PDF import to Sketchup

Forgive the miscommunincation, I am referring to 2D Pdfs and yes Layout desperately needs it as well, and is an extremely sore point on its own. I was referring to a Global addition for 2D PDF import, SU being the Master software.

As far as I am aware, DWG files embed lineweights as well - according to pen selection, so I’m not seeng that as a hinderance for PDF import. SU does not have lineweight recognition and so defaults to singular lineweights which for the most part is adequate. Any small modifcations to lineweight can be addressed with overlays within Layout.

Yes, discrepancies can exist in terms of Z-axis line layering on PDFs, as they exist in DWG files also, but these can be flattened with relative ease, fortunately.

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I have. in a demo. it was underwhelming. Just because a pdf is an enveloppe doesn’t mean we should put everything in it (and since we don’t see 3d pdf often, the world seems to agree :wink: )

well as I developed, SU for mac has the pdf to raster importer because MacOS has it. If in the next version MacOS looses it, then SU for mac looses it too. and if Microsoft decides to put a pdf-to-vector in windows 12, then SU for PC will be able to have it. simple as that.
(that’s pretty much the same reason behind the weird colour panel on macs, we’re using Apple’s colour panel.)

But thinking out loud (on my keyboard), I’m not even sure PDF importer extensions are actually vector pdf importers. These tools tend to have costs.
I’m wondering if they are not simply PDF to DXF translators + an import of the dxf. It’s the super easy workaround I’ve used for years, all you need is a vector software than can open one and export the other. Illustrator off course, Affinity designer I’m sure, and I guess inkscape.


Now that is helpful. Thankyou. :slight_smile:

Would you be content with a pdf importer that, as happens with some dwgs, simply ignores anything it doesn’t support and passes through any drawing errors unchanged? I ask because at one time I tried to develop a pdf importer for SketchUp and gave up because all the sample files people sent me were rife with these kinds of issues. What I could import was too often a badly broken portion of the original, needing a lot of manual cleanup in SketchUp.

Great question! Very interesting to hear you’ve already tried to develop a PDF importer, but had so many problems with the process.
To answer your question, I’m kind of already accustomed to DWG imports ignoring a bunch of required data and just dealing with it, so if a PDF import did the same thing I would be okay with it.

It does sound like there needs to be a selectable flattening process included in the 2D import process with PDFs for them to be useful inside sketchup. This is something the exisitng SU DWG import could absolutely use actually. Terrain data DWGs with varying z-axis values would need to be maintained I’m sure. The headaches you encountered in your PDF importer development would be enough to turn anyone away I would think :slight_smile:

I’ve been used to PDF import in PowerCADD since … I can’t remember. Lately it’s become part of my SketchUp → Layout → PowerCADD workflow. Here’s an example:

All the dimensioning here is done in PC based on the converted PDF vectored lines.

By the way, I’ve really grown to like this black vectored linework on top and muted color fill below as a style. I’ve worked out ways to achieve it in PC (layers have a transparency slider like Photoshop and other apps) as well as Layout (with a scrim layer).

In PC, when you first place a PDF you see a raster representation, but you can “Convert To Objects” and it warns you there could be a loss of accuracy, but I haven’t had an issue with it in practice. When you do that, it extracts the vectored linework (if it exists) and you can go from there. Just the layer of vectored line conversion in the drawing looks like this at first:

Kind of a mess, but so too are DWG imports from SU. I mostly just group it and apply one line weight because it becomes a bottomless rabbit hole to try and set different line weights. Looks like this.

Bottom line - I can sympathize with the feature request because I know what it’s like to have it.


I’ve been able to import raster and vector PDFs into AutoCAD for almost 10 years. It’s nice to have. God knows Engsw didn’t have tons of cash to pay for PDF import :wink:

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One use case I remember well of importing PDF is from an appliance manufacturer that had a PDF cut sheet for their product with plan and elevation views, but no CAD symbols offered. I imported the PDF and it turned out the drawing was vectored. I didn’t care about anything else on the page; just to extract that drawing from it.

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I’ve done this many times as well.

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I have both OS(MacOS and windows) and when I need to import a pdf using vector lines I use Inkscape, it’s a free software and you can transform any pdf or even jpg to vectors, if I need just an image I import the pdf as an image on my Mac or make screen capture on my pc, then I scale it using the measure tape tool (T)


You’re not missing anything. You’re logical and efficient, and, like all of us, tired of the feeble excuses.

It’s ok if they don’t know or can’t perform, but stop offering us, proclaiming to be so supersonic and billing for what should be a very very common ( seriously can’t easily import a lousy PDF) use in what’s marketed as The Best The Fastest The Most Ease of Use product, when in fact there are so many BASIC stumbling blocks.

If Mooveme, (THANK YOU FOR BRING SO INSISTANT!!) continues to ask, and ask. There’s a BASIC problem we are ALL continuing struggling with.

Sketchup stop trying to head to the stratosphere when the O rings are blowing up a launch.

Fix this,
And stop “blaming” mac


Some pdf imports into Layout (OSX) I’ve done give me what appears to be a vector image. I think it must be because when I zoom in on it it doesn’t pixellate.
Problem is if I zoom in too far it crashes Layout with an out of memory warning.


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I always use Inkscape.
Import the PDF in Inkscape then go to Path>Objekt to path. Save it to AutoCAD dxf format and then import to SketchUp. Rescale with measurement tool.
Now you have the PDF with text inside SketchUp to start working from.
The new Inkscape version supports multiple PDF sides import.

Fantastic program

Se instructions:


I’ve recently have discovered a treasure, it’s called Qcad professional, it cost $35 per year and has all the tools that autocad has for 2D drafting, you can also import PDFs and convert them into vectors with all the layer information. I’ve been using Draftsight for few years but now I’m gonna save a lot of money with this awesome software, I don’t use cad to design or documentation, sketchup and layout are my favorite tools to do that, but cad is a standard in most of the countries and I need to export all the documentation from LayOut to dwg, and there work a bit on the document, also I receive a lot of documents in dwg and in sketchup or layout is imposible to import it without losing information. I was paying 300 per year and it’s actually a lot for my use, I tried free cad alternatives before but they really sucked, even Qcad the free version lacks of a lot of tools and features like pdf import, but the professional version is very complete for me, I recommend it 100% of you don’t want to pay 2500 for autocad anual license 700 for autocad lt or 300 for Draftsight.

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Another option is to use Adobe acrobat pro - import the pdf and save it as a png. I bought a used copy of pro 9 for a few bucks, so I don’t have subscription fees since it’s a stand alone version.


I do wish that Sketchup natively supported importing raster and vector info from a pdf.
Would save me a lot of time.
Currently I do this using PDF>PDF Fly v12>jpg and PDF>PDF Fly v12>DWG.
Been doing this on a daily basis for years in my construction estimating workflow.

I’d definitely pay for a plugin that allowed dropping a PDF on a Sketchup window (like with DWGs) and automatically raster and vector tags are created.


You can also do that “export as a PNG” with Inkscape and that is a free program.

for importing PDFs including 2D vector data the PDF2SKP importer plugin ($) f. Windows (trial avail.) can be used:

the 3D PDF format (actually embedded U3D data) was formerly bought/licensed by Adobe (and later on sold resp. licensed to Tetra4D who licensed it to e.g. PROSTEP or SimLab) and can be handled by e.g. the free Adobe Reader.

For importing/exporting 3D PDFs the SimLab 3D PDF exporter/importer plugin ($) f. Windos and macOS (trial avail.) can be used.

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What is the cost of this PDF2SKP plugin?. The website conveniently mentions absolutely nothing regarding price!