 by Mark Bell
Tue May 25, 2021 7:08 pm
Hi Clay,

Current use:
1 All our projects are done in MSP on ISO A1 or B1 size sheets depending on the project. Occasionally an A3 sheet size is used,
2. The date stamp and other file and project info are included on all sheets,
3. Each sheet name is renamed to the actual sheet number in the Multilayout/Sheet menu,
4. When using Batch Print, the Print To File(s) is used, and the path and folder selected, with output to PDF and predominantly as No Layers,
5. The '+' toggle is used to expand all the sheets in the Multi-Layout sheets tab and either all or selected sheets selected for printing,
6. Skip screen redraws (faster) is selected,
7. The output PDF's are then collated using the Merge PDF function,

Some suggested improvements below:

1. All the individual output PDF's are named 'filename-Sheet MSP sheet name'.PDF. Having the ability to specify an output typology prior to printing would be of benefit as in most situations the PDF's need renaming. Certain contractors and PM also request the PDF's in a certain format. The use of the Merge PDF has lessened the need to rename the individual sheets as the final PDF name of the merged set can be specified using Merge PDF but with situations issuing individual sheets this can still be time consuming renaming them all,

- Possible solution here is to add another input tab on the batch Print menu where the PDF output naming format is entered or several field options are displayed for selection allowing a short or long name format? ie. in the above example, filename, Sheet, MSP sheet name would be 3 field types available to edit their name and select for inclusion,

2. Add the option to automatically Merge PDF on creation of the batch print. This saves the need to do it after using the Merge PDF feature. There could also be a second option to output the individual PDF's as currently done and create a Merge PDF at the same time. Again, add another tab in the Batch Print menu allowing: [ ] Output Individual Print Files [X] Output Merged Print File and the ability to select one or both,

3. Add the option to add security password options using a similar method to the above for selection on each output file or the Merged file,

4. Add a third option to the output File Format as Bitmap/raster, compressed and at a high resolution. This also provides a level of 'security' as it prevents conversion back to CAD using PDF to DWG etc.

5. Add the option to Print in Color or B&W,

6. Add the option to Print to an alternative sheet size, ie. from the current A1/B1 to A3 from within the Batch Print menu, avoiding the need to go to the Setup menu. This option would only be temporary for the Batch print and not affect the main print output sheet format,

7. Add the ability to embed DataCAD Hyperlinks into the output PDF files. Personally, this would be our first wishlist item as the use of hyperlinks to navigate a drawing set has become popular in the construction industry and it helps negate the whinging factor of 'why don't you use that other software which can do it',

8. Add another option to the Insert/Stamp/Total Print Sheets which can be added to a cover sheet Drawing Register to automatically denote the total number of sheets in the set. We've created an automatic Drawing Sheet Register which lists all drawings and revisions automatically on the cover sheet but haven't found a way to show a tally of all the sheets. Linking the Batch print list to a Stamp format which can be added to a drawing would resolve this,

9. Add the ability to embed O2C models onto MSP sheets allowing the viewer window to display on the PDF sheet(s) created. This is useful for both presentation and construction documentation drawings,

10. Consider a live display window of each sheet in the MLS list on the batch print menu, ie. click on a drawing name in the list to display a large thumbnail image of the sheet,
#79784 by David Porter
Wed May 26, 2021 11:51 am
Have an option to reorder the sheets as they show up by the GTV order shown in batch plotting. Most of the time, my sheets in GTV are not in the same order I want them printed out to PDFs. It would be useful to either allow batch plotting to move sheets within the listing to get them into the correct order of plotting or to add numbers to the list that then prints them in the correct order.

If I could print out all sheets into a single, merged PDF containing pages for the sheets and all in the correct order, and with sheet names that I want, it would save me about 8 extra PDF editing and merging steps.

With digital permit submittals in most of my jurisdictions, each PDF sheet has to be digitally signed and sealed AND have a naming nomenclature that shows the project name or address, the sheet number, and a brief description about the sheet (Floor plan, site plan, elevations, etc.). What I now do is rename each individual PDF produced by DCAD with batch plotting, put numbers in front of the file name so that it puts an ordering system to the sheets, and change the complete PDF file name to contain the info needed for the permit application.
#79785 by John Daglish
Wed May 26, 2021 12:20 pm
Particularly:
7. Add the ability to embed DataCAD Hyperlinks into the output PDF files. Personally, this would be our first wishlist item as the use of hyperlinks to navigate a drawing set has become popular in the construction industry and it helps negate the whinging factor of 'why don't you use that other software which can do it',
#79787 by Roger D
Wed May 26, 2021 12:56 pm
minor desire, have the ability to view the pdf while it being made (good last format check)
I do this now by unchecking the "Skip Screen Redraw" button, but really don't want to see the drawing area, but the pdf as it pops on the screen.
#79829 by Mark F. Madura
Thu Jun 17, 2021 6:27 am
Dear Forum Members:

Quick Layout, GoTo Views, and MSP Sheets:
The Batch Printing Setup dialog currently displays the Quick Layout, and if they exist, GoTo Views and MSP Sheets for selection to batch print. The enhanced dialog I'm currently working on allows you to choose which of the available Layout Types to display so you can, for example, exclude the Quick Layout and GoTo Views if you only need to select MSP Sheets. I'd like to make these choices mutually exclusive (one at a time) versus mutually inclusive (one or more at the same time).

Do any of you need to batch print the Quick Layout AND MSP Sheets, or GoTo Views AND MSP Sheets, etc.?

Thank You,

MFM
#79830 by melina
Thu Jun 17, 2021 8:33 am
Definitely do not need Quick Layout or GotoView Batch Printing since they have not worked (at least for me)... ever. Quick Layout only works for the items in the last Quick Layout window, which would be 1 possible plot (why Batch?). Gotoview Batch Printing only seems to focus on wherever the last Quick Layout window was located. So the GotoView(s) may or may not get printed at all. Usually, it is an empty sheet of paper.

Many votes for the option for the results of the Batch Plot to be merged into one file. And the hyperlinks - it doesn't seem to do much good to put in all the extra work if the only person that can see the cross-refences or manufacturer/spec links is me.
#79831 by John Daglish
Thu Jun 17, 2021 9:34 am
You print pdf's to issue to the construction team, the pdf has clickable hyperlinks to the manufacturers products, latest details online, etc.
ACAD does this.
It requires the CAD program designers to add some code so that the link is printed into the pdf.
#79832 by Neil Blanchard
Thu Jun 17, 2021 10:14 am
We have only ever Batch Plotted MSP sheets; and usually we make PDFs. If we ever plot - which has been a veeeeeeery long time since I have actually plotted anything (!!!) - the issue is the *order* that things plot. This is to save having to collate sheets.
#79833 by melina
Thu Jun 17, 2021 12:13 pm
PDF plotting is the default these days. Even if the drawings are going to be printed on paper, every print shop takes PDF. It lends itself to a more reliable output.

As for recommendations:
Setting print to file and then PDF file type is a little redundant on top of already having the system's PDF printer set as the the plotter in order to have large format sizes available in the first place. It seems focusing the batch plotting more around PDF production would be most useful.
#79834 by David Porter
Thu Jun 17, 2021 12:41 pm
Same here. I only batch plot from MSP sheets. Don't think I have ever plotted from QuickLayout or GTV. For my use, those two options are not even needed with Batch Plotting. I think that might be the user poll to take and it would cut down on the programming workload.
#79835 by Roger D
Thu Jun 17, 2021 1:15 pm
Usually batch plot MSP sheets, sometimes from 1 file, sometimes with multiple files.
Having better file compression so when you have .png or .pdf inserted, the file(s) don't get to large.
Maybe option on how many dpi you want.
Plotting multiple sheets to one would be nice, but I usually have to combine them with my consultants anyways.
#79836 by joshhuggins
Thu Jun 17, 2021 3:02 pm
Sorry for the late reply, just wrapping up moving over here. Uggh. Here is a couple of old wish mockups for Batch Printing that I dug out of mothballs. :lol:

Batch Printing From Multiple AEC's:
  • Allow modifying of which GTV's/MSP's would be printed from the external batch printing dialog.
  • Originally I just wanted to have the display show what saved print scale is set, but it would also be nice if the scale could be changed from here as well to avoid having to cancel out of the whole batch plotting dialog, open the file, update the drawing file, close and save and then start all over.
batchplotGTVs.jpg
batchplotGTVs.jpg (74.09 KiB) Viewed 570 times


Batch Printing From Within An AEC File:
  • Similar to the external batch printing, show the saved print scale for each GTV/MSP
  • Allow the output file names for PDF/PLTs to be adjusted by the users. In my mockup, I have shown the option for users to have drawing stamps, custom user text, and approved safe special characters. The user can then build the output who they need it. This would be really great. Lack of this functionality is one of the main reasons why we switched to using Tracker's PDF's Print Driver instead of Datacad's built-in PDF writer. Would like this in the external batch printing dialog as well. Options on how to handle if PDF output would result in the same file name, to append to beginning or end of existing PDF, overwrite, auto number.
batchplotnames.jpg


I would also suggest looking at Tracker's PDF printer's output options as there are TONS of useful features which I think would suite a multitude of Datacad users very well.
#79837 by Mark F. Madura
Thu Jun 17, 2021 3:37 pm
Roger D wrote:Usually batch plot MSP sheets, sometimes from 1 file, sometimes with multiple files.
Having better file compression so when you have .png or .pdf inserted, the file(s) don't get to large.
Maybe option on how many dpi you want.
Plotting multiple sheets to one would be nice, but I usually have to combine them with my consultants anyways.

How about being able to 'add/insert' existing PDFs to include in the merge?
#79838 by Paul Nida
Thu Jun 17, 2021 5:44 pm
We batch plot using MSP, GTV and quick layout quite often. Not necessarily all in the same file however.

Here are some suggestions people in the office have come up with:

Batch plotting with the custom naming feature so it doesn’t spit out 20 characters I have to modify later
Batch plot and merge sheets all at once for review sets

When batch plotting fix settings so that we never have to hit yes to every sheet that is plotting.

OR BATCH PLOT IN BACKGROUND SO WE CAN KEEP WORKING DURING THE PROCESS

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