Inserting PDF file to correct scale into Layout

I want to insert a pdf file of a Property Plat from my desktop into Layout.
The Property Plat is at a scale of 1"= 20’
I know how to get the file into Layout using ‘Insert’, but how do I get the exact same scale in the Layout document.
I know how to import Sketchup files into Layout and set the scale correctly but not how to do the same thing with a non-Sketchup file.


I haven’t messed around with this much, and I could be wrong here (in that there might be a better way to approach this).

But, I’m not sure this can work in the way that you might be thinking it can.

SketchUp files are drawn at full size, and Layouts role is essentially to scale these drawings to fit a wide variety of page sizes… following the Model Space/Paper Space approach.

The inserted pdf file comes in as a pre-formatted page layout. with scale, and page size already having been determined, and pretty much locked into the pdf format.

That’s not to say that the pdf file can’t change size because it can. But it’s takes on more of an image resizing task (I think),… than a scaling one (in the model space / paper space scenario).

If you want layout to treat the pdf in the same manner that is does the other SU geometry, then I’d try to import the pdf file into SketchUp, and from there Layout should offer you all of it’s standard scaling tools.

Otherwise, for resizing the pdf within Layout, I think you’ll have to go about it in the old traditional approach and do so manually. figuring out the aspect (/scale) ratio and calculating the desired size from there.

Layout supports dimensioning and measurements based on paper space distances… and with a known distance (on the pdf file), and a little bit of math you can probably get really close to sizing the pdf image to match the reference dimension that’s used in Layouts paper space.

So for your example of…

you could draw a 1" line in layout… and then resize the pdf image so that a know value of 20’ is equal to the 1" reference line you made in Layout’s Paper Space.

…and of course being careful that you don’t throw off the aspect ratio of the pdf file while resizing it.

If the PDF is a vector file (lines look sharp however much you zoom in) you could try using some other application to convert it into a DWG or DXF file and import it into SketchUp or LayOut. Illustration applications like Illustrator ($$$) or Inkscape (free) can do this trick.

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Here is an old blog post I created showing you how to do this.

With the new draw scale feature in LO 2018, it removes the mental calculation mentioned in this article. When I get a chance, I will reply to this forum string with updated instructions for LO 2018

Hope this helps


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Thank you Chris. I’ll give that a try this weekend and see how it works. You’re right. It does sound a bit cumbersome but I’ll take your word that it is not as much as it sounds. I’ll also look forward to your explanation of how it all works in LO2018. Why is it that one can send a pdf drawing/site plan/plat directly to any printing service and there is no issue with scaling. But if you send it to Layout, there is? Thx

Thanks again Chris. I followed the instructions you provided and was able to insert and ‘scale’ my imported survey just as you said. Not too bad a procedure after all

The trouble with this is that the resolution is often very poor and so does not reproduce in LO at the quality you would hope.

This would solve the problem but I don’t think I have ever come across a vector based PDF.

@ChrisDizon’s solution looks best, especially as it is now even easier to achieve in LO 2018. It will be great to see the Blog entry he made updated in due course.

Can we get this option in windows


In layout, currently, we import the image at a size to help you see the image in its entirety. The thinking is that there are many instances where one does not know the true size of the graphic. It could be really big or really small relative to your current view … so we bring it in so you can see it all.

If you want to import it at the image full size, be sure to make the document paper size larger than your image and then zoom all the way out. If you then import the image, it should come into the document at full scale.


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