Here is a quick guide on setting up a layout (or paper space) for plotting in AutoCAD 2000 and later. I used AutoCAD 2008 for these steps, and most of these steps should apply (except for the viewport locking) in all versions, 2000 and later. I know this looks like a lot of steps, but it's really easy. The best part is once you set up a layout, you never have to do it again. You can import this layout (or any other) into any other drawing.
Read more about Layout (paper space) tutorial: Part 1
This is one of the new commands in AutoCAD 2008 that is sort of overlooked, but can save you a lot of time. If you use xrefs, then how many times have you had a problem with the parent drawing crashing? You might try running AUDIT or RECOVER on the parent drawing and find there are no errors, but you continue to have problems with this drawing. Read more about RecoverAll
Starting in AutoCAD 2008, you can now control more layer properties on a per viewport basis. You could always freeze layers per viewport, but now you can change color, linetype, lineweight, and plot style. Now the same line can be red with the hidden linetype in one viewport and green with a continuous linetype in another viewport.
Here is an example of creating a TABLE entity using lisp. This example also creates some FIELDS using lisp.
This routine allows the user to select closed polylines, and it will create a TABLE with two columns. One containing the area, and the other containing the ObjectID. The last row totals up the area. You could easily adapt this to show the layer, color or any other property. Read more about Create a TABLE using lisp