LayOut 2018 Exported PDF is Distorted, Missing Items

When I’m exporting a PDF from a LayOut model, the file has all the labels stretched to the side and some of the measurements pushed to the side. The biggest error is that some images are missing and the source file in the program is also changing with the same distortions.

I’ve tried to Export and print as PDF with the same result. Anyone knows what is the issue?

Thank you!

Can you share the LO file? I expect what is happening is you’ve got viewports set up incorrectly and they are being rendered/updated before the PDF is generated but That’s only a guess based on your description and files I’ve seen in the past from other users with similar problems.

Hi Dave, thank you for the prompt response! Attached is the model I’m trying to print. Backup of Backup of Stairs Shop Drawings.layout (15.6 MB)

What I see indicates you’ve been copying views of the SketchUp model and pasting them into LayOut which is the wrong way to make viewports in LayOut. You are using the Last saved SketchUp view for the scenes, too.

As I guessed, your viewports are done incorrectly and they are getting updated somewhere in the process which screws up all your labels and dimensions.

Copying from views and pasting into LayOut means you are creating references to temporary files that WILL be deleted by the operating system at some point.

The right work flow would be to create scenes in your SketchUp model that show it the way you need to see it. And DO NOT modify the camera position for the viewports in LayOut.

Also consider getting face orientation correct in your models. The purple faces are all reversed.

How do you get these weird file paths and filenames? Are you copy-pasting from SketchUp to LayOut?

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You should spend some time learning the fundamentals here.

In a nutshell, create scenes in SketchUp that show the model in the ways you need to show it in your document. Use groups and components to separate geometry into discrete parts. i.e. each stringer is a component, each tread is a component, etc. You can give layers to the groups and components so you can control their visibility between scenes.

When you go to LayOut you send the Sketchup file once. Then within LayOut you can copy the viewports and choose the scene each viewport displays. Don’t do anything to the viewport that will make the scene show as modified in the SketchUp Model inspector panel. (That includes not double clicking on the viewport to change the camera position.)

You are right, I was copping and pasting Sketchup models into LayOut and then adjusting the view of each model to show different parts. I did it before and didn’t have a problem exporting a PDF, but it was a smaller scale. Is there a way to export this LayOut file without redoing it completely? I’ve been working on it for a week…

Unfortunately I don’t think you’ll be able to restore all of the references to temporary files that no longer exist. You’ll have to remake all of those views. I would also be concerned about losing more of the references.

The fact that you’ve managed to get away with this work flow before points to S.H. luck because it should be expected to fail.

Thank you for your help! Back to the drawing board…

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. This is a good example of how what might seem to be a shortcut turns out not to be in the end.

BTW, I have many variations of the stairs in one Sketchup model, do you recommend separating the one I need in a new model and work off of that?

No. I wouldn’t separate the variations into separate models. I would use groups, components, and layers/tags to make different scenes showing the different configurations in the same SketchUp model. That way where things are the same between the variations, you can use the same components. For example if all your variations used the same stringers, you would end up showing the same components in all of the variations. Then you could change just the hand rails or the treads or whatever.

Keeping it all in the same model file makes managing changes easier, too. If the stringers get changed from metal to wood, you only have to make that edit in one model. That kind of thing.

If you had a second unrelated set of stairs that you wanted to show in the same document you might create a second SketchUp file (or you could use the same one) but best practice is to minimize the number of .skp files you need to manage in the document. Helps to prevent errors.

FWIW, even if your previous references hadn’t been lost because of the temporary file thing, the fact that every viewport points to a different Sketchup model file means that updates would be a huge problem because you would have to open each of those files individually to make the same changes so they show in the affected viewports.

Looks like I have a lot to learn. To create another layer I just made a copy of the stringers and then build the treads, then make another copy and add the railing. So now I have copies of all the different stages.

Thank you for you help!

I’m not sure you’ve got that right. Before you get in any deeper, maybe you could share your .skp file so I can take a look?

Sure, here it is. AutoSave_AutoSave_Marble Stairs.skp (12.8 MB)

Hmmm… Where to start? The only components you have in the model are some screws placed in the tread of the brown step in the middle of this screen shot.
Screenshot - 2_17_2021 , 1_51_54 PM

There are no other components or groups in the model. At least you haven’t started using layers yet.

You should really get a grasp on the fundamentals of using SketchUp. Learn how to use groups and components as objects in the model. As I described before, make a stringer as a component before you add anything else. You can copy that component to make the neighboring stringer. Make one tread component and copy it to make the rest of the treads. The same with the riser. The way you have things modeled right now it’s as if an entire staircase is whittled out of a single huge chunk of material. This makes the model more difficult to work with and it’s very inefficient.

What is it that you are really trying to show with all these copies of the stairs? Is it construction evolution or is it design changes? You should be able to show either one of those things with essentially one staircase or at least with the copies of the staircase all stacked in the same location at the origin.

I am trying to do is make shop drawings for the stairs, so I need to show all the different components. The frame first, then the steel treads, then the railing, then the marble treads. I didn’t know about layers or grouping so I just made each stage of the construction separately.

Is there a way to take the final version of the stairs and make different layers or groups by selecting different components?

Model the parts that would be made in the shop and model them with as much detail as you need to show in the shop drawings. Are the stringers being fabricated in the shop or are they purchased from a supplier?

You can try to take apart your model of the final stairs making components as you go but I expect it’ll be easier to start over.

Because I have all the stages of the same stairs, can I make each stage as a component?
The stringers are being ordered from a supplier.

You can make each stage a component however that by itself isn’t going to get you to something real useful for construction documents.

I took one set of your stairs and started modeling it as separate components. I don’t have time to do the whole thing but hopefully this gives you an idea. When I started this I didn’t know that the stringers are being ordered. Unless you have to give the supplier dimensioned drawings, you might not need to divide the steel into the smaller pieces as I have here. I was trying to make something that looks like what you drew. The dimensions are weird I think. It looks like you are just eyeballing them rather than entering actual dimensions as you model.

Marble Stairs.skp (165.4 KB)

Each part is a component. I drew one of the bottom stringers, made it a component and then copied it with Move/Copy to make the other bottom stringer. The short beams on the bottom landing were done the same way. It looks like the next stringers were modeled so the landing supports are part of them so I did the same thing again.

Since each part is a component and is not stuck to the rest of the geometry it is possible to pull the parts away from each other for an exploded view like this…

Or you could lay them out flat if you want to do a 2D view for dimensioning.

And since I’m using components here, an edit to one of them will carry though automatically to the other instances of the component. Here I’ve opened the near bottom stringer for editing and put a hole in it just to show a change. You can see that the other bottom stringer in the assembled copy of the stairs also got the hole as did the ones for the exploded view.