Layout 2018 - not up to par with other drafting software



I often remind myself that everyone is entitled to their opinion regardless of verifiable validity. I submit to you that the larger point, in fact, is that the program does work in that it does precisely that which it purports to do. Obviously performance improvements are desirable, but you should realize that you must be conversant with the overarching principles of use to be best equipped to effectively produce technical documents. In light of the expressed productivity of so many other people with this software, dare I say that the prime onerous issue here does not exist in the program’s perceived shortcomings, but rather in your lack of awareness of how use it proficiently. This is not meant to be an insult and hopefully you don’t take it as such. I simply want to emphasize that the end user must assume the responsibility of deriving LO’s potential to the greatest possible extent. Apparently others have…and with an appropriate effort, so can you.


Yes, we all need to keep trying to understand LO better, myself included, but some of the shortcomings are more than perceived. Don’t get me wrong, I like Layout, many of the others, even critical voices here do too, and I’m striving to improve my workflow every day. But it really could be better and those of us clamoring for change are telling Trimble how.

Part of my argument is that the overarching principles are flawed, namely the clunky relationship of SU scenes and LO viewports. This forces one to use the programs simultaneously to effect changes which will always be slower than having one powerful program.

Agreed again, but the effort is too great for the reward. I have seen good output from LO for me, and amazing stuff from some of the others you mentioned. But to be a home run for me the process of generating those documents needs to be easier and faster.


@Lindsey, my LO file is only 18MB, contains 5 D sheets, and about 14 viewports. The SU file itself is 22MB. From what you are saying, my file should be well within the capabilities of LO, yet correcting one typo in one text field takes a solid 15 seconds from start to finish, and rendering a single viewport can take 30 seconds or more.

I run a Lenovo workstation with a Core i7, discrete graphics and a 4k display. It’s not a speed demon but it’s very competent. In fact SketchUp runs quite well on it; I hardly ever experience the smallest lag. Clearly something is not right.


I’m with Novurba here, many of my files are smallish 100 -125mb LO file (SU model typically up to around 200Mb), but as is common practice here, we work on A1 sheets with plan layouts and elevations on a single sheet for clarity, so I may have say 5 or 6 viewports per sheet. Updating or entering annotations absolutely is a 10 second excercise where I’m typing whole sentences and waiting for the application to catchup and then catching typos - not good.
I’ve got a brand new machine, 6 core (irrelevant, I know) i7 8700k @3.7Ghz 32Gb Ram, GTX 1080Ti & 1TB M.2 SSD. SketchUp runs like butter. LO runs like pitch.


I would not disagree, LayOut is a great piece of software. I love how it interacts with Sketchup. Our firm just experiences a HUGE decline in productivity due to its lack of performance.

Creating and moving text boxes around (and editing them) have become a major undertaking. Not to mention when a change has occurred in the project… Having to update labels and dimensions should not take more than a half hour of our time.

In a professional environment with tight deadlines and 20-100 pages to edit this becomes a great, and seemingly unnecessary, burden.


The number of complaints regarding Layout is greater each day. This is good on the one hand as it means that more and more people are trying to use it, the bad side is that they show how inefficient it is. Sketchup + Layout has the best potential to be the best and most complete software for architects; when Layout overcomes these problems, it will be unbeatable.
Some other software could offer livesync (like Lumion 8.3), and work like Autocad, to finalize the construction drawings, would also be an alternative to our workflow.




In the case of Nick @Sonder, it’s easy to understand - if you buy his book!

I saw a presentation of his at Basecamp 2016 and it gave me the barest glimpse into his workflow. It was apparent to me that he’s spent considerable time exploring different workflows before settling on this one. And I don’t mind that I have to pay to get all the details - he deserves recompense for his work! Admittedly, I haven’t yet purchased his book myself, as I’m just a hobbyist designing stuff for myself and have yet to need Layout for my work, but that time will come when I’m ready to actually build the tiny home I’m designing. When I’m close to that point, I’ll be buying the book!


@sjdorst, it sounds like you are planning to design a tiny home some day. By then, LayOut may meet your needs.

Meanwhile, for you to push back and tell people to go buy books rather than work to have the code fixed (as you should) is… not the reaction I would have expected.

Forget about workflow issues for a moment. A lot of users are coming forward to share how painful it is to create and edit simple text boxes. The absence of a functional text editor in 2018 in a $795 software is unacceptable, a major showstopper. I think you will agree with me that text editing has zero to do with user workflow. It is a coding failure the developers should have fixed a long time ago but have not, yet here you are declaring that it’s “easy to understand - if you buy [Nick Sonder’s] book!” Can Nick Sonder breezily, speedily edit text boxes? Do explain.


I don’t claim to, myself, have a clear understanding of all the nuances of Layout (any version), as I’m not (yet) a user of Layout. And I freely acknowledge that text editing is most probably a sore point for many people.

But that’s not what I was replying to! You asked for “… understand(ing) how they manage.” and I supplied a route to that understanding for one particular well known Layout super-user. Seek that understanding or not, that’s your choice.


Hi @novurba and @bifterx, interesting to read about your time delays and difficulties with Text Boxes. I have not experienced anything like what you describe. If anything, my experience has been quite smooth with Text Boxes. [I have had problems with lock-ups when cutting and pasting (like others), and this was discussed in another thread.]

I am personally also running on a new Lenovo, Think Pad T470p with i7 7820HQ, 8MB, 3.90Hz with 32GB DDR4 2400MHz RAM and 1TB SSD OPAL 2.0 HD. So seems we’re all similar. I also would be extremely frustrated if I experienced a delay of 10-15 seconds for a text box entry/revision (frankly 2-3 seconds would start pressing my hot button).

I am not a software guru, but I have something interesting to share. I recently purchased the new Lenovo and with it purchased MS 2016 Office Professional (on my HD). The first day or two I noticed that my single and double quotes in LO 2017 were of the “curved type”. I like the “straight type”. I could not figure out why they were “curved” when I went back to my old laptop and LO 2017 created “straight” single and double quotes. I racked my brain and then I remembered there is a setting in MS Word for “curved” or “straight” single and double quotes. I made the change in MS 2016 Word and then checked LO. When I typed my single and double quotes in the Text Boxes were now “straight”. So clearly there is a connection between LO and Word in my setup.

Maybe the Layout team can share with us/you what the LO / text editor relationship is, and shed some light on what might be delaying your Text Box entry/revisions.


LO obviously copies and pastes rich text formatting - I keep all my specification clauses in a singl long Pages document and copy and paste the relevant bit and pieces which nicely brings fonts, character/ line/ paragraph spacing accurately into the text box. Entering text or amending text in an annotation or dimension is the killer I can literally finish typing a sentance, sit back and then watch it magically be typed into an annotation in front of me. It had been the same for me since SU pro 2013 or 14 (can’t quite remember) I’m on my 3rd machine since then with clean installs each time (OS and applications) I’m on MacOS which I keep up to date with the recommended versions for SU.


Layout have did improve a lot in the pass and will surelly improve much more, but I think the day Layout will shine, is the day we will ba able to install plugins then we will be able to install features that we all crave for years!


@bifterx Here’s a Building Regs notes tip to save you keeping notes on a seperate file (and that are usually out of date): go to and fill your boots. Super cheap, always up to date, great for domestic work, if that’s your thing.


I agree with that I oftently had to jump to Indesign the last hour before consigning a small competition. Lay Out was too slow for the last run and I am not the one that wait the last moment for the lay out. Nick Sonders has a worflow that certainly match for the same kind of production. I am waiting for examples in competitions.


We Sages seem to be taking a bit of a beating here, so I’ll throw in a contrary view to some of my colleagues. As a caveat: I prepare woodworking designs purely for myself. I don’t need formal documentation, so I rarely use Layout and won’t claim expertise or a well-tuned Layout workflow.

But, if it took even 2 seconds to update a text, I’d be very frustrated because I simply can’t understand what a decent computer could be doing with the hundreds of millions of operations that take place in a second! It would suggest to me that there is some kind of issue either with how Layout is going about the update or how it is using my hardware. And I would certainly hope that the developers would be paying attention to the issue. SketchUp Pro is a bargain compared to “the big guys”, but that doesn’t excuse miserable performance.

That said, the SketchUp team does watch the forum and monitors issues discussed here. We can assume they are aware of the discontent. However, by both policy and from possible legal concerns, they never discuss their current work or future plans on the forum. So all we can do is hope this issue gets priority among the many things they could be working on.


I tend to live in the future, and I’m running macOS 10.13.4. Can you tell me something to try that you’re seeing as slow, so I can say if it will get better in the next macOS release?

ps. Adding dimensions seems fast to me.


Zooming in on text usually speeds up typing. Funky but true to me.

There are many more issues that delay my work on it though than text. As it’s not streamlined enough in many things.

It’s as if it was created having presentation of a single page in mind and not full construction documentation. I can see how woodworkers can use it incredibly well, but I’m n architect and I can relate to so many of the issues here.

Having said that even if I don’t like working with it because of it’s slowness and cumbersome workflow, I love it anyway!

I can do anything I need and even this wasted time is saved by the connection with sketchup (which could also be streamlined a lot)


Hi All,

Just wondering:

  1. is anyone using LayOut with the new iMac Pro, and
  2. Does that completely resolve all the speed/sluggishness issues?

The reason I ask is that in Australia to purchase ArchiCad cost $9500. But a base model iMac pro = $7300. I nkow it’s not comparing apples with apples but still a pretty decent cost saving for a pretty decent kit!


Clearly true, this software was designed a long time ago in a land far away when they had single core, single thread processors. It has never been ported to support multiple threading and I doubt it can be. It will have to be redesigned from the ground up. There is only so much you can do when you must complete the task you are on before the next task can begin. It’s called serial processing for a reason. There is no good reason they can’t load share the redraws, saves and renders among multiple processor cores and with multiple threads running it could be possible to speed sketchup by 10 or 12 times its current speed. But unless you want to invest multiple millions of dollars in the manpower to redesign the product there is little hope of it getting lots better. This is a very low cost program or even free for many of us. If there were demand and a paying audience for the better product it would have been built by now. You get what you pay for, what else can be said.