I've experienced a number of problems with various pdf Creator packages throughout my career, especially with different versions of AutoCAD I've used. For example, blobby, illegible text upon export to pdf, conflicts causing the process to crash, converting north arrows to a big black blob, etc, etc. The pdf print driver inherent to CAD is also sub par (in my experience).

I found the free pdf Creator at THIS LINK to be the most highly recommended to interface with higher level AutoCAD licences (according to the AutoDesk forum). Feedback would be greatly appreciated regarding this software, or any other reccomendations any of you may have. Purchasing the Adobe Pro is acceptable, however:

  1. Is it coded to work well with AutoCAD Civil 3D?
  2. Will the free option at the link I posted serve my needs (free is obviously preferred)?
  3. Is there a better option than the two I've mentioned?

I'm looking for actual user experience (with CAD), not random free pdf creator options/suggestions.

Thanks in advance

CORRECTION I noticed at the AutoDESK forum that the answers were not listed by highest rank. There are no vote-ups whatsoever on the suggestions posted there. I assumed the answer at the top of the page was "the best" answer, while in actuality, it was just the "most recent" answer. I should have looked more closely.


Some of that sounds like it could be the result of the scale that is served to the PDF driver, not the driver itself. Have you tried (for example), zooming in fairly close to your layout, then plotting the entire layout? I know that for plotting to paper from Map 3D with a raster background, that can make a huge difference, especially with formats that are multi-resolution (or pyramided), as that forces an onscreen resample from a lower, finer resolution layer.

  • Hey Nate - one way I used to work around this was to create an "at scale" layout template right in model space (as opposed to paper space). It seemed to alleviate many of these issues, but it was a bit of a pain pasting 1:5000, 1:2000, etc layouts over to model space from my template drawing every time (a bit of clean-up of extra layers pasting to the drawing too). I will look in to what you've suggested ASAP (see comment below to sgrieve). – Dano Dec 5 '12 at 13:37

In my work I often have to export Civil 3D data as both 2D and 3D PDFs for use by people who do not have a Civil 3D licence.

To achieve this, especially the 3D exports, we use Adobe Pro and FME desktop. Using FME allows me to automate the export and formatting of the CAD data, in addition to adding additional features such as borders and logos to our published plans and 3D models. This was a bit tricky to set up at first, but now allows me to export data to PDF in a series of standardized forms, without needing to launch Civil 3D.

Obviously this is not a cheap solution, but it has been very effective in our use case and I would recommend at least taking a look at the options for exporting CAD data that FME provides.

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    @ Nate & sgrieve - I have to step out for most of the day. I will look into your suggestions (and any others posted during my absence) ASAP. +1 to both of you just for making suggestions. – Dano Dec 5 '12 at 13:32

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