Line types (again!)

People often ask for a broken line feature in SU. It is explained to them that lines are not lines but edges and so have to be solid. They cannot be broken or have thickness.

However, a line/edge can either show or not show depending on whether it is hidden or not. Is there a reason why the way an edge is displayed cannot be anything other than those two? You could consider a broken line to be a partly hidden line. You couldn’t make it an option under Hide because that also can refer to other objects. But there could be options on displaying edge styles, couldn’t there?

The workaround using Layout is not really a substitute.

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Because I specifically use SketchUp for illustration I would love configurable line types within SketchUp. My work arounds at the moment include merging multiple style types in Photoshop or altering highlights in Illustrator. I realise I am in the minority doing non-arch viz work but I am happy you have also been thinking the same.

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Though you can make different line types in stylebuilder, you apply them to the whole model. If we could apply styles to individual groups/components/layers…

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Even those of us doing architectural work have a need for different line styles. We still have to communicate mainly on paper (ie. in 2D) and formal drawings normally consist of flat planes like floors and elevations where it is useful to show hidden items by broken lines (like beams above floor level or drain lines under the ground).

At present, you can select a line, a group of lines, a component, etc, and right click to choose Hide. I’m imagining that Hide might be replaced by, say, Linestyle which would have a sub-menu that would include Hidden, Solid, Dash, Dash-Dot, etc. It would allow you to do what Stylebuilder allows you to do but more specifically.

You can always divide your edges into segments and hide every other segment.


Box, you’ve surely seen 2d architectural drawings and other technical drawings or non technical illustrations with incredible amount of line styles…

Being able to split edges and hide every other edge doesn’t turn that into a sound workflow. You’re right that it is probably the only possible workflow. But It is, in practical terms, impossible for all but the most simple work, and even for that work there might be better post pro methods.

Having said that, 2d tools, from @TIG has an edge tyle tool that converts regular edges just as box suggested. Of course the changes become permanent.

So, edge styles feature request, should pop up again and again, until we have it. I cannot count the times I asked for it myself.


My comment was just a simple response for people that have never considered the basics of hide edges. I know it is far more complex but simple at the same time.

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Currently, IMO, the best, if still overly complicated workflow is to create scenes of what must be seen in different linestyles, send them to LayOut and stack copies of the scenes (vector rendering) on your LO page and explode the ones that must have an other line style than a continuous line and assign a linetype to the resulting groups . Whenever the model changes the process of stacking and exploding must be repeated.

For years I have asked for the option of assigning linetypes to LO viewports, just like you can assign a line thickness.


The fact that we can have back edges visible as dotted lines in SU makes me wonder why it has been such an issue for so long.

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And the fact that soft edges display differently than hidden edges or back edges.

And we have also guides which are not geometry but work with geometry.

But there’s also the fact that all these different styled edges don’t translate correcly to Layout in vector/hybrid mode, so they cannot be used in clean vector drawings or exported to CAD.

So, there could be so many different ways of exploring edge styling in SU+LO, but we have to conform ourselves to workarounds or drawing new lines on top of layout viewports, with no dynamic link to SU model.


Just thinking out loud here, but you could hide the whole line segment, and then draw one line segment at one end, and use move/duplicate to distribute a number of copies all the way to the other end. You might want the dashed line to be a group or component that can be rescaled. In fact, any one up to making a dynamic component that’s just a string of short lines evenly distributed over the length of a long line with length of dash and number of dashes as variables?

The Dashed Line plugin does that automatically.

I have done that with various line types and I once posted here an example. I might re-post it if I find it
Edit: here is an example of a dashed line. Sorry about the Finnish. You set the length of the dashes in the Component Options and the length of the line with the Scale tool. It works but it is rather a clumsy workaround.
.Katkoviiva.skp (19.0 KB)


There you go! It’s already been thought of done before. Thanks for finding it.

After dozens of requests, questions and suggestions, there is still no definitive solution to this problem. The weight of the lines, as well as their styles, do not work in an integrated way between Sketchup and Layout. Explode the vector template in the layout and change the lines, solve 1 problem, but create another 10.
This issue is of utmost importance for architectural representation / DC’s, since the output of projects is still 2D printing.
The idea of ​​Eneroth3 is, so far the best suggestion I have seen for this question: [FR] Support for line styling
Maybe if the lines were configurable according to each scene, then the views could go right to the layout, with the correct styles and weights.
But … if it is possible to see line widths in raster mode, why can not it be done in vector mode as well? This must be a very, very difficult problem to solve, because after so many requests, we still do not have a powerful tool for this.

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This is what interests me most: the reason we do not have it after so many requests. Perhaps it is technically hard to accomplish. Or it could be that our voices just aren’t loud enough. After all, the number of people who use this forum is small compared to the number of SU users out there. There may be other reasons. It might save a lot of future posts if developers could actually tell us why this feature is not available and maybe never will be.

This issue is similar to another beef I have about a dedicated Copy command (yes, I have droned on about it before!). At present, it is a sub-species of the Move command. Developers may feel that not having a dedicated command keeps the menu lean and also has a pleasing symmetry with other commands like Push/Pull and Rotate that also use a control key to copy. I don’t want to take this thread off in a new direction. I just want to point out that developers and end users may approach things a bit differently and so have different priorities.

Threads like these invariably attract helpful responses with workarounds. However, for very basic functionality used on a daily basis, they very rarely provide equivalence to a properly formed native facility.

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I also don’t know the explanation, but I doubt this is it. There are too many existing counterexamples!

Profiles already show a user-selectable line weight (and profiles are actually phantom edges that don’t necessarily correspond to any real edge!). Back edges are displayed as dashed lines. X-ray view uses a different line weight for edges from entities behind the foreground entity. Component edit shows the rest of the model or similar components with user-selectable fade, which affects both faces and edges. And, of course, edges can be set to color by material.

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Don’t forget back edges.

Sorry about comparing to the competition, but basically Revit has the same “difficulties” so that it too defaults to a hidden line view with all visible edges shown as continuous lines. To overcome this, it has two methods. You can either override lines in a view one by one, or apply an override filter to a defined set of objects.

I would imagine, that now when every model object has its own internal ID, the implementation of the first kind of overrides in LayOut would not be quite impossible (you click on edges and profiles in a SketchUp viewport to change their linetype, and, perhaps, on faces to make them invisible). The second method might perhaps be too un-SketchUp-like.

This issue is not similar to the issue you see with the dedicated copy command.

One can argue about how well the copy command is implemented (I love it btw), but we cannot argue how well edge styles have been implemented.

You can copy in Sketchup but you cannot style edges.