Importing a PDF template into LO

I have a set of PDF plans that I made minor alterations on, but now I need to do the details. While I did the edits with on PNGs of the PDFs, now I am going to do the rest in SU pro 2018 and LO. I took one of the PNGs deleted all the drawings out ot it, and saved it to use as a template. I want my LO drawings to be in the same format as the pdfs so they have the same look.

I was thinking, if I import it into a 2’ x 3’ viewport it is going to slow stuff down immensely. Is there a way to convert it into some other format that wouldn’t be such a resource hog?

Perhaps as a vector instead of a raster file? Or should I forget it and draw it newly in LO by pushing it to the back and tracing it, then deleting the PNG?
I couldn’t push it back to trace it, so I decided to convert it and import it as a vector file into LO but that failed. Next I converted the PNG to a dwg file with this stunning result:
invalid code

What in the heck did I do wrong, and how do I fix it?


I don’t think you can transform a pdf or png to vector in LAyOut, the software I use is called Inkscape to transform images to vectors, you can do the same with adobe illustrator but I don’t think it’s worthy paying a subscription just for that.

I was using on line free conversion sites - that said, I’ll give inkscape a shot - thanks G

Well that didn’t fly either. Inkscape opened the file and saved it as a DXF file but when I imported it - nada - blank sheet. And uploading the png here failed. Too big I guess?


It sounds to me like you want the title block information fro the .pdf/.png since you “deleted” the drawings.

If so, try this: (with Layout opened to Arch D (24x36) sheet)
While .pdf is open in Adobe Acrobat Reader, and I think the Snapshot tool is available in A. A. Reader, use the Snapshot tool to capture the “title block”.

In layout, Cntrl + V (paste), you should now have only the selection you took a Snapshot of in Adobe Acrobat Reader (or Pro)

You can obviously resize to suit.

Yes, I want the design of the title block to be the same. It’s just a stock clear print design from the 70’s, but is not one of the options of the included templates in LO. I’ll look into the snapshot tool.

That didn’t work - I had previously converted the original PDF to a PNG in order to delete the text and drawings and leave the title block. I guess I have to convert it back to a PDF for that to work.

It probably wouldn’t be that hard to use the title block in the PDF as a reference and make a new one with LayOut’s drawing tools. I’d import the screenshot of the PDF into a LayOut file to use as a reference while drawing it up.

I share Dave’s opinion. Otherwise you are expending a lot of effort to end up with some image you can’t ever update. Good Luck.

I was hoping for a simple file conversion. I would think it’s a simple operation. Sigh. G

Might be with the right tools. Might be easier to just get after it. You haven’t shown us what you’re working with but there’s few title blocks that I’ve ever seen that would be difficult to draw from scratch in LO.

I am just not a fan of drawing stuff in LO. When I draw in SU I use the guides a lot, but oddly, it’s not part of the LO tool set. While I appreciate I can get different line weights in LO, I find it difficult to draw precisely in LO. Is there a plugin for LO that gives you a guide?

After some googlage, apparently not, and 2018 does not allow you to draw in scale - that came out in a later version than my 2018 SU according to a video I was watching.


Just checked the release notes… I hope I was reading the correct one.

The scaled drawing feature came out with 2018.

As for the lack of guides I might occasionally use the offset tool - I don’t find the lack of guides a problem but, for sure, would use them if they became available.

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The likely reason for the error message is that the importer doesn’t support importing XREFs or raster images.

If your original PDF files were vector files, I would try converting them into DXFs in Inkscape and importing the result to LayOut or SketchUp.

There is no automatic software that would produce a workable vector graphic result out of a raster image. I have seen results of several applications that professed to produce good DWGs out of scanned drawings, and they have always been disappointing, either with lots of things to clean up or missing. I think this is why most of them have disappeared from the market.

I think it’s referring to scaling an existing object, not drawing to scale. I can’t find anything in the help section, that says to draw a line 6’ long, draw the line and enter the dimension and it adjusts the line to the desired 6’.
This option is not in my 2018 LO window pull down:

  1. Select Window > Scaled Drawing.
  2. In the Scaled Drawing panel that appears, click Make Scaled Drawing.
  3. Choose a scale.

I already tried the inkscape conversion with no positive result, so I uploaded the PNG into SU, rescaled it to 2’ on the side, and am measuring each line, box, radius, and am going to draw it somehow in LO with my measurements. Not being able to draw to scale will be a flaming hoop I’ll have to jump through. I will likely use a grid and the dimension tool to determine where the lines should be.
Now I have to find out how many pixels / pts = 1/8" & 1/6" to get my lines weights to match.

Failing that, I will try converting the PNG into a PDF and making a snapshot of it.

Edit - dang - 2018 LO line weights are limited to 2 pts - which is less than a 16 th - 9 pts = 1/8"


No. It’s referring to drawing to scale. Start a Scale Drawing and set the scale. Then draw your line and enter 6’ for the length.

Thanks - but I still have the problem of line weight. I wish they allowed you to enter the line weight you desire, instead of having a limited spectrum of choices. As it is, it’s too small.


But they do. The popup list ends at 2 pt but you can type any value you like in the box. I just drew a 10 pt line.


You are referring to lineweights in Layout…?

As Paul shows you do have control over line weights and you can enter anything you want. You continue to make these comments as if you know all there is to know about LayOut. Maybe take some time to actually learn what can be done instead.


You seem too think I am not appreciative of your comments. Quite the contrary. I had no idea you could type in the line weight until Anssi pointed it out. All I saw was the 8 options, and believed that was it. I had no idea that a PNG had more data than a jpg till it was pointed out to me. When I tried to insert the .dxf file and it gave an error message, I was asking because I had no idea what it meant or how to fix it. I was sincere in my request. I am not the most computer literate person, and I am here to learn stuff I can’t find in videos.

In this video:Drawing Shapes - Let's Talk LayOut - YouTube he said that doing scaled drawings was later than 2018, so I took him at his word. I believe he works for Trimble, but I could be wrong. Anyway, you provided a link that was from 2018, but the Trimble website options were of a later version than mine, and so I commented as I did. Sorry I came across as a know it all.

If I knew everything about SU or LO I wouldn’t be asking questions, but the reality is, that I use the program only several times a year, and haven’t used it day in and day out to learn all of what it does. I am a general contractor, not a draftsman, architect or other construction project designer, however, on occasion, I find myself having to draw plans for a project such as this one.

Thus I come here because Trimble doesn’t provide the service themselves, unless I get a subscription. So, they have this forum instead, and truthfully, I appreciate the answers you and others provide. They tend to be more on point than watching videos and hoping my question is answered.

That I prefer drawing in SU compared to LO is only my opinion, perhaps not shared by others. That said, now my project seems more workable with the line weight issue solved, so I will draw it up and save it as a template - I have the detail sheets, the green sheets etc. still to make.

Yes, I could have simply used the templates LO has, but I wanted a consistent look in the plan set. The title 24 calcs are being done by an engineer who will use his format, so I am fine with that.

I hope you understand, I do appreciate the time you and the others put into responding to my questions.