Advice please - I'm missing X-reference files

I work solely in SketchUp and Layout, but I grew up with Microstation, which uses reference files, much like i guess XRefs work in autocad. I sometimes miss that functionality, especially on a current project where i have five houses on a site and will need to do working drawings of each house. By the time its finished all five houses will probably be different in some way.
So i need a couple of Layout sheet files for each house type (Ground plan, first plan, roof, plan, 4 elevations, 2 sections). and I’ll need site layout plans showing the relative positions of all the houses on the site. Do I draw everything (the site and five different houses) in one sketchup file, and attach it to about 12 LO sheet files, or do i model each house in a separate file, then copy each in as a group to do the site layouts…?
I do tend to model in a bit more detail than i really should, so file size and lag is potentially going to be a problem,
any advice would be welcomed… or are there any x-ref extensions!!!
thanks in advance.

You will probably get lots of different answers.

Five houses doesn’t seem that much so, if it were me, I would probably have one master file with scenes for the various houses.

I like the Sonder approach that keeps the main file detail to a minimum but makes use of a lot of separate drawings for details, many of which repeat from project to project. They can then be drawn into the final Layout output.

  • when you say one master file, do you mean one file (?!). i.e. you’d draw everything (foundations, walls, furniture etc) for each of etc five houses, in one SU file, and set up elevations, plans, sections fro each house as views of each house within the same model? I know that seems to be the way SU is leading me, but its going to take a bit of organisation, especially when it comes to saving all those views… maybe about 8 for each house, so 40 scenes or more…?!

In microstation, i’d have had a site design file, and five different house design files, each referenced into the site. So i could go into house A, and change something and it would automatically be correct when i went back into the site file, or when i printed a sheet file that had either the site or the house referenced into it… Will we ever get reference files in SU and LO !!!

Yes, I do mean one file but with other files for details.

And yes, the down side is that you could amass a large number of scenes. SU doesn’t help with organisation of scenes much (wouldn’t we all like to be able to group them and have drop down tabs!), but I believe there are extensions that make that easier.

As for migrating from 2D software, I agree that those of us who have done it often bemoan some of the functionality we lose. But hopefully we gain more than we lose or we wouldn’t do it!

i completely agree!! i was happier in microstation 3d, and i do still miss the reference files, but in EVERY other respect i am so much happier in SU!!!

The way SketchUp handles ‘Xrefs’ is with components, each component can be considered as a ‘little SketchUp model’ inside a larger.
So each house would be a component and rightclicking on it would pop up ‘Save As’ and you would navigate to an appropiate folder.

You can open those files and work on them, reload them when done in the master file.
But scenes and section cuts won’t import properly, and you would need to set it them up in each file.

A more modern approach would be to create a project in Trimble connect and then import those as a reference.
You can outsource different houses and when someone has updated a house, download the latest version.
Imported references don’ tbloat the master file, but you can’t edit them inside that master file, eather.

That might sound as an disadvantage, but could be used as an advantage, as well ( think in terms of what has been decided and should not be altered and what might)

There are extensions that manage the old school method, some are free, I think and some cost some money, but the Trimble Extension comes with SketchUp Pro, up to 10Gb free , one project and 5 collaborators and if you have a subscription, it’s unlimited storage and projects and collaborators.

To answer your question directly — yes there is an x-ref type extension (paid) available to help you manage your master model structure:

…though you will still need to give some thought to exactly what that structure will be and how to organize it. Once you’ve worked that out then this extension will help you to manage your workflow around it.