Fix the Snap Nightmare

The performance difference in Layout when Object Snap is enabled vs. disabled is astonishing. However, the usefulness of Layout without snapping is primitive at best. Can we please eliminate the “Object Grip” and replicate the snap/inference of Sketchup in Layout?

I can’t stress enough how much of a daily headache it is to have to hunt for the grip in my selection, drag it to a point of reference and then painfully drag the selection around the page to its snapped location.


I do agree that this is something that Layout does not do well. I quite often find that I have to draw a temporary physical line in order to line things up because I can’t make the handles work as I would like and expect. I wouldn’t be totally against the idea of construction lines like SU. They could show on screen but not when printed. That way, you wouldn’t necessarily have to delete them. I know some will say this is what the grid is for but I don’t find working with the grid easy either.

Hauling myself into the seat of a hobby horse of mine, I would say that it is fairly typical in software design for things that don’t work well or intuitively to be lived with for years just because there is some kind of workaround. A bit like cutting mortises in wood with a penknife when you could have done it better and faster had someone given you a chisel.

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You can draw them on a layer of their own and turn that off when printing. Not to say that adding a “do not print or export” option to LayOut layers wouldn’t be a good feature request.

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I would LOVE to have construction lines in LO!

Following @Anssi’s suggestion, I was thinking that what I could do would be to create a layer for construction lines on my templates and draw two fine dotted lines outside the drawing area, one horizontal and one vertical. When I need to use one, I either move or copy it to within the drawing area. Then turn off layer before printing (you would have to remember to do that of course).

So much of this stuff (Layout annoyances) exists because it and SketchUp are and were developed as two separate programs. AutoCAD did the model and paper stuff in one program so the editing commands are the same in both modes. My pet peeve LO/SU disconnect is Layout’s coordinate system (from the top left corner of the page) where Y coordinates displacements are opposite from those in SU, AutoCAD, etc. It would be nice at least having an option to set the coordinate directions (Xara does this).

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I have my my paper colour set to 237/232/212 and I have non-printing guidelines, etc. on separate layers (underneath printing layers) that are coloured white…

Sounds interesting. Would you have a blank template you could upload so that I can see how it works (or failing that a screen grab at least)?

It’s not so much the alignment of things, I actually like the “Align with” ability of layout. The issue is that in order to snap, specifically when moving, copying, rotating… I have to drag the grip to a reference point then drag the selection to the desired location - All while the grip is constantly trying to snap to anything and everything in both paper space and model space. If you disable object snap you can get a clear example on how hard the grip is working to snap to everything.

I understand that the current Layout interface probably works great for things like furniture, cabinets etc, when the focus is an object against blank open space and has few variables that can change shape, placement etc… But when documenting a building, on a complex site topography with a model complexity that exceeds several hundred thousand faces and lines, the “grip” is massively inconvenient.

A building, is far more complex than a piece of furniture, both in geometry and the shear amount of variables that are constantly changing through the design process. It’s a literal nightmare to work in LO in these projects and I attribute that nightmare 90% to the “grip” and the “snap to everything everywhere, in all spaces” interface.



Maybe this comes back to another common wish list item in SU itself. Those of us who migrated from an Autocad environment know that AC allows you to select snap points by type (line ends, intersections, centre points, etc). That allows you to filter snap points and makes it easier to place accurately in a busy work environment. Sadly, that is not available in SU and so we probably can’t expect it in LO either.

Nice work!

I do share that sentiment, and I have come to the realization of that being too much to ask.

In the simplest of fashions, I Would just like to use my mouse pointer to select a snap point over having to drag the grip to a snap point. and perhaps disable face snapping and paper space snapping. I can’t count how many times I have had to fight a text bounding box that covered an endpoint I needed to snap to.

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Thanks, I really do love what I do. I just would like to yell at LO a little less.


I completely agree. My biggest pet peeve is the size of the text bounding boxes and their opaqueness when dimensioning.

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This is an important topic with some great replies.

I’ve thought about this often. One only has to use InDesign for a short time to appreciate how a truly fluid, intuitive and customisable snapping system should work.

Key requests involving snapping and alignment/position of page items:

  1. Allow guides or ‘construction lines’ (similar to margins and grid, but including curves and rectangles) and make them non-printing.

  2. Allow Layers (and possibly some objects) that can be non-printing (also helpful for notes etc).

  3. Snapping to be context aware so, for example, if you’re moving the edge of a text frame it may not try to snap to an edge within the SKP model, but it will try to snap to margins, any other text frame/title block elements, or other elements on specified layers only. (Similar to smart guides in Adobe software).

  4. Page margins (and guides/construction lines) to be drawn on top of the model view or images (same as how grid works at present).

  5. Optical margins for text boxes so that the actual characters are aligned to the edge of the frame, not a few points away.

  6. Highlighting of snapping points and text frame edges with a hotkey (eg they all turn in to dots or lines) while you moving something…Slso similar to Smart Guides (adobe). This would be particularly useful when working on a detailed drawing that is rendered in low quality Raster mode. (This is similar to the W key in InDesign).

  7. Rotational orientation, scale, transform and shift inputs as numeric values and with memory (so you could enter the specific degrees or millimetres of shift then revert back to an original value)

  8. “Copy and paste format” function for objects eg the rotational value and alignment of a text box can pasted onto other text boxes and this should also work across multiple LayOut documents.

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