Can't import PDF line data

PDF import is missing from SketchUp. Is there an easy way to open these line drawings with SketchUp only?

  1. Buy a Mac.
  2. I had some convoluted method 7+ years ago for layout: Redirecting to Google Groups

In conclusion: Buy a Mac.

You can

  • Import PDF in Inkscape
  • Export as DXF
  • Import DXF in SketchUp (Make: with plugin, PRO directly)

You can try something like this:
Convert PDF to DWG Free Online


Hi Barry. Spending 100,000 yen on a new PC… Then buying the software…

If you are part of the SketchUp team, can you tell me which plugin allows PDF importing? If I was going to spend more than 100,000 yen it would just be a lot easier to buy another cad program but that isn’t what I want to do.

I like Sketchup, the online tutes and the system. I saw a post where one person listed PDF in the import area. So I know it is possible. I would just like a programming/bug fix solution or plugin if possible.

Thank you for the idea though.

Does anyone know how to import PDF line files using SketchUp? I can use Illustrator to make a dxf but would prefer to use Sketchup.

Barry, also thank you for the super fast reply ^^

Cotty, thank you for the free Inkscape idea and Gully, thank you for the link to the converter.

I’d still just like to find out how to import the data using Sketchup only.

you can’t
not with a mac either… on mac, sketchup will import a PDF as an image…

you can’t do this with it: (which is what i assume you mean when saying ‘PDF line data’)

brooklynLibrary.pdf (186.0 KB)

Meh, @Jeff is right. I played around with Preview on Mac, which does Collada, hoping I could find a path, but it’s really just a Collada reader. Easier in LayOut than SketchUp. Maybe I should revive the feature request: “allow SketchUp to import a LayOut page”… I’m kidding.

I’d probably do @Cotty 's suggestion. But as was asked: are you just taking vector drawings and build into 3D, or what? There’s probably a reasonable workflow out there somewhere.

i wonder if someone could write an importer plugin the does the conversion? (vector PDF → SketchUp)

i don’t necessarily need it and personally, when working from pdf i’ve been sent, i’ll draw from scratch/dimensions to ensure clean&straight line work…

so when i say ‘i wonder if…’ …i really do mean i’m just curious is all :wink:

A PDF is essentially a compressed PostScript file (EPS is essentially an uncompressed version of the same) so the “someone” ought to know how to read that.


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I’ve been playing with an extension to load PDF vector graphics into SketchUp. It is still very much alpha stage, with a lot of gaps and performance issues - but it basically works. I tried it on the brooklynLibrary.pdf file @Jeff attached earlier. Below is what I got. I’d be interested in additional sample PDF files containing vector graphics to test.

Some obvious issues:

  • It doesn’t handle clipping paths. This file has a significant amount of redundant and extraneous graphics that are clipped out of the pdf but display in my skp.
  • There are places where lines meet in the PDF but not in the skp due to pdf’s line width
  • It doesn’t handle fill.
  • It doesn’t even attempt to do text (and probably never will - too complex!)
  • Some graphics are mysteriously missing. I don’t know why yet.
  • If you look closely, the skp reveals that the pdf was somewhat sloppily drawn! There are numerous places where lines are slightly out of alignment (if you zoom way in on the pdf you can see them there too, but pdf line width hides many of them).

brooklynLibrary.skp (1.4 MB)


That’s an understatement. I brought the pdf into CorelDraw, mainly out of curiosity, and switched off the display of line weights. There doesn’t seem to be a single clean line: it’s a maze of double and triple lines and bad intersections. What a mess.

It really underscores what @Jeff said earlier:


I would guess that what is happening is that wide lines (like wide polylines in AutoCad) have been translated into filled paths with a stroke in the PDF, and, as Acrobat is much more inaccurate than AutoCad (it is supposed to be a simple representation of a printed page, after all), all these add up to form the maze. This doesn’t probably happen with normal lineweights, only with wide polylines.


It’s true that PDF is print-oriented but its locations are floating point, so if there is a lack of precision it is because whatever generated this drawing didn’t bother to create values to full precision. I think it more likely that the maze is due to the way that someone created this drawing, most likely by overdrawing the outlines manually on several layers and then merging them for output. PDF does not need multiple lines to handle width or pattern. The PDF representation is a single path between two points. The renderer paints the pattern and width during the stroke operation; there are not extra lines in the file to handle this.

I can verify this tomorrow at work but AutoCad wide polylines are different. The width can also vary vertex by vertex, so it really is a kind of filled region. I seem to remember too that sometimes solid fills are rendered as dense line hatching. In AutoCad, if you use tools to explode a TrueType text into lines, the result is also not a filled hatch object but a maze of lines.