How can I use a PDF with a CAD scale?

I have is a PDF that is showing a scale made on CAD for DWG.
it says: Scale: 1/4"=1’ -22x34dwg. / 1/8th"=11x17DWG

I do not have CAD.
I Have SU 2014

How can I use the scale on the PDF or convert and use a ruler or print and use ruler?

Thanks for any help

Does this have anything to do with SketchUp?


Yes I am building it in 3D Sketchup. Need to be able to look at the CAD plans that are in PDF and measure some things that were not marked on the plans to confirm and transfer to the sketchup model

Sorry, but that does not make it clear to me what you are asking. What you describe could be accomplished by printing the PDF and using a ruler. But I expect you want something more computerized?

Are you asking how to import the PDF into SketchUp so you can measure it there? If the PDF is a raster file, you can import it as an image, scale it to real size, and then measure what you want. If the file is vector, there is no direct import available on Windows SketchUp. You have to convert the vector PDF to something SketchUp can import, for example to dwg, using a separate program such as InkScape.

If the idea is to make a model of what is depicted on the PDF, I think you’re creating an extra step for yourself–namely, the whole “measurement” procedure. Depending on the specific content of the PDF (i.e., raster or vector), you will import the drawing, scale it to full size based on a single known dimension, and then trace it. If you trace it carefully, you’ll be able to extrude the floor plan into a 3D model of the structure.

If you do need to “make measurements” you can simply use the Tape Measure and Protractor tools in SU, which, by comparison, make a ruler look pretty primitive.


Thanks Gully,
This is the way I usually do it and have been doing it. I keep checking the
screen and the printouts to measure say, a 6’8" doorway and having a hard
time getting it right. It has appeared that on the screen @ 75% its the
right size but printing it out doesn’t seem to work.
While working off the PDF CAD file I was hoping to confirm a few of the
dimensions by double checking in different ways, one being measuring off
the screen or a print out. I’ve tried printing the PDF to 100% scale but
Adobe is telling me I need the pro version, of which I’ve been trying to
avoid the cost. I’ve gone through my options with Adobe tech support i.e.
printing off 100% snap screen etc.
I was wondering if there’s a conversion for the CAD scale or if I might
convert the PDF back to a DWG file then try printing that, but I’m hesitant
to try new free software that I’m unfamiliar with. Thanks again

I’m looking for different ways to double check my measurements.

I have been importing as a jpg then re-sizing to measurements I know are true.

I was wondering if you’ve ever heard of a conversion for the CAD scale or if I might convert the PDF back to a DWG file then try printing that, but I’m hesitant to try new free software that I’m unfamiliar with. Adobe is telling me I need the pro version, of which I’ve been trying to avoid the cost. I’ve gone through my options with Adobe tech support i.e. printing off 100% snap screen etc…
Thanks Slbaumgartner

pdf is just a special folder containing a variety of different items…

it may be just one big low resolution jpg inside…

or any combination of text + any image/s format [of any resolution] + vector drawing/s

post an example pdf so others can see if it’s vector or not…

if it’s rastor, jpg is about the worst format to convert from/ too, as it degrades every time it is processed…

if jpg is your only option, avoid any further compression…

after your initial scaling in SU, check another dimension at 90° to the first, as images are often squashed…

Basically, if it’s a raster image, the scale in the text only indicates size of the original and cannot be relied on for any type of conversion…

if it’s a vector the written paper scale isn’t needed to make digital model…


A vector PDF can be opened in some illustration applications (Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw or Inkscape (free)) and saved as DWG or DXF that can then be imported into SketchUp Pro (or, the DXF, into SketchUp Make with a plugin).


It may be a vector because when I blow it up to 800% it seems consistent.
Adobe Illustrator does have a free trial. It may be worth the shot? Thanks

Thanks John, I think it was made totally on CAD and is vector because I’ve
blown it up to 800% and is holding up.
Here’s an example. Thanks, Billy

Thanks for all who have replied and given me more incite and learning.
I found this product and they have great tech support.

I also think that the print isnt printed to real scale than. That print could be scaled and that why you having issues with the scale.

As the other noted, import it and print it at 100%. PS pdf can print 100% by using multiple pages, this can also be done with the free version. Under sizing & handling set it to poster, than you set the scale to 100% and use some mm for the overlap

Thanks Romboutv,
I’ll try your suggestions. I’m working on a 1940’s custom home and there
are so many little walls different sizes that are being replaced and
feathered into.
Also, I’ve found that Adobe has many more setting inside the preferences
that I can check.
What I’ve been using is a product called and have been
happy with it. You can take notes on a page, save separately and come back
to it later.

It seems that you need to be an architect to understand this one…and Yes, Gully, it does have to do with SU.

It appears to me that you want to use a pdf from CAD and you want to import it or create a new SU model from the drawings. I do this alla time and you don’t need any fancy ass stuff to do so…just ask Dave. You may have to move the PDF around once or twice as some times the XY scales are not consistent but by and large it’s the same procedure as tracing.

1.Find a dimension that you can trust…I generally use an overall dimension (North-South& East- West…unless I know the original is screwed up

2.Magnify the pdf as you have done to see the intersection point of the dimension mark at both ends of the string.
3.Use the Tape to scale between the points and rescale the drawing to the dimension on the PDF. Done!

Doesn’t matter what the original scale was…it’s now to scale. Check the cross dimension to see if the pdf is out of whack; this is where you may have to move things slightly. But if you have ever traced a drawing you are familiar with this.

When you export to Layout you can specify a scale to print at for your sheet sizing.

I have used this technique for renovations to single family homes to 40 storey apartments and office towers. Always works…mind you I started drawing a long time ago; SU makes it easy to stay in the game.

Good luck.

Ken T

Thanks, Ken, but as asked, the original question could have had to do with just about anything, and the question you answered was never asked.

Now, I could have sat here and guessed at what the OP was trying to ask, perhaps correctly, perhaps not, and given him an answer based on that. I’ve seen these guessing sessions go on for days.

My feeling is that it’s the OP’s responsibility to make himself understood. Or, to put it another way, I like to think the requester is working as hard to get him an answer as I am.


Thanks Ken,
I have been doing it that way for a while and like to use several different techniques to verify as accurately as possible. On most of my projects that is the way I’ve always done it, but this was a 1940’s custom house rebuild in which there are many walls and tie in’s structurally that go with many different sizes. On top of that, the’re feathering different layers to meet as one size on the outside walls and floors. I was able to use www.Scan2CAD and make my own PDF’s. It also works on either Vector or Raster pics. They have great tech support and make a personalized video to explain how it works and get back right away. Some of the software I’ve used from the English guys has worked well for me. Although they do like to do things a bit different.
So Cheers to ya.

To import the PDF into SU, you download Inkscape for free - open the PDF and save as DXF - then import it into SU. Use the tape measure to measure between two known points and enter this distance, press enter and resize it. Works well, especially if the PDF was generated in cad. I usually check it against a few known dimensions to make sure (in case a dimension was hand-entered or altered)

Thanks jgbrock11,
It appears the save as function on my PDF does not list DXF. I have
imported jpgs of the pdf and done it this way by re-sizing but to be very
accurate on walls that are anywhere from 4" to 7.5 inches, and this is
important while putting everything in its place, I have been using with its free 14 day trial and great tech support.
Possibly If I paid for PDF Pro or had CAD software I could print out to
proper scale but still its hard to get exact with small measurements.
Thanks again, Billy G

Have you tried reaching out to the architect to see if he can share the CAD file for direct input in sketchup? Seems to me this would be the best way of going about this.