Daniel C. Robbins

File Conversions

Related Pages:

From/to some of my most used graphics apps

Unless otherwise noted, everything here was written by Daniel C. Robbins. Please email me any corrections, additions, or comments!

 To >FlashMS ExpressionsXaraVisio3D SketchUp3D Studio MaxIllustratorInDesignPDF
\/ From 
link (with curves)
link (no curves)
MS Expressions
3D SketchUp
link (with plugin)
3D Studio Max 

NOTE: Some of these assume that you have Deep Exploration installed as a means of file conversion.

NOTE: These instructions are written with Microsoft Windows in mind (because that's all I have). If you have specific instructions for other platforms, email them to me and I will include them.

Import Xara into 3D SketchUp

  1. fill every object
  2. get rid of outlines (outline color = null)
  3. convert text to editable shapes
  4. make complex shapes filled with black
    1. might have to change color of shape behind complex shape so that there is contrast
  5. the entire document will be exported, including hidden layers, so make a new document that has only the items you want to export in it
  6. export as WMF (windows meta-file)
  7. import into Deep Exploration
  8. save as DXF
  9. import DXF into 3D Sketchup
  10. NOTE: lines won’t be connected. It may take a bunch of hand work to close all the shapes.

Import Flash (SWF) into 3D SketchUp

  1. export as WMF
  2. import into Deep Exploration
  3. export as DXF
    1. line thickness is ignored
    2. all symbols are correctly exported
    3. fills are ignored
    4. text (not first converted to splines) is ignored
    5. for lines with dotted or dashed styles, each dash or dot becomes an outlined shape
    6. purely filled shapes (no outline) are converted to just an outline
    7. overlapping symbols do not CSG: you get the full outline of each symbol
  4. import DXF into 3D Sketchup
  5. to fill a shape, select all connected lines and do “Tool/Utilities/Create Face” or better yet, use the Ruby script "Weld"

Import SketchUp into Microsoft Expressions 4.0

  1. Do SketchUp into Flash
  2. Export as WMF
  3. Import WMF into MS Expressions


  1. Create a group from slice
  2. Make sure the group is the only thing shown
  3. Export as EPS
  4. Import into Flash
  5. Export as AI (Adobe Illustrator)
  6. Import into MS Expressions


  1. Do Import 3D SketchUp (2D) into Visio
  2. "Save as" Enhanced Metafile
  3. Open in Microsoft Expressions 4.0
  4. Select All
  5. Group everything
  6. Select "Objects/Clipper/Release"
  7. Make everything a 0 width line
  8. resize the whole thing to the correct size

Export Microsoft Expressions 4.0 into Visio

  1. Export as AI (Adobe Illustrator)
  2. Import into Flash
  3. Do Flash to Visio (with curves), (no curves)


  1. Export as PDF
  2. visit http://freesvg.texterity.com/ and convert the file from PDF to SVG
  3. import the SVG into Visio (2003)

Export Microsoft Expressions 4.0 into Flash


Import Xara into Flash

  1. export as SWF
  2. import into Flash

Import 3D SketchUp (2D) into Xara (this only works if you own the “Illustration” plugin from DE (> $500!))

  1. get a top ortho view
  2. turn on any needed section slices
  3. Export/2D Graphic/DWG
    1. Slices profiles will be read
    2. Everything else will be a default color
    3. Text, labels, and dimensions ARE exported as filled shapes
  4. import into Deep Exploration
  5. export as AI from the Illustration plugin
  6. import AI into Xara

Import 3D SketchUp (2D) into Flash

  1. get a top ortho view
  2. turn on any needed section slices
  3. hide all text, labels, and dimensions
  4. Export/2D Graphic/DWG
    1. Slices profiles will be read
    2. Everything else will be a default color
    3. Text, labels, and dimensions ARE exported as filled shapes BUT they mess up when finally imported into Flash
  5. import into Deep Exploration
  6. export as DXF
  7. import into Flash
    1. scale will be wrong so you will have to manually scale the drawing up. This shouldn’t be too hard as long as everything that was exported fit into the “page size” component
    2. unfortunately the line colors will be lost

NOTE: The reason you first have to go through Deep Exploration is that if you just export as DXF from 3D SketchUp and then import into Flash, nothing shows up.

Import 3D SketchUp (2D) into Visio

  1. Export as DWG
  2. In Visio: Insert/Cad Drawing...
  3. you will probably have to change the scale
  4. you might want to turn off "protect from deletion"

Import Visio into Flash

  1. export as WMF (windows meta file) from Visio
  2. import into Flash
  3. the scale will be slightly off, you will have to group everything and rescale (with the aspect ratio lock set to on)

NOTE: all curves will be converted to lots of little line segments

Import Visio into Xara

Import Flash into Visio Method 1 (preserve curves)

  1. Save as SWF
  2. use the web form to run a Flash to SVG conversion
  3. import the SVG into Visio

NOTE: I recently tried this and it did not work. Any other methods are appreciated

Import Flash into Visio Method 1 (lose curves)

  1. Save as EMF (extended meta-file
  2. import EMF into Visio

Note: this converts all curves into collections of lots of little unconnected line segments (yuck).

Import Xara into Visio

Import Flash into Xara

  1. export as WMF
  2. import into Xara
    1. curves become made of lots of little line segments

Import PDF into 3D Sketchup

  1. install GhostScript and GhostView (http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~ghost/doc/AFPL/get850.htm)
  2. install PStoEdit plugin (http://www.pstoedit.net/pstoedit)
  3. install GraphicsMagick (http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=73485)
  4. load PDF file into GhostView
  5. do "Edit/Convert to Vector Format..." (choose DXF no curves)
  6. import DXF into 3D Sketchup

Import Illustrator into Sketchup

  1. Select all objects in the Illustrator drawing
  2. If necessary, right click and 'Make Outlines'
  3. Apply 'Stroke' to the drawing (otherwise there are no Edges for SketchUp to work with.)
  4. Go to File > Export and export to DWG or DXF

    In SketchUp:
  5. Go to File > Insert > DWG/DXF (if dialog box says anything was ignored, you need to go back and make sure that you simplified with lines)
  6. Right click the inserted geometry and choose Explode
Note: You may need to retrace a line segment on each unique object to fill the face in and allow the Push/Pull tool to work.

Import 3D SketchUp into Illustrator / InDesign

(from Momaw Nadon momaw_nadon_78@hotmail.com)
  1. Export still image (File>Export>2D Graphic) out of SU (.pdf, .eps, .bmp, .jpeg, .tga, .tif). Its up to the user on whether or not to mess with any options. I thought I was smart once and tried sizing the export image to a certain pixel size to get 300 resolution, but that didn't work. Its up to the user to decide to use anti-aliasing. Play around with it and use what you feel works the best.
  2. Open Illustrator/InDesign, either you already have a layout designed and need to insert the image or you are just starting a new page.
  3. Click File>Place and you can then select the image you want to import. More than likely you will have to resize the image to fit better on the page. (This can be done in Photohop as well, as well as adding any other changes you would like to make to the file - like changing the size/resolution, changing color/brightness, etc.)
  4. You're done.


In both instances, using dimensions from SU sometimes does not work, because of resizing the image. Either the text becomes too small too read or it gets too pixellated to read. One good solution I found was to create my own dimensions using the drawing tools in Illustrator/InDesign and saving just the dimensions lines in their own file, then just bringing them and stretching them to fit my need. If you are creating a scaled image, then the steps are a little different.
To create a scaled image I've used pdf's, since I have the tools to make them. Make sure that the perspective is off, and line up the drawing correctly, then go to File>Print. Inside the print box, you can play with the settings, depending on what you want to do. Remember that you have to size any text correctly so that it is still readable when you print(just like in AutoCAD). Under the "Print Quality" menu, you can play with the settings depending on how you want the image to look like. Draft will leave dark bold lines will Ultrahigh will leave thin light lines. I find I usually do all my printing pdf's on High, it gives a decent thickness to the lines. The just follow Step #2.
Its better to print a pdf thru the print menu than it is to export a pdf. I've found this thru trial and error. That works with other programs too, like in Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign.
I hope this helps anyone that needed it. Using the combination of SU/Photoshop/Illustrator or InDesign allowed me to create several presentations for my last architecture firm as well as a "Pattern Book" of houses for a planned community we were working on.

Send comments to Daniel C. Robbins