Older AutoCAD loses (part of) the plot

Older AutoCAD loses (part of) the plot

I know there are plenty of people still using AutoCAD 2007 and earlier, so this bug warning may save some of you some grief. I have no idea how widespread or isolated this problem is, but under some circumstances I haven’t worked out yet, AutoCAD 2007 fails to plot all of certain dynamic blocks. Some attributes have a habit of being plot-shy. Even if you don’t use dynamic blocks yourself, you could receive a set of drawings, check them on-screen, approve them, plot them and send out paper drawings without all of their parts. Unless you’re carefully manually checking the paper plots, this situation is obviously a little dangerous. Fortunately, Plot Preview also shows up the problem, so it is at least possible to check things without wasting trees.

Here’s an example. This is part of such a drawing displayed in AutoCAD 2007, with all of its parts in place. One of the dynamic blocks is highlighted:

Drawing in AutoCAD 2007 with all its parts in place

Here’s that drawing plotted using AutoCAD 2007, showing the missing parts:

Drawing plotted in AutoCAD 2007 with parts missing

Earlier releases do the same, including pre-dynamic block releases. As DWF files are just electronic plots, the same problem applies to them. Yes, I’ve checked for non-plotting layers and looked into the visibility states within the dynamic blocks. An audit of the drawing indicates no problems. Attribute visibility settings are not an issue.

Here’s the same drawing plotted using AutoCAD 2009 (2008 and 2010 are fine, too):

Drawing plotted in AutoCAD 2009 with parts intact

What to do? Using a later release would solve it, but might not be a practicable solution in your office right now. Instead, you could consider using DWG TrueView for your plotting. That may not be ideal either, but it could be better than risking the consequences of an unknown number of your plots containing an unknown number of missing parts in unknown places.

Have you come across this problem? If you have any more clues about the circumstances that trigger it, please add a comment.


  1. Chris Wade

    Yes, we have come accross this before, performing a drawing recovery (using Recoverall, so that you also recover the Xrefs) and then doing a purge and an audit, then save the drawing, it should work correctly from that point on. This doesn’t happen with every drawing, but it seems that once one file in a project is corruptede other files in the same project become corrupted (even if the first isn’t referenced by any other file).

  2. Chris


    Thanks for posting this.

    I am the CAD manager for one division (of nine) of a large mining company. Each of our divisions has about 10 to 40 CAD users (total of probably a couple of hunderd or more users) and we use more consultants than we have in house, add to this all of our equipment vendors. So we have thousands of CAD files and our collection is growing exponentially.

    I see it as much more than a little dangerous, it has the potential for creating a major disaster. It is on the level that AutoDesk basically needs to do whatever it takes to fix this, it should be first priority period.

    This goes beyond a bug, it is a major screwup, I won’t go into the potential problems that I envision, as they should be obvious.

    I have a few questions.

    1. I am assuming that the drawings were done in 2009 and saved to 2007 file format, is this correct?

    2. Does saving them back to an earlier format make any difference? (Nothing to do with this, but we save to 2000 file format, this works very well for us with our outside vendors, some of whom use older versions. I see absolutly no justification at this point in time for changing this.)

    3. Was straight AutoCAD used or one of the verticals? AutoCAD Electric?

    4. Are the dynamic blocks involved created directly by the CAD draftsman, or are they generated automatically by a vertical application or by an addon package?

    5. Has anyone tried using another CAD package to plot them? (Non-AutoDesk) I have found that IntelliCAD actually fixes (not screws up as some would have us to believe) some things that put AutoCAD into the toilet. (We have a lot of older dwgs done in Cadra that have some layers with unnamed linetypes that can crash AutoCAD that IntelliCAD fixes with just a “Save” command, no Audit, etc. required. This is just one example, I’ve used it to open and recover dwgs that AutoCAD just cannot do.)

    DWG TrueView is not an option. (That’s a busted crutch, an administrative nightmare.) The Dwgs just have to plot right, period.

    If this is not fixed, I will have to consider modifying our CAD standards to ban the use of dynamic blocks, or if they are used that they must be exploded prior to submission and that any vendor that does not comply will be liable for all resulting damages. (Don’t anyone start ragging on not exploding blocks, not when the potential is for corrupted output. Correct output everytime, anytime, everywhere and anywhere is the only acceptable option.)

    Another scary thing is that Chris Wade has found that other files in a projest get corrupted. Chris, does this occour in sheet sets or folders? Wondering what the relationship has to be for this to spread.

    If this Big Friendly doesn’t come up with a quick cure, could you possibly send me one or more of the offending dwg files so that I can examine them and see what we may be facing and if there’s anything that we can do to help with this?



  3. Yet Another Chris

    We have encountered similar problems plotting to pdf as well as dwf in 2008 and 2009, but do not experience it when plotting directly to our OCE printer. I had assumed it was a vector conversion issue between Adobe and Oce, but now it appears that it’s earlier in the process chain. We’ve taken to plotting hard copies and then scanning them to create pdf documents. As this is highly inefficient and loses much of the value of pdf and dwf, I’m inclined to agree that Autodesk needs to figure out what the issue is.

  4. Chris (comment 4):

    As these drawings come from an outside contractor that itself contracts out to another company, and as the drawings date back to 2006 (the year, not the release), things are shrouded in mystery. It’s hard to be sure what releases have been used on them. The first date on the sample drawing pictured is 24 April 2006, one month after AutoCAD 2007 was released. So it’s likely that AutoCAD 2006 was used to create it, although 2007 is possible. The drawing has been revised multiple times since then, right up to this month.

    There is no obvious evidence that any vertical releases were used, and I can’t tell where the dynamic blocks came from.

    We are in exactly the same situation as you with the need to save back to 2000 DWG format. This drawing would definitely have been saved back to 2000 format at the time (we enforce this), and it’s in 2000 format now.

    I haven’t tried using anything non-Autodesk on them yet. I’m still investigating.

  5. Jim Thompson


    There is a way to find out what version created a given drawing; just change the extention on a .dwg to .txt, open it in notepad or whatever, and the first line will tell you the version used to create it.

    AC1006 = R10
    AC1009 = R11/12
    AC1012 = R13
    AC1014 = R14/14.01
    AC1015 = 2000, 2000i, 2002
    AC1018 = 2004, 2005, 2006
    AC1021 = 2007, 2008, 2009

    ^^^ Thanks to Dan Abbot’s AutoCAD Puzzlers class for that.

    Hope that helps.


  6. Silleke

    It does not only happen with drawing which contains Dynamic blocks. With us, it happened with a xref’s not being plotted when the drawing file was edited using AutoCAD 2008. User of AutoCAD 2007 will missed part of the drawing, namely the xref attached. We asked the user of AutoCAD 2007 to use True View 2009 which is free to download and use.

  7. Stephen Erway

    We have had this problem with viewports that are vpclipped. Removing the clip restores everything to normal (except the view that we carefully created by clipping the viewport!).

  8. Jim, thanks, but that doesn’t tell us which release created a given drawing. It just tells us what in format the drawing was last saved. Every drawing we archive has AC1015 in it, but they could have been created by releases from 2000 to 2009, and any vertical variants of them. It could also have passed through several different releases before we see it.

  9. Jim Thompson

    Ah. I see. I was under the impression that would tell you the native version, sorry about that. I guess it’s limited to the binary formats, not the individual releases. My bad. lol

    Well, win some lose some. I haven’t come across this particular problem because due to client standards we don’t use dynamic blocks. Not my choice, believe me. 🙂

    Back to the drawing board, as it were…

  10. Jake Oneal

    I’ve been having this issue lately with some files that I have been trying to print to PDF via Adobe. Today a coworker suggested using CutePDF as the plotter (there is a free version online) and while it did cause my cad to crash and the file is 4 times the size of the adobe file, it worked! I am not sure if this means that the plotter is to blame or not but worth considering.

  11. Mike Weigle

    Has everyone found that CutePDF is solving this issue?

    We experience this issue very randomly…which makes it an even bigger issue. We never know when its happening or when its going to happen. It goes away for a month then comes back.

    AutoDesk is aware of the issue, but I have yet to see any solutions come from them.

  12. Gackter

    It happened with our xref. So we did all of the above — recoverall, purge, audit and finally reloaded the xref and it worked. No sure which part made it work but well… it worked.

  13. Only a portion of my drawings using 2005 were plotting using Adobe printer. The drawings included view ports that were clipped using a polygon shape. The plotting quit at the end of the first clipped view. I went back and changed the viewports to a rectangle shape and all drawings plotted fine.
    Please, is there a fix yet?

  14. Hi guys I’m having the same issue and found a solution that worked for me…

    Open all the external xrefs, audit/purge and save them. Open the real dwg and do a print preview if they show up great you’re done if they are not there.

    Open the xrefs again and save them down to v2000 save and try again.

    This is a huge problem for us too….

  15. This problem seems to be a setting in Acrobat and a glitch with AutoCAD 2007. Our problem centers around OLE objects showing up in print preview, then disappearing after the PDF is made. We are using Acrobat v9.2.0 & AutoCAD 2007 (per contract requirements). I did notice that after changing the RASTERPERCENT to 100 & the RASTERTHRESHHOLD to 2000, PDFs were created much faster. Also, when using a newer version of AutoCAD or a elevated version (Arch Desktop, Land, etc), everything works fine. Several sites have stated that we need to use Distiller. We tried this and it did not work. My main focus on accusing Acrobat for the problem is that we had an issue with Word v12(2007)locking up for no apparent reason. Documents would crash randomly. After updating to Acrobat v9.2.0, all 4 machines that received the exact same lockup error ceased locking up after the update. This is becoming a thorn in many sides and one of the vendors needs to come up with a solution.

  16. Elizabeth Long

    I have a situation using AutoCAD 2007 or 2008 where all our working layers in a drawing are visible until you try to print to a plotter, printer or pdf; then they disappear. Mysteriously the xref layers print fine.

    Even more mysteriously everything prints perfectly when I use AutoCAD 2009 or later. Unfortunately everybody else in my office has not been upgraded from 2007 to those later versions.

    These drawings were created from a vectorworks created drawing.

    I tried all your suggestions and nothing works. Has anyone got a cure for this please?

  17. Evil_One

    Hello! I know it’s an old topic, but i had the same problem with some dynamic blocks created a long time ago in acad 2004, and from acad 2007 on they stopped printing (they are shown in model and paper space but they do not appear on the preview, or pdf or paper..). The solution was to click on the Annotation visibility button, in the layout, to enable it to show annotative objects for all scales.

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