Export from Layout to DWG model space is a bit rough

Continuing the discussion from Export from Layout to DWG:

Hi Trent,

I’m experimenting with exporting a Layout 2021 document to autocad.
The paper spaces look fine, and thanks for your tip on selecting Vector or Hybrid, but the model space just ends up a long ling of images you can sort of dimension off.
Is this normal or can it be improved on?

When you export from LayOut to DWG, every vector-rendered SketchUp model viewport is put as a bunch of 2D lines in AutoCad modelspace, in a row. If you are getting raster images, you are using Raster or Hybrid rendering. Without seeing your LayOut and DWG files it is impossible to work out what you are actually getting but my guess is that “it is normal”.

Hi RHD, Anssi is correct in saying

With the standard option to send to the Paperspace this occurs when the LayOut file contains ‘Stacked’ Viewports. We then ‘restack’ these viewports in AutoCad by creating individual viewports based on the the same geometry defined in LO. Therefore the Modelspace will contain a line of geometry depending on how many stacked viewports you had in LO. Raster only vp’s will contain the raster image, Vector only vp’s will be only the linework and Hybrid vp’s will contain both the image and the linework on top of each other.

If the “Export for SketchUp” option is selected in the export dialog, we send everything to the Modelspace only (no paperspaces are created) with the geomentry is stacked on top of each other as it was in LO. The geometry is exported at the current LO paper size this is one drawback with this option is that the geometry will need to be scaled up to get it to the correct scale and does not include your paperspace info.

This option was created with the intent that the information created in LO could be used as a base to begin modeling with in SketchUp.

Hope that helps.

Hi Trent,

Thank you, but what is a “Stacked Viewport”?

Each page in the Layout document comes out fine in autocad, it’s the model space.

Setting the viewports in Layout to Vector or hybrid generates a long line of each viewport all in a row.

Is there anyway to get each page in Layout to generate as vector in AutoCAD so that the viewports stay in relation to each other on the pages in Model space in AutoCAD?

Thank you


Sorry for the confusion, stacking viewports was an older way for users to control SketchUp geometry in LO. It essentially is a copy of a SketchUp viewport that is stacked right on top of another viewport. You would then change the Stroke or Dash pattern on on VP differently than the other creating a visual hierarchy. We have improved this workflow eliminating the need for creating stacked VP’s (hopefully all together) by providing the ability in LO to control the Tag Dash Style and Line Scale in the SketchUp Model inspector.

So if you do not have stacked viewports, but see a long line of geometry in a row in the modelspace, this is because we need to create separate modelspace geometry for each paperspace viewport. This is different behavior than what is standard in Acad because we do not pass SU Tag data as Layer information.

To generate Vector data, set the Viewport as Vector in LO.
The “Export for SketchUp” process I outlined above will get you the closest to what you are wanting as far as the MS info, but does not get you the PS info you need.


Hi Trent,

sorry, there really isn’t much information on export to AutoCAD in the Help documents so I’ve just had to manage.
In fact the “Help” section says “follow these instruction” and then there aren’t any, it goes straight to printing.

I create a viewport, with say a plan, scale it, then copy it and change the view to elevation, another elevation etc, so there might be two or three on each page but they are not stacked on top of each other.
Is there no way to export these pages to autocad retaining the viewports relationship to each other in .dwg model space?

There’s options in the export dialogue, but no explanation as to what they do.
The models do seem to have come through 2 dimensionally though, which in the SketchUp they weren’t so that’s a start.

Maybe I just have to reorganise them in AutoCAD and do it that way.
It’s a start anyway.
Thank you.


Interesting… we will need to update those, I will make sure that is done.
Sorry about that.

It sounds like you are creating the files just fine, they do not need to be stacked.

When you say “keep the viewports relationships to each other in .dwg model space”… are you referring to all the linework located in one location?


Well, I’ve set up a page to present information on one part of a construction in Layout using models in SketchUp.

I’ve put an example in from my work, and another generic I found on the web of a traditional AutoCad model space page layout to explain how I hope it would translate into autocad - although that has title blocks on which I would not expect, I hope they upload.

In Layout it will look like a traditional drawing page with a ground plan and elevations and may have additional details.

What would work well for my business is if, as well as all those Layout Pages coming into AutoCAD perfectly, the associated CAD vector files populated the AutoCAD model space in the same relationship for each page.

I can then work on detailing them more specifically to fit the autocad expectations.

So instead of the model space in a Layout Exported drawing imported into AutoCADC just sticking all the viewports from layout to SketchUp end to end in a long line, it populated the model space while retaining the relationship of the viewports on each page.

So you ended up with model space having the pages represented with their associated viewports in the same relationship.

It must be possible and it would be a really big win for Trimble.


Hi Trent, while these improvements are excellent and I use them often, the stacking of viewports is still much faster since you can isolate what you want to vector or hybrid render. Until the speed of vector or hybrid rendering can be exponentially increased, stacking will certainly be a much faster approach.