Import DWG into Layout

It would be useful when using Layout to be able to import DWG directly. I’m just starting using Layout for architectural construction documents. One can import DWG details into Sketchup then bring into Layout in a viewport however it would be better would be to import as Layout entities for scrapbook so ie details,titleblooks, etc … that have been developed in architectural offices over the years could be quickly setup.
Along the same lines, the ability to import spreadsheets … ie excel or open office format would be great.


If you import DWG Graphics into SketchUp, you can convert them into LayOut objects by setting the viewport they are in to Vector rendering, and then exploding it.

Not that importing directly into LO wouldn’t be handy. DWG files, though, usually contain items drawn or modelled to full scale, and LO being about “paper”, the import would have to scaled to fit.



There are many Architectural Firms and Engineering firms that have built up substantial libraries of ACAD details over the years.

It makes perfect sense for Sketchup to import DWG files as line entities ONLY because Sketchup is focused upon producing 3D objects. It doesn’t make sense to import DWG text as it would certainly complicate a 3D display.

Layout on the other hand would be a perfect place to permit the import of TEXT along with DWG line entities. The ability to do that would certainly be a bonus to firms wanting to migrate to Sketchup-Layout as a primary tool for creating CAD like drawings. Without that capability, a firm would probably not want to “waste” the time to transfer details into Layout … it would rather continue using their DWG software.

So as a potential marketshare increase for Trimble it would seem to make sense to add the ability in Layout to import of DWG (with TEXT).



I was just suggesting ways to use imported content in LayOut with the tools we have now.

To be honest, I think that as long as 2D CAD-type drawings are needed, most firms will stick to their AutoCads, and with the featureset and workflow of LayOut it is not going to replace it very soon. LayOut is to SketchUp what paper space tabs are to model space drawings in AutoCad, and things related to the model/drawing are best held in “model space”. I have never heard of an AutoCad user drawing his/her details in Paper space - with the resulting need to scale everything in your head or with a calculator, as, the paper in Autocad is like the paper in LayOut in that the only scale it knows is 1:1.

With BIM applications this whole workflow is different. BIM applications have their live 2D views of the model. When 2D details are needed, these are added to these views as view-specific detail/annotation graphics. Then when output is needed we place these views on sheets. When graphical objects or text are created directly on a sheet these are purely annotative, just like in paper space views in AutoCad or on LayOut pages.

Just random ramblings


1 Like

I see your points. You’ve convinced me this was a bad idea.
Also … importing DWG annotation might be a nightmare.

It seems to me the easiest way to use existing cad details would be exporting a vector pdf from the software that created it. This would preserve the colors, linetypes and lineweights, and could be place at scale on a layout page.

Unfortunately this doesn’t work, as LayOut cannot import PDF files (SketchUp for Mac can, but it converts them to raster images). DWG is the only available way to get 2D CAD content into SketchUp as vectors.


I’m on a mac, but I didn’t realize it converted them to raster. That’s very good to know. I guess it has mostly worked for me, but it certainly seems like vector pdf support would be almost mandatory for a program like layout. It must be such a pain on windows to not have any pdf support…

1 Like

Acrobat solves the problem quite nicely … for extra $ of course.

Open source software such as Open Office Draw or GIMP should also do the conversion … but it would be very nice to be able to import pdf directly into Layout.

Also of course TEXT is not imported into SU from DXF / Autocad files.

LAYOUT need basic vector import … Hell even Powerpoint can import a vector file WMF or SVG…

A really needed simple capability