Layout is useless

I have been using both Sketchup and layout for more than 10 years but find Layout almost unusable on even the most basic of models recently. It is incredible poor in every aspect. While Sketchup continually improves Layout get worse. Layout no longer seems to be able to cope with the modelling functions that Sketchup offers. Simplifying models and working in Raster mode just isn’t the solution when you to produce final documents. It is so unreliable now that it is not safe to assume that I will be able to get a document out in time for a presentation! We also use Vectorworks, primarily for drawings and will Consider ditching Sketchup in favour of Vectorworks as our 3D design tool. Sketchup however is still such a great program but it is useless if you cannot produce the documents you would wish to in Layout.


Reading between the lines I have a feeling you aren’t actually asking for any help. If I’m wrong, share a typical LO file so we can see what you are working with.

I’ve been using LayOut since it was introduced. It’s very usable for me. It’s a required part of my workflow.

I’ve been using SketchUp and Layout for over 10 years and Layout is a critical part of how I earn a living.

For me Layout gets ( slowly :wink: ) better and better…

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I have only ever used Layout on a Windows PC and its great, so I wonder if the problem is the Mac?

I don’t use LayOut daily for production documents but have used it enough to know how to make it do what I want. Be sure to tune in this Friday where I’ll share some optimization and workflow tips and tricks - Work Smart, Not Hard using LayOut - YouTube

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I use Mac and windows, the performance is slightly better on windows but not something huge, it may be a problem with the sketchup file that could be causing layout performance issues.

Mac OS user here. Got to say that Layout is also critical to my workflow. Absolutely refuse to use any other tool. And agree with above, the tool keeps getting gooder and gooder :slight_smile:

I think you might consider posting your Layout file. DaveR will go thru and give you some very clear feedback on things you can do to improve it’s performance.

As one of the founders of I would also say that having quizzed and tested over 100 users now and been in contact with countless businesses who use Sketchup Pro and Layout on a daily basis, I can tell you that, and I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, the problems essentially lie in one’s understanding of Sketchup not in the use of Layout.

How one models and uses tags, groups, components, styles, scenes and raw geometry has more to do with the slowness of Layout than any other factor we have seen. This bears out it almost every thread on this forum. Layout problems typically come from Sketchup modeling errors or incomplete knowledge of the software.

Maybe this one fact alone might say something. We have a free online quiz on our website. It’s 57 questions. Less that 25% of the people who have taken the quiz pass it. Passing is a modest 70% or 40 questions right.

I would highly recommend you let DaveR at your file. He will get you sorted in no time, Im sure. If you want to hire some professional freelancers to take your Sketchup/Layout game to the next level and make it make money for you, check out www. Maybe we have a solution for you.

I cant send any models or files due to NDA’s on the project. I’m not the only one who has issues, it seems to be a major topic on these forums and it generally seems to be the same people defending it. As I have said, I have used both Sketchup and layout for many years and know how to model correctly. The current model/ layout file is so basic that it should be absolutely fine but it is not. I even upgraded to an iMac Pro to help with processing power, but it made no real difference. Layout used to be far more responsive and reading between the lines the guys at Sketchup seem to agree with me. I think the problem is that there are so many bugs when you upgrade both Sketchup versions and operating system so often. The 2 are therefore never in sync. Vectorworks and Rhino are far more stable and reliable but just not as intuitive when it comes to modelling.


Patient: Doctor - I have this real problem that is causing me lots of pain.

Doctor: Can you tell me all about it so that I can help you.

Patient: No :rofl:


Now this part I might have to agree with you on…

As a Mac user, I decided a few years back to never upgrade to the latest OS until 6 months had passed and I have also done the same now with Sketchup. The first three months of any release are not enjoyable.

Let the bugs get worked out. Mac OS Ventura has not been a great release from everything I have been reading and listening to. I’m waiting until the fall to do it this time. That’s almost 12 months later. I also haven’t upgraded to SKU 2023 and don’t plan to until I have seen that it and Ventura are stable together.

I have a great platform. MacBook Pro M1 with Monterey. Sketchup 2022 is stable. Layout works great. Very seldom a bug splat. Im modeling cabinets and do 15-20 large rooms per project with lots of components. Layout doesn’t even shudder…doesn’t hesitate…doesn’t even pause now.

I have gotten around the Layout scrolling issue on the Mac by mapping zoom to extents and zoom to object on my mouse. No scrolling anymore really which is where I had the most slow down issues 4-5 years ago.

Hope that helps a tiny bit.

Sketchup staff are willing to acknowledge that Layout has speed issues. Its not a secret. But, having been to Basecamp 2022, I know that they are also working on solutions that might make it worth keeping the fire burning for.

As to NDA’s. See if DaveR will sign an NDA to look at the file. Couldn’t hurt.


These same people are not defending Layout being “useless” or denying that people are having issues or not wanting development progress.

Sure there are known issues but for these same, they generally don’t have any issues with Layout and these same produce detailed and complex documentation from Layout.

People with Layout issues rarely, it seems, share a problem file - yes I get it that there are client confidentiality issues with sharing.

In my opinion most of the files that are shared do appear to be quite bloated in terms of poly count and could do with having better model organisation.


I’m curious as to how optimized your .skp is? These sound like issues I was having when just getting into Layout and not understanding the load of a .skp with dirty geometry/unpurged materials and components. Once I started grouping and organizing my model I stopped having issues. And that was back before I switched to pc and was on an old busted Mac. Are you cleaning up at all before sending over to Layout?


I think everyone is missing my point. Layout could be the greatest 3D interface out there but it just isn’t suitable for complex draughting from complex models in its current state. Unless users start pushing Trimble to make fundamental improvements it is never going to be able to compete with Auto Cad, Vectorworks or Rhino.

I love Sketchup and think it is an awesome tool, but I have to work at high levels of detail on large scale and layout in its current form will always struggle. If you use other CAD software you must know what I mean?

Anyway Sketchup Support told me to voice my views here as they said it is the best way for their tech department to take customer feedback. I’ll leave it at that.


The thing is, SU, from the start, was not really designed as a CAD program, even less a CAD killer.
I understand that for many people here, it has evolved into a CAD substitute, in great part thanks to third party extensions, but expecting the core of SU to compete with the major CAD programs is, again il my view, pointless :
The fact that they developed a powerful Revit importer tends to go that way, they are not trying to beat Revit at its own game, if you can’t beat them, join them. (Archicad can import / export with sketchup ok too). when people write “SU is not a competitive BIM tool” all I want to answer is "it’s not a BIM tool at all. it’s BIM compatible, but if you want to do some serious BIM, either add a thick layer of extensions and cross-software tools, or move to revit / archicad like everyone else.
Same could be said about rendering. For years, many people have advocated for a vanilla rendering tool, at least ambiant occlusion and clay rendering, like Blender offers.
Few years ago, when Vray joined the Studio pack, I saw it as a clear declaration of intent : no, SU won’t have a native rendering tool, but here’s a good deal on one

I wish Trimble had a more open communication about SU, like giving us a roadmap, something to understand their current and future choices. but hey, multi-billion dollar company love their secrecy :wink:

And there we might have a small semantics problem. Yes, sure, starting a message saying “Layout is useless, I’m better off using Vectorworks” is technically a feedback, but not one the devs can actually use to make a product better.

Go the extra mile (or 1,8km) and list stuff. not just stuff you feel is broken, but also stuff that would be nice to have. And here, sorry, I’m pouring on you, but it’s not just you, these last few month, we’ve seen a lot of anger against SU’s products, alas not enough actual propositions. And yes, someone will probably turn up and tell me “well we made this list a few years ago…” yes. Well take it, clean it from all the stuff that has been implemented / is not necessary anymore, and sort it out. Essential stuff, stuff that would be nice, daydraming stuff (again, not talking about you personally, you’re not Sisyphus atlas, you don’t have to carry it all)

Too many of these complaints are born out of anger and resentment, too many could be summed up by “why can’t SU be autocad / revit / other software once and for all”?

Here is an amazing list made recently by @benoldays

It’s not just wishful thinking, it’s actual bits and bugs, paths to evolution. That is a hell of a feeback. Go and add to it, back Brendan’s ideas with your experience.
Not everything will be solved or added overnight, and since Trimble has a (secret inside) roadmap, maybe stuff that goes in a different direction will be scrapped, and we’ll have to ask again. and again. and again.
But it’s better than nothing :slight_smile:

again, bit of a rant, not against you, but us all on this forum in general. let’s help them help us.


At a fraction of the price, it already does, even if it definitely is not CAD, nor wants to be.


Agree and I’ve posted similar.

Can you elaborate on what complex draughting is and what a complex model is…?

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Welcome to the club mate. I start a nice workflow with SketchUp and Vectorworks. For now, it’s the direction my business is taking. I wish it would be different but I feel that’s the best I can do in my situation. I still use Layout, but only for colour presentation in design phase.

I agree that layout has performance issues to fix, but there are ways to optimize a model and a workflow on layout that make it very usable.

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Mate I was just highlighting issues with Layout. I’m not here to have a ‘CAD off’ with anyone or deliberately trying to annoy lovers of Layout. Just want the bods at Sketchup to improve the interface.Thanks for all your feedback.

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