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Plotting XREF's as a Gray (Grey) Shade

I would appreciate input on producing hardcopy with the XREF content screened back to a gray shade.
I hope to retain the colors both in the source XREF file as well as retaining colors in the native CAD file.

Could you assist?


  • Interesting. You are essentially asking for "per xref" color table (.ctb) assignment.
    I know you said all xrefs, but two seconds later you will realize your border is an xref.
    If you want that level of control you must switch to style tables (.stb).
    That way the color on screen does not control plotting and you can attempt to do what you asked.
    Your style table would have 255 entries with index colors regular, and another 255 as screened.
    Then your users would tell you they don't like that regular color things can plot screened so have fun with that.
    You could easily automate the style assignment to xrefs using a lisp, so long as the screened style names have like a consistent prefix or suffix with regular ones.

  • I see and I thank you very much, sir.

    I had started my full version AutoCAD experience (too many years ago to mentions - haha) using named plot styles (.STB). Shifting to the AEC world, I learned that a majority of our clients and others since back in manufacturing engineering support still use the color-based plot styles. I now use them exclusively although I am a .STB fan down deep.

    About XREF's:
    As I now understand it from recent reading that having a dedicated XREF layer with a screened color assignment is a good idea. If active at attachment time, the contents take on the properties of that layer.

    Have you tried this method?
    I will give this a try.

  • @chillme1
    Well, one dedicated layer is not enough for my teams.
    Here is how we play it:
    Our ctb is colors 1 to 10 for thinnest to thickest black lines, very typical.
    After that, each series of 10 is same width, but 11-20 is like 90% screened.
    Each series of 10 is about 10% less screened.
    The reason for that is you can take an xref with "regular" black colors (1 to 10), and use a lisp that adds, say 70, to the colors.
    Since the 70 series is screened about 60%, you get same widths but screened back.
    2 is same width as 72, but 72 is screened back.
    That way you get about 9 useful levels of screening.
    For colors, like red in a pdf, use true color and lineweight in the layer.
    True colors always print in color, no matter the pen table (for ctb at least).

    If you do this, you get a ton of flexibility. The downside is simple users will ask "can't you just make it simple?"
    My answer is yes, just use color 1 for everything and HR will be contacting you soon. Problem solved.

  • How about overwriting the display colors per viewport to match colors in your .ctb that are defined to be printed as a screened grey? You wouldn't have to change any of the original colors and you could either do it using a layerstate (in case you have predefined layers) or manually by setting a layerfilter to only show xref-layers, selecting all and then assigning the screened color.

  • Hi Lukas,

    I will try that approach and appreciate your information.

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