Printing PDF Construction Document to Scale

How can I print a drawing in sketch up to a useable scaled document I can use in the field.
I work with an architect who sends me pdf drawings that are to scale.
I have to send them to a printing place to have them printed on A1 size sheets.
Is it possible to use sketch up to do this???
I have a printer that will print A3 docs.
Do i need a paid version of sketch up do this.

It’s a whole lot easier to print SketchUp models to scale with SketchUp Pro because you can use LayOut for that. LayOut makes it a walk in the park. It is possible to print to scale directly from SketchUp but it can be a little more work.

You need to be using “a paid version of SketchUp” anyway because the free versions are not licensed for commercial work which is how you are using it.

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If you guarantee that I can easily do what I am asking then I will buy it.

I am looking to eliminate a part of my business that takes up a lot of time and $.

Thanks Steve

I’m not trying to be a smart alec but if you can guarantee me that you will make proper SketchUp files, I’ll guarantee you can make scaled printouts with LayOut.

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I have been a contractor since 2002.

I have been told alot of false information.

The last 4 years have been the worst I have ever seen.

Companies are constantly coming out with products that they claim do one thing or another only to find out that they where just trying to make a buck.

I love sketch up and have been using the free version to make things around the house.

I have never used it as part of my business.

If I am going to pay what they are asking for then I want to make sure it will work for what I am trying to do.

And as I understand it I will need to renew my license every year.

This is going to be a tool that will have to pay for itself other wise it’s useless to me and I get a bad taste in my mouth when I think of sketch up.

I wouldn’t buy a table saw to cut metal.

So I am going to take your advise and buy it.

Will the pdf still be cloudy when I Zoom in to resize it in the paid version?

It’s very hard resizing imported pdf docs.

The lines get all blurry.

Thanks Steve

Don’t buy it yet. Download and use the SketchUp Pro 2018 trial for 30 days and see what you think.

This isn’t a PDF importer or viewer so it’s not going to help you with PDFs you get from the Architect. If you are importing PDFs into SketchUp, they are going to be images and they won’t be sharp. That’s not going to change with Pro.

Yes. You can only work with what is sent to you.

If you create SketchUp models for the project or get them or other CAD files from the architect, you can use those in LayOut to create scaled drawings. And in LayOut, you’ll set the paper size you want to work with for the project and then set the scale to suit. When you have the project ready, export to PDF and print it or send it to a shop that can print it for you on the paper size you’ve selected.

Ok I will try it.

So is there a way if I buy it to have my architect send the actual plans instead of sending them via pdf?

I think he uses revit.

And I am using a

MacBook Pro (retina,15-inch,mid 2014)

2.5 GHz Intel Core i7

16gb 1600 MHz ddr3

Intel iris pro 1536 my

Is this enough for relatively simple plans say like a remodel or commercial build out.

Thanks Steve

There are ways to get Revit files into SketchUp. There have been some discussions on that topic in the forum so have a search. Might be easiest if the architect can send you DWF or DWG files to work from. I expect the biggest question is can you get the architect to send you useful files and that’s a question only the architect can answer.

@steveframetofinish Can you clarify what you are adding, on top of what you receive from the architect? Are you adding annotations, or annotations? Making changes or additions to the design (the 2D or 3D model) itself? Or just trying to print the PDFs as-is, with no modifications?

I really don’t understand what you are doing with the PDFs from the architect, and how SketchUp or Layout might be involved. (I’m not a commercial user/designer/contractor; I’m just interested to understand the original poster’s use case.)

All I want to do is print the Architects pdf to scale.

I get a pdf and I have to send it to a printing company to get full scale drawings.

They are A1 size which is 24x36

And are most always 1/4" = 1’

But they will have notes that are

1 1/2" = 1’

I want to print them to scale using my printer.

I have a printer that will print A3 documents.


I saw someone change the document set up on sketch up to print to scale.

When I tried doing it, it said I would need 6,000

Sheets of paper.

I just want to skip driving to the print shop.

No annotations no mark up.

Just import documents and print to scale.

When I import pdf docs it’s very hard to outline because the lines get all blurry.

Is there anyway around this.

Thanks Steve

If all you want to do is print PDFs that come from the Architect, you don’t need SketchUp at all. I don’t understand why you’re looking at SketchUp to do that.

You can print the PDFs full size on your smaller paper through Adobe Reader using the Poster print option. It’ll result in the document being printed full size across multiple sheets of paper.

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Sounds like you get A1 PDFs from the architect and you want to print them to correct scale at A3 size.

In Adobe Acrobat, all you have to do is set the output page size and the image will be scaled down and output to that. I wouldn’t want to rely on scaling off the resulting drawing, but of course that’s inadvisable anyway, even at A1. The only other problem is that some lettering and numbering my be quite small at 50% reduction.

According to @DaveR, you can do this with Acrobat Reader too.

Using SU for this purpose alone would be a hammer to crack a nut.

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Enlighten the architect to the value of adding a graphic scale to the drawing.
That way, there’s no need to fret over printing to a prescribed scale.



He does use a graphic scale.

The problem is taking his graphic scale and printing it on paper.

I suspect you have not viewed the images in my post.

This is from Acrobat Pro, but the free version aught to be similar.
• Be sure it’s not set to “Fit” or “Shrink oversized pages”
• Use “Page Setup…” button to get that dialog
• Set paper to 11x17 (if you can do 13x19, that’s better), and landscape
• Set scale to 50%


On a Mac, you can also use Preview to view and print PDF’s instead of Acrobat. In Preview it looks like this for the same settings.

Again, the key thing is that you tell it 50% so 1/4" scale comes out 1/8" scale and not some unknown amount.

I will try it


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