Importing a 3D Symbol from an Outside Source

Reference Number: KB-00117 Last Updated: 07-22-2014 01:45 PM
The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors or Chief Architect Lite


I can't find the objects I want in the Library Browser and want to import a 3D symbol from an outside source.  How can I do that?


Chief Architect allows you to import 3D symbols from outside sources in 3D .­dwg, .­dxf, .obj, .3ds, and .skp formats.  

One excellent resource for free outside .skp symbols online is Trimble 3D Warehouse which has a wide variety of symbols such as furniture, accessories, musical instruments, electronics, people, animals, vehicles, plants, fixtures, and appliances.

These symbols are created not only by individuals, but also companies such as Kohler®, GE Appliances® KraftMaid® and Whirlpool®.

In this article, we will walk you through importing a symbol from Trimble 3D Warehouse, however, importing a 3D symbol in any of the accepted formats will follow the same basic procedure.

To download a new symbol

  1. First, launch your internet browser and go to the 3D Warehouse website at:

  2. You can type in a word, or multiple words, to search for a Model, or a Collection.    

    For the purposes of this example, we will type in "musical instruments" and click on the Search button.  

  3. Clicking on the Search button will display the 3D Warehouse Results.  

  4. Once we have found the object we want, we will click on its picture to display the page where we can download the model.  

  5. Click on the Download Model button.  

    In this case, it looks as though there are two versions of the model available, a Google SketchUp 6 (.skp) version as well as a Google SketchUp 5 (.skp) file.   

    We will click on the Download option for the version 6 of the symbol.  

    Note: Chief Architect X2 did not support importing Collada or version 7 SketchUp files.

    Chief Architect X3 did not support importing Collada or version 8 SketchUp files.

  6. Once we've selected to download the file, we will choose to Save the file onto the Desktop.  

    You can choose to rename the file at this point, however, the file that we have chosen has a sufficiently descriptive name, so we will not make any changes here.  

     If you plan on downloading multiple symbols to bring in to your design, you may find it helpful to create a folder on your Desktop, or in your Documents folder, in which to save all of the .dwg, .dxf, .skp, .obj, or .3ds symbols into for easy access.

Once the file has been saved onto your computer, you are ready to bring it in to your Chief Architect plan.

To import the symbol into Chief Architect

  1. Launch your Chief Architect software and Open  the plan in which you would like to import this symbol.  

  2. Select File> Import> 3D Symbol  to display the Import 3D Symbol File dialog.   


    • Browse to the location where you saved the file and select it then click Open.   

    • In the Import 3D Symbol dialog:  

      • By default, Chief Architect will import a 3D file as a generic stand-alone interior fixture. If you prefer, you can select different attributes instead.  

      • Check Add Symbol To Library to save the symbol in the My Library folder of the Library Browser. This is always checked when multiple symbols files are selected.  

        In Chief Architect X2, checking this option would add the symbol to the Import category.  

      • Check Show Advanced Options to open the symbol’s specification dialog.   

    • Click the Open button.  

      If you have already imported this symbol previously, or another symbol using a texture which has the same name as the one you are importing, you will receive the Texture Filename Conflict warning dialog at this point.   This dialog will allow you to either Rename the imported texture, Use the existing texture instead of the imported texture, or Replace the existing texture with the imported texture.  

      If the Symbol has a texture assigned to it that is not contained in the Library or saved with the symbol you may receive a message stating that a graphic file could not be found. You can choose to replace the texture with another you have saved on your computer or you can change the material later in the Symbol's specification dialog later.

  3. Then, simply click in your plan to place the imported symbol.  

  4. Take a 3D Camera  view to see the results    

Some symbols may not come in at the scale you want or using the materials that you would prefer if you do not choose the Show Advanced Options box when importing the symbol.  

Once imported in to Chief Architect, you can still select these imported symbols and choose Open Object to adjust its dimensions and materials as with other objects in the program.

Files can also be dragged from your Desktop, Documents folder, or other location, and then dropped directly into floor plan view.


For Bonus Content created specifically for Chief Architect, see the Catalog and Content Resources in the User Center section of the Chief Architect website.