A Layout Review

In 1964 at the age of 19 I sat down at a drawing board with a T-square, Set square and a pencil and started a career as a building technician. In 1990 a Mac computer with a 12” monitor arrived with a program call PowerDraw (PowerCadd) which I have used up until January of this year. In the early 2000’s SketchUp enter my world.

SketchUp is my main tool box for the work it do which creating highly detailed and complex construction models of high end houses (multi millions) and by extension creating construction documentation of said houses. SketchUp along with some extensions is an amazing tool, I can not say enough about it and what it allows me to do. I would say I am highly efficient in its use. I should note the at the end of last year I attempted to learn Revit and it was the most frustrating experience in so many ways.

A little over a month ago I decided to do my latest project in Layout, I have found that how it works depends a lot on how I set up my model. At the moment my project has 21 pages in Layout. There is a lot to like and there is a fair amount of frustration. Layout could be so much better.

  1. When reopening the file style setting are sometimes lost, on occasion all the files do not render
  2. Dimensions require relinking to the image
  3. The relinking to the SketchUp file is a painful process when making numerous updates
  4. When rendering all models in the document it takes forever (I have 48mb of ram)
  5. At one point I dropped 2 pdf’s into Layout and they were sharp, today when I do it they are fuzzy and unreadable.
  6. When I save am I saving all my settings, it doesn’t always do that? Confirmation.

I am sure others could add to the list, but there is a lot to like and the basic concept is very good, Layout needs some fine tuning, as with SketchUp it is simple and elegant as it should be.

I am a professional, I pay an annual fee for SketchUp Pro, it is my tool box as I am fortunate to still be working at my age for an award winning architectural firm. But I see SketchUp marketed as a toy a times with the Youtube videos and the effort in producing the iPad version. Any professional worth his salt is not going to be producing models on an iPad. The effort put into the iPad version would have be far better spent on Layout.

So I want to ask the SketchUp team who is your market? How are you serving it?

We the users have been asking forever for some attention to Layout as of the 2024 version our pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

Gibsons, BC, Canada

Styles come from the SU model, not from LayOut. If you purge your SU mode, any unused Styles may also be purged, affecting your LO file.

You should be linking dimensions to your model viewport rather than an image. If for some reason they become disconnected, it should be as easy as right-clicking the dimension and choosing ‘connect to model’

What do you mean by ‘relinking to SketchUp file’? LayOut remembers the link to the model unless you rename your SU file or move it to a new directory location.

Are you sure you only have 48 mb or RAM? My computer is from 2017 (ancient by modern day standards) and has 32gb of RAM. Perhaps it’s time for a hardware upgrade.

You may want to consider upgrading to the latest version (v2024) as differentiating between the display resolution and output is intentional. You can change the how LayOut displays information on the screen to increase working file performance vs how it displays it in the outputed file. Go to your Document Setup and check under ‘Rendering’. The ‘Output Override’ will export as Hybrid even though its displaying as the faster raster.

ex: in LayOut it looks like this when zoomed way in:

Here is the PDF output. What you see is not necessarily what you get (which is good in this case!):

You can save a LayOut file as a template so that every time you choose a new file from your template, any settings you customized will be saved and show up automatically. Check out this video for more info on setting up your LayOut files: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAAmw5kq92o



Are you referring to using Layout 2024 or 2021 as your profile indicates.

Generally – overall – I don’t experience the level of experience you have.

Actually Layout for some years has been great to use for my architectural services work.

For sure, over the years, users have voiced their poor performance experience but it would seem that it’s generally been one of slowness and lag.

And 2024 seems to have started to address that specific experience.

Replying to your points:

1.As Eric says, styles come from SketchUp (not for me though apart from a default style – but that’s another story).

I did experience minor style issues with circa. Version 2021 and earlier but that was primarily down to sloppy workflow.

2.Very rarely do I have to reconnect dimensions – when you say image do you mean viewport?

3.You do know that in Layout you can right click on a viewport > open file in SketchUp and when you make updates in SketchUp, Layout automatically updates the viewport(s).

4.How much bloat do your models have? 2024 has a new feature to help with bloated models.

5.I never drop PDFs into mt condocs and never will.

6.I don’t understand.

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First of all thank you for the feedback.
I am using 2024 on a 2017 iMac 4.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 48gb ram
By images I mean viewports
The issue with PDF’s is solved, display vs output
“.You do know that in Layout you can right click on a viewport > open file in SketchUp and when you make updates in SketchUp, Layout automatically updates the viewport(s).” this I did not know.
As for dimensions will give it another try
As for styles I am keeping it simple with three basic styles.

I am still learning

Please correct your forum profile.

So can I get my money back from the other post? Seems like there is some room for operator improvement here after reading this thread…

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The only time I see this is when an element has been edited, and that is a good thing, otherwise you could miss updating a dimension.
Occasionally you get unlinked dimensions for no obvious reason, although I am sure there will be, but as indicated you can just select all your dimensions, right click and select “Reconnect…”. Don’t worry about the other stuff you might pick up with a window selection, it only processes the dimensions.
I have found the background relinking of dimensions to be surprisingly robust after swapping between model variants in a viewport. LO does a good job of reconnecting automatically where possible, and the red highlighted dimensions can sometimes update with “Reconnect…” before you have to resort to manual connection edits.

So obviously I am a beginner when it come to Layout, lots to learn.
I have a question, my SU models I link to are 51.3mb, 24.4mb, 13.4mb & 12.6mb. My Layout file is 139.3mb which to me seems very large?
I send the file to print pdf (22 pages) and from when I hit the print button until it finishes it took 17min 19 sec.
Is this normal?

I would not consider that to be acceptable for me but what I do and what you in terms of project type and size is different and that would reflect in my workflow versus yours.

Perhaps you need to share a typical project Layout file…?

Re: sharing the file
do I just attach it to here?
I presume it does not require the SU files it is linked to?

Sharing a file here on the forum is generally as easy as dropping it into a response window, or using the 8th button across the top of a response window to upload it. However, there is an attachment size limit which your 139mb file is way over so that won’t work here. It is common for users to need help with larger files here on the forum and the usual method of sharing them is to post the file to a file sharing service like dropbox or google drive (don’t forget to set the permissions to public so others can download) then post the link to the file here.

Posting a Layout File, will let us get a better look at what you have going on and likely save you a few future headaches. In general Layout supports a very smooth and powerful workflow once it’s understood, and 24 just got a solid bump in performance. However there certainly are some best practices in modeling technique and file organization to get the most out of it.

No need to worry about posting the SketchUp files as well, assuming they are correctly inked they will all be embedded within the Layout file and can be extracted. Incidentally, this is why your Layout file is so large, because the SketchUp files you are referencing are large and each one is embedded inside the layout file along with any images you have inserted.

This could be caused by the settings in the output override section of Document Setup. If your output override is turned on and is set to “Vector” or “Hybrid” then when you print or export Layout will convert every viewport rendering from Raster to one of these two which both can take a long time to calculate.

Output override