Available scales for scaled drawing in Layout

I noticed something odd about the availability of scales in Layout 2018 today. I wanted to draw at 1:20 but it was not available from the drop down list. Checking my Preferences, there were far more scales theoretically available. I solved it by drawing something random full scale, grouping, and altering the scale. Then I had access to the full list and that populated the reduced list so that I should be able to get 1:20 in future.

It seems odd not to have access to the full list from the get go without having to use a rather awkward workaround. I expect I have missed something. Have I?

Whilst on this subject, why are some of my scales represented with a colon separator and others by an equal sign? Is that something I did? Not a big deal but it makes the order illogical.

A lot can be said about this interface.

An equal sign between two clearly non-equal values is some American nonsense scale notation that abuses the equal sign. This simply isn’t what the equal sign means. 1 mm can never be equal to 100 mm (unless mm would be defined as 0, which it isn’t). Also all the extra noise makes it hard to find and read the ratio that is the actual scale. I’d very much prefer if the scale were only labeled “1:100”, 1:200" so you easily can pick the right scale.

Typically when I install SketchUp on a new machine I delete all shipped scales and start fresh to get rid of the noise. Adding custom scales is a much more cumbersome process than it could have been as LayOut by itself adds a lot of irrelevant noise to the name field, that has to be manually erased for an easy to read scale.


The unit dropdown doesn’t make much sense either (it doesn’t even default to document units!). 1m:100m is the same as 1mm:100mm or 1 banana:100 bananas. A value divided by itself is 1 and therefore has no reason to exist in both the nominator and denominator of a division, which is what a ratio is.

For the rare situations when you want different units in paper size and model size, LayOut could simply parse the unit from the entered value as SketchUp and Layout does on all length input. No extra compulsory field is needed for this.

Another approach would be to not have predefined scales at all, but instead allow the user to write “1:20” or whatever the scale we want, when we want it. Just writing it is faster and simpler than selecting it from a list. Especially when the list is bloated by noise, or misses the scale you want.

It is very simple froma programming point of view to split the text on “:” (and “=” to also allow the nonsense notation), parse the two texts as lengths with SketchUp’s default length parser and divide one with the other to get the scale factor. Actually quite a lot simpler than the current implementation.

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@ericdbohn , if you design an interface for entering scales, e.g. for printing to scale, this thread might be worth reading.

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I think that must be the dialog box on a PC. On a Mac, it is much simpler, as here:


To get a half scale, you can delete the default and enter a 1 in the first box and a 2 in the second, but you end up with what you are calling noise as it gives you “1=2 (1:2)”. At the very least, much of that is extraneous, if not downright confusing. Also, the new scale gets added at the end of the existing list, so everything is in an order you don’t expect. I can see that you could get around this by deleting everything and starting again, but that is a bit of a pain!


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I agree with this. Where you get a typical drop down box and pre-set choices, you could simply have two boxes separated by a colon or slash. The first would have a default of 1 (but could be changed); the second would be for the user to determine.


Or you could have a single box where you can either enter a fraction (1/20, say) or a decimal (0.05 in this case).

The Mac interface looks a bit cleaner. At least no redundant unit dropdown menus that always default to inches. If the text representation of the scale could be changed to only include the units in the case they differ, e.g. “1:100”, “1:200”, “1cm:100m”, that would be a huge improvement compared to the PC interface.

Regarding the scale input in SketchUp Model it could also perhaps be a combination of a dropwdon menu and a text field (I don’t know what those inputs are called). You could then choose for yourself if you want to open up the dropdown and select, or simply write yourself. If I am not mistaken this is how Layer in Entity Info works on Mac.

Regarding parsing scales from a single string I did just that in Eneroth View Scale. You can write 1:100, 1m=4’, 4, 150% and possibly even more notations that I can’t remember now.

There has been discussion in another thread today about how the Layer box in Entity Info works. If you want to create a new layer, you can do it directly in this Layer box instead of doing it in the Layer dialog box. I can see some advantage to that but more often than not it is a pain because it is so easy to type the wrong thing instead of choosing the right thing from a list. Many of us end up with a new layer “m” that we hadn’t wanted!


Maybe Entity Info isn’t the ideal place to have such an element as you often start pressing shortcuts, not thinking the pressed keys are interpreted as text. Also you quite rarely want to create new layers compared to how often you want to assign an existing layers. Also layer names are easy to misspell with just one one letter and it becomes a separate layer.

I think such an element is more suitable for scale. As it is a numeric input, and not a word that needs spelling, the risk of getting it slightly wrong is smaller. Also, writing an invalid value wouldn’t add an unwanted entity anywhere in the document, but just not be parsed.

Anyhow, how well this input type works in Entity Info is another story. I just used it as an example to describe the element I was thinking of.

It is I guess, although it comes under the general banner of how dialog boxes in SU/LO operate. In general, they work well and are well designed, but as we have identified, there are some that could be improved. Perhaps this thread should be moved to Feature Requests?

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Maybe. I don’t know if I derailed your original thread or if these suggested changes to the UI is on that topic.