Issues with layout links to sketchup and image files


I’ve opened a layout file I was working on yesterday, only to discover that Layout has seemingly broken all links to other documents I had set up. One link is to a sketchup model, the rest are images. Even though I’ve relinked the sketchup model the viewports aren’t updating, and I’d really love not to have to update the many image files. Any ideas why this happened in the first place, and fixes? I’ve recently updated to Layout 2023, but this wasn’t an issue yesterday. Thanks in advance or your advice!

What version of SketchUp/LayOut are you using? Please complete your forum profile.

Where have you been saving those original reference files? How have you been adding those reference files to LayOut?

By the way, there are two SketchUp model references shown in your screenshot that I’d expect should be pointing at the same file but aren’t. The first one is pointing at the backup copy (the ~ at the end of the file name is the clue) while the last file is pointing at the working version. It’s unlikely they will match. You should relink any viewports that are currently using the backup copy to the working version.

If you share the LO file with me I will see if I can fix it for you.


I’m using Sketchup 2023 / Layout 2023. I’m saving the files to my laptop, which is mirrored on Dropbox. All of my viewports were linked to the ‘Sketches.skp’. When trying to relink and failing I tried linking one of the viewports to ‘Sketches~.skp’ to see if directing to the backup model would resolve the issue, which it didn’t.

I add my reference images by inserting them via the menu. Most are thumbnails of plants and I have a set of standard resources I use for most of my plans. The images for the thumbnails are also stored on my laptop, also backed up with Dropbox.

My file is too big to upload.

Thanks for your help!

You can use wetransfer, google drive, Dropbox or any platform you prefer to share the file.

Probably a stupid question but have you checked to make sure the images are still on your laptop and in the same folder?

I only ask as I’ve recently had a “sausage finger” moment and accidentally dragged some files from one folder to another and then spent ages wondering what had gone wrong with the Layout file.


This sometimes happens when you work on the cloud and your files are linked to a cloud drive on your system. It’s better to link them directly on a local drive instead in the future.

To fix this, you could try making sure your drive is updated, files are offline (Or already downloaded to your system) and then restart layout.

In google drive, you have the option to set files to ‘offline’, which essentially means that it gets downloaded to a local cache folder on your system. And once I am done with a project, I set the folder back to ‘only online’

Layout does not “break” links. Unfortunately, this is due to user input. Either folders where the files are stored, were moved or if linking to online resources, the internet connection is not active or again the folders were moved from the original locations either by you or the online service. As mentioned it is always best to store and link files to your personal hard drive and back up so when this happens, you can easily relink with a source that is native. This issue is not limited to SU and LO. This will happen with any software that uses any sort of reference system following a file path.


Thanks for all the responses. I haven’t moved the source files, I have a reference folder for such files so they aren’t accidentally moved or deleted. One thing I did realise, is that this file is a copy of the originnal file, as I’m editing this file to produce some docuements for a professional assessment and need to remove personal details. The new file is in a different folder, but otherwise not different. I’ve relinked the sketchup model but can’t be bothered to relink al the individual plant images. A lot of these images are also used in a scrapbook, which has now also suffered the same problem. Is this being caused by dropbox? I don’t want to create a new scrapbook only to find it suffers the same issue as there are many hours of work in this.

Having references pointing at a cloud location could be a big problem. Best practice would be to keep those references on the local internal drive along with the LayOut file.

Thanks Dave. I wonder if I have the wrong settings on dropbox for my needs. I think it’s sync’d when perhaps I just need to back it up. A bit concerned about changing settings when it’s not something I fully undertand the ins-and-outs of and risk losing my files. Obviously something I need time to dig into and learn more about.

That might be. We’ve seen plenty of cases in which users have lost their work when they have been working on SketchUp files saved directly to the cloud. LayOut needs to be able to find all of the reference files during the startup sequence. If it can’t find them because the source location isn’t connected or doesn’t respond quickly enough, you could have problems with it.

Personally I would keep Scrapbooks on my local drive as welll as all references files for the project. If you need to be able to work on the file from different computers, save on one and then backup the entire project folder to the cloud. Download that folder to your computer when you need to work on it. Keep the LO file in the same project folder.

Follow up question.

If I work offline with my images, sku and lo, when I’m finished with a project and move it into the cloud, surely the links will break again. I often have to revisit projects over several years or copy elements to new projects. Do I need to manage synching settings per file? I usually have whole drives or folders set to sync or backup. And do scrapbook files work better if they aren’t synched?

Probably, an obvious question. Does layout ‘look’ for reference images in the same folder as the layout file or is there a reference location where it’s looking? I do point layout to specific folders for things like templates etc

They shouldn’t break if they are all in the same folder.

You should be able to do that by folder or entire drive.

Scrapbooks are just folders of content that can be inserted into LayOut files. You could check to see if they are embedded in your list of references and unlink them if they aren’t.

It looks in the directory the file was in when it was originally added to the LO document. I suggest keeping the references for a client’s project in one folder to make them easier to find and manage if you need to move the folder.

There is a default location for LayOut templates.

Thanks for all your advice Dave. I already keep the reference files for each project together, apart from my reference plant files and my reference materials (pictures of paving and such). But I never move them about and I’m the only person who uses the computer or business files. I’ve checked and my files are backed up rather than synched so I don’t see how that’s the source of the problem. I’m still none the wiser as to why the files became unlinked in the first place, how to fix it or even prevent it happening again! Hours of work developing my scrapbooks are completely laid to waste :sob:

If the references are still pointing at the cloud location, you could have problems.

Note that “Unlinked” becomes Embedded in the reference list. Missing means that LayOut can’t find the original reference. Embedded means that LayOut will only look at the file it contains internally and it won’t look for an original reference file.

As a test, start a new LO file. Add a few of your plant files from your scrapbook. Open the References list. Do they show as Embedded or something else? What does the file path look like?

Don’t give up yet.

How did you go about creating your scrapbooks?

While I don’t work directly from my Dropbox back up, you can as long as the file path is a twin of what you have locally. I backup my entire “projects” folder which has all my project folders organized by year with identical folder structure for each project.

The variable with working directly with your Dropbox folder is your internet connection. Any inconsistencies in the connection can result in a failure. Speed of the program and response in LO updating the file are all dependent on the speed LO can retrieve the information. So you will always be better off working from local files and then at the end of the day, back up to Dropbox. The same applies to any online service and even local servers.

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Hi Takeroot. I hope you got to the bottom of your problems and if so, Im curious to know how. I have similar issues.
I worked on a LO files yesterday. All references were properly linked before I shut down my Mac desktop (running Ventura and using skp23) at the end of the day. Come morning, many items are again missing. I’ve played around with others suggestions of being sure items and files are stored on a local file, not in iCloud. I did a few tests. No luck at all unless I chose to unlink jpegs which embeds the items.

STILL have a probs properly linking my skp file. Major head scratching Friday.
Love to hear if you resolved your issues.
Best, Audrey

Audrey, it would be interesting to see your LO and SketchUp files.

Is it only the .jpeg images that you’re having problems with? How are you adding them into the LO file? By copy and paste of File>Insert?

Good to hear back from you, Dave.

This problem sis getting old. I am sure its something I am doing. I also get lots of LO crashes and saving is also a slow process so I have wondered if it has something to do with my wonky links.

I do not use cut and paste. Instead I insert images (jpegs and pdf’s) that are stored in project files. These files and their contents can be in iCloud or on my computer. Does not seem to matter.

Appreciate any light you can shine.

Mu file is too big to upload. Options?