Send to FitPlot…

Since version 5, FitPlot is able to "open" PDF files directly.
Opening a PDF, both from menu File -> Open of the program, and by drag&drop of the PDF on the program icon, has the same effect that inserting the same PDF in the FitPlot page currently opened (or in a new Untitled document, when needed).
This simple fact allows the app to be launched also by a PDF and, as a consequence, lets the user to benefit of PDF services that are available in the printing dialog of all Mac Application.
We will be able, from our preferred CAD or from any other application, to print to a PDF file and to send it directly in a FitPlot page for layout composition, with all the FitPlot features at hand.

In the print dialog…

…there is a PDF pop-up button, at bottom left.

Clicking on it, we will see all the available options (by default) for PDF creation and management.
Now it is possible to add the FitPlot option.

Print dialog with workflow options

How to get it?

A small video that shows the step by step procedure is available on the FitPlot YouTube channel.

This and other videos on the FitPlot YouTube channel.

Step by step Instructions

Here below, the step by step procedure:
  • Open the Application folder, locate FitPlot, right-click once on FitPlot
  • Choose, in the options list, the "Make Alias" one
  • Open another window ([⌘N]), to access the (~/Library) folder which, however, from MacOS 10.8 is kept hidden by Apple®.
    To access it, from the Finder, choose the menu Go -> Go to the Folder… [⇧⌘G] and, in the appearing field, type "~/Library" (the symbol "~" is obtained with the key combination [⌥ 5] (that is option + 5)). Press OK to go.
  • Once the ~/Library folder is opened, look up for a folder named "PDF Services". If it does not exist, create a new one [⇧⌘N] and rename it exactly in "PDF Services".
  • At this point simply move the FitPlot alias created before (in the Application folder) and change its name in something meaningful, some like "FitPlot Server" should be Ok.
    Note that it may occur that files moved away from the Application folder are not moved but just copied (because that folder is protected from modifications), so it may be needed to move to thrash the alias left .
  • From now on, in any print dialog, there should be, in the PDF pop-up button, our "FitPlot Server" (or whatever name you prefer) item.

Using this feature

It is possible to produce a PDF that is automatically inserted in a FitPlot document from any program that rely on the Apple®[1] printing framework. This prevents you from having to save the document to disk.
Practically, when sending a PDF to FitPlot this way, we send an order to FitPlot to open itself (or activate itself, if already in background) and insert the just created PDF.
If FitPlot was closed, it opens, a new document is created (with the same characteristics of the last one used) and the PDF is inserted in it.
If FitPlot was already opened, the PDF is inserted in the frontmost document, together with the other images / PDFs already there.

[1] NOTE: Not all programs on the Mac use the Apple® printing framework.
For example, the Adobe® suite has a proprietary printing framework, thus it is not possible to use this feature with Illustrator®, unfortunately.

Page Set Up quick change

It may happen that a PDF inserted in this way find itself in a inappropriate page size.
It is easy to cange the current document format with a click (menu File -> Import Settings from…) taking it from one of the saved models (inside the templates folder) or taking the settings from an existing file.
This is much simpler, avoiding the passage from the page setup dialog, avoiding to change page ranges (margins dialog) and nesting preset (preferences dialog).
All the templates settings (or the FitPlot file) are then copied into the current document, changing its characteristics.