"Focus Mode" in Layout to allow loading one (or a few) Page(s) at a time

I love keeping all my Pages for a project in one Layout file that way when I update the Sketchup model I only have to do it once and when I go to print, I only export one large file without the need to post assemble sets of PDFs.

Of course, the price I pay for this, as the project evolves, is slower and slower reload times making this workflow a bit painful.

I’m playing with the idea of “checking out” a particular Page I’m working on saved as it’s own Layout file to speed up the reiterative refining process between SketchUp and Layout and once I’m done, re-insert that sheet into the master Layout file. I think this will be an OK workaround to get what I want yet speed up the workflow.

On a more permanent solution, it would be great if Layout implemented a “Focus Mode” feature where after you select opening a particular file, you could choose to either load all the Pages and all references, just one Page and just the references on that Page, or even better, just the few Pages and the related references you are working on, leaving the others completely unloaded onto the system saving RAM and CPU to focus only on what you are working on. This would also need to include the Layers that show on all Pages as well as the layer structure even if that Page did not have anything on that Layer. A simple index noting if other unopened Pages have entities on those Layers might be good to prevent the ability of deleting those Layers in “Focus Mode”

Being that the Layout File is a giant Zip file that seems to contain each Page as a separate xml and all the references in a separate folder, it seems that this could be a fairly easy feature to implement to help dramatically improve workflow performance while keeping a project together as one Master Layout file.

Thanks for considering this and if anyone else has workflow suggestions for Architecture projects with 30 to 50 24x36 Pages I’d appreciate hearing what you find productive.

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Interesting ideas.

In the meantime you could turn off Auto Render for the viewports and only render those viewports you want/need to render as you work. Save re-rendering all of the viewports until you are finished with the back and forth.

Also leverage the Output Override feature. Leave your viewports rendered as Raster while you are working and let Layout render them as Hybrid or Vector as needed during export.

I don’t know about your SketchUp files but in probably 95% of those I see from others who are experiencing delays in LO, the models can use some streamlining that pays dividends in LayOut.

Just ideas until they implement your feature request.

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I also like the idea, though what DaveR says is true. If Auto Render is off, you can do this already. If you use locked layers, like I used to do, some of the viewports aren’t available for rendering easily though, so it isn’t easy to regen all viewports in a page. An easier method for doing that, would be very welcome and your “Focus Mode” seems to be just that.

The easiest current way to lighten up the LayOut file is not to keep all your sheets in a single file. Splitting them up also allows you to have different page sizes etc, currently not possible in a single document. It is the method preferred by LayOut gurus like @Sonder.


And merging PDF files isn’t that difficult.

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Especially if you number the sheets a particular way so you can batch select all the files in one shot. I use blue beam and I can batch insert an entire set of pdf files with 60-100 sheets in less than a minute.

Thanks all for the replies and insights. I do leave Auto Render off and created the following shortcuts for rendering as needed: I found these to be tremendously helpful.

Ctrl+R = Other/Render Image (used to render the selected model window)

Ctrl+Alt+R = View/Render Models On Page (renders all model windows on page, including grouped model windows)

Ctrl+Alt+Shift+R = View/Render Models In Document (renders all model windows within the entire document, great for when you are ready for final review and want to get a cup of coffee)

In the end I may adopt the way of Sonders, but still hope the Layout Team will consider implementing my request. Every time I update my model, it’s nice to just open one Layout file, refresh all the sheets in one go, update any notes and go to print. But if I only need to update one sheet, it would be great to have the lightweight feel of only opening that selected sheet without loading the rest.

To break out floor plans, elevations, sections, details, interior sections… into separate files and have to individually open, update references, wait for the update, export the PDF set, then post assemble the PDFs just seems to open up room for errors and omissions to occur. I know it’s not hard, but it’s a work around that just adds a lot of steps. For every separate Layout file, you have to go through the whole process rather then just once with one Master File.

You are correct - it is not difficult. In fact, where it really pays off is during construction when you get requests for specific sheets or issue an RFI that only affects a certain sheet. I would agree a single file option would be nice, but only if you couldn’t open multiple files in one instance of LO. For me I simply see no advantage at all in loading your LO file with all the different sheets required to adequately detail a project. Heck we never did this in ACAD either.

We did at least have Batch Plot with AutoCAD, which allowed us to print out the whole job to either PDF or the plotter in just a few clicks.

Not sure what to tell you. I’ve never even considered this an issue, since I separate my LO files by drawing type. They all print to pdf in seconds. Then I open my PDF software (BluBeam), and insert all my pdf files…takes again seconds.

Better yet, the contractor asks for a copy of the interior elevations. I open that LO file, print and send. I don’t have to pick through an overloaded LO file.

If LO only allowed one open file I could see the validity of all sheets in a single file. Since it allows you to have multiple files open in one instance, there’s simply no advantage. The loss of performance far out weighs the few seconds it takes to book a pdf set.


I completely agree with this. I work the same way with LO and BlueBeam. All my work is commercial work and this flow works great!

I always divide up my LO workflow into separate documents I learned this along time ago… I also use Bluebeam to merge or replace pages.

For me “if I am using Layout” I have a page 1-9 system, if I have 30-40 whatever pages… in my next document I will leave pages 1-9 blank so I don’t need to edit my page numbers " I’m not lazy I’m efficient, yes there is a difference"

you can save yourself a lot of aggravation by dividing up your LO files, pay attention to when you are changing your pages, if you notice one page dragging and it has a separate SKP put it in its own LO file, —these things were hard learned.

I use Rhino and SU/LO programs so this adapted work flow is natural for me.

1 month later reply Nick… I’m bored this morning

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There are many advantages to using seperate files beyond just performance. Accessing files that are in the middle of a set, revising drawings, plan check review, contractor requests etc. are all quicker when you are opening the smaller files.

The numbering issue you can resolve by using standardized numbering systems instead of 1,2,3……such as floor plans are A2.1…elevations are A3.1… etc.

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