Can You Import SketchUp Into AutoCAD?

Can You Import SketchUp Into AutoCAD?

In the world of design and drafting, both SketchUp and AutoCAD are widely used software applications. While SketchUp is known for its user-friendly interface and 3D modeling capabilities, AutoCAD is renowned for its precision and versatility in creating detailed technical drawings.

Many designers often wonder if it is possible to import SketchUp models into AutoCAD to leverage the strengths of both programs. In this article, we will explore the answer to this question.

The Compatibility Between SketchUp and AutoCAD

SketchUp and AutoCAD are two distinct software applications that serve different purposes. While SketchUp focuses on creating 3D models with ease, AutoCAD specializes in producing accurate 2D and 3D technical drawings. Therefore, direct compatibility between these two applications can be challenging.

Exporting from SketchUp

If you have a 3D model in SketchUp that you want to use in AutoCAD, the first step is to export it as a compatible file format. Fortunately, SketchUp provides options to export your models in various formats that can be read by AutoCAD.

  • Exporting as DWG or DXF: The most common method is exporting your SketchUp model as either a DWG (AutoCAD Drawing) or DXF (Drawing Exchange Format) file. Both of these formats are recognized by AutoCAD and can be easily imported.
  • Trimble Connect: Another option available within SketchUp is Trimble Connect—a cloud-based platform that allows you to collaborate on projects.

    With Trimble Connect, you can upload your models and access them from within AutoCAD using the Trimble Connect plugin.

  • Other File Formats: SketchUp also offers the ability to export your models in other file formats like FBX (Filmbox) or 3DS (3D Studio). While these formats are not directly compatible with AutoCAD, they can be imported into other 3D software applications and then converted into a format that AutoCAD can read.

Importing into AutoCAD

Once you have exported your SketchUp model as a compatible file format, you can proceed to import it into AutoCAD. The exact process may vary slightly depending on the version of AutoCAD you are using, but the general steps remain similar.

  1. Open AutoCAD: Launch AutoCAD and create a new drawing or open an existing one where you want to import the SketchUp model.
  2. Import: Navigate to the “Insert” tab in the ribbon menu and click on “Import.” Choose the appropriate import option based on the file format you exported from SketchUp (e.g., “DWG” or “DXF”).
  3. Select File: Browse for the exported file from SketchUp and select it.

    Click “Open” to proceed.

  4. Placement and Scaling: Depending on the size of your model, you may need to specify its placement and scaling within your AutoCAD drawing. Follow the prompts provided by AutoCAD during this step.
  5. Finish Import: After adjusting the placement and scaling, click “OK” or “Finish” to complete the import process. Your SketchUp model should now be visible within your AutoCAD drawing.

Potential Issues and Considerations

While importing SketchUp models into AutoCAD can be a useful workflow, it is important to be aware of potential issues and considerations:

  • Loss of Detail: Depending on the complexity of your SketchUp model, some details may be lost during the export and import process. It is recommended to review your imported model in AutoCAD and make any necessary adjustments.
  • File Size: 3D models exported from SketchUp can sometimes have large file sizes.

    This can impact the performance of your AutoCAD drawing, especially if you have multiple imported models. Consider optimizing your models or using external references (Xrefs) to manage file sizes.

  • Incompatibility: While DWG and DXF formats are standard in both SketchUp and AutoCAD, compatibility issues may arise when dealing with complex or specialized elements in your model. It is advisable to perform thorough testing after importing to ensure all components are intact.


In conclusion, while direct compatibility between SketchUp and AutoCAD may not be seamless, it is indeed possible to import SketchUp models into AutoCAD. By exporting your SketchUp models as compatible file formats like DWG or DXF, you can leverage the strengths of both applications for your design and drafting needs. However, it is essential to consider potential issues such as loss of detail, file size limitations, and compatibility concerns when working with imported models in AutoCAD.

If you are a designer who frequently uses both SketchUp and AutoCAD, exploring the possibilities of importing models between these applications can enhance your workflow and help you achieve better results.