Controlling Lineweights with a new Outliner Tab in Layout

Controlling line weights through Styles in SketchUP … then creating Stacked Scenes in SketchUP … then exporting those Scenes into Layout Viewports is a brilliant technique developed by Michael Brightman of Brightman Designs.

This “Feature Request” would significantly reduce the number of stacked scenes that are currently required by this method and would make it more intuitive and simpler to control line weights within Layout on-the-fly.

The key to this “Stacked Scene reduction” is to group objects in logical order within Outliner. Logical grouping is tool you would want to do anyway to keep track of objects in your model.

You would for example group all Walls together. Within the Walls group you might further create nested sub-groups such as Interior walls, Exterior walls, Existing Walls, or New Walls etc. In Layout Outliner you would access these logical groups and assign each of these groups and sub-groups different line weights.

Another logical group might be Windows. Sub-groups might include Glazing, Mullions, Sills etc. In Layout-Outliner you would then assign different line weights as needed.

It would be much more intuitive to edit line weights (ie. edges,profiles, depth cues, and section cuts) within Layout via an Outliner Tab then it would be to control line weights globally through stacked Viewports (SketchUP Scenes) via the Styles Tab in Layout.

The first image below shows a new tab in Layout’s SketchUP Model entitled “Outliner”. Clicking this Tab opens a modified Outliner Menu.

The second image shows the Outliner dialog with new check and edit boxes.

To Use:
First select the Component or Group you wish to edit.
Second fill in the check and edit boxes as required.
Editing these boxes automatically updates the display of the selected Layout viewport. This gives you the opportunity to re-enter values …see the effects … and make adjustments on-the-fly until you are satisfied with the results.

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As long as LayOut viewports do not support linetypes, this might perhaps be overorganization. There are no drawing standards that require/favour the use of more than three line weights in one document, and usually the standard SketchUp way of edges, profiles and section cut edges supplies these out of the box, and purely annotative lines are best added on the LO page.

Just my 2c


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Hi Ansii,
This tread is in the category of new features. Linetypes is actually another discussion … however this new feature would be well suited for not only Line weights but Linetypes as well … see below.

It doesn’t appear that I’ve made myself clear. To understand where I’m coming from you have to understand Mike’s system of preparing Construction Documents as mentioned in his excellent book “The SketchUP Workflow for Architecture”. If you haven’t read his book or aren’t familiar with his workflow then you probably don’t know what I’m getting at here.

Basically I’m requesting that GROUPS control the visible display of line weights in Layout through an Outliner Dialog box … as opposed to multiple stacking of Layers/Styles and Scenes.

Control would be viewport dependent. In other words, a change to a GROUP’s line weight OR visibility (ie ON/OFF) would only affect the selected viewport.

While existing SU layer control of line weights via setting ON/OFF Layers and setting line weights in the Styles Browser for multiple stacked scenes in Layout is the current method used in “The SketchUP Workflow for Architecture” works brilliantly it generates numerous Scenes that would not be required in a Layout Outliner.

With a Layout Outliner you would not need to pay much attention to Layers at all. Simply cut your section for Plan or Section in SU then in Layout Outline turn ON/OFF Groups in a selected viewport you don’t wish to see and indicate whatever line weights you wanted to the GROUP. Its a GROUP control of your viewports rather than Layer/Style/Scene approach. Much simpler!

For example you could have Interior Walls, Exterior walls, Demolition walls, Furniture, Equipment in one Scene then in Layout turn ON/OFF as needed.

Trimble could easily add a Line Style pull-down menu to Layout Outliner when it is developed in the future. Trimble could also add a Set to Page pull-down menu to automatically change all the GROUPS across multiple pages.

I would disagree with your statement “There are no drawing standards that require/favor the use of more than three line weights in one document” Why would Revit, ArchiCAD and other BIM software give their users free reign in the number of line weights? Are you familiar with the German Cad Standards, National Cad Standards, Japanese Cad Standards? Line weight has everything to do with scale of a drawing. Obviously the larger the scale the greater line weight plays in the presentation.

Even if you are correct… What I’m proposing is a faster and less complicated way to assign line weights to a viewport … then the “multiple stacking scene” approach. (which by the way is brilliant)

I’m running out of time but hope to develop this conversation further.


Hi Anssi,
I’ve been a little reactive. When you said “There are no drawing standards that require/favor the use of more than three line weights in one document…”

I was thinking of a number of architectural firms that have their own line weight standards. As an example I’ve attached portion of a layer-line weight ACAD standard used by my previous architectural firm. I’ve also included the pen weight settings for Harvard’s “CAD and Image Standards for Construction Documentation”.

Actually I’m struggling with trying to export SU to ACAD using their layer and line weight convention.

I’d like to be able to create all my drawings in SU/Layout without having to resort to some seriously tedious re-naming and re-packaging exported SU geometry inside ACAD.

You said “… and purely annotative lines are best added on the LO page.” I agree that annotative symbols ie section cuts, detail call-outs, even dimensions are best added in LO.

I’m not convinced however that “purely annotative lines” are best done in LO. The more line work you add in LO (that is not connected to SU geometry in the model), the less BIM connectivity you have in your model. LO line work does not automatically adjust when you make adjustments in SU. This lessens the power of SU.

I still feel that controlling line weight via edges, profiles, and section cuts of Style dialog through an Outliner in LO would be quite helpful. … perhaps not in the same way I’ve indicated but something similar.

I don’t know that we have any fundamental disagreement. What I meant about drawing standards was lacking the “that I know of” suffix-sorry.
It is very well known that the human eye, and, on the other hand, a traditional microfilm camera, have difficulty in distinguishing line weights that are near each other.
That is why the European standards usually use three lineweights characterized as thin, medium, and thick, with the line widths of a thicker line usually double of that of the thinner.

The actual lineweights vary according to the scale of the drawing, the series 0.18mm, 0.35mm and 0.7 mm being a common one for drawings in a working drawing scale like 1:50, for instance.

In your example, the weights 0.01, 0.012 and 0.016 are, for instance, virtually indistinguishable, as are 0.025 and 0.026.
0.004 is too thin for microfilming (0.1 mm). I still shiver after about 28 years when I think of a 0.1mm Rapidograph pen-they were clogging all the time they were not leaking.

What I would like to see was the ability to apply line types to LayOut viewports, so I could, for instance, create a LO view showing only the ceiling plan, and overlay that in a dashdot linetype (our standard for overhead lines) on my regular floorplan. Today it is possible only if I explode the view, so that it loses its associativity with the model.


Hi, @bnpwalter & @Anssi thank you for this in depth discussion around how different people approach organising their modelling in Sketchup - I realise I am dredging up an old post here, but it is relevant to me now.

I have a question RE the outliner window for Mac as compared to Windows.

In my version of sketchup 2015, when I open the outliner pane/window it displays the nested structure of my groups & components.

As part of my workflow I would like to try to use the outliner to control some of the lineweights as your original post described.

However, I do not see the Edges/Profiles/Depth cue & Section cut width check and edit boxes, and cannot seem to find where using the Layout Outliner you can “assign each of these groups and sub-groups different line weights.” as you described it.

Where can I find this tab/feature?

See below for what I see in my “Sketchup Model” pane in LO

Sketchup Model pane in LO
(it’s missing the Outliner tab like in @bnpwalter’s screenshot? where can I find it?)

And see below for my “Outliner” window in Sketchup 2015 (Mac)

Hope you can help me, thanks in advance!

The Outliner tab in bnpwalter’s screenshot was a result of clever bitmap editing - it was an illustration he created to express a feature request, and doesn’t exist in reality.


Well, there you go, it does say that. Helps to read properly - i simply skimmed for what i wanted to see.
Thank you @Anssi for pointing out the obvious, clearly i needed it!

Instead of just the line weights being assigned to groups, I would like to be able to assign a whole “style” to a specific group -

  • Another drop-down in the entity window that populates from the style list (tool-tip showing the description on hover).
  • If there is a value in this field, then that style is used. Otherwise it’s the default style for that scene/model.
  • When editing at that level, then the style is changed to reflect the selection (and the ‘edit style’ would change it)
  • All entities within the effected wrapper would be assigned that style.

This would enable some really cool effects “live” that are normally only achievable through post-production on static images. (creating multiple images with different styles and using an image editor to blend them)

Make Lineweight managable more like in AutoCAD… I’m in.:slight_smile: