Layout is useless

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.


Mate, we are just trying to understand what kind of model makes Layout “useless”.

What I personally know is that when I have items in my models that significantly add to the poly count, e.g. recently in a model I had detailed roof tiles and cladding - this resulted in viewports in Layout taking significant numbers of seconds to refresh.

When I created a 3D proxy for these items, my Layout file became speedy again.


well then

they are not magicians, just devs. maybe they won’t fix all the stuff you tell them is broken, but they’ll definitively not fix it if you don’t tell them precisely. they can’t read your mind.

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To add my 2 cents worth:
I very often have dimensioning accuracy issues - in that something in SU is for instance 1209mm simply will not be dimensioned accurately in LayOut and ossilates between 1208 and 1210, and I have to enter the dimension manually. Really, my only gripe.
Is this not experienced by others?

i often have these dimensioning issued with LO. Drives me crazy. LO doesn’t seem very precise when you’re putting a fill over your model to address display issues, and often the lag time in the cursor is significant and so imprecise. i turn off my filled areas to dimension but still have discrepancies between the model and LO, thought sometimes i find that if i delete the dimension and put in a new one, it’ll find the correct value.

i have to agree with the OP here. LO is really primitive, though if you’re willing to spend the time it can produce some nice looking documents. Everything in this program takes so much longer that it would take in almost any other software (and i’ve used most of them). The behavior of so many of the tools is counterintuitive or falls short of what should reasonably be expected of modern drafting/documenting software. Whereas i find SU to be intuitive and easy to learn (it’s magic), LO is for the most part counterintuitive and difficult to learn. Why, if i want to draw a profile line on a specified layer, do i have to reset its values every single time? So time consuming and wasteful. i feel this program could be vastly improved but Trimble doesn’t want to devote the resources to do so.

I disagree on the part that it takes longer than on other softwares, I used autocad for many years, all my university years plus 5 years after that almost 11 years, and I stopped using it because I can do the documentation or presentation panels a lot faster on LO. At the beginning it can take a bit to understand how does the program works but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t intuitive. LO is a very powerful tool if you know how to optimize your workflow and skp model. I’m not gonna say that it’s perfect, I think everyone knows that it has things to be fixed, but no program is perfect, even autocad that is more than 40 years old has problems, it’s impossible for developers to create the perfect software without any bugs, and working perfect from day 1, maybe when AI are able to write code without the help of a human and develop an entire software by themselves we could see something like that, but until then no software will be perfect cause humans aren’t.


Layout is slow and clunky
but worst it has no options for plugins to add to it or improve it the way Sketchup has
this is a real failure to follow thru with the extensibility of Sketchup main

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I wish you had given some examples of the flaws - your NDA may prevent you from sharing the work, but should not hinder describing the software problems.

For example, the problems I have revolve around the slowdown when importing images into the sheet - it can get so bad it takes seconds to move or resize one, and juggle it back and forth to get located properly. Another is trying to select a viewport to move it, and all the labels as a unit, without accidentally selecting an object you don’t want, and having it move as well. When I try to set the scale in a viewport - say to 1/4" it goes to half the value - 1/8th, so I have to go to model info and rechange it there to get it right. Weird disconnect from one part of the software to another.

Lord help you if you accidently change a key model reference - your page is full of lines going to the top left corner. There’s no way to revert back - you have a flickering mess to untangle.
One more is locating the embedded references from the document setup page to edit them. It’s almost impossible to find and correct them. It would be nice if there were an online library of construction details you could access and import. I know that architects have their own that they cut and paste into the detail sheets. For those of us that don’t have such libraries, a lot of time is spent drawing them up.

My pet peeve is the lack of a tale measure tool to align viewports etc. Using the grid is time consuming.

Granted I have su 2018, and perhaps some of these issues have been resolved since then, but listing your complaints, as above, would help us and tech support understand what’s going on.