Missing Images in Layout - new issue

Hi There - I’ve been using Layout since the first year it was released. I love the function that allows you to copy and paste images into any page in a layout file. Currently using version 23.1.341, on a Macbook Pro M1 Max running Sonoma 14.5

We use a template at the beginning of any project - it contains all sorts of code information, checklists for drawing standards, pictures of typical details, etc. Ever since I started using the newest version of Layout, however, all of these images that have been in our template file for years are now missing. They’ve been replace with a gray box with a red ‘X’ iin it. The Document Setup list doesn’t show the document name, or any other information, except “Missing” and then the insertion date of the image.

This is kind of devastating for us, because these images have been accumulated over time (years), and include critical information that will take many, many hours to reproduce - or even find at all, since we don’t know what some of the images even were to begin with!

This behavior is happening across all layout files, including ones we’ve been working with in the last few weeks.

I tried to find other solutions to this topic in past posts, the last one with a solution was in 2020:
but it only discusses how to keep the problem from happening with images inserted from this point on - Is there ANY way to recover/reload/even locate the ones that have gone missing?

I cannot stress enough how this is going to set us back on our projects. Kind of freaking out here!

Any advice would be much appreciated!

If you have images that are part of your template they should be unlinked from the original reference file so that they are embedded. That way if the original files get moved or removed or LayOut cannot access them, maybe because they are stored in the cloud, it doesn’t matter. Only the embedded copy is needed.

It’s generally not a great idea to copy and paste references into LayOut. Copying an image or other file creates a temporary file that will be deleted by the OS at some point. For project-specific references the safest thing is to keep the originals in a local project folder and use File>Insert to add them to the LayOut project. This keeps the originals available separate from the LO file. Insert actually creates a reference link to the original which Copy and Paste does not do. In earlier versions of LayOut, copying and pasting create a reference link to a temporary folder that would get cleared out by the OS at some point. A few versions back there was a change so the files would automatically become embedded so LayOut wouldn’t try looking for files that were deleted…

Make sure the references are saved locally and not to the cloud.

1 Like

I’ve tried to replicate this 2 different ways in SU2024 / LO2024 on my Intel Mac using a .jpg, but it sounds like the missing files are SU?
As far as recovering the missing files, I’m at a loss without the path info.
Were the lost files images (.jpg / .tiff / .png) or SU files (.skp) or something else altogether?

Hi Craig, Thanks for reaching out, and thanks for the help!

So yeah, this is all happening in Layout. The files are all images (.jpg / .tiff / .png). They were either imported, or dragged and dropped into the Layout sheets. Like I said, we’ve been using Layout for years. One of the Layout files that this happened to is our project template, which is a file that was originally created back in 2016 or something, and has been continually updated and added to every few weeks since then. We’ve never had this issue before with that file or any other. It’s just something new, and as far as I can tell, has happened as a function (or coincidentally with) the latest SU/LO update.

Hello Dave - Really appreciate your help! This is great information, and probably something that SU might want to include with the “instruction manual” lol. It IS weird, though, that we’ve NEVER had this issue in the last eight years, the whole time using the copy and paste, import or drag/dropped methods into the Layout files. And, a note to the developers (if they read these posts), if it’s not a good idea to copy and paste images into Layout, why is that even an option? Not only an option, but a ‘feature’ that is touted as a convenience. Like ‘we’ve got this feature, but we’re not going to give you a heads up that of you use it, you’re going to be really sorry down the road.’ I mean, I’d expect that from cigarette companies, but not our dearly beloved Sketchup :slight_smile:

It sounds like this might be and SOL situation for us, which is a bummer. But for future, since I didn’t even know that you could ‘unlink’ image files, is there any guidance on how to do that?

Thanks again for the help and advice.

Sorry Dave, I didn’t see this on the first round of reading your response.Appreciate you!

PS. If anyone else has any ideas on a possible way to reload these missing images, I’d still be all ears.That will save us a lot of work and heartache. Thanks!

Hi Tim,

I’ve seen these sorts of issues with copying and pasting since the first version of LayOut was released. As I wrote, it used to be that copying and pasting things like images resulted in references with paths to a temp folder that will get deleted at some point by the operating system. At least now, in the last few versions, the reference doesn’t point to a temporary file and instead, LayOut automatically embeds the references.

Maybe even more surprising is copying and pasting from SketchUp to LayOut. Each time you do that you get a separate embedded .skp reference. None of those are linked to original SketchUp model so edits you make to that model file will not carry over to LayOut. And the pasted viewports use the “Last saved SketchUp view” for the scene so if you open the SketchUp reference file from LayOut to edit it, any orbiting or zooming you do before saving will show in the viewport.

I agree with you that some of these things should not be available or should be an option the user can enable (presumably with the understanding of the implications of enabling them). The did make it so you have to enable SketchUp model editing in order to double click into a viewport to orbit, zoom, or pan the camera. Unfortunately some users still enable that feature without understanding what they are getting themselves into.

All of these things like copying and pasting or editing the camera position in LO can be useful for a one-off thing that you don’t care about. Maybe you just need to get something out to the client on Friday afternoon so you can leave for the weekend and go fishing. But if you are creating documents you’ll need to go back to next week, next month or in five years, I think it’s best to stay on the straight and narrow, if you know what I mean. That also includes keeping project related references in a local folder with the LayOut file.

Unlinking references is done in File>Document Setup>References. Highlight the reference and click the Unlink button. This is from a current project. The logo image is part of the template. As you can see that image file is embedded and it was originally inserted when I made the first version of this template in 2018.

Also note the abbreviate paths for the project specific references. That’s because the references are in the same folder as the LayOut file.

Side note that may or may not be of interest. This thread got me wondering about early LO files I created. I opened up a bunch from LO version 2 and 3. No problems with missing references. The only issue is that most of them used a font I removed from my computer. Not really a big deal, though.

1 Like

Well, some good news! I opened another recent project file we’re working on, and found that, although the images were all labeled ‘Missing’, at least all their paths were still visible. They were still not able to be re-linked, but at least I could go to the ‘ref’ file where they were living. I copied and pasted them to a new folder in my Project Template, and pasted them there.

At least we will be able to determine the images that were in our original template, and reload them all there. Now it’s just a matter of sorting through 80+ images and figure out which ones were project-specific, and which ones belong in the Template, and where they go. But all is not lost. If only we had an intern!

But it sounds like we won’t need to ‘unlink’ them all, once they are re-placed, since they are automatically embedded? We will, however, save all images into the Template Images folder from now on, prior to inserting them into the Layout files.

1 Like

Note that Missing in the status indicates that LayOut can’t see the file at the path. If the images were moved, deleted, or saved in a cloud location that LayOut can’t immediately access.

Also consider that .layout files are really .zip files you could extract the references from the REF folder inside.

Weird - I tried to replicate your problem on SU2024 / LO2024.
First method was to use Insert to place a .jpg in an existing layout, then I deleted the original .jpg in Finder. Document Setup (in Layout) shows the .jpg as missing, but retained the path information of it’s last known location. Also, the .jpg is still present in the layout.
Second method was to copy-drag (effectively cut/paste) the same .jpg into the layout with the exact same effect.

Honestly, I think this might have been a Google Drive issue (in terms of the missing paths). Not long ago I believe I had to log back in to all of my Google accounts, as if it was a first-time login on my computer. This may have been when the file paths were lost.


It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve seen this with files from others with the same issue due to cloud-saved references being inaccessible.