Is there any hope for layout?

Serious question, not complaining, final plea.

We’ve simply had enough of layout at our firm and are looking into alternatives to sketchup / layout workflow. I’m not looking for speculation or historical accounts of how Trimble has updated Layout. We’ve been working with layout for years now and its becoming a productivity issue as our firm grows.

On a complex architectural model, Layout is just too sluggish, not reliable with dimensions, and just not trustworthy with the information it presents. On a small house, it works OK but there is a threshold when we overpower it.

I realize that we’ve exceeded the original vision for layout. But as they continue marketing for Architects with their iPad version, it seems like a Layout overhaul would be the priority. Maybe Architects aren’t the real demographic? I dunno. We don’t want to switch to anything else but our team is so close to cutting it loose for something else.

This is a shout to the universe to see if there is some secret version of Layout that hasn’t been released :stuck_out_tongue:


[quote=“KeeneArchitecture, post:1, topic:237102, full:true”]

I realize that we’ve exceeded the original vision for layout. Most of us have, some time ago … only work arounds keep it barely functional. But as they continue marketing for Architects with their iPad version, it seems like a Layout overhaul would be the priority. You would think so, after all these years … Maybe Architects aren’t the real demographic? I dunno. I’ve concluded after the LAYOUT petition that we are NOT the target audience … but if not us, then what group is? We don’t want to switch to anything else but our team is so close to cutting it loose for something else.
This is a shout to the universe to see if there is some secret version of Layout that hasn’t been released :stuck_out_tongue: I have advocated for years that Trimble should develop and release a “LayOut Pro”, with all the fixes we have asked for many times …
Hi Keene,
I sympathize with your thoughts, and have added a few of my own, above … in bold italics.


Trimble has clearly stated that LayOut is not trying to replace AutoCAD or other similar drafting packages.

Unfortunately the need for Architects (and others) to undertake drafting and detailing has not gone away. It’s the part of the job we hate and want to spend less time on, through automation.

My experience is that detailing structures is getting even more “hard core” due to the requirements to report on aspects like from thermal performance, safety and weathertightness, as well as modern graphical standards. And there’s more design integration and sharing of data between Architecture, Structural, Electrical, etc., so there’s simply a lot more content in the model to manage.
It’s typical for me to have SketchUp models with 60 scenes, 80 tags, 20 styles…etc. It’s doable, but not easy of very efficient…a LOT of time is spent tweaking settings, updating scenes, saving, referencing LO and re-rendering, fixing issues…).

The recent improvements have made Layout the best version of LayOut yet - but the purpose and core functionality hasn’t really changed since its inception. It’s still a presentation tool, like Powerpoint.
And SketchUp is still a 3d modelling tool, not a drafting or BIM tool.

The only things I think we can hope for are:

  1. Trimble (not SketchUp, but the parent company) introduce a replacement option, probably involving their new Drafting app, and Trimble Connect (including visualiser and Quadri). Of course this could end up being a whole different workflow so if it’s too different then the temptation would be to drop SKP altogether and go learn Vectorworks or ArchiCAD.

  2. Team SketchUp open up LayOut for extensions, and allow extension developers like PlusSpec and Medeek to make SU+LO work much better. We really need to reimagine whole parts of LayOut (style management), text flow, image/pdf import, scrapbooks (should be component libraries), templates (parent/master pages).

  3. AI. Why can’t AI be trained to format a plan set from a 3d model? It’s not rocket science! (which AI can probably soon now anyway)


Sympathy goes a long ways these days :smiley: it’s kinda nice to have someone who is not trying to make you feel like the bad guy for asking!


I cant wait for the day when AI take over my drafting duties. I just wanna create cool things on my computer and help facilitate that in the field! I’ve reached out to SWAPP AI to see if they are closer to my dream!

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I guess you have to either find a way that works well or go elsewhere and pay for it. I have no problem with the criticism of Layout, since I have used it since version 3. Where I see the issue is criticism that is followed up with complaints about cost. For the cost, nothing comes close to SU and LO. Even the bloated programs of Revit and the likes have their place depending on the project types you execute. For custom residential that I focus on, nothing comes close for speed and presentation quality.

If you are experiencing speed issues, the number one likely culprit is the process you are using. People hate hearing it, but somehow, I produce drawing sets with more than 100 sheets without issue in a timeline that can’t be done with other software with a single user.


I’m sure sketchup are aware of the performance issues layout can have with big and unoptimized files, I’m not a developer so I’m not sure if it’s something related to the API or what, but there are developers meetings every month and a few months ago they posted on this forum that they’re moving on from OpenGL to an other API, I don’t know if this could improve the performance or what, but it’s good to know that they’re working on it.

Glad to know Im not the only one who thinks this.


There is efficiency with the model/layout workflow for sure. We have 4 people on different machines and we pass around the workload a lot. It seems in doing this, layout gets very dicey. In particular, dimensions start snapping to different points on someone else’s computer (this happens pretty frequently).

The efficiency of being able to model and then be able to draft it right away, especially when changes occur, is amazing. But the days I need to spend in Layout alone… I literally dread coming into the office :upside_down_face:

• Presentation quality is top notch.
• Efficiency in terms of a model turnover is unmatched.
• Pricing is amazing.
• If i pitted layout up against simple CAD software, keying, noting and dimensioning is Horrible with a capitol H

It shouldn’t be that a person needs to follow a specific set of instructions to get software to work correctly. Yes, you need a level of proficiency with computers to understand why something is behaving a certain way. But just because it’s the only player in the game that has most things right, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t push for a product that does basic features effortlessly.


Used to think this…not worth the energy now. The only thing that matters to me is that Sketchup doesn’t change Layout from what it is currently. My SKU/LO template has eliminated all my issues except for the mind numbing UI stuff for macOS.


Most software does require a specific workflow. SU and LO do not. I am absolutely an advocate for improvements…just don’t add that the cost is unreasonable. That’s what I stated.

I am totally onboard with you on the dimension and tag issues with 2022 and 2023 LO. Why that and the shifting view ports was not addressed when it first appeared in 22, I have no idea. My personal opinion is that should be a priority over everything with the development team. None of those issues existed with the 2021 version. The fact we are months away from the 2024 version without a fix is definitely on the unacceptable end of the spectrum.


When Nick Sonder complains you know that we have an issue… Hopefully SketchUp and Trimble will take notice and do everything they can to rectify the issue(s) noted above.

I can see both sides of the coin here:

1.) On the one side you have many users of SketchUp who let their files get bloated with unused components and import in very heavy third party models from the warehouse. With most of my own architectural models I rarely ever get above 15-20Mb, and that is using my Medeek modeled walls with all the studs, plates, cripples etc… included. Take some time to clean up your models occasionally, if you want snappy performance then keep your models lean and mean.

2.) I also have closely watched the development of Layout since 2015 and to be honest there is a lot more than can be done to make it a more robust and productive piece of software. Also a real time API for us developers would be really cool if such a thing is possible. I really wish as much attention was spent on it as has been spent on the web based and Ipad versions of SketchUp. Make Layout as fun to use as SketchUp and the dividends will be amazing.

I still have faith that SketchUp and Trimble will do the right thing and work on making Layout a decent drafting app. It is not just my voice that is asking/begging for this, there are many others, as this thread has demonstrated already. I do have hope for Layout and the SketchUp ecosystem in general.


I have faith too! I’m just surprised this specific issue that still exists this far into 23 is still not resolved. Once it’s resolved, I’m sure many will be pleased!


With the significant unaddressed bugs in SketchUp23 and Layout23, I continue to use 2022 for both in my everyday workflow. The improvements/bug ratio just does not warrent upgrading for me. At this rate it looks like 2023 will be the first year release ever in my long SketchUp history that I end up skipping entirely. A perfect example of the consumer end disadvantages of SaaS, as I am paying another year of rent for last years software. Here’s hoping for a smoother 2024.


Mr. Medeek,
You have absolutely nailed it! I’ve added bolding to your truisms … and added my Italics.


Could you share what this is?

Same here!

I need some help on this one. Can you both explain why you believe this? I think I’ve lost a bit of my hope for the future when the beta came out for the new Drawings platform.

Not quite yet. Planning on making it publicly available though. Will probably post about it in a few months.

Of course, who knows what Trimble might do, but as it seems to be proposed, I don’t see Trimble Drawing as any kind of “threat” to Layout.

can you explain why? Not seeing it for myself.

Because from the little I know of Trimble Drawing ( I am on the beta program ) I just don’t see it being able to do what I can do in Layout.

At the moment it seems like a glorified DWG viewer…