Beginner Troubles

Hey all,

Know this probably has been A&A’d but I can not find it for the life of me. Am just doing basic floor plans for some home renovations on Layout. I am very familiar with drawings as I am a millwright and know how to create/read prints. I thought this program would make the process less cumbersome but I have run into some problems.

  1. Scale: I know how to draw/read scale but am having difficulty utilizing it in the program. When I set up the A4 template (or any other), I want the scale selected from the drop down menu to read out for me. For example: If I am drawing a 12’ x 12’ square in 1:4, I want the scaled measurement to read out as 4’ x 4’ without me having to do the math an try and “freehand” it into position.

  2. Use of layers: Seeing as I’ve written this out, may as well ask the experts. As I go thru different variations of possible layouts, I want to create layers (which I know is possible.) I should be able to toggle between them/create new variations while still seeing the original floorprint right? Can find the answer somewhere else if y’all don’t have the patience, just knowing its possible is enough. Know this is basic af but unfortunately I haven’t got that far into what I’m trying to do so I figured kill 2 birds with one stone.

I really appreciate the help, know these are probably posted all the time and completely get the frustration seeing these. However, having searched youtube/reddit/FAQs/boards for 2 hours before posting this and still not finding an answer, felt I’d give the board a shot (As a Logic Pro X user and forum contributor, getting started is always the worst.) This just saves me from manually drawing it, after spending about 4 hours on figuring this out (2 brute force and ignorance, 2 searching), I’m fourth and inches from saying f*** it so any and all help is appreciated.


You might be coming at this from the wrong direction.
Layout is a tool for creating 2d drawings from the 3d model you model in Sketchup.
Layout itself is not the easiest 2d drawing software, it can be used for that but really more of an adjunct to its main job of creating 2d drawings from the 3d you already created.
Don’t get me wrong, it is a 2d document producer, but it may not be what you are expecting.

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To help achieve your goals, some time spent at the SketchUp Campus and at the SketchUp - YouTube channel will be very worthwhile. Both sites are from the SketchUp team. On the YouTube channel, pay attention to the Square One Series. It covers the basics for each tool.

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I’m the wrong person to defend drawing from scratch in Layout, but I think I understand what you’re expecting. What you describe in (1) is the way I’m used to working in PowerCADD: Scale is a property attached to the document. (Layers can over ride the document scale, but that’s the longer story). Layout feels more like a desktop publishing app than a CAD app. The document has properties of paper scale, while drawing scale is a property attached to either a viewport (brought in from SU) or a group (of objects drawn in LO). When drawing, you’re only working in a particular scale when you’re editing inside a group. Once you exit the group, you’re back to paper scale again. Layout supports objects in groups spanning across layers, so yes you can work across layers and turn them on and off. It’s a different paradigm or mindset than what you’re expecting in (1).

Start a drawing (group) at a scale with the Make Scaled Drawing button.

While inside the group drawing and editing, you work at the stated scale:

When you exit the group and select it, you can see the scale property of the group. You can move it around the page even with things inside on many different layers.

It’s a strange mindset, but there is a logic to it.

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As you’ve been told, though you can create drawings to a desired scale inside layout, it’s not the way layout it’s supposed to work, you must do all your drawings or modeling on sketchup then create scenes and export them to layout as 2D images that can be set to the desired scale. You should visit the sketchup website go to learning and check their free courses that will teach you how to use sketchup and layout.

As Robert describes above, I’m routinely drawing at scale in Layout.

Often entire documents with no SketchUp model, e.g. site plans…