Importing a 3D Symbol from an Outside Source

Reference Number: KB-00117
Last Modified: December 1, 2016

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


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?

Sitting Room with harp


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

One excellent resource for free 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
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 symbols from Trimble's 3D Warehouse

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

  2. In the search field at the top of the page, type a word or multiple words and press Enter or press the Search button to search for a Model, or a Collection.

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

  4. Click on the Download button to view the download choices. In many cases there will be more than one version or type of model available, in these instances, you will want to select the highest version of Sketchup Model file available, such as Sketchup 2016 Model.

    Note: The Mac version of Chief Architect X6 is not capable of importing SKP files it can however import Collada files.

    Chief Architect X2 and X3 did not support importing Collada files.

    If you do not have the most recent version of Chief Architect, you may need to download older SketchUp version files in order to be able to import them properly.

  5. 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 if you wish, however this is not always necessary.

    If you plan on downloading multiple symbols to bring in to your design, you may find it helpful to create a folder in an easy to access location on your computer in which to save all of the downloaded symbols for easy access, such as your Desktop or Documents folder.

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

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

    • In the Import 3D Symbol dialog:

      Note: This dialog and associated options are only available for Chief Architect Premier and Chief Architect Interiors.

      • 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.

      • Add Symbol To Library will be checked by default, and will result in the symbol being added to the User Catalog folder of the Library Browser.

        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 (optional).

    • Click OK to import the symbol.

      Note: 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.

  3. The imported object will be selected and ready to be placed in the plan, click to place the object where you want it.

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

    Note: 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, materials and other features, such as light sources for electrical light symbols.

Files can also be dragged from your Desktop, Documents folder, or other location, and then dropped directly into floor plan view to initiate the Import 3D Symbol process.