Alternative to LayOut?

I have been using SketchUp’s LayOut program exclusively - never had the nerve to deal with all the 3D stuff in SketchUp, too complicated for me.
I use it maybe 2 times a year, to make a few drawings that I can give to contractors to do some work for me, or to draw something to get proportions right. All in 2D, that’s all I need.

Now I made the big mistake to “upgrade” to the latest version - and all of a sudden, the simple 2D program is behind a $600 pay wall (while the 3D part is not - and it can’t open the 2D files from Layout).

I can’t edit my drawings anymore, I can’t find a program that can read the Layout files…

Who knows what to do here, how to find an alternative to the super-expensive (for a hobbyist) Pro version, ideally something that allows me to edit the drawings that I started in Layout?

Thanks for your help!

LayOut isn’t behind a “paywall”. LayOut has always been part of the SketchUp Pro package. That’s not a new thing. SketchUp Make is the free, not for commercial use version of SketchUp. among other things, it does not include LayOut and never has.

If all you need is to make 2D drawings, there are a number of different 2D drawing applications out there. Have a look and see what you think might be useful.

LayOut has never been put behind a pay wall — it has always been part of the professional, commercial SketchUp Pro. Possibly you have been using the free trial that came with SketchUp Make, and which expired after one month. LayOut has received an API (and will become more powerful) to allow its functionality to be more customized and extended.

Don’t expect to get here recommendations for specific competition :wink: On the other side, it is always good to be well informed about alternative choices (for any software).

Layout alternatives would be found in two distinct categories - CAD and DTP (desktop publishing), depending on use.

CAD is somewhat paradoxical, as smooth file exchange between Sketchup and CAD would require a SketchUp Pro license all the same, and thet would include LayOut. Desktop publishing apps can place images exported from SketchUp, but as we are probably even here talking about commercial use, and, that too requires Pro.


The OP does not want to use Skup, so file exchange is moot. Braunsch, nothing else that I know of will read a layout file so you’re out of luck there. If it’s really just 2 files then post them here and I’ll convert them to a .pdf or .jpg for you, if that’s helpful. As stated, there are options of 2d drawing out there. But using Sketchup Make set to parallel projection might work for you once you learned a few simple things, since you’re looking at learning something new anyway… Just a thought, good luck.

Microsoft Visio (not free)

LibreOffice / OpenOffice Draw - Visio clone (free)

For 2D drawings you can check out AutoCad, for illustrations Illustrator and for layout InDesign. However I think SketchUp and Layout is quite a lot cheaper than all of those.

You have a Mac . You can use the “pages” app

I use Draftsight - perfectly adaquate Autocad alternative and free - Produced by Dassault

I also do a lot of presentation directly in Powerpoint - it is surprisingly capable now if you need an illustrator style alternative, as universal as nearly everyone has MS office

Thanks everyone for your input.
I have installed Draftsight now, hoping to get along with it, but compared to SketchUp LayOut it’s very complicated and I already miss the snap grids (which in LayOut I had set to 1ft equivalent for major lines, with 12 subdivision representing my inches - that ease was what brought me to LayOut in the first place). Maybe they are there, but I haven’t gotten to the point yet.
I guess for a true and SIMPLE 2D program my search will go on - but thanks to who took the time to respond here!

Draftsight can be a bit daunting at first, but is fully fledged.

Maybe DRAFT IT could be an option, I’ve used it in the past. The free version is very basic, there are cheap upgrade paid versions too.

F7 = toggle Grid
F8 = toggle Ortho
F9 = toggle Snap

They also have toggle buttons on the status bar.

Right-click the Grid or Snap toggle button, and there is a “Setting…” option on the mouse context menu.
(You can set different granularity for Snap and Grid. Ie, 1 foot grid, with 1 inch snap.)

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microsoft visio i think

PS, we have even tried it for A1 prints

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