A Question For The Old Timers With Respect To Version 2019

I have been a long time user since the days of @last…way back. Since the beginning of SketchUp time we have been instructed to draw all geometry on Layer 0 (Zero). With the introduction of “Dashed Lines” it appears that keeping geometry on a single layer has now changed. The reasons given to utilize the Zero layer for geometry was the system could become unstable as new geometry burdened layers were introduced into a model.

I have stuck with the Zero layer principle and have setup my work flow to include hundreds of Groups, Components and Scenes to organize my complex model projects. Take for instance a kitchen with 50 cabinets. All the line geometry is placed on LZ (Layer Zero) with each individual cabinet group/component residing on the Cabinets layer, Cabinet Doors and Drawers on their respective layers , Counter Tops grouped on the Counter Tops Layer and so on… The kitchen layers are associated with the Kitchen Scene as well as a Scene for each Cabinet where I can provide shop drawings in layout with the respective views of each cabinet, drawers and doors.

By assigning specific layers to contain varied dashed geometry has now created an issue with the stability of system. This may work nice for a foundation footing as I always had to export the solid lines to Layout and change them to dashed which is time consuming when the model changes. Ok…so that makes one thing better. But now how about a roof…where I want to see a second floor plan view in layout with solid lines and the roof beyond the second level walls to be dashed. This would work also as my section cut would hide all the dashed geometry above the cut. However, now I have three layers with line geometry on them. We are going to have to re-think how we construct the model based on layers in order to present the model in Layout.

What do the software engineer folks and for that matter long time users recommend as a new work flow with this newly changed system?

Any and all input would be greatly appreciated as this new layer/model structure changes the core construction of all new models. This will take some time in structuring a new work flow and graphic presentation.

This misconception has been a concern for the sages. We are forever counseling users to keep Layer 0 as the active layer and to leave all geometry on Layer 0. It hasn’t changed. You should be grouping the geometry that will be displayed with dashes and only assign the layer to the group or component.

My recommendation is to not change your workflow as far as layers are concerned. You are doing the right thing.

Keep in mind, though, that you although you may have a dash style assigned to a given layer, the dashes don’t have to be displayed. Whether or not they are is a style setting so you can have one style for a scene that shows the dashes and another style for another scene that doesn’t.

FWIW, I think you might still want to stack viewports in LayOut so you can control weight and scale of the dashes independently from the other stuff in the view. The big benefit is that you don’t have to explode the viewport to change the line style to dashed as before.

Here’s an example of how I use the dashes to show hidden lines. The components are on layers with dashes assigned. In the first scene the dashes are not turned on in the style. In the second scene dashes are on and the face style is set to Wireframe so that the hidden edges will be visible. The viewports are stacked one on top of the other and on separate layers in LayOut so the one below can be accessed without moving the one on top.


I hadn’t heard that one before, though I suppose instability could result if a model came to have a tremendous number of layers. Certainly the GUI isn’t designed well for dealing with a large number of layers (no hierarchy, weak management of names, scrolling list box, etc.) The more common reason given is that layers do not isolate geometry from SketchUp’s “sticky” handling of edges and faces. New edges and faces will interact with pre-existing ones regardless of what layers they use and regardless of whether those layers are visible. The stickiness leads to unexpected and confusing errors when layers are used expecting them to organize the model or isolate geometry.

My impression is that the association of dash patterns with layers was conceived in an effort to make them more compatible with import and export of CAD files, where for example one might give property boundaries on a layer to give them a distinctive dash pattern and control when to show them on plans. The problem with that rationale is that unlike in SketchUp, lines do not stick to or cut each other automatically in CAD. The layer isn’t what is keeping them from interacting, it is the inherent nature of CAD geometry. But in SketchUp groups and components prevent interaction, layers do not. Trying to match CAD’s layering creates a mess in SketchUp.


I agree. If it had been my decision, I would have kept the dashes in LayOut. I would like to see an option to assign a dashed style to a viewport in LayOut that would make it similar to working with the Stroke settings in Shape Style. Ever since the @Last days, though, users have been demanding dashes in SketchUp. Now we have it. It certainly is workable but not my ideal implementation.

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I am one of the many who have been asking for dashed lines so I am in favour on the change. However, it does seem a funny way to go about creating them. If a line within a group or component becomes dashed if you put it on a layer that has that style, SU must understand that it is actually a line with invisible sections, or more correctly, an edge with hidden sections. If it can do that, why is it not possible to do what other CAD systems do and have the concept of linetypes? You can make them dashed, change their thickness, etc. This is probably way over my pay grade but I expect others wonder the same.


Part of the problem, Simon, is thinking of layers in SketchUp like layers in AutoCAD. They simply aren’t. Layers in SketchUp are only visibility tags assigned to entities. (components, groups, text, and dimensions. Perhaps it would have been better not to call them Layers but that happened nearly 20 years ago and changing it now would be difficult.

I agree that that is a problem for people migrating from most other CAD systems. But surfaces can have “surface styles” applied (ie. textures), so why not edges? That’s what I don’t understand. If you could apply a style to an edge, you wouldn’t need the rather peculiar situation where you can only get them as a layer style. Am I missing something obvious here?

Maybe the missing thing is that SketchUp has always been a surface modeler. Edges (they aren’t really called lines) are just there to define the limits of faces in a 3D model. I think that considering them as lines to be styled is 2D thinking.


Hmmmm… I hesitate to take issue with someone of your standing, Dave, but that argument seems a bit odd to me, even hypothetical. Yes, SU is a surface modeller, but it still chooses to show distinct edges (unlike in real life for the most part). And as we now do have broken lines available, the argument also appears outdated.

I suppose my question is this: if we can have them as a layer style, why not as an edge style? It does not seem to be beyond the ingenuity of the developers to create broken lines that are actually fully formed edges.


I’m not saying I agree with it. It’s the way SketchUp was designed. I don’t see that my “standing” comes into it. Maybe it’s really my long history with SketchUp. As I said before, I would prefer to save line styling for documentation instead of modeling.

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Hi SU Team,
Again, thank you for dashed lines.
Now that you have dipped SU’s proverbial toe into the dashed line pool, I have a few thoughts to share.

There have been some very well taken posts over the last few days regarding the new Dashed Line capability. Summing up my thoughts and the different authors’ thoughts; I see validity and value in allowing a user three options in controlling dashed lines in the SU/LO workflow. My wish is now that you have undertaken the first step (1) control of edges by Layers, two more options will follow: (2) control of edges as a style and (3) control of edges in LO. Each one has a different application value and strength, as one tailors their workflow to their design/presentation objectives and needs. I can foresee using all three in my workflow.

Best Regards.


I would like to see the dashed edges could be assigned to a group. Just like several other attributes you can assign to a group. No need for extra layers.


Very good and civil discussion.

I will embrace the direction in which the SU Team is travelling through. DaveR has shown some real working examples of the dashed line application and I do see where this can benefit many SU users. I foresee some personal growing pains with my modeling and presentation as I approach implementing this newest technology.

The display of points with their associated strokes that represent what I understand as lines must be presented in such a way to communicate (drawings) to the end user, who, in turn must interpret those strokes as a guide in construction of the drawing representation. SketchUp has provided a tool for me to create and model in three dimensions while at the same time communicate by reduction to two dimension that same complex model onto a piece of paper. The two dimensional representation is a set of directions that contains strokes of density (thickness) and character (solid or dashed) which conveys my creative intention. DaveR above has made that clear and precise as there is no doubt to anyone skilled in the art of fabrication what his intention is related to the construction of a stile & rail mortise and tenon joinery.

The last home I designed in SU contained 180 layers, 60 scenes and over 15,000 individually named and identified groups/components at the root level. I rarely nest groups/components outside of individual complex assemblies (e.g. a light fixture) as the children adopt the attributes of the parent so my models are comprised of mostly parents at the root level so they can be manipulated with Scenes. Scenes dictate the display of layers and groups/components. As I build a model I am keenly aware my Outliner naming conventions and layer placement in order to assemble the scenes.

This is how I understand the intention of the SketchUp design process.

The introduction of dashed strokes has me puzzled in how I am going to apply them within the boundaries of my existing work flow. I am still going to keep all of my geometry on Layer Zero as I do not want to find that my model slows down with the each and every layer having the ability to display dashed lines.

I wished the SU engineers could have worked on the dreaded flashing Outliner which with my large models can take up to a minute or more to refresh when I change scenes depending on the number and complexity of components buried in the model. I hate when I forget to close down the Outliner as I build and/or change Scenes. I have an i9 24 core CPU @ 2.90 Ghz over clocked at 51% with 128 GB of RAM along with (2) 1TB EVO SSD’s that has to wait while SU refreshes to RAM every component listed in the Outliner each time a change a scene. Even my GTS 1080 Ti with 11 cuda cores has not sped anything up in SU. Refresh on the screen display is great as I get no artifacts as I orbit my largest models. Don’t know how it will work with dashed lines yet…time will tell.

I am with Lindsey on finding a way to apply individual line attributes…we can turn lines on and off…sure would be nice to have control over the display style.

There is much to learn…and I’m in.

As Dave mentioned, I think one key is thinking about them as dashed edges instead of lines.

In any case, the key for me is to remember layer hierarchy. Unlike the cad programs that I dare say the majority of us learned to work with, with SU you can have layers inside layers. So far for me I’m thinking the best way to deal with the dashed lines is going to be to mostly keep them on the lowest hierarchical level in groups and components.

Please expand on this. I don’t know what you mean…

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I am assuming he is talking about layer nesting within groups. I have done that in the past however moved from that practice due to the fact that when you want to show/hide specific layers that are within groups the nested layers will always follow the parent rules. If the parent is not visible neither will the children below.

Peterfanthony perhaps the following notes will help with your thoughts about how to structure models in 2019.

  1. As mentioned we’re not recommending any changes to how anyone prefers to model (on layer 0 and move groups to layers in your case). If you feel you’re now needing to separate edges from other groups I’d be curious to understand the situations this feels needed and for what purpose.

  2. You have noticed that the dashes work pretty well for things like property boundaries where visibility lines up well with style. This is exactly how they are optimized, so definitely keep doing that. They also work for some nicely structured components for things like 2D door swing or window opening details etc…

  3. We still recommend that you will need to stack viewports in LayOut, and to occasionally explode viewports to get some of the drawing control you need. Especially when the visual presentation of what you’re showing is different in each scene such as the case of the roof which is likely to be solid in one scene, and dashed in many others.

Despite reducing some stacking, dashes on layers realistically won’t solve all situations. However, there might be some interesting workarounds to avoid exploding or stacking which I’d be happy to try if you have a specific scenario that feels common across many of your drawings.

  1. In one of the threads from earlier this week AK_SAM was asking similar workflow or best practice questions. I posted a modified version of his model containing a method of structuring groups in relation to layers that utilizes dash patterns in a relatively clean way. Although it’s a simple example it might help with some ideas to keep layer counts lower by sharing layers across different types of objects.

The purpose of the structure is to make it easy to turn off ‘types’ of details at different levels in your model, with the least clicks.

Dashed Lines feature discussion

Let us know if there are any insights that help you out, it’ll be useful to understand what they are in case it helps others with successful best practices.


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Hi @DaveR, @SketchupDoug, all
I really appreciate your creativity in finding workarounds, as you documented with your example. But don’t you think that there should be a more straightforward way of representing your design?.
From my point of view, we shouldn’t need to stack any viewport at all.

If we could have control of hidden geometry in Layout, i.e, custom dash lines for hidden geometry, you would only need to have one viewport in your example, as simple as that!

I really don’t understand why developers keep forcing us to find really cumbersome workarounds for something a trivial as a hidden line illustration, it’s 2019!

This new dash line feature doesn’t make any sense to me. We’ve been told that documentation should be done in Layout, and here we are with a feature integrated in SketchUp instead in Layout??

IMO, the solution to lines’ control should be elegant and straightforward, so everybody could take advantage of it, not just jugglers :wink:

What if within Layout, we could apply a custom line type to each SketchUp layer. The way I see it:

There should be two columns for each layer, via a drop down menu that shows all SketchUp layers.

  • First column would control visible geometry for that layer, so we could apply a line type to just visible geometry.

  • Second column would do the same but for hidden geometry in that layer.

I really think that this kind of feature would save great amount of time and would give us a lot of flexibility for documentation.

We shouldn’t hold too tight to how something was designed 20 years ago. The important thing is to solve the requirements we have today, and if that means that we have to change something fundamental to SketchUp’s core or Layout, we shouldn’t be afraid of doing it. What do you think?

Have a nice day,



I agree on that.

‘Keep the modeling in SKetchUp and the way to present stuff in LayOut’

For quick review/concept development we still can use SketchUp and hit ‘K’


Let’s see if I can explain…

I will usually group all of the walls on a level, we’ll call the level “1st Floor Walls”. If I then edit the wall group and insert my doors and window components (which are already on their on specific layers) then in a way they become sub-layers which you can turn off an on using the layer panel. So, I can have the walls, doors, and windows on at the same time or I can have the walls on and the doors and/or windows off. So for dashed lines, you could put them in their own layer within a component and then turn them on or off as needed.

So it would look something like this:

  • 1st Floor Walls
  •     Doors
  •     Windows
  •     Window Swings (dashed)

With “windows swings” being a part of the window component.

Does that help or does it only confuse the issues more? Sorry if I did the later :slight_smile:

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