Best Practice for Importing Microstation Files into Sketchup

SketchUp is capable of importing two file types from Microstation: AutoCAD (.dwg /.dxf) and a SketchUp file (.skp).  Follow these steps to minimize file size and optimize the model for import into SketchUp.


Once you get your model in, there are likely to be geometric issues that need to be cleaned up before the analysis is as accurate as it can be in Sefaira. Check this video out for some tips;



[ Microstation to .dwg /.dxf ]

Advantages:     The model maintains group information when imported into Sketchup.

Disadvantages:   .dwg/.dxf import is only compatible with Pro versions of Sketchup, which requires a license.  There are earlier versions of SketchUp (v 7.1) that have .dwg import capabilities for free, but these versions are no longer available through Sketchup’s website (you must search the web).


  1.  [ In Microstation ] File → Save As or Export Selected → .dwg OR .dxf  (both file types have the same export properties).


  1.  The following dialog box will appear. You can select units here.



  1.   If you expand the ‘Entity Mapping’ a list of options will appear. Click on the ‘Value’ options to change it to a Polyface mesh where applicable. Click OK.



  1. [In Sketchup] When you are in Sketchup go File > Import >

The following dialog box will appear.


 Select your import units and either preserve your Microstation drawing origin or allow Sketchup to place at the origin. Tick both Geometry options. Click OK.




[ Microstation to .skp ]

Advantages:   Can import .skp files seamlessly into any version of SketchUp, no need for Pro versions.

Disadvantages:   The model does not maintain group information.


  1. [ In Microstation ] File → Export → .skp
  2. The following dialog box appears.

  1. Untick the first two boxes and keep the last box checked. Choose render mode ‘smooth’ to export model as a 3D volume. Click Export.
  2. [In Sketchup] You can directly open the .skp file.


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