DWG Export with layers - plugin

Hi all,

Please leave a comment if you have ever requested the feature below.
DWG Export with layers - SketchUp / Feature Requests - SketchUp Community

My team is working on this feature which could export DWG from sketchup (not layout) to CAD. And all the process will be completed in CAD. Here’s the current result of the DWG file in CAD. Faces in Sketchup will be exported into material image clipped with rectangle.

If you click one polyline, you can find out that lines are connected.

Then we will provide a tool that can transfer the clipped material image into hatches.

We have organized few requests from the forum ahead. Please let us know your thoughts of each question below.

1 Do you need the components to be exported to blocks? And why?

2 Do you need all the layers remain intact in DWG file? And why?

3 What about all the patterns in layout? There’s no fill tool in layout which means you have to redraw shapes for patterns. Do you think transfer material images into hatched in CAD is a good idea? This means you have to do all the filling works in CAD.

We are definitly able to do everything above, but when all the features combined, it brings up the workload and takes much more time to debug. So please tell us which one is the most important or you have something else prior to everyone above. Btw, we are unable to complete these features with Sketchup export API or modify the export API.



  1. Groups and components should be exported as filled blocks. Geometry below should exist below these.

  2. Yes, layers should to be intact. If I’ve constructed a layer structure in my model, I want it to be exported as such so my associates/consultants can turn off the unneeded layers aswell as have some indication of what that layer is representing.

  3. Not sure? Ideally, layout would drive the process.

In my fantasy, SU would export dwg in a manner that each layer was built on top of the lower. Each layer would have filled geometry of groups/components so if my lighting designer wanted to turn off my lighting layer, the result would still be a coherent drawing that doesn’t just have random lines with missing geometry of behind the layer I just turned off.

Thanks and FWIW

I’m not an AutoCAD user, but my 2D program, PowerCADD can use either DWG or PDF for import.
• First priority is simply export with layers
• PowerCADD is a polygon or surface drawing program like, say, Adobe Illustrator, so filled polygons would be extremely helpful. That would be second priority.
• PowerCADD doesn’t support group content spanning over multiple layers like SketchUp does, so I’m not sure what features of groups/comonents or block translation to pursue.

I think that exporting embedded or referenced raster images to AutoCad is not a very great idea. Can you make the hatch substitution happen already at the export stage?

Same here, I’m using Qcad, but work with people using autocad.

export by layers is by far the main thing. Right now, it’s the bypass we’ve found, instead of exporting the whole view, turn on one or two layers, export, then combine on different layers.
Even if in SU an object touches another object, if they are on different layers, they become easy to regroup in 2DCAD softwares. Especially if they are composed of polylines and polygons instead of raw loose geometry.

Components to Blocks is required because that’s what they are. Otherwise selecting any one object means making a potentially laborious selection set. It keeps things separate. Its expected.

Layers in DWG are Priority because that’s how we control Viability and Line Types.

Converting Images to Hatches seams like AI stuff but your method of selecting a Hatch would be greatly appreciated even if it is manual sizing and origin positioning. Drafting Tile Patterns with vector lines is tedious and revisions become a dread. Placing a texture is like fun time schematic design and then making it a hatch is like saying its done. ( I always thought that Converting a Texture to Vector lines would be an interesting plugin even if it wasn’t perfect… like Adobe Illustrator Tracing Tool.)

Is this real? Are you really working on this? How far along are you? This would be a dream come true!!!


this group seems to be doing some interesting work. But I cannot find that it adresses the needs of people exporting dwg´s to consultants, because:

  • You need a quick change of a scene to a dwg, and not some dwg geometry that is there for further eastetical work inside Autocad.

  • You need dwgs hat have a standardised origo, because you work with professionals who are gonna x-ref your drawing in.

  • You need acad layers, not for the fancy things, with fancy linetype styles, but for organisational robustness. If you export out a .dwg and one engineer finds his own columns on that drawing, and he’s gonna change those, he does not want his own old columns to be present in that underlay dwg. If there is outside terrain in that dwg, that might be disturbing, and he turn that off.

Those two same use case scenarios where layer and origo is important are present for a lot of people one works with and interacts with. And it’s important to not go down the road of excessive touchup of exported dwg´s, because you might export that dwg again tomorrow. I could prepare a dwg for this engineer alone, bur then would have to do a separate dwg for every consultant on the project, That would be ridicolous.

I certainly get the feeling many people at sketchup dont know about the many real world use cases, because they say dwg´s have gotten better, but thats just not the case.

Be very interested to hear if this plugin is available to test. I have a a hybrid approach to design that oscillates between sketch paper, SketchUp, CAD and then into LayOut for select 3D represented views (elevations and perspectives). Still plan and detail quite a bit in CAD and would love to have a closer connection and workflow between the three programs.

The biggest gap, in my opinion, is having exported SketchUp views match Tag to Layers in CAD. If there is a plugin that can export to .dwg with respect to an origin as mentioned before, be compatible with Tags to Layers and combine lines and points to simplified lines or polylines in CAD, then that would be worth paying for. Additionally, if there could be an option of Xrefing CAD dwgs back into SketchUp then that would be terrific as well (almost like a circular reference - I know that’s not the right way to describe this - between the two programs). I realize there are plugins and extensions that already do this but an integrated extension with the proper toolsets would be ideal.

I still see LayOut as a player in this as its new CAD references could make it become the final document tool to get all of the loose pieces back into one publishing and presentation software. But it must be made to be as fluid and effortless to use as SketchUp. Having to consistently update LayOut references is frustrating, as this should be handled automatically and effortlessly behind the scenes.

In addition, the latency and lack of responsiveness have severely hampered it in any push towards standardizing it as a real documentation and production tool in the AEC industry. I use Xara Designer Pro and am amazed at how old that software is and how blazingly fast it handles 100s of pages of documents, text, graphics, effects, text, auto page numbers, etc… A dream would be how the LayOut team could replicate the ease of use of a program like that. Game changer!

To be clear, this is not a knock against others that use LayOut daily (I do as well), but a recognition that combining SketchUp with extensions, a CAD package for its fluidity in diagramming and detailing, and LayOut as a effortlessly fast and efficient desktop publishing application is very interesting.

My 2 cents and happy to tag in to help if the need is there.

Thanks for all the hard work!

Eric Whitmore, AIA

Any news of the plugin? This could save a lot of time, I use Qcad pro and if I want to have the model separated in layers I must export different dwg’s and then put them together in another file, it’s not something hard to do but it can take a lot of time if the project has a lot of layers.

We have just release the 0.1 version into Chinese market. Here‘s the link of the tutorial. (SU 导出平立面完整教程_哔哩哔哩_bilibili)

Here’s the feature included in 0.1 version:
AutoCAD plugin, CAD verison newer than 2014(included)
Sketchup verison 2020-2021

Export consecutive polyline
Export detail (curve)
Recover the line

The reason why there are red rectangles after export is because this is the fastest way to export now. The red rectangle is the bounding box of the curved surface. For elevation drawing export, average export time is 1 sec. If you need to export the curved surface, click the “export detail” button and select the red rectangles for further export. Which will take much longer for export. Every 100 red rectangles takes up to 2 seconds.

For blocks, we will not maintain all the components in Sketchup model. For now, we’ve kept the topmost component of the Sketchup model. Because the object in the front will have its shaped cut in the object at the back. The better way to avoid this is to export with layers. But we don’t have it because our users don’t need it.

But still, the problem mentions about which you can also find in the tutorial is that you can recover the shape of the object at the back. Get into its block and select those lines that you want to recover.

Let us know your software version and workflow and how do you think! If layer is something critical, we will try to release a English version ASAP.

Layers are the most important part