Achieving coordinated axis for DWG > SKP & Imports/Exports

I have a Feature Request / Extension request that has been high on my wishlist for a LONG time - difficult one to explain…

To work between sketchup and other formats (dwg especially) we need to import data to the correct coordinates. This is critical for professional work (you may import site boundaries or survey points, or contours, or anything - and these mostly come from DWG and often from multiple, very complex files).

In SketchUp if we have “Import with Original Coordinates” checked on, then the geometry comes in at the correct place.
That’s good - because we can import several things, and then re-import them when they update, and they’ll come through to the correct location.
That’s also bad - because that location could be 100,000 miles away from SketchUp’s origin and therefore won’t display properly.


  • We can’t just move the imported components’ to 0,0,0 because they retain their internal axes, which will be 100,000 miles away.
  • We can manually change (shift or place) the axis for every imported component - but that can take a long time, is prone to error, and can’t reliably be undone. When files are complex and located at far distances from the origins, they are difficult to work with.

So, my request is that we are able to somehow shift SketchUp’s model axis.

But, you say, “We can”… True, except that:

  • this doesn’t actually change the model’s true 0,0,0 location, it only alters the visual red/green/blue guides (I find that function to be confusing and problematic). Subsequent imports will be located on SketchUp’s original (now invisible) true model axis.
  • it doesn’t affect the internal axis of any imported components. So those DWG components that we have imported will maintain their internal axes (which will be 100,000 miles away); it’s just now shifted to a different place; that doesn’t solve the display corruption issue.

What I think we need is this simple workflow - this could be a new Extension

  1. We Import DWGs to their original coordinate location.
  2. Then we shift the skp model axis to a better place. This operation will actually shift the axis for every component that uses sketchup’s 0,0,0 as it’s origin. We can add/edit our own native skp geometry, using this new point as our SKP model axis.
  3. After we have shifted it, and done our modelling, we need to be able to re-set it BACK to its original location. So, if we need to re-import some DWGs, or Export our model, we can shift the model axis back to whatever it was (e.g. -100,000, -150,000,0), perform the export, then shift it again back to our preferred location.

To clarify; SketchUp would need to process the entire model and shift numerous components’ axes to a new location; My feeling is that only the components that use 0,0,0 as their axis would need to have their axes shifted. This means all the sub-components like trees and furniture will maintain their individual axes, which tend to be close to their geometry.

This “shift origin” feature would solve the problem of co-ordinating SKP files with other pro AEC software.

Having a visual marker (a guide point or a small cross made out of guide lines) for SketchUp’s axis would be helpful, too. Other software has this and it works well.

Is this something an extension can do? If so, I have $$$. I’m sure others do, too.

1 Like

+100 I’ve been asking for this for years, if someone could write an extension to do this I would also pay. But doesn’t seem like it would be a hard feature for SU to add but then I’m not a programmer. Right now I use various work arounds.

Thanks for reading , Mike - if you can think of a better or different way to explain things, then happy to edit my post into a “brief” for an extension developer.

I hope you’re right about it being a simple function - I know the manual workflow for making these changes to axes is not too complicated, so could be achieved via an extension.

@Fredo6 I think you could be someone who can help here :slight_smile: