Did you know that logged in users can see a lot more content?

Print to a .pdf file, plot file (.plt) or printer

Last updated March 6, 2017 by Tekla User Assistance tekla.documentation@trimble.com

Software version: 

Print to a .pdf file, plot file (.plt) or printer

Print to a .pdf file, plot file (.plt) or printer

You can print drawings and selected drawing areas to .pdf files, plot files (.plt) to be sent to a plotter/printer or to a printer. You can also change the line thickness (pen number) of the printed drawings.

  1. On the File menu, click Printing > Print drawings .
  2. Load the desired printing settings from the settings list in the upper-left corner.

    You can also give the settings a new name. in this case, you need to give the new name before you modify any settings, otherwise your changes will be lost. For more information about the printing settings, see Printing settings and search order.

  3. On the displayed Drawing list , select the drawings that you want to print.

    Any out-of-date drawings are detected and you are asked whether to include them in the output or not. You can also print locked drawings that are up to date. If a locked drawing is not up to date, it is not possible to open or print it, and failed printout will be reported. You can print any unlocked drawing unless the status of the drawing is Original part deleted.

  4. To show a preview of a drawing, select it from the list of drawings at the top of the Print Drawings dialog box.

    The drawings are shown one by one in a preview. The preview shows the drawings always up to date. Use Next and Previous to scroll through the set of selected drawings.

  5. Select the printing option:
    • PDF file : Converts drawings to PDF format.
    • Printer : Sends the drawings to the selected printer.
    • Plot file : Converts drawings to print files in a format suitable for the selected printer and saves them in a specified location.
  6. Define the printing settings on the Options tab. The available settings depend on the printing option that you have selected:
    Option Description
    File location

    Enter the location for the .pdf or plot file, or use Browse to browse for the folder.

    The \Plotfiles folder under the model folder is the default value.

    Open folder when finished Open the .pdf or plot file folder in Windows Explorer after the printout has been created.
    Open file when finished Open the .pdf file after it has been created.
    Output to single file Print the selected drawings to a single .pdf file.

    If you do not select this option, each drawing will be printed in a .pdf file of its own.

    File extension Specify a file name extension for the plot file. The default is plt.
    File prefix Enter a specific prefix in the file name.
    File suffix Enter a specific suffix in the file name.

    When you enter a prefix or suffix, the print file name preview displayed under the File prefix and File suffix boxes will reflect the change immediately.

    The print file name can be controlled by a couple of advanced option switches for customizing print file names. These switches do not work for single combined multiple drawings .pdf file.

    Fit to paper Fit the drawing to a specific paper size.
    Scale Define the scale to force the printout to a specific scale.

    The Scale value will turn red if the drawing cannot fit on the specified sheet.

    Center drawing on paper Center the drawing on the sheet (or sheets).
    Print on multiple sheets Print on multiple sheets and specify the direction of printing the sheets. Select either Left to right, top to bottom or Bottom to top, right to left.

    When you use Print on multiple sheets , select a particular paper size.

    Paper size Define the paper size or use automatic size.

    With the Auto setting Tekla Structures selects the paper size that has the least wasted area when the scaled print is fitted to the printable area on the sheet.

    Printers are often unable to print on the full area of a sheet, and leave borders. The printable area is determined for the selected printer when the option Printer or Plot file is selected. In the case of creating a .pdf file, the printer is not known so the output is sized to the full sheet. However, when printing a .pdf , the same problem exists and the drawing content is fitted to the printable area of whatever printer is being used. The printable area is show with white background and the non-printable border is shaded gray in the image below.

    Orientation Define the orientation or use automatic orientation.

    The Auto setting means that the orientation that wastes least space is selected automatically.

    Color Select if the output is to be Color , Black and white or Grayscale.
    Number of copies Define the number of plot file or paper copies to be printed.
    Collate Collate the printout when you are printing multiple copies.
    Embed fonts Embed the fonts in the .pdf file.

    This ensures that fonts may be reproduced on a system that does not have the same fonts installed, but also increases the file size. In certain cases, fonts may be embedded automatically. When using non-Latin fonts, it is recommended that embedding is selected, otherwise the .pdf may not be displayed correctly.

    Select area Select a rectangular area from the drawing preview and only print that area. This option only works when you have a drawing open.

    All settings in the dialog box also work when this option is selected, and you can change the orientation, line thicknesses, and paper size, for example.

    Show entire drawing When you have selected an area with Select area , the Show entire drawing button is displayed, and you can use it to show the entire drawing preview again.
  7. Go to the Line thickness tab to map drawing colors to line thicknesses (pen numbers) and set the printout colors:
    Option Description
    Line thickness Enter the line thickness for each color row in the boxes.

    Line thicknesses are expressed as a multiple of the advanced option XS_BASE_LINE_WIDTH value. The default value for this advanced option is 0.01 mm. For example, pen number 25 will give a line weight of 0.25 mm.

    In color drawings, the lines are shown with different thicknesses if the Printer line widths setting is selected in File menu > Settings.

    You can define Invisible color for parts and shapes in drawings in the part or shape properties. The Invisible color is not shown in printouts, neither on paper nor on .pdf.

    For instructions on how to show correct line thicknesses in the drawing in the Black and white mode, see Line thickness in drawings.

    Color on output
    • Set the printout color for a row by clicking a box under Color on output and selecting a new color.

    Different output color is often used when you just need one or two lines in color and the rest in black. Output colors are used when printing to printer, and when generating plot and .pdf files. The output colors are saved to and loaded from the printing settings files.

    The Color on output only applies when the Color option is set to Color on the Options tab.

    You can reset the printout colors:

    • To reset an individual printout color, click the color box under Color on screen on the desired row, and the Color on output box will change to have the same color.

    • To reset all printout colors to be the same as the colors on the screen, click the Reset colors button.

    For instructions on how to show correct line thicknesses in the Black and white mode, see Line thickness in drawings.

  8. If you need to change Windows printing settings for a printer or for a plot file, click the Properties button and change the necessary settings.
  9. Save your printing settings by using the Save button in the upper-left corner.

    For more information about the printing settings and the search order, see Printing settings and search order.

  10. Click Print to print the drawings in .pdf format or as plot files, or to send them to a printer according to the settings you defined in the dialog box.

    Each drawing is sent to the printer as a separate print job.


Below is an example of printing to multiple sheets. The option Bottom to top, right to left is selected. The numbers indicate the printing order of sheets.

In the next example, the option Left to right, top to bottom is selected.

Quick feedback

The feedback you give here is not visible to other users. We use your comments to improve our content.
We use this to prevent automated spam submissions.
Content rating: 
No votes yet