How do you draw specific line length to scale?

I want to draw a line to scale that is 16’ 6"

How do I do that?

I have read through forums, google, etc., and cannot find a way to specify the dimension of the line. “Measurements” box at bottom is always grayed out. I cannot turn on “ortho” mode because it is always grayed out.

This strikes me as incredibly simple but not very intuitive. What am I missing here?

How do you make this window active? How do you activate “ortho?” If I’ve drawn a line that is 16’ 6", and decide I want to change it to 17’, how do I do that? I don’t see where you can edit the properties of a line once its drawn.


Open the panel for Scaled Drawing from the Window menu.
Select Make Scaled Drawing.
Set the desired scale.

Start drawing the line. As in sketchUp, let go of the mouse and type 16’6 and hit Enter. Done.

This is for viewports from the SketchUp model. To be able to do anything in it, you need to have a SketchUp viewport selected. It is not used for drawing in LayOut.

If you have a scene in a SketchUp model in which the camera is set to Parallel Projection and a standard view, you would select that scene in the Scenes window. The Ortho setting would show that standard view without any input from you. Although you can select a standard view in the Standard View drop down, best practice is to set that view as a scene in SketchUp and select that scene in the Scenes dropdown. Set the scale if you wish. Don’t touch the Ortho button, either.

Thank you. I got the scaling.

However, once i’ve drawn a line Is there a way to modify my existing line? Or do I have to start over with a new line? I can’t seem to modify an existing line.

The line will be inside a group… Double click on it to open the group. Then you can move an end. Start moving it in the direction you want and type the difference between the current length and the desired length.

Just to be picky, I can see that the drawing and editing aren’t that intuitive when you first do it. Once you have chosen the scale, you get a notice telling you to start drawing. You then need to select the drawing pen or a shape. If you have dawn a line and come out of scaled drawing, you need to double click to get back in (as you would with a group in SU). But then you also need to double click the line itself to start editing. You will see that you get blue dots at each end of the line. You can then move them and enter a distance. If you try doing it without the last double clicking, you will move the line at 1:1 scale.

It should also be noted that trying to draw in LO as if you were doing so in SU is tedious. It’s fine for doing borders and minor illustrative things, but don’t think you have a 2D version of SU. It’s nowhere near as easy to use. Yet.

So would it just be easier to use Sketch Up instead of LayOut to do a basic 2-dimensional layout of changes to office space? Is that fair?

Yes, that’s the kind of thing it is meant for. Layout, as the name implies, is essentially for presentation, usually of an already created Sketchup drawing.

In short, if you want to create a model of a building, whether in 2D or 3D, do it in SU. You only need LO when you want to share the model with others who don’t use CAD and you want to be able to present drawings in a more sophisticated way than SU can manage on its own.

Not sure if this is a great analogy but think of SU as you naked but a perfect model of a human being. You could go out just as you are, but in practice you will probably want to put some clothes on and maybe some flattering ones. To do that, use Layout.

Very insightful. I’ll just switch. They need to do a better job of naming these things. An outsider just getting started sees “LayOut” and naturally thinks — hmm… that must be good for 2-dimensional work. At least that was my reasoning. Appreciate the help.

May be worth reading this thread, especially DaveR’s response to the OP.

Also, a lot of people migrate to SU from AutoCad which has the concepts of Model Space and Paper Space. They are very similar to Su and LO, although LO is much more powerful.

So — been playing with Sketch Up, which strikes me as really made for 3-D modeling. What if you just want to do a 2-D layout? Is this still the ideal package for this type for work? Or do yo have to make your 2-D layout while working in the 3-D workspace? Is there a way to put Sketch up into a 2-D mode?

Yes, sort of.

SU is always 3D. However, you can create things that have no Z value and are therefore all on a flat plane, just as standard architectural drawings are. Normal practice would be to use a Top View and camera set at Parallel Projection. Then if you limit yourself to using the scroll wheel to zoom in and out, it will look like a 2D drawing. As soon as you use orbit, you will come out of top view and you will see that it is in fact a 3D drawing. Also normally, you would create a scene with both top view and parallel projection set so that if you do inadvertently orbit, one click will bring you back to the right look.

It might seem daft to use a 3D drawing package to produce a 2D drawing and in a way it is. If that is all you need to do, you might be better off with an Autocad clone like Draftsight. that has some advantages when working in 2D. Not many and I wouldn’t go back myself but, you know, horses for courses and all that.

OK. Got the workspace set up as outlined above. Makes sense.

I want to draw a 200’ by 100’ rectangle that represents a warehouse. I freehand the rectangle using the rectangle tool, and then type the dimensions? What if I want to change a dimension? Is there a way to get to the properties of the rectangle? Can you set the scale to be say 1" = 20" and have all your lines and shapes work in that scale?

Not like that.What you get with the Rectangle tool is just a face with four edges. You can modify its dimensions with the Move or Scale tool.

SketchUp does not work like that. You model everything to full scale (1:1). Then, if needed, you can set a scale when you print (using parallel projection) or export or place a scaled view on a LayOut page.

LayOut has a scaled drawing mode, meant primarily for adding detail to model views,