Layout file recovery


My computer quit in the midst of work on a Layout file, preferences set to auto-save every five minutes. When I am back up and open the Layout file it has saved none of the mornings work.
With SketchUp there is an Auto-Save copy that usually saves the day. Can’t find such a civilized feature with Layout.
Help appreciated.

Layout Auto-save NOT WORKING!

Autosave and recovery do exist with LayOut. Did you ever save the LO file manually at any point?


I don’t manually save for long periods of time. Created a PDF while working that will help recover changes, but will still need to make them. Where would an auto-saved file be found? It is not in the folder with the original. Thanks.


I have just experienced this problem for the first time after a power outage yesterday.

I was working on a Sketchup file and its accompanying Layout file. I had no difficulty this morning finding the Autosave file for Sketchup but I cannot find one for the Layout drawing. Of course I have checked that the autosave feature is switched on in Layout’s preferences. I did a whole machine search for any Layout Autosaves at all and found none. I concluded that either Layout has never made them or they are cunningly hidden away in a hidden folder or with some gobbledygook name that no one would think to search for.

I see that this issue has come up before (eg

Besides getting this feature to work in a user-friendly way, I would also like to see the system flag up recently autosaved files on start up to save you having to search for them.

And one final point: the way things seem to be moving in the IT world, it is now common for files worked on to be continuously updated. Online file systems work like that and so does native Mac software like Pages and Numbers. That system has its own drawbacks but as that is the direction things are moving in, what about introducing it for SU & LO? No real need for autosaves then.


I don’t know whether or not a computer is capable of writing an Auto-Save file to disc when the entire system stops abruptly due to a power outage.
ICBW, but my guess is not.
For long I’ve run my entire setup on a 1500W UPS to spare the trouble.

The docs don’t reveal exactly where LayOut auto-save files are stored.
Just that the recovered file should automatically appear under File > Recent

This from the LayOut Help pages …

Set Auto-Save preferences:
By default, LayOut automatically saves your work every 5 minutes.
If LayOut ever quits abruptly, you can find your last auto-saved file among your Recent files when you relaunch LayOut.


This would be an interesting concept, though it might put a noticeable drag on performance in SketchUp. Depends, I guess, on whether the file format and model geometry database have been designed in a way that allows for light-weight incremental changes. If SU or LO had to rewrite the entire file each time using today’s techniques, that would surely be a major hangup (as those who are working on a large model when autosave kicks in can attest).

As @Geo suggested, a computer is not capable of writing anything when the power is off, so whether or not there is a file for you to recover depends entirely on timing of autosave vs power out.


I do see that a power outage is a different beast from a crash so it may be unreasonable to expect an autosave in that circumstance.

I also see that perpetual incremental saves may be different for large files and maybe written documents and spreadsheets tend to be much smaller than image based files. I am not tech savvy enough to know what is possible, just an end user noticing what seems possible in other spheres.

I still come back to the observation that LO does not seem to be producing ANY autosave files, unlike SU. Surely that is not normal?


There are two mechanisms in LayOut that are designed to avoid loss of work.

  1. Backup files. When you manually save your LayOut file, the existing file on disk will be moved to a “backup” file name. On Mac, the backup name has a tilde appended. On windows, it has “backup of” prepended. This guarantees that you’ll always have two copies of your current file - the most recent saved version, and the previously saved version. This guards against crashes that happen during file save, and also guards against users accidentally saving changes that they didn’t want.

  2. Autosave/Recovery. When LayOut opens a file, it unzips the file into a temporary folder and then reads the data from that location. When LayOut closes normally, this temporary folder will be deleted. If LayOut crashes, the temporary folder will remain, and LayOut will show it to you in the “Open files” dialog in the “Recover” tab. This is where Autosave comes in - the autosave mechanism will periodically save your current file into this temporary folder.

So, an “optimal” crash recovery looks like this:

  1. Run LayOut again
  2. Find your document in the “Recovery” tab of the “Open Files” dialog
  3. Open it
  4. Recreate the last few minutes of work (the amount will depend on your autosave interval)

Layout Autosave file location


Where is this Recover tab? Does it appear on a Mac?

For someone who has been using both SU and LO for many years, would you expect there to be no LO autosave files at all? I have plenty of SU ones!


If LO see there is a file to recover, there’ll be a recover tab to the right of Recent.



Here’s what I just did. I started up LO and loaded an existing file. I then modified the drawing without saving. I then applied Force Quit to simulate a crash. I reloaded LO. On the Mac, you have a similar dialog box to the one you show but I had no Recover tab, so no way to retrieve the drawing I altered but didn’t save. What am I dong wrong?


I’m not sure forcing quit is the same as a crash, though.

Did you look through the directory for backup LO files with the ~? I see them on my Mac when hunting for other files.



That’s interesting. Here is the result of my search:

So they do exist after all! But neither the one that suffered from the power outage nor the one from Force Quit is there, so maybe you’re right. I read advice somewhere that suggested Force Quit would simulate a crash but it seems not. Anyway, that gives me much more reassurance that it would work in the event of a true crash.

Someone on here wrote that they have developed a kind of nervous twitch in their left hands that made them keep pressing CMD-S and so avoid many of the pitfalls of system failure. Maybe I should too but it seems a bit antediluvian.


Here’s how to test the autosave system.

  1. Create a new file. Make some changes. Save it.
  2. Go into LayOut -> Preferences -> Backup, make sure “Auto-save” is checked, and set the interval to 1 minute.
  3. Make another change to your document. Something really visible like a big square filled with color.
  4. Do nothing for 1 minute until the status bar says “Auto save complete”.
  5. Force a crash (Force-quit is sufficient).
  6. Restart LayOut. The “new file” dialog should have a third tab labeled “Recover”, and you should see your file in there including the changes you made during step 3. You should be able to open this document.

If you complete all of these steps and everything looks as described for step 6, then autosave is working properly on your machine. If there’s no “Recover” document in your step 6, then there’s something wrong on your machine - maybe file properties, maybe a bug with LayOut.