Layout Dimensions continually converting to paper length

I am doing an architectural plan in layout and have been dealing with dimensions that display perfectly, and then convert to a much smaller dimension if I change the precision or move the dimension. I assume this is model units vs paper units

For instance, in these images you see the same objects, with two different measurements. I absolutely must be able to have confidence that a dimension I set will not change after the fact!

Thank you for any help

Share the LO file so we can see exactly how you’ve set things up.

I would love to. I cannot find the file location, and somehow, even after searching for 20 minutes am no closer to finding it. Where do these layout files get stored then??? There appears to be no option to find containing folder here.

They get saved where you save them. If you have the file open, click on File>Save as … Look at where it intends to save the file. Then look there for the .layout file.

If it’s larger than 16 Mb upload it to DropBox or We Transfer and share the link.

The folder was too big but here is the link, thank you

In particular, I noticed many errant dimensions on the East Elevation sheet

You haven’t anchored hat diimension to the model. You have it attached to the horizontal lines you’ve drawn in LO.

Anchor the dimensions to the model instead.

I think you would find it easier to add the dimensions and other stuff on the LO page if you set the Face style to Hidden Line. Switch to Shaded with Textures after you’ve finished adding the Dimensions. Also split the dimensions and other annotations to separate layers in LayOut so you can turn off the one while adding or editing the other.

I see you’ve modified the Camera property for the scene. Note the Reset button and dark gray background in the Camera section of the SketchUp Model panel.

There’s no need to do that. In the case of this viewport you only needed to drag the edges of the viewport a little to achieve the same thing you did when you modified the camera properties, probably by double clicking into the viewport and panning slightly. Modifying the camera for viewports is a risky thing especially if you then add dimensions and annotations that are attached to the model.

You should also be creating appropriate scenes in SketchUp for the elevations.

I looked at your SketchUp model, too. I see some incorrectly oriented faces. There should be no exposed blue back faces.

And I went through to do my usual cleanup.

Fixed incorrect tag usage.
Screenshot - 1_27_2024 , 7_50_43 PM
And purged unused stuff.
Screenshot - 1_27_2024 , 7_51_26 PM
This reduced the SketchUp file size by 43%.

I did a similar cleanup to the other .skp file in use and got a similar file size reduction

There’s a third SketchUp reference contained in the LayOut file but it isn’t being used and should be purged.

Before purging:
Screenshot - 1_27_2024 , 8_02_17 PM
After purging:
Screenshot - 1_27_2024 , 8_02_35 PM

Cleaning up your SketchUp and LayOut files will help keep things moving more smoothly for you. All told my simple cleanup reduced the size of your LO file by 60%.

Dave R, thank you for your thorough approach, however, before I learn about incorrectly aligned faces, file sizes, and purge protocols, I have to know if I can use this tool at all for Architecture.

In the file, the “East Elevation” shows that most of the dimensions are not attached to the model, but when I put them down, they were all the correct length, and then later on, at some point, they CHANGED. I attached most if not all of them directly to the model by noting the green snap. I looked over the dimensions and they were of the proper length. I did some revision, and most of the dimensions were a totally different length.

I need to be CERTAIN, that these dimensions will not change after I have already reviewed them. Thats not a small problem, its a killer. I need to be able to rely on those dimensions to NEVER change after I have already reviewed and approved them.

I believe they actually changed en masse when I selected them all and changed the precision to 1/4".

That is when I noticed that most of the dimensions were totally different from when I put them down.

Yes. You can use it for architecture. Architecture is the primary use for SketchUp and LayOut. It is the original reason SketchUp was developed in the first place. Here’s an architect who uses SketchUp and LayOut for just the sort of thing you want to do.

Like absolutely every tool on the planet, you need to learn to use it correctly to get the best performance out of it.

From what I can see in your LayOut file some of the dimensions are attached to the model but not all of them. They appear to be connected to drawing entites added in the LayOut file. The attachment points for that dimension between the ridge and the top of the chimney clearly aren’t attached to the model. I can’t say how you got it disconnected but something happened.

What revisions did you make? The points in the SketchUp model to which dimensions get anchored have persistent IDs (PIDs). If you delete an edge or do something else to remove the PID the dimension will become disconnected and you will have to reconnect it to the new point.

Understood. With proper modeling technique and correct dimensioning they should not change after they are placed unless you do something to modify the geometry in the model that causes the loss of one or more PID.

Maybe you would find it useful to go through the training materials at Also get Nick Sonder’s and Matt Donley’s book.

Thanks for your help. I need to reach an understanding here.

I can understand the need to attach the dimensions to their proper entities, but my narrative seems to go beyond that. I put down all those dimensions, checking them against my CAD plan on a different screen, and making sure the math was good. I then went on to the next sheet and did the same. Later I noticed some 1/32" and 1/16" measurements, so I selected them all, and changed the precision to 1’4".

I printed and sent the preliminary sheet and needed to be told by an associate that many of the dimensions were off. I was shocked to review the file and find many of the dimensions I had already checked and reviewed were now just plainly wrong.

I will be certain to utilize the green snaps on every dimension, but am still pretty spooked that I already did this review and now find myself redoing it. Far, far worse though, is that I now need to review every single dimension and cannot predict where this phenomenon may re-emerge.

Is it just green snaps that I am looking for?

What if one snap is green, and the other red.?

In testing now it appears to be the proper length when I put down a dimension using one green and one red.

I actually use an alternative style when putting down dimensions that removes all the cladding and trim, down to sheathing, so finding exactly where to snap seemed pretty easy at the time. I will try your suggested visual style now. Thanks for the assistance

I understand being spooked by the disconnected dimension. I guess in more than 10 years of using LayOut I’ve never had dimensions become disconnected from the model spontaneously. They have become disconnected when I made a change in the SketchUp model that removed an anchor point but that’s always been my own doing and I expect it.

A red anchor point is not anchored to the model. You need to have green anchors at both ends. Otherwise the dimension will become a paper space dimension.

You’re welcome and good luck.

FWIW, I am just trying to help you get things right. This shouldn’t be a truggle but you do have to learn to use the tools the way they work.

Perhaps I moved the viewport slightly at some point? That would cause the PID to disconnect? Would that make them all change as I saw?

Is there a way to restrict these dimensions such that they will ONLY attach to model points?

Moving the viewport wouldn’t cause the dimensions to change if both anchor points were anchored to the model. It would if one of them is not anchored to the model, though.

No. You just have to be accurate in your placement of the dimensions in the first place.

I just thought of this after stepping away from my computer. If you do what I suggested and separate the dimensions by giving them their own layer so you can hide the other annotations and LO drawing entities, the dimensions will only have the model viewport to anchor to.

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I do this when dimensioning - all model layers that might overlap my SketchUp view get turned off. And in some cases when using sections I override the style to show back edges - assuming I need to click something that might be difficult for LayOut to parse the snapping.

Then I turn everything back on and move on. I learned this because my grid lines sometimes were sometimes giving me false snaps and I’d get weird results after updating my model.


I’m an architect and sketchup with layout are my main tool in my work, All my projects for the last 8 years have been done entirely using sketchup and layout.

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That is great, this should take care of my concern totally then. Thanks for your guidance on that.

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Thanks for the tip. Makes good sense.

My absolute beginner workflow was to create one scene in sketchup for each elevation, and another for each elevation with the suffix “Dim”. I set one scene so that the sheathing was visible but the trim, cladding, window frames, etc, were turned off. I attached the dimensions then to visible sheathing, and after I had placed them all, I switched back to the regular elevation scene, which has all the cladding and trim and so forth visible. Then printed. IT seemed to work well until I found that I had somehow converted many of them to paper space measurments. I’ll amend the workflow to account for the suggestions here, and hope to not see any more worrying situations.


In some cases I model every piece of trim, sheathing, joist hanger, and stud - but only when doing full structural review / build packages for clients. Most of the time I create separate sketch up models as details - then my main model just shows the wall thickness, trim, windows, etc. This makes handling the modeling and presentation easier.

Example of a detail:

And for a set where I need to include timber, SIPs and conventional framing I create a separate ‘S’ model for the structural work. This keeps the ‘pretty picture’ architectural drawings cleaner and easier to work with.

Typical drawing image: