DWG Export with layers

well here’s a revision for our dwg export options. Added options for sketchup dimensions and leaders, which are none, and added the workflow of Tag by Tag export.

seems to me that the section tool plugins can add layer info to objects that are being cut, but not the rest of the model.


3D export is the whole model, correct? Cutting a section is just ignored, isn’t it?

yes. its the whole thing, also ignoring tag structure of the current scene.

Not true with skalp. Model layers are exported too

Have read down thru this entire thread…

Is it entirely naive of me to think that the Sketchup community couldn’t pull enough weight to influence their sub-contractors to move to Sketchup instead of continuing with AutoCAD? Seems like the example that @Sonder has set should be the thing that we are all pushing for; adoption of Sketchup by everyone. #take over the world #domination.

Thanks for this Matrix.

An update to the dwg export matrix: I have experimented with skalp, and found that it does provide “tags to layers” and makes closed polylines in the section cut. However, it has the same problem as Curic and Layout (same API?) in that there’s no proper precision, so your axis lines will go to the engineer with the distance of 5999,9723 instead of 6000 mm and the engineer will ask if you did the work in Microsoft Paint :slight_smile:


Thanks, you’ve done really helpful work for the community.

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A couple of these absent features would be mandatory:

  • Export DWG Layers from Layout without needing stacked viewports;
  • 100% Accuracy at any model decimal places. This could be solved also by allowing us to define an high accuracy in model, yet the display accuracy of dimensions, leaders, areas and volumes would be lower. This would be even more important in Layout, which should have a preconfigured display accuracy in leaders that would be configurable as with dimensions, and wouldn’t be connected to the model accuracy settings.

Can you describe the stacked viewport method? I don’t get how to set that up.

I am not sure about the exact workflow @JQL uses, but it might go like this:

  • Create LayOut layers to correspond to the layers you need in the DWG
  • Put a copy of your SketchUp vector-rendered viewport on each LayOut layer, located on top of each other
  • In each viewport, turn off SketchUp tags leaving on only those that you want to end up on the LayOut layer.
  • Export to DWG using the “Export for SketchUp” option
  • Open in CAD and scale everything back to full scale

A bit tedious, but works.


Exactly as @Anssi described.

If you need others to work with your export you might want to export without using the export for SketchUp method.

That method creates several groups in the DWG. One group for each layer. Those groups are very hard to work with so they have to be exploded in CAD. If you explode those groups though, you loose their layer info. Every line will be on Layer0 and the model will become a mess.

With the other export method, Layout will export each viewport as a different DWG layer, but will also spread them apart in modelspace. Everything will be fine in paperspace but layers won’t be on the same place in modelspace. Fixing that will make your work even more tedious.

This whole process is really painful, whatever path you choose.


All, we’ve been complaining about this for literally years with no response from trimble. All we get is a bit better inference here, a bit of that there. I’m holding my “owned” versions of SU but I haven’t renewed this year’s subscription. While more costly and far less fun, I’m beginning to really evaluate Vectorworks for a switch of process. This is just way too time consuming.

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I have a feeling SU 23 will bring us improvements in import/export on ifc/dwg. Their marked surveys seems to be about this, and they also have this Revit import beta project.

Obviously the situation cannot stay like it is forever, and I guess most people using Sketchup for building design is looking actively into options if they need to jump ship, even if they really dont want to.

Keeping ones business is more important than ones love for sketchup, after all, so if they make us choose, the result is predictable.


Well put. Fingers crossed. I had a SU model bring VW to its knees last week when I tried to change view and rendering mode…

The thing is that I’m still clinging to SketchUp, no matter what. Workarounds, workflows and a bit of patience still get me going. Removing the what would be great!

I don’t know if it will be that fast, but I’m sure this sort of things concerns the team.

Sharing how we export our 2D DWGs for Consultants.

Our SU Models are set up with Each Tag having its own Specific RGB Color (not Indexed Color). To Help Set this up we Use TIGs Layers to List (from SketchUcation) and then we Edit this list in Notepad to set the Individual RGB Color Values for Each Tag/Layer. Then we Import that List using TIG’s Layers From List (from SketchUcation) and now each Tag has a Specific RGB Color.

NOTE: Although Layers from List does not control the Transparency of each Tag/Layer. If it Did we could switch between Color by Tag for Exporting from Layout to DWG and Color by Tag Transparency for the Isolated Live Section (Donley Method).

We Produce our Documents In Layout, some of the Drawings are individual Viewports and some are Stacked Viewports. Our Layouts contain many Viewports and many different Styles associated with Each. So To Export these drawings to DWG, we need to re-set all of our Viewports to a Color by Tag Style (Our Own Style called “Color By Tag Export” with ‘Model Settings’ Set to Color by Tag and ‘Edge Settings’ set to: Color by material). We usually go Page by page and Select all Viewports on a Page or in a Group and set the Style to Color by Tag. But you can change the Style of all Scenes Globally in Sketchup.

We Export without ‘Export for Sketchup Selected’ Leaving Layout Stuff (Title block, Notes, and Dims) in ACAD Paper space and the Model Viewport Geometry is Sent to ACAD Model Space at Real World Scale.

Once the DWG is made. Consultants can select all Similar type objects and geometry by color with the ‘Quick Selection’ Command in ACAD Selecting elements based on color. Not the same as turning on or off Layers but better than all the same color on Layer 0.

This is where a Lisp Routine and could automatically assign objects to separate layers by color @rvm.forum @janunes. But if We have a list of Layers and their Color Couldn’t a Lisp assign objects to their exact layer by color?

I use Color by Tag as well, and export from sketchup, not Layout, to get the geometric accuracy that Layout exports cannot provide. I have my tags already in my template, with their tag-colours set. After export I open the dwg and move the export to its proper location, as the export cannot even provide the correct origo.

I imagine it would be easy to just use the sketchup exporter that they already have, and just run it over and over again for each component on each tag, and sort it with component/group names onto exported dwg layers.

I find it amazing that Trimble, as a professional software company for physical planning, have not insisted on Sketchup playing nice in a team. I see ads for Trimble software for planning often, mentioning Quadri, Quantm, Connect, Novapoint, Tilos, Sitevision, Tekla.

They never mention Sketchup.

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DWG Export with layers - plugin - SketchUp - SketchUp Community

Hey, let us know what you think!

This is cool, but I cannot find that it adresses the needs of people exporting dwg´s to a group of consultants, because:

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

  • You need dwgs that have a standardised origo, because you work with professionals who are gonna x-ref your drawing into their own.

  • it’s important to not go down the road of excessive touchup of exported dwg´s, because you might export that dwg again tomorrow.
  • You need acad layers, not for the fancy linetype styles, but for organisational robustness, because:

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. I could prepare a dwg for this engineer alone, bur then I would have to do a separate dwg for every consultant on the project, That would be ridicolous. Some needs to see the furniture, and some just cannot be bothered with all that detail.

If there is outside terrain in that dwg, that might be disturbing, and some would want to turn that off.

Those two same use case scenarios where layers and proper origo is important are the same for a lot of consultants.

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.

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