Bringing Layout up to date

I guess I just think there is value in uniformity, certainly between sister packages but also more generally within CAD systems.

There was probably a good reason why the original developers of LO decided to do things differently but I can’t quite think why.

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Agreed, some pages in my drawings take 15 seconds to load each time I switch to them which seems crazy.

I’m sure you (and others) will disagree but seriously… are you keeping your SketchUp model as lean as it can be, are you using tags to control what is / is not displayed in a Layout viewport?

Each and every viewport in Layout will be rendering all on tags in the SketchUp model scene - so if the Layout viewport doesn’t need to show some of the model, turn the tag off.

If your not using tag control in Layout then in a multi-page Layout document all of that viewport rendering time is going to add up!

I think the development teams were working on different planets… or at least different operating systems

Around the time when Google bought many companies like @Last they also bought ‘Writely’, a predecessor of Google Slides and was called Google Presentations in the beginning.
Notice how many tools work the same way as in LayOut.
LayOut was intended to present 3D models and make some annotations while presenting and up front, not to produce (traditional)ConDocs, I believe?

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I would say so, absolutely.

All along my opinion has been that LO is fundamentally unsuitable for the type of work we are using it for (document production & technical drawings). It shares very little in common with AEC industry-standard apps or workflows. By “keeping it simple” it actually makes life very difficult…because our work isn’t simple; it’s technical and needs to follow some rigid standards.

That’s why I’m concerned about the latest announcement about LO being vaugely given “more focus” and “further improvements.” I need the devs & managers to realise that the fundamental purpose needs to be addressed. WHAT IS LAYOUT?

The list of fixes/feature improvements is so extensive because, to acheive what we want requires front end and back end processes to be comprehensively overhauled or replaced.
You have to wonder if its practical to keep upgrading layout, versus starting with a clean slate.


I guess the market for it is not large enough but you can’t help wondering whether another company might be able to step in if Trimble aren’t minded to do anything radical.

I have no idea how possible it would be to extract relevant data from SU output but it is at least a one-way street. That is, what you do in SU can affect LO but not the other way round.

Since writing that last post, I realize that rendering engines that coordinate with Sketchup must be able to take data and manipulate it. Of course, they may have to pay Trimble for the privilege I guess. But it suggests to this non techie that it is at least theoretically possible for a competitor to produce a Layout alternative - if they thought the market was large enough and the investment worthwhile. Any takers?

Dude, did you just absolutely Nail It with this entry!
Oh Man, I might go long … again …
I have been voicing (with others) for years that this existing (hobbled) LayOut code is outdated and needs to be totally rewritten to match the real demands and requirements of modern "CAD" 2D production software. How do we (can we?) ever get this message through to the Trimble “Powers That Be”?
I, and certainly others, have speculated on this Forum that the “Effort” required to fundamentally FIX LayOut may simply not be practical or cost effective for Trimble. Just too much Money, Time, and Manpower required to get it done?. And not enough $ reward for the effort … (maybe our base of SketchUp users is simply too small for a really BIG company like Trimble to even care about)?
I totally agree with the “start with a clean slate” concept … but recent exchanges with other veteran Form members suggest that Trimble may be gradually “walking away & moving onfrom LayOut as a supported platform.
Maybe they hope Trimble Connect will be the next great, new thing?
At least as of now, TC doesn’t do what (even) LayOut can do. TC does have potential, and may round out into what many of us need in the long run, but for right now, and the foreseeable future, I, and I suspect many others, need Layout, but a much better performing version (LayOut Pro?).
In my opinion, we may be entering into a period of “GAP” years where Trimble hasn’t done much to fundamentally improve LayOut, but also hasn’t brought any new and capable LO replacement Tool to market to relieve or eliminate our debilitating situation! … So …may I offer:
Situation Normal, Keep Suffering with LayOut. … (SNKSLO)? … (No, maybe that doesn’t really work!)

The typography of text boxes in general (not just dimensioning) is horrible in both SketchUp (where I don’t depend on dimensioning other than to check something) and in LayOut (where I do). WHY is there all that extra white space within the text box? Sure, I can make the box “bounded” to manually eliminate this, but really, that’s a kludge. It is that extra white space that changes the gap around text when the text is located in the dimension line, that covers up arrows as @ksarch_CDG_TSA_2 has complained about but that no one else seems to care about. The problem is especially pronounced when the dimensions are small (where the text won’t fit where desired). Perhaps for some, standard drafting practices don’t matter, but those standards were developed in the interests of clarity, and messing around with styles to “fix” a problem that shouldn’t exist in the first place is bad practice.


Columns. Indents. Named text and paragraph styles. Etc. LayOut ought to have at least a part of the typographic controls all page layout and text editor applications have.