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What’s the difference between CTB and STB?

By KaDe King on January 24, 2018 Categories: Civil Infrastructure

You may already know that CTB and STBs are types of plot styles, which can control the way your objects print in AutoCAD. But what you may not know is that each drawing created is either CTB-based or STB-based. You must make a choice; you can’t have a drawing that is both. Starting in AutoCAD 2000, AutoDesk added STB-based drawings as a new plot style option. Prior to that, we could only create CTB-based drawings and plot styles.

In this video, I took a quick look at what the difference is between the two plot style options.


A CTB is a plot style table that has a list of colours. When you change the settings for that colour, it controls how everything in the drawing with that specific colour will print. Basically, anything that is the same colour in the drawing is going to get the same plot style settings, and, therefore, the same result when it prints. Monochrome.ctb is one CTB that comes with AutoCAD. You can see a list of all the colours in AutoCAD from Color 1 to Color 244 by opening the form view. This example is a monochrome which means that every single colour is set to print black. However, you can save monochrome.ctb under a new file name and then edit aspects of each colour, such as line weight.


An STB is a named style table, and this plot style has a list of style names. You can make as many styles as you want, and then apply them either to a layer or directly to an object. Monochrome.stb is one STB that comes with AutoCAD. By default, this particular STB has two styles: Normal and Style 1. You can have as many styles as you want in a plot style table that’s a named style table. For example, you might have styles called Light, Medium, Medium Heavy, and Heavy. However, you could name them anything you want, and, then, apply them to your elements. The difference with these is that instead of automatically being assigned to a specific colour, you could assign this style to any object in the AutoCAD drawing or an entire layer in an AutoCAD drawing. So, in my opinion, STBs are a tiny bit more flexible than CTBs. CTBs, however, are easier to use when standardising across your organisation as they allow you to be a little bit more uniform in your printing as you roll out your drawings.

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