Should We Build a PDF Import/Edit Extension?

Hi everyone!

We (Visual Integrity) make PDF conversion tools and have plugins for AutoCAD, BricsCAD, Visio, and PowerPoint. We are exploring building an extension for Sketchup Pro.

Our technology opens and explodes PDF into its objects, attributes, layers, and text, all accessible and available for modification. It’s different from PDF Importer, an existing extension that opens a PDF file as a base layer for snapping and measuring.

Today, it seems many people use InkScape to open PDF and convert it to DXF or DWG for use in Sketchup Pro. Our extension would eliminate this intermediate step. It will be based on our pdf2cad, a standalone program that converts PDF files in batch mode to DXF and DWG.
I’m curious to hear thoughts from this group. Specific questions we’d like to explore are:

  • Do you ever get PDF drawings that you want to open and edit in Sketchup Pro?
  • Would you prefer to use a new PDF Edit Extension for Sketchup Pro, a standalone program like pdf2cad or InkScape as an intermediate step?
  • Our extension would be free for 30 days. After that, would you be willing to pay $59 per year to continue using it? More, less?
  • What functionality would be key when opening PDF-based graphics for editing in Sketchup Pro?

If you want to learn more about our PDF conversion technology, please take a look at pdf2cad to examine the potential features of a PDF Edit Extension for Sketchup Pro.

I’m looking forward to hearing from many of you on the forum!

Thanks and keep well,

jean -

Visual Integrity


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Yes, if you could convert a pdf into a “vector” style entity that the SketchUp inference engine would recognize and snap to I would use it. Better yet, convert pdf to a full .skp collection of native lines and shapes that can be manipulated directly, but have a dialogue so I can choose the arc divisions when converting true arcs.


does any of your software run on mac’s?

would this…


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It could. We have the code on Windows, MacOS and Linux. You could try the Mac version of pdf2cad to test the quality of the PDF to DXF/DWG conversion. If we built an extension, it would be a spin-off of pdf2cad.

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I’m on a Mac and a pdf to vector import plug in would be quite useful since I’m needing to convert pdf’s to dxf quite frequently. I currently use a stand alone program “PDF Grabber” that does a great job but they don’t have a Catalina compatible version. They claim they’re creating one, but it has been some time since Catalina came out. So, I’m still on Mojave.

This is one of those things that I suspect a lot of people (most?) would find extremely useful, but only once in a while. I would happily pay $59 as a one off and accept that I might have to pay again if I chose to upgrade. But I am less sure it would be worth $59 annual subscription. Much depends also on how much work it actually saves because, however clever the conversion, it may not come into SU in the exact form you would have made it had you started from scratch, meaning a degree of post editing.


Could be interesting. You have a chance to get things right that the SU team hasn’t manage with in the DWG importer, e.g. wrapping each layer as a group so the geometry don’t merge between them, instead of dumping all in the same drawing context and apply SU layers/tags to individual entities.


Hi John - We have our SDK running on MacOS so it is definitely feasible. If you want to preview the quality of the DWG/DXF produced, you can try pdf2cad for MacOS. It’s our stand-alone converter. The Sketch-up Pro extension will be derived from it. If you want to review the dialogs for the conversion choices,
Conversion Options (towards the bottom of page)

I’d love to hear which of these features should be part of the PDF Open/Edit extension. We could probably include a quarter of them.

Thanks for the feedback. We have the ability to separate layers by color, line weight, spot colors, combination of color and line weights or the layers as defined in the PDF file.Are any/all of these helpful. Any other filters?

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I don’t want to do anything fancy. Just import layers to SketchUp without having them merged to a single drawing context where the geometry itself merges.

We really appreciate the feedback we’ve received through this forum so far! As a result, we’ve set-up a preview of a cloud converter from PDF to vector formats. ConvertPDF.Today

We’d love for you to try it and let us know what you think of both the service and how well the resulting files work for you in Sketchup Pro. Any and all comments welcome!


Free conversion does not seem to work.
The website is notified me that the file has been accepted and an email will be sent.
I did not receive any email with the link to my email account.
I requested two conversions (dwg, dxf) from the same file.
(Yes, I checked the spam folder.)
In addition:

  • No .skp format , therefore still need to get imported.
  • I have no idea (no information in your website) which version of dwg or dxf I will get, if at all.

Update: After 2 hours, I have got the dwg version. Failed to import SU.

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That would be very helpful!

Go ahead with the project. Would be great help.

Hi Demzo,
I looked on the server and both of your files converted. I’m not sure why the confirmation email didn’t reach you but we’ll look into that. IIn the meantime, I’ve sent you links to both the DXF and DWG from my email address. Please confirm if you got them and if they imported into Sketchup fine.

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Hi Jean
Finally I got the files and your e-mail as well. The issue is most probably, in my side, al least related to e-mails. There is a server problem of my provider, so that is the reason I got it delayed, and could not answered from that email account at all… :blush:

The converted files just an embedded jpeg inside a dxf / dwg.
When importing it to SU I got a component with an Image inside.
It is important to mention that the uploaded file is 3D .pdf.

Anyway thanks for your kind help!

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Yes, I would be interested in such extension, possibly for couple of users in our team.
For us importing from PDF is not a part of normal workflow, rather a rare exception (1-2 times per month, or even less), so will not be prepared to pay more that £15/license.

Currently, if such need occurs, I just ask my colleague to convert PDF into DWG in AutoCAD, which I can then import/scale in SketchUp.

Hi Demzo,

I wasn’t able to check your file because I was away for the weekend. I knew it had to be one of two things. Either it was a scanned drawing (no) or a 3D Model (yes). Scanned drawings have nothing to extract because they are just flat bitmapped images wrapped up as a PDF. Your 3D drawing falls in the same camp because, when visualizing the PDF, Acrobat (what I used), generates a raster JPEG file and wraps it up as a PDF. When we convert it, we only have the image so we drop it in an empty DWG or DXF container. If you load the DWG and the associated JPEG, you can view the file but not edit it.

In order to generate an editable DWG or DXF, you need to feed our conversion service a computer generated 2D PDF. We do have an option to remove 3D effects by setting a zero line width but it needs to be a 2D file. Hope this makes sense!

Jean -

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can you explain what your product could/would do differently than me using any of the products i have to import/export them, autocad,turbocad,rhino etc.? besides being a direct import into sketchup.
My input would be to follow what @eneroth3 has suggested