Layout - the useless Trimble remains inactive

I posted at length, about 2-3 years ago, complaining about how Layout was significantly worse that previous earlier versions. I recently had to use it for a very small architectural project and the whole process was nothing but pain – slow, frustrating, counter-intuitive, clunky and hugely time consuming – other than that, it was fine! In my opinion it’s become worse with the most recent update. It is almost useless and not worth the money I paid for it.

If LO were a standalone product for importing 3d data, to make 2d orthogonal drawing with notes, colour etc, it would be an abject failure, no one in their right mind would use it. It’s just that it’s paired with Sketchup, which is a really decent, intuitive application – it’s hard to believe that both applications come from the same company.

I have written to the company who sells me the Trimble licence (here in th UK), asking for a partial refund as the LO part of my package is not fit for purpose. I wasn’t seriously expecting any refund, just making a point, the company gave a polite reply saying there is no fixed part of the licence which covers LO as it’s an all-in-one package. Fair enough. Still, I asked them to forward it to the useless Trimble…

I’ve neither the time nor the inclination to list all the instances of LO failures, glitches, snail pace actions etc. but, looking at the recent postings about Layout, I’ve no need to – most of problems are there. Dozens and dozens of moaning frustrated Trimble customers and, no, I’m not inclined to watch a 38 minute video explaining how to speed up LO. Trimble really needs to sort this out.

BTW. If there’s anyone out there who thinks LO is ‘really great’ and uses it all the time without any problems and loves it to death then please get in touch.

Sorry to hear about your experience.

Yours is completely the opposite of mine - fast and easy to use and certainly not clunky.

But I’m on Windows not Mac…

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I sympathize. Like you, I’m on a Mac and suffer similar issues. Also UK based (like Paul).

I don’t think I would go quite as far as you in your complaint though. I think there is much to like about LO that you (probably) wouldn’t get in,say, Autocad’s Paperspace.

Where I do agree is that Trimble either won’t or can’t update LO to make it suitable for professional use. They have tinkered at the edges once or twice but I imagine board meetings where they say “well, hell, we gotta do something”.

This has been a problem for so long that I think we have to assume it’s never getting any better. Developers seem to be moving the whole thing online and may suppose that the days of 2D representations and printing out are just old hat. I just wish we could convince planners and builders of that!

There is always also the question of what kind of models people call “small”. I have seen this epithet used of models crammed with 3D entourage elements from the Warehouse, amounting to millions of faces.
BTW, LayOut has had some performance gains since version 2020.

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Hi Martin

As a Windows user I have nothing but good things to say about Layout, and I think I produce some pretty good work with it. No doubt there are flaws, but I don’t seem to have come across them yet.

It took me 2 years to really hit my stride with LO. I’m producing high end custom residential projects with SU and LO only. My LO files include 2 site plans one with ground floor cut plane and one with first floor cut plane. Foundation Plan, First Second and roof plans, Reflected ceiling plans. All elevations, 6 or 7 building sections, room finish schedules, door and window schedules with elevations, a couple of pages of wall sections and details. And full electrical plans. All out of one LO file and it runs smoothly. 28 to 30 24x36 sheets. All schedules are generated with Report Generator exported to excel and hot references in layout. All Door and window tags are automatic and pulled from model attributes. All room finish schedules are pulled from space objects in the model with attributes selected from pull down options and include automatic room area calculations. All the project data in my titleblock is cells from a excel file and is hot linked.
I could go on. The point is to really know Layout is to love Layout. In all fairness I use 2 hot windows mobile workstations. If I were on a Mac I would get a pc just for SU and LO.


Hey Martin,
As a Mac user, I sympathize with your frustration … I think simoncbevans nails it pretty well when he says: “Trimble either won’t or can’t update LO to make it suitable for professional use … This has been a problem for so long that I think we have to assume it’s never getting any better.”.
After reading this forum for several years, it would seem that windows users (like Paul M) don’t encounter negative issues, and therefore don’t understand our Mac/LayOut experience, or why we sometimes complain.

Have you taken our free course on SketchUp Campus for creating a conceptual documentation package with LayOut? - LayOut Design Package

I know there are a few things that can slow LayOut’s performance down, like complex models rendered in Vector mode…but other than that it should work fine. Feel free to post any more specific issues you’re running into (re: performance, workflow, etc) and myself or someone else on this forum will gladly help.

I also use PC and really do not encounter speed issues. I just finished generating 4 pages of interior elevations in less than 2 hours. That included setting up all the section planes and scenes in SU.

The only Apple products I use are my iPad and phone and I love both of them. I never dove into using a mac though. I was tempted once, but you simply cannot get the graphic power easily that you can with a PC.

The typical slow downs are caused by large models being vector rendered in their entirety on single project LO files. Updating my final models does take a little time to render, but never more than 30-40 seconds max for the larger more complex homes. During the early phases of design the updated on pages takes 5-10 seconds for a large home. I know I sound like a broken record, but there are ways to make LO fast:

  1. Setup your project with drawing specific files - not all in one file. You will find this speeds things up considerable and is much easier during plan check and construction when you only need to access a few pages of a set.
  2. Do not vector render the entire model. There is no need. I vector render only that which is caught by the section plane.
  3. 3D warehouse is convenient but many, many , many of the models in there are not optimized at all. Always inspect what you are importing and verify that the really cool toilet you plan to repeat 6 times in your model is not a 20mb file.

I would say watching videos is something you should try. There are many that would help you get the most out of LO and how it interacts with SU.