Publish in background throwing error about not finding the plot style and PDF's created are in color

December 18, 2020 Ryan Wunderlich

When Publishing a Sheet Set or via the Publish Command in an AutoCAD-based Vertical (like Civil 3D AutoCAD Architecture, etc.), the publish command completes, however it shows an error about not finding the plot style.  Regular plotting works fine and when Publish in Background us unselected, it also plots correctly.

This generally occurs when you have multiple versions of AutoCAD based programs (and AutoCAD) installed as well.

Here's where the issue is coming from, and how to correct it. When Publishing in the Background, the software will launch a separate instance of acad.exe (basically launching another AutoCAD you cannot see or interact with).  If you not launched and configured all the AutoCAD based software on your machine, that acad.exe may be using the AutoCAD default configuration, and not your specific settings for the Plot style path you have set in the vertical you are using.

You can correct this via one of two methods.

Method 1: Launch all AutoCAD based Software and in Options, set the same plot style path to match the working one in your vertical.

I generally recommend that you set these all the same as your primary software (so any AutoCAD based program you open uses the same information).

Method 2:  This one is a little more complicated, but will not require you to open each program to configure it.  This will require you to directly edit the registry.

Warning! Problems caused by improperly editing the Windows registry could render your computer operating system unusable. Microsoft provides a wealth of critical information that you need to know about the registry in the Microsoft Knowledge Base at

Use the Microsoft® Registry Editor only at your own risk and only after backing up the registry as well as the system.dat and user.dat files as outlined for your operating system in the Microsoft Knowledge Base and in the related solution, TS66513. Additional information about the registry is also contained in the Help topics in the Microsoft Registry Editor

Open the Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) and navigate to this key:


Each of these R2#.# refers to each version of AutoCAD installed.  Simply hit the F3 Key to bring up the Find box and type in this Value PrinterStyleSheetDir:

Then click Find Next and in the right pane double click to open the Key:

Once you open the key, change the Value Data to the correct location

Keep repeating F3 until you are no longer in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER

That will update all Installed Autodesk based programs and different profiles to point to the correct location.  Retest Publish and verify that it's now working without any errors.



About the Author

Ryan Wunderlich

Sr. Technical Support Specialist<br><br>An AutoCAD Certified Professional, Ryan is responsible for taking client cases and assisting with issues with the software - everything from regular glitches to software deployments and whatever else goes wrong. He's proficient in AutoCAD (including customization), VBA, LISP, and Civil 3D.

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