CTB, STB creating and editing on MAC

Many users of AutoCAD for MAC note the lack of ability to create and edit Plot Style Table files (. CTB and. STB) inside AutoCAD for MAC – one of the biggest drawbacks of the current version of software. Just look at the debate on this issue in Autodesk Discussion Group. In my opinion they are right. Unfortunately, the developers had to forgo this feature in the first version of AutoCAD for MAC. (No doubt, I think that in the next version of this lack will be filled.)
But what about now?
For myself, I have solved this problem as follows. As is well-known in the AutoCAD for Windows, Plot Style Manager is a separate program (in Windows -. EXE file). Think about this fact, I have decided that there will be nothing extraordinary if the Mac OSX, we will have a separate application that can run independently of AutoCAD.
What is most interesting – this application exists! And it is absolutely free and legally. With this app you can create and edit. CTB and. STB files, which can be used in AutoCAD for MAC. Only what you give for it – it’s 190 MB of disk space.
This application – DraftSight for MAC, which is made by Dassault Systèmes (DS). DraftSight for MAC is in beta testing, you can download the app from DS site. To get started, you only need registration via email.
So you’ve downloaded the setup program, install the program. Now you can start it and begin to edit (create) Plot Style Table files.
The process is very simple:
1. In the File menu, select Print …
2. Print dialog box appears, in the drop-down list, which is directly under the “Orientation” section, select “Print style”

3. Dialog box changes,  and in the bottom right you’ll see a “Print style table” section. Here you can create new or edit an existing. CTB, or. STB file.

4. After pressing the “New …” or “Edit …” buttons, new dialog window appears for editing, which will seem strikingly familiar to that in AutoCAD for Windows.

I think that it is not necessary to explain anything further – you can do all.

How do you like this (temporary) workaround?


30 Responses to “CTB, STB creating and editing on MAC”

  1. Gale Gorman Says:

    Creating a .ctb file is not a problem for me, getting AutoCAD for Mac to recognize it is.

  2. i will give it a try! thanks for saving macacad of being just useless..

  3. So, If I wanna make my ctb, first should I open the file in Dassault Systèmes? Could I not do it on Autocad?

    • maximka2010 Says:

      In the current version of AutoCAD for MAC you can not edit .CTB file, so edit it in the DraftSight (as described in the post). After that, put the edited CTB file to “~/ Library/Application Support/Autodesk/roaming/AutoCAD 2011/R18.1/enu/Plotters/Plot Styles /” and open your. DWG file in AutoCAD. You do not need to open the DWG file in DraftSight.

      • I cannot find this location. Is there a hidden folder/file that I am too stupid to find? Or could be that I have the Student Version of AutoCAD for Mac? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

      • maximka2010 Says:

        The easiest way to find this folder: from menu choose File->Print, in “Print” dialog click “Advanced” button, in “Print-Advanced” dialog open drop-down list Plot style table Name, select “Reveal in Finder”. Finder opens in exact place, just open “Plot Styles” folder. FYI – it doesn’t depend on AutoCAD license (Student or Commercial), in fact application itself is the same for all type of licenses.

      • Thanks for the help on finding this folder. I added the .ctb file to said folder, but now it doesn’t show up in the drop-down folder. Is there something that I’m missing? Thanks again…

      • Never mind…Apparently, you have to cancel the entire “Print Dialog” command, re-open it, and there it is…Cheers.

  4. When I open the print style table dialog box I don’t see the .ctb files I have in “~/ Library/Application Support/Autodesk/roaming/AutoCAD 2011/R18.1/enu/Plotters/Plot Styles /”. Do I have to move them to a similar DraftSight’s path, edit them, and then move them back to the autocad plot styles folder? If that is so, where is that DS folder?

    • maximka2010 Says:

      Hi Elena,
      If you want to start with some default .CTB file (monochrome, or color), you can simply open one of the DraftSight’s .CTB files, make changes, than hit Save As… in Print Style Table Editor and navigate to AutoCAD’s Plot Style folder using this standard “Save As” dialog.
      If you want to edit existing file (from AutoCAD) – put it to “~/ Library/Preferences/DraftSight/1.2.119/Print Styles/” folder, than edit it from DS (you should see it in drop-down list in DS), than hit “Save As” and save directly to AutoCAD Plot Style folder.


      • thank you so much for answering so quickly! i really didnt know what to do without being able to edit .ctb files!

  5. Maximka,
    After I have created the .CTB file and done a save as in the appropriate Autocad plot style folder, how do i then use this.
    It does not appear in the plot style table dropdown menu or in the advance page setup. Any suggestions?

    • maximka2010 Says:


      If you really have created CTB file (not STB), you have to check your DWG file – what Print Style Table used in this file, if STB, so you can see only STB files in Print style table list in AutoCAD. To change it to CTB, do the following:
      1. Create new file from CTB template
      2. Select all in your DWG file, copy
      3. Paste to the new file, created in step 1.

  6. Thank you very much for your super discovery! Now I have a question: when I create a plot style within Draftsight and I give to the first basic colors a line weight to be printed only in black , back in AUTOCAD choosing the saved .CTB the print does not come with the desired weight. All come with one weight. If i click the scale line weights the result is terrible. Do you know anything about this situation? would appreciate any response!

    • maximka2010 Says:

      Hi, I have to test this, but only tomorrow. Thanks 2010/11/23,

    • maximka2010 Says:

      OK, now I have tested. Seems everything works fine, but with one exception. You have to keep i mind the following:
      Problem is in a bug, that actually present in AutoCAD for MAC (something tells me that it would soon be corrected):when AutoCAD prints (to PDF or to real printer) the value of line thickness have values only 0.1, 0.2, 0.3 … etc (multiple of 0.1) regardless of settings in CTB file (e.g. if you have line thinness 0.12, 0.15, 0.18 – all will be printed as 0.2).
      If you want, I can send you results of my testing by e-mail.

      • Gale Gorman Says:

        In other words it is still not recognizing your .ctb file. Try this: create two .ctb files and try to choose which one the drawing will use. Can you do that?

  7. Gale Gorman Says:

    The problem I STILL see is that AutoCAD for MAC does not have a plot style interface nor does it recognize a .ctb file even in the appropriate directory.

    • maximka2010 Says:

      Hi Gale,

      Please have a look at this resources:
      “http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/AutoCAD-for-Mac/Plotting-to-PDF-JPG/td-p/2814782/page/2” and “http://forums.autodesk.com/t5/AutoCAD-for-Mac/can-t-export-oversize-PDFs-Help/m-p/2825673#M932”.
      Also double-check: is your DWG file, that you want to print, CTB (not STB) based.


      • Hi Maxim,

        The save as PDF works super fine , also PDF-X, I hope I can place this drawing in to illustrator and still get nice lice, i will test it. BUT… in conclusion if I read and understand ok ( because I am Spanish hand sometimes i get confuse with all this technical English terminology), the line weight assigned in the CTB is NOT recognized in CAD MAC, everything comes as 0.2…is that the conclusion???

      • maximka2010 Says:

        Hi Diego,

        I’ll try to explain: currently you can use in AutoCAD for MAC the following line weights – 0.1mm, 0.2mm, 0.3mm, 0.4mm, 0.5mm and so on (importantly, that they are multiples of 0.1).

      • Gale Gorman Says:

        My drawings have been ctb based since ctb started. Saving as pdf does absolutely nothing for lineweights unless you first go through a plot device that allows use of a ctb file.

        Line weights are EXTREMELY critical to me.

  8. Hi there from Italy,
    I’m working in Autocad for MAC since a month now and never had a problem. I’ve just copied all my .ctb files from the windows folder to the mac folder. My standard ctb files are exactly the same amd they all work like in the windows version. I was pretty impressed when I changed the version while working on three projects and I continued on my mac as I finished in windows.

  9. Gale Gorman Says:

    Where exactly did you copy your .ctb files to on the Mac so they will be recognized by AutoCAD?

    • maximka2010 Says:

      Exactly here: ~/Library/Application Support/Autodesk/roaming/AutoCAD 2011/R18.1/enu/Plotters/Plot Styles – Library folder in your HOME folder.

  10. apple9news Says:


    I have downloaded and installed on Mac OS 10.6.5 but this app can not launch. It is only a dialog with content: DraftSight cannot be opened because of a problem “Check with the developer to make sure DraftSight works with this version of Mac OS X. YOu may need to reinstall the application. Be sure to install any available updates for the application and Mac OS X”. Then, I uninstalled and reinstalled it. But it’s same. So, how do you do? Help me please.

  11. […] Many users of AutoCAD for MAC note the lack of ability to create and edit Plot Style Table files (. CTB and. STB) inside AutoCAD for MAC – one of the biggest drawbacks of the current version of software. Just look at the debate on this issue in Autodesk Discussion Group. In my opinion they are right. Unfortunately, the developers had to forgo this feature in the first version of AutoCAD for MAC. (No doubt, I think that in the next version of this … Read More […]

  12. It works for me. Thanks a lot.

  13. […] on this link to navigate to the MacACAD blog, to view the […]

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