Layout sucks?

I used layout back when it came out, and it was ok, but pretty bad if your project was too big. I quickly moved away from layout and sketchup when i needed something with more power. Cut to last month where i had to go back to layout because of the project i was on: layout still sucks…for me. If i try to delete 2 or more dims (this happens when you make big changes in sketchup) it takes a long time proportional to the number of dims i delete. In the range of 30sec to 2 min. If i drag-copy a viewport too quickly, layout freaks out and flips the viewport back and forth over and over and over for any length of time between 1 and 5min. Entering text anywhere lags 3-5sec always. Snapping dims to a viewport is random. Moving something around the page is like pushing pennies through molasses.

My coworkers weren’t so surprised, they had all these work arounds like: never have more than one sheet/page in a layout file; never group too many things together; never ever use vector or hybrid rendering; when layout hangs, use this as an opportunity to stretch. I am not joking or being hyperbolic. These are real things that were said to me at work. This is not how layout should work IMO, but still their experiences weren’t as bad as mine from what i could tell. Even more poignantly for me, i remember layout always being like this which is why I’ve always avoided it for serious work.

When i recently started trying to solve this problem, i noticed that in youtube videos, and on this forum, layout is more smooth; even flawless. It looks like it just works. I have a middle of the road tower. Ryzen 7 gen 2, nvidia 1060 w/6Gb vram, 32Gb ram. All the latest drivers. 1Tb ssd. 1000W psu. A fresh install of Win 10. And fresh SU2019. It is a roughly $800 rig. It isn’t a render-burner, but it runs Vectorworks, cinema4d, Rihno and Premier/after effects like a champ. This setup should work with layout, right? My coworkers’ were running layout on 5yo mac laptops and newer. And, though there was some lag and layout kookyness, they couldn’t do a pee break when they deleted 5 viewports (ie, it only took a few or 10s of seconds). Is this a mac/pc problem? Should i just relegate myself to single page layout files? Do i need a $3k pc rig to run layout? Is layout only optimised for mac?

Is it just me? Am i on some blacklist at Trimble where i am supposed to suffer layout as Sisyphus suffers his bolder?

I’ve been doing as much research as i can, but any hints or clues would be great. I’m sure I will be dragged back to layout again in the future.



Yep! This happens to me too once in a while. It’s #@$%*! annoying.

But despite the annoyances that I suffer it generally works satisfactory for what I do. The last time I used anything else for professional work was AutoCAD 2007 back in 2007 so I can’t really compare it.

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Your other thread
tells me that you have an issue with your system. So until you can resolve that Layout will work poorly.
It sounds like your graphic card is the problem and may not be working well with Win 10. You may have to hunt for an older driver to get it to work correctly.

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Yeah that was weird, but i think it was a funny windows install. I was having the same issues with layout before i cleaned house. The 1060 is an older form factor by a few years, and the card itself is 2 years-ish old. However, consider that everything else is running great. I mentioned my productivity apps, but i can run games great too. I drive an acer 1440p x144hz monitor, and get 100-120fps in CS:GO, and 80-100fps in pubg. Not blazing, but good enough for a casual gaming rig. Granted, when my vectorworks files get into the 90Mb range i start to get laggy in OGL with everything on, but I think that’s a slow ram issue. My layout files are never that big. I’d buy faster ram, but I’m saving up my money for a threadripper rig.

I see where you’re going, thinking about older drivers, but i don’t think that would be great for the rest of my system. I also run layout on my laptop with a discreet nvidia gtx 1050 card and core i7, and get the same laggy draggy issues. Both of my computers exceded the basic requirements and run sketch up great, but not layout.

Is layout smooth and buttery on your rig? What are your specs? What should i be looking out for in my next rig? Do i need to consider the newest, fastest 2080Ti (or better?) to get layout to smooth out?


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As with all software in general, we tend to learn to deal with the limitations.
You need to have a system.
Check this:


The reason is in the operating system. For MAC, SU and LO work better, perhaps because developers use MAC or because of different libraries.

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I have similar experiences & frustration (Win10, GTX 1070, quad-core i5 @ 4.4ghz). The laggy text editing, for example, makes using Layout feel like a drag I want to avoid. I might resort to one page per Layout file (currently working on a 20-page document). I also might set up a Hackintosh partition to see how it works on Mac. I also plan to gradually & begrudgingly learn Revit.

I tested a small simple sketchup model in LO, and it was buttery smooth. In my 20-page residential construction document, fruitless attempts at optimization include minimizing the layers shown (in SU), rendering only in raster mode, and setting my GPU to max performance.

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I find when I insert images, with each successive one, the lag increases radically until the program is barely functioning. I have taken to resizing every single image I enter which helps.

You would think that the program would have a draft mode where it would automatically downsize images so it has a workable system of creating pages. If it does, I have yet to find it.

There’s just some basic clunkieness inherent in the program, that makes me feel it is a conglomeration of work arounds. It is impossible to do line weights in SU so in LO you are drawing over the imported model to have different line weights, which, in my mind, is a work around.

As I continue to use the program, I am getting used to it’s quirkiness. I wish they would rethink it though. As I said elsewhere, I feel it needs a dedicated word processer in the tray, because the current system is very unwieldly.

I am sure my understanding of what is going on under the hood is flawed, but it seems like the program is trying to hold too much in memory and performance is suffering. Maybe that is the root cause of your problems?

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If you follow Mike Brightman’s ideas (which I’ve referred to in a previous recent other topic) you can get line weights in LO without having to trace over…


Yes, you don’t need to do that. There are many ways to vary the line weight through the use of your scenes in SketchUp and the the line scale used in the SketchUp render tray in LO. Mike Brightman’s video is an excellent example.


I avoid the lineweight workaround problem by using colour, shadow and fog for depth

PS, prefer numbered list notes as these are much easier to convert to alternative language (vietnamese in my case) or bilingual without affecting the drawing…


Drawing standards in our parts (ISO, I think) specify a maximum of three lineweights in a drawing:

  • thin lines, depicting things that are on a surface
  • medium lines, depicting edges that define a “jump” in space
  • thick lines, for section cut edges
    Each lineweight must be double the thickness of the lines that are thinner.
    This is rather straightforward to set up in SketchUp (edges 1, profiles 2, section cut edges 4) and the paper lineweights can then be adjusted in LayOut.

If you want “half steps” in between, then the answer is the square root of two, and that is indeed a standard for lineweights among technical drafting pens. The result is a series of numbers photographers know by heart for f-stops: 1, 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4 ,5.6, etc., except going down from 1: 1, 0.7, 0.5, 0.35, 0.25, etc

In the late '80’s ~ early '90’s, moving from hand drafting with technical pens, and drawing on the computer with either laserprinters or pen plotters for output, I spent time thinking about lineweights and the relationship between mm’s and points. It turns out the conversion factor is very close to a factor of root 2 as well, so a similar series of numbers work together in both point and mm’s. Here’s a table I worked out.

Pens, points and pixels-0,3.pdf (29.8 KB)

I also spent time measuring actual results, and laserprinters were not delivering lines as thin as theoretically possible from their specs, but my charts from then are so old, current Excel won’t open the files!


This exact kind of stuff happens to me all the time!!! I do have a $3k+ PC rig, and it was the same for me on another expensive rig a couple years ago. I was running it on a 2015 MacBook with less lags before that, too! Unless there’s something install setting that I completely missed, Layout on PC is a joke and Trimble needs to do some serious fixing ASAP!

Fog only works in raster mode I believe.

I find the line weight quality not good with raster and attempting to mask with vector linework doesn’t work for me.

But, yes, using shadows for elevations and sections is a good way of adding depth perception.

Yes true Paul… might also work in hybrid mode too… will check… just really just showing there are alternatives to lineweight in defining form…technology now offers many alternatives to traditional lineweights… Hell, I prefer just to give them a 3d model with all the information linked or embedded and be done with it… but until get a universal open source data exchange model this is what it is… at least I dont produce anything on paper any more… all electronic

PS , Hybrid works similarly

I have had the same issues only with 2020, I have worked on over 40 projects last year each with 15+ pages and working with viewports that had some pretty complex geometry all with no issues. Now with 2020 I am seeing lines on my computer screen so I think this may be an issue with the graphics card

Radeon Pro 560X 4 GB

Intel UHD Graphics 630 1536 MB but my computer can’t be that old and everything was functioning perfeclty before the update. LAYOUT is continually freezing although the program is not recognizing the freeze, everything just stops updating. I try and move items and it shows in the viewport in the pages section but not on the actual Screen.

You might find it interesting to compare your GPUs on the various benchmark sites out there.

The integrated Intel graphics aren’t recommended for SkertchUp and LayOut.

Generally graphics cards that are well-suited to gaming and have excellent support for OpenGL are suggested for SketchUp and LayOut.

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Honestly, I’ve had issues with every version of Layout I’ve ever used, on Mac and PC. Right now I have a 6950x running at 4ghz, 64gb of ram, and a Titan RTX, and Layout still consistently lags, crashes, or just stops responding. I really think Layout is just poorly optimized and needs to be rebuilt from the ground up to function properly.

It really is just garbage from a usability standpoint.

Okay, rant over. I have to go back to Layout… not responding… again.