Layout Files on Mac vs. Layout Files on Windows - Text and Interface

Hello Sketchup/ layout Forum!!

I have a question regarding Layout files in Mac vs. PC. My office exclusively uses Mac OS, but I sometimes work remotely on a PC. Frankly, I don’t have a preference either way, and care only about the work and the most efficient method to produce drawings. (Please do not post the pro’s/ cons of PC vs. Mac here).

My concern is that there are some differences between text in MAC and PC. If I create a layout file at the office, then come home the fonts are often different, and some of the interface options are not the same. I realize that the same fonts need to be downloaded to the machine, which I have done. We do most of our CD’s in Helvetica with the various bold, italics, etc. There is no double underline option in the PC version for fonts (at least that I am aware of). See attached image: left side view was done in PC and the right was done on Mac.

Related to this issue: I am running layout 2018 on both machines, however the user interface is substantially different between PC and Mac. The mac seems new, easy to modify the various layers etc. windows, and I can drag them around my screen without them having to snap to another window pane. The PC looks vintage 1980’s with a tool tray and few options to modify. See attached images of the interfaces

Perhaps I am asking a Noob question here, but is there a way to have the same interface set up in both Mac and PC? Perhaps a workspace export option? Are there other pitfalls/ missing buttons/ options between the two that I should be aware of? These discrepancies are really a drag in terms of workflow and slows the process of having to re-learn the interface each time. Thanks in advance for your insights

Font stuff is indeed weird between the two platforms. In both cases it has to do with operating-system stuff related to fonts. I don’t have a great suggestion for dealing with this when you go back and forth between the Mac and PC. I have both PC and Mac computers but I prefer to stick to working in LayOut on just one. If I start a LayOut project on Mac, I only work on it on the Mac.

Thanks for your input Dave. That’s a bummer. I’m sure I will have the same issues with other programs like Adobe CC. If I were to purchase a new laptop would you think MAC or PC would have the upper hand for compatibility? Just talking in general terms.

Based on the fact that your employer is strictly Mac, I guess I’d get a Mac. I personally prefer the way both SketchUp and LayOut interfaces work on the PC but I suspect that’s mostly a what you get used to.

Font portability is indeed a chronic issue. In some cases there are copyright or license limitations - for example Helvetica and Arial are almost duplicates but historically only one or the other is available on each OS. Sometimes the font management system recognizes a near equivalent like this and substitutes it. But if the match isn’t complete and perfect, weird things can result. You’d think after all these years they would have sorted it out, but most likely it comes down to money for licensing.

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Good point on the licensing issues. There are some newer fonts included with windows that won’t render correctly in PDF files because of this.

Swinging back to part of your original post, there are multiple differences between the SketchUp GUI on Windows vs Mac. In some cases they are just “the Windows way” vs “the Mac way”, but in others (notably the hacked color chooser used as the materials editor on Mac) they are the result of seemingly independent designs on the two platforms as if there were separate Mac and Windows teams that didn’t speak to each other or make much effort to unify the GUI. No amount of grousing over the years has changed this state of affairs…


It might become even more weird when you print. PostScript printers might have their own embedded font versions and do their own font substitutions.

Hi mountain_man (great username btw)-

Yes, keeping text the same between mac and windows is surprisingly difficult. A number of us have contributed to making it better by improving font substitution and improving padding and whitespace differences, but there’s definitely still room for improvement for people who are transitioning back and forth between the two platforms.

Besides font issues, there are also differences in how the same fonts get rendered on both platforms, and we have to do some complete voodoo to adjust spacing and padding. The core of the issue is that we use different graphics libraries on both platforms. Someday perhaps we’ll manage to standardize on a single graphics package which will (hopefully) improve this behavior.

The team definitely knows this is a pain point.


Thanks for your input guys. Definitely a bummer that there are some issues with compatibility. I’ll just keep these issues in mind while I work between the two platforms. Issues aside, I’m just glad I’m not working in CAD anymore. Sketchup/ Layout really is an awesome workflow!

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Thanks for this - it helps me understand what has been driving me a bit crazy.
I have a student’s file that has hundreds of text boxes in it, all done in Helvetica Regular on the Mac. When I look at it in Helvetica Regular on PC, every single text box is cut off on the right margin, like this:

Bizarrely, when I select the text it reverts to the correct justification (i.e. looks exactly as created by the student on the Mac), like this:

I’m now assuming it’s a system font rendering issue, unless anyone can suggest another explanation.

this looks like the more intrinsic Windows v mac ‘point’ size issue [96pt v 72pt per inch]…

in the ‘document’ it shows as scaled [by 1.3333333333333333], but when you edit it uses the mac input box text size at the correct scale…

in html the issue has been mitigated a bit by using px, mm, em, rem, etc, but can you do choose those in LO? [@trent]…


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Thanks… didn’t know this. Not sure what LO allows but will check it out.

Why dont you try Google fonts on both OS’s? . Open licensed… eg Open Sans or Nunito