Layout Impossibly Slow

First-time listener, first-time caller.

I’m trying Layout (for the first time) and I’m finding it so slow as to be unusable.
I loaded a very small test model from Sketchup. Basically a bunch of random squares. 2D.
Despite this, Layout’s UI has an aneurysm any time I touch the viewport.
Ka-CHUNK… Ka-CHUNK… It’s a regular glitch- and stutter-fest.

I read a few other threads on the matter (I’m not the only one who finds it unusable, it seems) and tried changing the render mode to Raster but it didn’t help.

It feels as though Layout is using a single, underclocked CPU thread for everything, including drawing the screen, and running from a swap file.

For the record, on this same laptop (ThinkPad P50 with Quadro M1000M, 1GB), Blender, Photoshop, GIMP, Illustrator, Inkscape, FreeCAD, LibreCAD, Fusion360 and Sketchup 2017 all run and respond nominally even with huge drawings/models. They may get a bit sluggish when pushed but they don’t ever spaz out like this.

I don’t know sh!t from sh!t but to me this smacks of an ancient and severely-neglected code base in dire need of a rewrite.

Edit: I made sure that Layout is using the Quadro, and not Intel Graphics.


What are you doing to the viewport exactly?

Can you share the LayOut file so we can see what you’re working with?

All I’ve attempted to do so far is to extend the viewport to fill more of the page (with the blue perimeter handles) and them double click to open it and adjust the position and zoom of the model.

As it turns out I got a bit ahead of myself. Layout handles the test file of random squares without too much trouble. Resizing the viewport is still a low-frame-rate affair but at least it responds.

The file Layout choked on has 7560028 edges and 777 faces. It’s basically a bunch of DXF floor plans and elevations brought in for reference with geometry drawn over top to represent the kitchen countertops. I can’t share it, sorry.


Don’t do that. Set up a scene in SketchUp that shows the model the way you want it. In LayOut, choose that scene, set the scale in the SketchUp Model panel and drag the edges of the viewport as needed to show the model.

Over seven and half million edges is a small file?

Without being able to see your file, I guess there’s nothing more to tell you except that you might take some time to learn how to use LayOut correctly before you judge it. You could start here:

I’d venture to guess the Dxf import is a mess.


Switch the model to Vector. Also, look into Cleanup3 extension to clean you model.

The DXF I imported had lots of extraneous edges, but even when I open VERY simple models with a few dozen rectilinear forms and a low-res texture or two, Layout is slow to respond to input and slow to redraw the screen or move objects across it. There is a perceptible lag from the time I click and drag on the viewport object until the time it follows the movement of the mouse. I’d say around 200ms. Clicking on the edge of a viewport object to resize it introduces a lag of nearly a second from the instant I click until the edge follows the mouse.

This is true no matter how large or complex the model I’ve imported.

It’s true that I’m new to Layout. It’s also true, however, that I’ve been intimately involved in graphic design and CAD for 30 years, and I trust my instincts about how software should look, feel and perform. Software must be snappy, fluid. Layout is unresponsive and sluggish. Again, all the software I mentioned in my original post runs well. Why can’t Layout?


Is object and grid snap on? I’ve found a lot more fluid movement by having them off and using key command (CTRL /) to turn on object snap only when needed to place which can be done mid movement.


Oops, there I go again, responding to a two month old thread!

I know this is an old thread but I thought it worth chipping in my view after recently upgrading to a much more powerful iMac. I now find that Sketchup absolutely flies. Orbiting with my SpaceMouse is just a joy. However, when I move to Layout it is as if the upgraded hardware makes no difference. The new way of moving viewports that temporarily blanks out the drawing itself does speed things up, if at the expense of a full WYSIWYG experience. But if I try drawing something, it can be like wading through treacle. It doesn’t seem to affect a brand new blank drawing so much, so it may have something to do with whatever else is in the file.

I have to say that I would like to see a serious overhaul of Layout from the ground up. There are just too many peculiarities to it that make it seem as if a completely different software company than Sketchup developed it. It is odd that some tasks that are seemingly comparable in both programs work differently. It’s like getting into a new BMW after years with the brand and finding out that everything is more like a Merc inside. It’s discombobulating.


I have to say that I would like to see a serious overhaul of Layout from the ground up. There are just too many peculiarities to it that make it seem as if a completely different software company than Sketchup developed it.

Hey Simon,
Congratulations on getting a new iMac! Can you tell me the particulars of what you got? As you may recall, we have communicated in the past about our mutual aspirations to upgrade our iMac’s, I recall that your old setup was even more ancient than mine … I am holding off on an upgrade, waiting to see what their new “ARM” processors/setup may offer!
As far as new hardware improving LayOut’s performance, lots of people seem to have concluded that the law of diminishing return kicks in real quick with LayOut. The hardware ain’t gonna help, because it’s a software issue! LayOut indeed needs a ground up code rewrite, a hobby horse I’ve been preaching for a while now … not that Trimble is listening. They continue to be content with just adding little tweaks on top of the old, very slow code platform.
Best of luck with your new rig!


How do you know this?

Is it a verifiable fact?

Just asking because I wouldn’t know…

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Hi, Bill. Below should give a flavour of my new setup. I have yet to expand the RAM beyond its basic 8GB but I fully intend to do that soon.

Screenshot 2020-09-16 at 08.06.37

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Hi Paul,
Just my opinion, but let’s ask Adam, the LayOut, Lead Developer on the SketchUp Team …
Hey Adam, how OLD is the base LayOut software code?

Correct if I’m wrong Bill (or anyone else) but…

wouldn’t the SketchUp code be quite old too?

Or maybe that has been overhauled - I wouldn’t know.

How often does/should program code get overhauled / rewritten?

Actually, if you compare the LayOut that appeared with, if I remember right, SketchUp 7, some very serious optimizations have happened since. Not that it is fast enough even now.

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Thanks Simon,
Looks really cool! I have several questions …

  1. Any issues with macOS Catalina running SketchUp 2020?
  2. Assuming you had some extensions/plugins on your old set up, any problems migrating them to your new machine?
  3. Do you notice ANY LayOut performance improvement with that Radeon Pro 5500 XT 8 GB graphics card? Or am I right that hardware isn’t going to help because it’s a software problem?
  4. I’ve been looking at this same package, but with the Radeon Pro 5700 XT, with 16 GB, to try to squeeze a little extra speed out of LayOut. This would cost me an extra $500, do you think it would help, or would it be a waste of money?

Enjoy your new iMac, I’m so jealous!

The answers to your questions, in your order, are:

  1. No

  2. No

  3. No improvement. Like you, I assume it’s a software issue but judging that is above my pay grade.

  4. I admit I was tempted by the more powerful video card. My impression is that if you were doing a lot of high level rendering, it would be worth it. Not so much if you mostly use SU/LO. At present.

If it hadn’t been for advice I gleaned here and elsewhere, I probably wouldn’t have opted for the more expensive SSD hard drive. In the end, it seemed a more useful use of funds than a more powerful video card in my case.

I wonder if the issue with LayOut is the same as with the paper space in AutoCad or sheets in BIM applications. Every viewport is essentially a copy of the whole 3D model behind it and puts a new copy of the model into your RAM, and if it is set to update automatically it gets regenerated all the time.

Some of what the user can do was shown by @Sonder in his “Fireside talk” yesterday

  • keep everything possible raster rendered
  • limit the scope of views using section planes and style settings
  • turn automatic updating off but don’t forget to update

That’s interesting. I have not yet increased my RAM from the base level (and the same as I had in my old machine). I need to review this once I have dialled up the RAM capacity.

The only thing I don’t quite understand is that if the whole model is loaded into RAM, why does drawing in LO slow down compared to drawing within the same drawing file in SU? Surely they both have the whole model loaded into RAM.