Request for new dimension tool features in SketchUp Pro

I would like to see a feature added to the dimension tool in SU Pro.

We dimension inside SU because it provides a finer level of detail than Layout.

The extension lines that connect a dimension to an object often overlay other objects making the view confusing. This could be resolved with an option to shorten the extension lines so they look something like |-------- 36" --------| yet stay connected to the object so that changes are updated when the object is resized.

Such an option could be included in the Model Info/Dimensions Dialog with a checkbox and text along the lines of “Extend dimension lines to object.” “On” connects the lines visibly to the object, like it does now. “Off” shortens the lines yet remains connected to the object invisibly.


Could you clarify that?

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I’m a bit curious too about the length of the ‘extension lines’.

I’m curious about your comment regarding “level of detail” with dimensions in LayOut.

Our dims sometimes go down to 3mm or less to show offsets or details we need to have our fabricators pay attention to.

Showing dims that small is a pain when doing it in layout.

Layout is not really the point anyway. We want to dim in SU and would like the SU dim tool to have increased functionality.

OK. I’m not trying to argue with you. I regularly add dimensions in construction documents that are less than 3mm and have no problem with it. Personally I’d much rather do that in LayOut than in SketchUp but to each his own.

Appreciate your response and insight. It is a personal preference which is probably formed from the pre-layout days. I’ve been using SU since Google had it and like the way dimensioning works inside SU. I tried the Layout way for a year or so and have always migrated back (old dog, new tricks…).

We’ve worked with the developer of CabinetSense software, an awesome SU plugin, and he included a ruby script to dimension the way we like it. However, the dimension doesn’t link to the component so if you resize the component, you have to resize the associated dimension.

We’d really like to see SU add the functionality I mentioned in the previous post.

I’m probably missing the point, but thought I should point out that you can make very small dimensions, these could go to 6 decimals if you wanted. Finding a balance between screen size and fixed size can resolve may issues.
Tiny Dims

I’ve been using SketchUp since well before the Google days and LayOut since it was first introduced. The Dimension tools in LayOut are much better now than they were early on and I now only use the SketchUp Dimension tool when I’m making a quick illustration in response to a question about using SketchUp.

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I would like there to be more dimensions control/options as well as I don’t use layout. I am using auto magic dimensions plugin which speed up my workflow and the developer of that plugin says there is a bug in sketchup that does not let one to allow dimension to attach to geometry and that sketchup where looking to fix it in the next API ruby update. Something like that anyway. I think that if you use mm for text size instead of points you should be able to achieve what you are after.

We designed LayOut to be the place where you make drawings (with titleblocks, dimensions and notes) as an companion to SketchUp, where you make models. Consequently, we’re more likely to add new dimensioning features in LayOut than we are to do so in SketchUp.

But maybe I can be convinced… why is it better to do your dimensioning in model space than it is to do it in a drawing space?


Thanks for your response.

I don’t know that it’s any better or worse…

I can automate dimensions in SU with Ruby, When I annotate a drawing in Layout, if the view in SU needs to be changed, the annotations in Layout end up out of place and have to be moved. If I annotate in SU, they stay in place in Layout even if I need to resize the window associated with the annotations. The SU annotations also scale with the drawing in Layout.

I’m really not interested in BIG SU changes - I would just like the option to shorten the connector line between the object and the dimension.

In the image below, the right version is just less open to confusion that the left. The left version extends the lines to the object and while in this simplistic example it’s fairly easy to discern what is what, in more complicated drawings the connector lines can easily be mistaken for construction lines.

Paul Verhelst, the creator of the CabinetSense plugin for SU added the functionality of the dimensions on the right, but they don’t link to the component, so if the size changes, the object has to be redimensioned or push-pulled into place.

Ideally, I would like to see an option for the view on the right in native SU dimensioning which also scales correctly when the object is scaled.

I think we have you covered in LayOut. Here’s an example I just drew there. The settings you want (shortening the connector line, etc.) are all included in the base Dimension entity style. Just set one dimension up the way you want it, and then you can use the eyedropper/paint bucket icons to duplicate the style where you want. Have a look at this Help Center article (“Marking Dimensions”) for all the details.

Most importantly, these dimensions are associated with geometry in SketchUp. They update when I make geometric changes in the model. For example:


CabinetSense is a great plugin, but it is working against the grain a little bit here. We designed SketchUp to be a 3D modeling environment, and LayOut to be the 2D drafting tool that accompanies it. We’re still more likely to add dimensioning features in LayOut than in SketchUp. For now, I think we have what you need already?

I use the dimension tool in SketchUp after I export to Layout, then I correct the dimensions in Layout to reflect those from SketchUp. A bit of a pain in the butt, but it gets me the best of both worlds.

Sketchup serves both 3D and 2D modeling needs and has worked quite well for us for years. We create multiple scenes to view the project in the various ways we need to present it.

The fact of the matter is, it’s just plain easier to dimension in SU - especially when referencing points and when measuring small distances. Just out of curiosity, I opened a recent Layout file and attempted to dimension a 1/4" reveal. Getting it to snap to a reference point was like jumping on a moving merry-go-round. When you zoom in to a finer level of detail in Layout, line integrity is diminished unless you can figure out which is best between raster, vector and hybrid views - that doesn’t happen in SU.

Additionally, we send the SU file out to the shop so they can dig into the drawing if needed. Our components have working drawers and doors and they can open (or hide) door and drawer faces to determine details of sub-components behind. They rely on the dimensions in the drawing as well as having the ability to snap dimensions of some of the internal parts if needed. Layout doesn’t provide that functionality.

I understand that Trimble’s position is that Layout is the end-all for 2D representation of a drawing, but it is not. For dimensions, SU is easier, faster and more versatile when it comes to finer dimensions or dimensions of distances between objects on different planes. We’ll just continue doing it the way we have been.


Dear John (et Al)

I agree with JStockCo, I use Sketchup for designing Commercial sets and scenery and it is inevitably easier to dimension in Sketchup, also I have never understood why the Sketchup dimensions (in perspective) look so different when sent to Layout. It makes the document look ugly and inconsistent and I end up not using layout as a consequence as client and constructions visual understanding these days takes perspective drawings into account far more than 2d plans and elevations. I love Sketchup and would really like to see better consistency with Layout and proper auto updating etc… Also like JStock, I send out full model files so the construction can grab info from the file that I may not have dimensioned to the nth degree.

best regards and looking forward to 2020 when this will all be sorted…:slight_smile:


Sketchup Pro 2019

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I guess we will always need some way to map a particular PoV in the model to a particular 2D projection in a drawing, right? Is there another way you would prefer it to be handled? Scenes seem to me the closest shared concept.

The key point here, I think, is that you are want to have dimensions in perspective? This isn’t something that is traditionally done in orthographic drawings. You are correct in noting that we don’t have a way to support that particular case in LayOut.

The entire SketchUp model is included with a saved LayOut document and can be opened and queried from there by another user. This would, of course, require that the other user also has a copy of LayOut.

There’s a much larger set of questions hinted at here. Wouldn’t it ultimately be better for you to share complete, navigable, dimensionally accurate 3D models with construction-minded colleagues? The 2D construction document is a rich way to share design intent, but a 3D model is better. We just aren’t (as an industry) really ready to make that change yet.

Trimble Connect has been designed to make it easier for construction teams to share 3D model data with one another without needing to make construction documents. Of course, you will still probably also have to make construction documents for legal reasons :wink:


You really don’t have to use Scenes to control model views in LayOut, but sometimes it is more convenient to do so. This is especially true if you are doing lots of complicated showing/hiding between model views.

I think the problem for many folks right now is that some, but not all, of the things you might want to control in LayOut are available. You mention:

  • Orbit: full camera control in LayOut.
  • Style: partial control in LayOut (select a Style, but not edit the selected Style)
  • Camera Option: full contol over Orbit, Pan and Zoom; cannot control FoV in LayOut
  • Shadows: full control over date/time and ability to toggle Shadows on/off; cannot control lightness/darkness in LayOut

You can make these changes in LayOut without breaking the update link. Assuming what you want to update is the model’s geometry. Sometimes having only some control is worse than having no control over a set of attributes?

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