Anyone able to import this .dwg successfully?


Is it just me, or is this a problem for SU? Special settings needed to import?

It’s a 25MB DWG file. I’ve been able to open it with Autodesk’s CAD viewer and it looks right, but when I try to import into SU2018, I get (immediately):

File not found.
Check the file name and try again.

It’s a 2D survey contour set, coming from a co-worker who apparently imported it from his survey-data-processing software (name of which escapes me) into AutoCAD so he could tweak it a bit. I think it’s got about six layers.

Thanks - Dave


What version of Autodesk? SketchUp won’t load 2018 files. Downsave in the autodesk software to a lower version


I was able to open the file in an Autocad clone but couldn’t import it into SU. So I saved it down as an Autocad 2010 file and that imported OK. If you PM me with your email address I’ll send across the SU file. It’s 6.5MB so too big to upload here.

This is what it looks like in AC:

And this is what it looks like in SU:


Thanks for that extended effort, Simon, and for your input, Mike. I’m checking with co-worker (apparently busy with something bigger…) to see about the ACAD version he saved it with, and retro-saving if need be.

Simon, the version you were able to produce is a sort of shadow-puppet version of what it should look like (no shaded-green contours or lines showing within the yellow area). I’m uploading a draft version .jpg that will give you a closer idea of what I’d hoped would come through - I shoulda done that to begin with.

edit: hmmm…no uploading going on here? here’s the link:


Co-worker provided what he says is a re-saved older-ACAD-version of this file (link below), but I get almost the same non-results on attempting to import - just a message from SU saying “import failed.”

Does this work for anyone else as an import into SU2018?

edit: I think he used the old link without saving retro file over it. THIS one works, but for me, only shows the basic targets, layout project limits, and squiggly path by the boat used to perform the soundings - certainly no color-shaded contours, etc. Anyone get anything better?


Should it look something like this?
Here’s the model at 3D Warehouse

Here’s the CAD file … back-saved to an R12 ASCII DXF prior to import into SU.


Wow George - thanks - yes, at this point, I’m thinking that’s probably as close as it’s going to get. There are hints of green shimmer, as if showing through from some merging of planes (?) but it looks like the important red contour line color is lost, with all of them now blue. I’m pretty sure that’s going to make it too difficult to use, but it’s good to know your ‘back-save’ protocol. Did you arrive at that by trial-and-error, or is that a tried-and-true process to view in SU2018?

I’m on an extremely slow jobsite connection right now, but trying to download the file to view in SU.

Many thanks for your efforts.


Yes, for some reason there are two Faces occupying the same plane.
Delete the one you don’t need.

Create another style in the model.
Style > Edit > Edges > Color: By material


Open the Layers manager.
Turn on all the Layers.
Click open the Layers Details fly out menu (the little blue arrow) and click Color by Layer
Click on a color swatch in the Layer manager to edit the Layer color displayed in the model.



I had to go home to get a reasonable connection (jobsite problem), but after downloading and importing, this does look about right - except that I think it at some point in the import may have had some kind of a sign reversal?? The contours are reversed, it seems, showing high points as lows. I grouped them and scaled by -10 on the blue axis, eventually, to magnify the contour interval, and it looks, well, maybe not perfect, but plausible. However, it’s still missing the important calculated 7’ depth indication (uniquely highlighted contour lines that just aren’t there - they’re intended to flag all areas where dredging effort has already reached or surpassed the required depth for this area of 7’). Also, co-worker has apparently been reworking, making this version obsolete. I will ask him to provide a current version backsaved per your specs and see if I can retrace your steps. Thanks a million.


It’s not difficult to enter height data in the wrong direction. I’ve modeled terrain upside down myself.
Not to impugn the efforts of your colleague, but you might check if the height data was entered as positive or negative values. It’s easy to correct by mirroring the geometry via Flip Along or the Scale tool.

ACAD files often contain proprietary ACAD entities that only ACAD software can recognize.
SketchUp can only ignore those proprietary ACAD contraptions when you import the CAD file.
Here’s a list (woefully outdated and incomplete) of which ACAD entities SU supports.

Understanding what CAD elements SketchUp can import — SketchUp Help

@Anssi has far greater knowledge of proprietary ACAD elements than go missing in SketchUp.

Preparing (simplifying) CAD files prior to import into SU is an important part of the workflow.
Preparing a CAD file for import into SketchUp — SketchUp Help

Perhaps missing XREFS are the problem.
This warning pops up when your latest DWG is opened with Autodesk DWG TrueView 2018


I am on my vacation with no access to Autodesk software at the moment so I cannot take a look at the files. If the terrain was created with an AutoCad addition like AutoCad Civil or Land FX, it must be converted to standard 3D geometrical elements prior to importing into SketchUp. This can be done with the “Export to AutoCad” function in AutoCad Civil and other Autodesk “vertical” additions.
The SketchUp importer also struggles with some AutoCad 3D shapes, especially NURBS surfaces.


Those contour lines look like a seismograph plot —

might be more efficient to arc trace over the top in SU and throw that away.


What version of Autocad and Sketchup do you have?


Thanks all.

Atrejosq: It’s a remote co-worker’s ACAD, and I think it’s 2018, if there is such a thing. The SU2018 is on my machine.

Anssi/ gsharp: they’re contour lines that are interpolated by bathymetric processing software from a sonar survey that uses only a single ‘beam,’ sounding the bottom of the harbor we’re dredging. The name of the software escapes me (it’s also on co-worker’s end). I’ve had to freehand-trace his results from pdf or jpg twice now. It’s not fun even if it works right - since there is a very large number of small-radius curves. Aside from the inherent inaccuracy of doing it that way, it’s often the case that unexpected holes in the freehand tracings come about, and/or they get shifted ever-so-slightly out of plane, so the needed area calculations become even more problematic while I tear my hair out trying to get these silly shapes to fill using every trick I can come up with (ThomThom’s extensions are indispensable).

I’ve been trying to get aforementioned co-worker to do these seemingly-simple area totals (everything below -7’, for example) on ACAD, but apparently it’s no snap on HIS end, either.

I’ve struggled through another month’s data on this using the aforementioned (mickey-mouse tracing) process, and I don’t think it’s going to be the last time it haunts me.

Anssi - co-worker apparently does what you describe, or similar export, from the bathy. software to his ACAD, then adds some other layer information (project plan) to orient viewers, so it seems like it’s already been through that process. It’s been decades since I used ACAD, but I would assume it would be similarly able to calculate areas of irregular shapes, right?

I’m new with this company, hired for this one project only because of certain bureaucratic qualifications I have for fed gov construction contract work - certainly not for my dredging expertise. Since dredging is part of their core biz, it baffles me that they don’t have a very standard process by which to demonstrate their progress and thus substantiate their monthly billings. Looks like it’s going to be a monthly nightmare until it’s done…



Contour lines are only estimates of levels interpolated from datapoints so only approximations anyway aren’t they…???

Nevertheless, is it possible to receive raw x,y,z data and use SU plugins to do your surface modelling and contour estimations?

Toposhaper comes to mind? … sorry I am not on my PC so can’t check directly

A second factor always to consider is you data origin and the magnitude of the values you are dealing with - hopefully the an agreed local origin is that close to the site and the x,y,z values are nor overly huge or exceedingly small…

PS I do understand that you may be taking on a legal liability or expertise that is outside your scope of service .and of course. that is for you to judge…


Here’s what I get using FreeDXF and Teigha for dwg -> dxf conversion.

It’s a heavy model and might be painful to work with in SketchUp.