Scaling viewports

I am just moving from using Vectorworks and can’t see how to do something that I am used to.
How do you add annotations (especially dimensions), scale bars and titles with a scale label that all scale with the viewport when you change the viewport scale? (hoping this isn’t a feature request!)
many thanks

As you refer to a viewport, you must be referring to Layout.

I don’t think you can do what you want as simply as you want. You could draw the scale bar in SU, or 3D text, and, like the drawing, it would all scale up. But the scale bar would scale up in every direction and would not tell you what scale it was. So it probably isn’t an elegant solution. Plus, you’d be adding annotation and non-geometric stuff to the model itself.

Personally, I have a Scrapbook with the scale bars I use and I just drag the appropriate one in. Text and dimensioning are also best done in Layout.

I migrated from AutoCad and it is a common thing for people to expect to be able to do specific things in SU that they used to do before. But you often can’t. Even things that look similar aren’t necessarily. What SU used to call Layers and now calls Tags (because of the confusion) don’t work the same way as in most other CAD.

It’s a bit like playing football all your life and then playing rugby and wondering why people don’t seem to be using a proper ball. I mean, a ball is round, right? Wrong.

thanks for your response. It is interesting moving between programmes. Devotess of each programme can’t see a possible reason why you would want to do something a different way to the one they are used to!

Yes - it does feel like that at the moment… I mean when you rescale a viewport - why can’t it just re render automatically?!

seems like a serious limitation that scale bars and scale labels don’t scale dynamically with the viewport scale.

Do you mean that you have a range of scale bars set to appropriate size/scale in the scrapbook? Do they take account of the size of the paper?

I don’t think that’s really the case here. There have been requests for the sorts of things you have asked for. The LayOut team is small and has to prioritize the features it works on and adds.

As for the scale bars you could make a scaled drawing of one and change its scale if you need to. Simon makes a good point though. Would you want the a horizontal scale bar to double in height if you double its length? That might work but maybe not.

In reality how many different scales would you use in a project?

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well, your first sentence is a case in point. Anyway, it is more a case of having different construction drawings on the same sheet - each viewport may have a different scale and as you arrange the viewports on the page and perhaps resize them, you would want the scale label to alter dynamically (as it does in other CAD software)

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Completely agree

With all software, you need to learn how to deal with it’s limitations.
A general ‘viewport info’ would be nice.
What filename
(And other metadata of the file, like date/timestamp)
What size
What scale

I agree - perhaps Sketchup will add that at some point. At the very least a dynamic link to a scale label is needed

I can honestly say, I haven’t set a scale bar on plans in at least 10 years.


Me, never. In our parts, all relevant dimensions have to be indicated with dimension lines, and using a scale rule to take dimensions from a printed drawing is in principle forbidden.

A scale bar is for drawings in publications etc. where the actual scale may be arbitrary.

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But you do have some indication on the page that could be linked?

Where we live, there are certain sets of drawings needed for permits for top view (1:100), elevations (1:50), details (1:5) this can vary depending on the size of the building.
Usually displayed in the titleblock for all, but sometimes the scale varies on the same page.

yes - you are right - viewports on the same page can vary in scale, depending on what detail you are showing. In the title block I usually say ‘scale - as shown @a3’ or what ever paper is used. It is more the viewport labels that I want to show the scale automatically. Scale bars not so much the issue

I am also finding that when changing the scale of viewports, the dimensions are moving with the drawing, but annotations - the arrow head stays glued to the model but the text stays where it is. This isn’t what I expect to happen; is there a setting I am missing to set all annotations to move/scale with the viewport if it is moved on the page or rescaled?

My first General Note on EVERY drawing set is “DO NOT SCALE DRAWINGS”.

In the UK all Planning Drawings MUST have a scale bar, or they get rejected. I too suffer but hey ho… 1 step at a time.

this is what I’ve been putting on my Planning drawings for a year or so…

Screenshot 2021-03-18 203804

You can easily create an appropriate scale bar in LO. If you make it as a scaled drawing and save it in a scrapbook. Make a collection of scale bars at the commonly used scales. If you need a different scale, pull one out of the scrapbook and change the scale to suit. If you are adding the scale text, edit it after you change the size.

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Hi Dave,
Please forgive me for an “off topic” question, but I couldn’t help noticing your comment re LayOut team size.
Your comment suggests that you may have some insight/knowledge about the relative size of Adam’s team in relation to the overall SU team? (I promise not to use any information in a negative way!)
I’m just curious, and trying to see the “lay of the land” with regard to Trimble’s commitment to the software …
Thanks, Bill

I have no inside knowledge and I guess if I did, I’d be forbidden from talking about it. All I can tell you regarding Trimble’s commitment to LayOut is that they are very much committed to it and have been actively making improvements to it with every version. Trimble is clearly much more committed to SketchUp and LayOut than Google were back when they sold it. There have been many improvements made even since 2018 (the version your profile indicates you are using) and I expect we’ll see even more improvement coming down the pipe soon.

I see a lot of people complaining that things don’t change quickly enough. What they fail to take into consideration is that the code is very complex and you can’t just make a whole bunch of huge changes all at once. There’s too much inter-connectedness between parts of code so a change to one part can have unintended consequences in other parts. Fixing and improving things requires a methodical approach to make sure you don’t wreck something else by mistake. It’s really the same as fixing or improving anything. You don’t just throw a pile of parts at a car or an anesthesia machine hoping one of them will fix the thing. It’s the same with software.

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Thank You Dave,
I appreciate your considered and nuanced reply.
Yes, I’m still using 2018, but have been carefully following the LayOut improvements in detail since (and the Forum members prolific feedback and response). I will have to update to 2021 before the end of the year, and will do so with mixed feelings!
I do understand your points about the nature of complex software, with it’s many inter-connected parts, and the ripple effects one "improvement’ can have on the overall operational integrity of the software. We are (slowly) seeing the results of this methodical, incremental software improvement approach you describe.
I, for one, am hoping for a faster and more dramatic set of LayOut improvements. LayOut deserves more attention, and soon! I just think Trimble should dedicate a bigger budget and team to get it done.
Thanks again for your continued, valuable presence and contributions to this Forum!