AutoCAD plotStyle Viewer
Sometimes I get these challenging questions... Somebody once asked me about the file format of AutoCAD plot styles. I didn't have a direct answer, but a later hint from the same person helped me quite a bit further.
This inspired me to create a CTB/STB view/print application that works completely independent of AutoCAD and Autodesk tools! The program consists of just one executable file, there are no other exes or dlls needed. It should work with CTBs/STBs from AutoCAD 2000 upto the latest version. The purpose of this tool is that you can view CTBs, print them and save as text file that you can open in Excel etc. The latest version now offers a.o. export to CSV.
Further down this page I have a couple of other experimental tools for playing with this type of AutoCAD support files.
Install & UseUnzip the .EXE file from the downloaded ZIP-archive; place it in a folder and create a shortcut to the executable.
GoPlot is a tool that I made to send plotfiles to HP DesignJet plotters and to printers
with a PostScript RIP. Of course GoPlot can be used with any printer/plotter, but
it offers some extras for the mentioned printer families.
GoPlot is easy to use: select one or more plot-/printfiles with the built in browser, or drag and drop the files from the Windows explorer; build a list of files to be printed; add or remove files in the joblist before you print; specify how many copies you want of each; send the files to any of the printers that are installed on your system, connected to your PC or in your network. GoPlot is just one executable file that you run from your harddisk, or even from a USB drive.
GoPlot is also available in Spanish (Español)
Install & UseTo "install": unzip the executable file from the downloaded ZIP-archive; place it in a folder and create a shortcut to the GoPlot executable.
Drop & Print (DAP)
DAP is a miniaturized version of GoPlot to send print/plot files to a printer. Useful when the extra features of GoPlot are not needed. To be used with spool folders for different printers in which the print files are stored. The printer operator can select files from these spool folders and decide to which printer the files will be sent. Then the files can be dropped on the corresponding form. A picture of the printer or plotter can be stored in the program's form, making it clear which form belongs to which output device.
Install & Use DAPUnzip the .EXE file from the downloaded ZIP-archive; place it in a folder and create a shortcut to the executable.
PC3, PMP and plot styles unpacker
Curious about what is inside a PC3, PMP, CTB, STB file? Perhaps even need the info, for instance to compare files, or for trouble shooting? Since AutoCAD 2000 these support files for plotting/printing are compressed. As Autodesk did not disclose how they compress, there was no way to read the real content. There was... until I figured out how they compress the CTB and STB files (see PlotStyle viewer above). PC3 and PMP files use the same compression, so it was relatively easy to create an "unpack" tool. This simple tool will extract the compressed data from these files to a text file that can be analyzed and compared "off-line".
Read & write AutoCAD support files
I also created this very experimental program that reads and writes AutoCAD support files (the latest release includes an MDI version, for easy comparison and drag and drop between document windows). It lets you edit the content of support files and write it back in the format that AutoCAD can read. Its main purpose is that I demonstrate that it is technically possible to do it. To really edit these files you will have to understand the structure. Use it with care!