11. Exporting Drawings

DrawingBotV3 allows you to export Drawings in a variety of file formats.

All export options are accessed via the “File” drop down where you can select an Export Mode and an Export Format

Note: The export options will be greyed out if no drawing is loaded. Press Start and wait for processing to finish.

11.1. Export Modes

  • per/drawing

    The standard option, exports the drawing as a single file with all of the pens included.

  • per/pen

    Exports a separate file for each active pen in the drawing.

  • per/group

    Exports a separate file for each group in the drawing, when using Layers PFM or any Mosaic PFM other PFMs will only have one ‘group’

  • per/n pen

    Allows drawings with multiple pens to be split into a certain number of pens. Useful when exporting for Vintage Plotters which have automatic pen changes.

11.2. Export Formats

  • SVG Formats
    • Export SVG

      Export a standard SVG which will be compatible with any software which supports SVG import, each pen will be in a separate group.

    • Export Inkscape SVG

      Exports a special SVG which can be imported into Inkscape with the layers preserved.

  • Bitmap/Image Formats
    • Export Image File

      Exports a bitmap image of the drawing, the exported image will be the scaled depending on the current “Export Resolution” PPI which is defined in Export Settings/Image & Animation, if you are using “Original Sizing” this will be the same resolution as the source image.

    • Export Reference Image

      Exports a bitmap image of the reference image, this is image used to create the final plot with all the cropping / image filter settings applied.

  • Vector Formats
    • Export PDF

      Exports the drawing a vector PDF file.

    • Export GCode

      Exports the drawing as a GCode file, see GCode Settings

    • Export GCode Test Drawing

      Exports a GCode test file which draws the extremes of the drawing area.

    • Export HPGL

      Exports a HP-GL (Hewlett-Packard Graphics Language) file, which can be sent to Vintage Plotters manufactured by HP, Roland and many others.

  • Animation/Video Formats

    • Export Animation - Image Sequence

      Exports a image sequence animation of the drawing being created, using the same scaling as export created with Export Image File, see Image Sequence Settings

    • Export Animation - H.264

      Similar to Export Animation - Image Sequence, used for creating a H.264 MP4 animation of the drawing being created.

    • Export Animation - ProRes 422

      Similar to Export Animation - Image Sequence, used for creating a ProRes MOV animation of the drawing being created.

Export to vpype: vpype Integration / Export

11.3. Quick Export

Drawings can be exported instantly using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+E, you can also use File/Quick Export. By default this will use per/drawing / Export SVG or the export format & mode selected in your preferences

This option is also accessible by going to .

11.4. Export to vpype

Drawings can be exported directly to vpype for further processing / optimisation.

More details here: vpype Integration / Export

11.5. Path Optimisation

When enabled vector outputs (e.g. svg, pdf, gcode, hpgl) will be optimised before being exported. Path Finding Modules which utilise curves will bypass Path Optimization by default to avoid curve flattening.

Line Simplifying: Simplifies lines using the Douglas Peucker Algorithm which will find a similar curve/polyline with fewer points to reduce file size / plotting time within the given tolerance.

Line Merging: Merges start/end points within the given tolerance, this reduces the amount of pen lifts required and decreases plotting time.

Line Filtering: Removes lines shorter than the given tolerance

Line Sorting: Sorts lines to minimise air time, the algorithm will sort lines by finding the first line which starts at the same point as the current line or the first line within the given tolerance, otherwise it will use the nearest line of those which haven’t already been connected.

Line Multipass: Draws over each Geometry multiple times based on the required ‘Passes’ number. Often plotting over a line multiple times will result in a more consistent final result if a pens ink doesn’t always run smoothly or if the plotter moves too quickly for the pen.

11.6. SVG Settings

Edit SVG Settings in your preferences.

General Export Background Layer: By default the Canvas Colour will not be exported with the SVG as when plotting this may result in unwanted lines. However, for digital only outputs you may wish to add the canvas colour as a background layer.

Inkscape SVG Layer Name: Allows you to specify a custom layer naming for how the layers will appear in Inkscape. You can use two wildcards %INDEX% - the pens index position (1,2,3 etc.) and %NAME% - the pens name. - %NAME% - Default, names all of the layers according to the pens name (e.g. Black, Red, Green etc.) - %INDEX% - %NAME% - In some instances Inkscape will print layers in order of layer number, so this option can be useful. (e.g. 1 - Black, 2 - Red, 3 - Green etc.) - Pen%INDEX% - Useful if you are using the “Plot” extension with Inkscape for sending plots to vintage plotters as this requires the pen layers to be named in this format. (e.g. Pen1, Pen2, Pen3 etc.) - Custom - You can of course create your own custom layer naming scheme if you prefer.

11.7. HPGL Settings

HPGL Settings will appear when selecting Export HPGL, you can also configure them in preferences

HPGL Settings can be saved as Presets, this only includes the “Paper Size” i.e. Min, Max, X Axis Mirror and Y Axis Mirror.

All units are defined in HPGL units, which are 40 Units = 1 mm.


HPGL Range: This should match the hard-clip limits for your plotter for the current paper size, in the order Min X, Min Y, Max X, Max Y. When adding support for your plotter you should use the OH; to get the HPGL hard-clip limits.

Rotation: Allows you to change the orientation of your drawing within the Hard-Clip limits, it’s best to leave this on AUTO which will automatically rotate the image if it extends beyond the hard-clip limits.

X Alignment / Y Alignment: If the drawing to be exported doesn’t fill the Hard-Clip limits it will be aligned to the page using these settings.

X Axis Mirror: Flips all values on the X Axis.

Y Axis Mirror: Flips all values on the Y Axis.

Pen Configuration

Pen Velocity: Defines the Pen Velocity in mm/s that the plotter should be set too, a value of 0 will use the maximum speed of the plotter.

Pen Number: Define the first pen to use, subsequent pens will increment this number, a value of 0 will be ignored and use Pen 1.

Pen Force: Specifies the force to be applied when plotting when using high-end HP plotters like the HP7550.

Curve Flatness: All curves are converted to lines when generating HPGL files, this value specifies the maximum distance (in MM) that the generated lines can deviate from the original curves.

11.8. GCode Settings

GCode Settings can be saved as Presets

You must specify the Drawing Area size when using GCode export.

X/Y Offset: The offset from HOME on each axis, in the specified input units.

Curve Flatness: When enabled all curves in the drawing are converted to lines. This value specifies the maximum distance (in MM) that the generated lines can deviate from the original curves.

Center Zero Point: Should be enabled when using machines which treat 0,0 as the centre of the paper

Comment Type: DBV3 adds some comments to the generated GCode file to help differentiate outputs, however some machine require comments in a certain format to you can choose between Brackets (), Semi-Colons or None to disable these comments.

GCode - Start: A user customisable start command

GCode - End: A user customisable end command

GCode - Pen Down: A user customisable pen down command

GCode - Pen Up: A user customisable pen up command

GCode - Start Layer: A user customisable pen down command, you can use the wildcard %LAYER_NAME% which will be replaced with the current pens name, useful if the machine can prompt the user to switch to a new pen.

GCode - End Layer: A user customisable pen up command, you can use the wildcard %LAYER_NAME% which will be replaced with the current pens name.

The outputted file will also include useful info such distance moved, points plotted, pen lifts.

Note: GCode export is not as reliable as SVG export and has only been added for convenience. It is not a replacement for more advanced SVG to GCode converters.

11.9. Image & Animation Export Settings


Export DPI: Controls the DPI of exported Images / Animations, the resolution is derived from the Drawing Area’s width/height. If “Original Sizing” is being used this will have no effect.

FPS (Frames Per Second): Used when calculating the amount of frames to export.

Duration: The length in time of the animation, can be set in Seconds, Minutes or Hours.

Frame Count: Always FPS x Duration in seconds, unless the frame count is higher than the Plotted Vertices, in which case the frame count will be the same as the number of vertices.

Geometries per frame: Plotted Shapes / Frame Count

Vertices per frame: Plotted Vertices / Frame Count

Note: The image sequence exporter using an Vertex Iterator which splits continuous paths across frames, which can result in missing lines depending on the nature of the source curve.