Layout for Book Publishing?

Wanted to know if anyone here has used SU/Layout to prepare a book to be sent to a publisher for printing?
We are in this process using Indesign and Illustrator to tweak line weights etc. and I am wondering if it makes more sense just to compile the book all in Layout?


Curious how you are doing that. What format do you export to illustrator?

I would say definitely stick with indesign for any text-heavy documents. Layout isnt designed for paragraph text.

Layout could replace illustrator, as you can tweak line weights etc using styles, add accurate dimensions and colours (but this would require the 3d model to be setup in sketchup first e.g. applying Tags in a certain way).
Illustrator, on the other hand, will be better for “tweaking” the model edges and faces (and allow you to edit them) in a more visual WYSIWYG manner.

Using Layout will have some major advantages if your sketchup model is updated, & changed often.

You may want to consider a SKP to LO to AI to INDD workflow to gain the best of both worlds…sounds complicated but each step is simple.

Can you post some examples of what you are producing?

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@DaveR is the best one to comment on this, having written book(s) on the subject. Would be interesting to know what whether he used LayOut for the submission to the publisher.

I wrote a book too, on a different topic (though I was a technical reviewer on two SketchUp books too). My experience was that the publishing needs files in an exact format. I had to buy Microsoft Office so that I could send the right format Word documents.

You also have the solution to use Affinity which has a more affordable and more friendly licensing model than Adobe : Designer (equivalent to Illustrator) and Publisher.

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That may still hit the issue I mentioned, where publishers require an exact file format. In my case I was using Pages, thinking I could send exported DOC files. But, they had such exact style templates that it didn’t work out.

Definitely Affinity Publisher, Designer and Photo capable of doing it, very capable and great value … LO… nah! Unless you are a masochist…

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I use Pages too for my book, because it is pure writing (I get text statistics), illustrations are separated and worked by my editor and his graphic designers.

To make development documentation (not book), I strongly recommend Quiver on Mac which is not expensive, of very high quality (a real pleasure) and without subscription (Home · HappenApps/Quiver Wiki · GitHub).

As a professional graphic designer who uses both software suited, I would say it’s a no brainer. Stick with InDesign for the final book file, because that’s what it does best.

Your Layout file you would use to generate PDFs that you Place into InDesign just like any other visual link. InDesign offers professional printing output and control that Layout is not even made to addess.


Any PDF exported from SketchUp is usually made of vectors, just like an illustrator file. You can very very easily edit them in Illustrator. I do it all the time.

Most SU drawings I can export as a pdf and then my partner can edit in AI… however some of the drawings require textures and xray etc. The raster qualities are not exported in a pdf. In this case I put the
dimensions on 1 SU layer and the drawing on another, then export the text, dimensions etc. as pdf and the actual drawing as png, then they are snapped together in AI, and the dimension are editable but not the png line work. this causes a lot of back and forth.

I hope Dave chimes in, I have discussed some of these issues with him awhile back!

We are creating a Timber frame/log textbook, so tons of shop drawings and not much text… very few paragraphs.

Here is an example of a drawing that is using textures for the glass:Screen Shot 2021-05-06 at 8.58.44 AM

Is a pdf exported from Layout suitable for a publisher/printer to use or does Indesign set it up in a different way. I guess each publisher may have different requirements?

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Most of the drawings are perspective views, and I like the way SU allows dimensioning in this view… Layout’s ability to dimension perspective drawings is not so easy… unless I am missing something.

The PDFs aren’t the issue as both pieces of software export perfectly useable files, it’s just that InDesign gives you far more control over the print specs that can be embedded in the PDF itself (color profiles, print separations, handling of black, different PDF compatability standards, ability to apply other color standards from the print press).

Additionally, it’s far superior for book layout in general and is very fast and efficient for designing it. You have page numbering, high control over margins, bleeds, gutters. Superior page handling, master pages and so on. There’s a reason InDesign is the industry standard for this.


OK monospaced thanks for the detailed reply!

Also when I standard export a pdf from SU it is quite large (1671x931)… To preserve the image quality do you resize in AI or Indesign to fit on the page? or does it matter. Would be interested in your workflow or anyone else as well.

thanks again!

When I export a PDF from SketchUp, I usually want it to be a vector file, so I go to Export > 2D Graphic and select PDF. Then in Options I can choose the scale of it, which affects line weight. But you can also adjust that scale. 1631x931 isn’t really that large, either. I always try to export higher than I need so that I can scale up/down in InDesign without loss in detail. I don’t resize the source image, I just scale it as a placed link in Adobe.

For raster images (not vector), 300dpi print resolution is the goal. The 1671x931 export would only print at about a 5x3". I would actually export raster images at a higher resolution than that for print to maintain at least 300dpi. All final scaling can be done in InDesign of course.


Yes. Just export it at a high resolution and place it into InDesign. InDesign is more where you put it together than anything else. Layout is a superstar for dimensioning and so on.

Adobe used to have a good article about printing and image resolution. If I remember right, as a rule of thumb, for conventional colour printing you need an image that has a DPI 2 times the “lpi” resolution of the printer screen. The finest screens are 150 lpi. A dithered printer (laser or inkjet) needs to have 4x the resolution of the image to get the most out of it. I once made test prints in our office on a 600 DPI colour laser printer, and looking at the print with a strong magnifier there was absolutely no difference in the result between a 150 DPI and 300 DPI image despite the latter being 4 times larger.