Some ideas for changes to Layout Dimensions

If SU is to be taken seriously in the CAD world the Layout Dimension feature needs to be far more powerful than it is at the moment. Nearly all the dimension functions taken for granted in Autocad are not available. The Dimension Toolbar looks like someone just lost interest and gave up! This is sloppy and amateurish at best.


The toolbar doesn’t look like much and some tools are missing. It could be more powerful, no doubt about it, but if you know how to use it well, it’s incredibly powerful already.

Now, in v2017, with PID, they are way more powerful than what I was used to when using CAD, at least in the key features.

If, instead of just boosting a destructive comment you’d consider asking how to do something, suggest a change or state something that is simply not working as it should, probably Layout 2018 could be way better.

This comment can only make people a bit more sad.


LayOut is so frustrating to use in so many ways, (dimensions being only one) that it doesn’t surprise me when people make comments in this tone.

We’re compelled by what LayOut is capable of — in terms of output and SU integration — and repelled by how much pain it takes to get there.

There is so much wrong with the LayOut UI that it’s hard to know where to begin. It is true that PID removes one of the major frustrations of previous versions (dimensions unconnected from the underlying model), and that is reason for faint hope that things will get better with each successive version.

It’s also true that venting comments that fail to include suggestions for improvement aren’t that helpful. But they can be unusually cathartic after a particularly long and painful LayOut session.

That’s when I write mine, though I usually erase them instead of posting —since a good rant serves little purpose for anyone but the ranter. :slight_smile:


The Dimension tool isn’t perfect, but we do our best to make improvements every year and we take user examples very seriously when we’re making changes.

If you’re experiencing an issue with the tool, please share an example of the workflow that’s causing an issue, and we’ll take it into account in our next design cycle. Also, perhaps another user will chime in with a workaround you haven’t thought of.

So far I don’t see anything in this thread that I can add to my “TODO” list.



I’ll take this chance and point a few if you don’t mind :wink:

  • Set dimensions globally using a style. Change the style, all of them change at once.
  • Still allow for a dimension to be overriden by selecting it and changing it’s style features or by double click editing. This style “micromanagement” should not be affected by a global change.
  • Allow us to isolate only dimensions from a global selection.
  • Have a context menu to apply global style to dimensions or somehow reset them to the global style.
  • Allow us to set more than one preset styles.
  • Export these styles to DWG

And as you are at it, apply the same principles to texts and leader texts.

I guess it goes without saying: please do this for 2018… :innocent:




As JQL I’ll take advantage of this opportunity too:

  • I would like to take control of the size and the thick for Start/End Arrow for the Dimension/Leader line. For instance I set the leader line as follow: stroke 0.2 pt; start arrow with slash 3 pt, but I would like the arrow to be more bold, with the arrow line a little thicker and no bigger, which is what would happen changing the arrow current parameter.

I made an outline with the leader arrow by drawing a 1pt stroke line over 3 pt start arrow, you can see the difference between the normal and the bold arrow.

I hope you can understand what I mean.



Agree LO Dimensioning can be frustrating but

I recall Autocad has something like 70+ setting parameters and was nightmarish with a free fore all in dimstyles…

Don’t miss that at all…

LO Dimensioning and UI in general needs blending with SU interface [Not the other way around !] and more commonality in design and operation.

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hmmm, Radius dimensions

As per SU / LO commonality - we have be able to do radial dimensions for years in SU, ,

Why can we not do the same operation the same way in LO?

Hell, SU even puts a neat little “r” after the value


@Marc : here’s a little poll :smile:

“Select all”- and “Update all”- option in the Dimension tray:

  • Yes !
  • No !

0 voters


I’d prefer a general way to select all entities of the same type, or all matching certain conditions. (Well, I’d like a full plugin API so we can run something like TT’s selection toys).


I am not otherwise a great fan of Archicad, but it has a feature where selecting a tool and pressing ctrl-a selects all objects linked to the particular tool. Simple and effective.


Selection is a concern and it could allow us to better select entities of the same type, but the ability to have global presets that can easily be manipulated overall, affecting everything at once, is key for Layout.

The simple fact that it deals with multiple pages and multiple types of objects would make preset styles very useful and speed up architectural offices workflow a lot, as we usually deal with office standards that don’t change much.

Dealing with standards is not what LO is made for, as it was probably designed to help on quick presentations.

However, architects are one of the wide adopters of sketchup and though we deal with quick presentations on a few design stages, most of the documents we produce are on stages where presentations are standardized by office.

I’ve been using Layout for all my arch drawings exclusivelly and it does make it hard sometimes. It pays off though.


Why would you expect SketchUp’s dimension function to work like Autocad? As they say, “you get what you pay for.” If you are so enamored by Autocad’s dimensioning function, perhaps you should purchase and use Autocad instead of ScetchUp. Personally, SketchUp’s dimensioning function is simple, works and meets my needs perfectly. My compliments to the SketcUp design team. It is a great tool for the price.

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Right now I have to agree with the OP. I stopped using the Dimension tool in Sketchup a long time ago. For some reason, the inference “intelligence” that works so well with the other tools most of the time does not seem so smart in Dimension. It “infers” like it’s had 5 bourbons too many. In SU, when I need to take off a measurement I just use the line tool, read its length in the Measurements window then hit Escape. This works great for me, however, I still need to display dimensions on my drawings, which brings me to Layout.

If the Dimension tool is clumsy in SU, it is far worse in Layout. I am not even going to start with its capricious snapping to points you don’t want it to snap to (you have to extreme-zoom to be able to select the right point, but then you can’t complete your dimension because its endpoint is now out of the frame and, unlike in Sketchup where you can move / orient your model, hit Escape and resume / complete your action, that doesn’t work in Layout).

Here are 2 bizarre and infuriating behaviors the Dimension tool has been doing in Layout:

  • In some viewports, it simply does not work at all. I select my start point (snaps to it with a little green circle), click and drag - nothing. No line. At times some artifacts appear - red dotted lines and such. I have not figured out what they may mean yet.
  • In other viewports, the dimension forms correctly (even though the value is often incorrect, i.e. 29’ 11" 9/16 instead of 30’ in SU, but compared to the magnitude of the other problems that’s a minor quibble). Other times it shows an absurd value like 9" instead of 30’. I infer that 9" is the actual paper dimension, although my start and end points snapped correctly to the geometry, and the Dimension style is set to Auto Scale. Why it would not pick up the model scale is beyond me. Sometimes it eventually displays the appropriate scale after a few tries.

In addition, Layout is slow and super laggy, like it takes the cursor a solid second to change shapes after I select a tool. Moving a viewport across a page can take 2-3 seconds. My .layout file is only 22MB and my workstation is reasonably fast, in fact I never experience any slowness working on 50-60MB models in Sketchup, except for save / autosave but that’s my own fault because I keep my files on a NAS.

Sorry for venting yall. I am pretty fluent with Sketchup and it is a fantastic program. But I am new to Layout and honestly I have not had a pleasant experience so far. I don’t mind the UI, it’s just a matter of learning how it works and if that takes a little time that’s fine, I expected a learning curve. But here it seems that basic functions are buggy, just won’t work consistently or at all, and that makes the learning experience very frustrating. End of rant, and if you’re still with me thank you for reading! :slight_smile:


I have been using LayOut for creating design documentation, presentations, training materials and vector artwork. Some great improvements have come in the last versions, but I’m really looking forward for:

  • Fix for the scale tool - unless you keep the shift key pressed down until the end of a scale operation, and a few seconds more for good measure, you’ll see the model jumping back and forth 10 times to it’s original scale and the new one. Really drives me nuts some time. It would be nice to be able to simply lock uniform scaling with the press of the shift key, instead of holding it. Or better yet - make uniform scaling the default - just like in other vector editing programs. I really like how you can just press on a scale handle in SketchUp and it remains active - it would be great to have such a feature in LayOut as well;

  • PNG transparency support - or at least make the background import as a white color, not black. That would save a lot of time of editing the png files in an external editor;

  • Allow snap to to work with margin lines;

  • Give us guides and a ruler;

  • CMYK colors

  • Disable polyline creation - allow users to draw from an end of a line without the new line being connected to the first. I have been testing LayOut as a drafting tool recently and this is by far the biggest problem I have been encountering. Most of the time I do not want to continue a polyline, but start a new one, so, either a modifier or a global setting would really help.

  • Reducing distance from dimension line - often the dimension text is too far away from the dim line for my taste. It’s a lot of work to manually change the distance for each dimension and the change can’t be copied with the style tool.
    It would be great to be able to copy the distance as a style or letting the users to use the text anchoring icons to determine the distance form the dim line for a tight, normal and a wider fit;

  • Extend the dimension line to one side when positioning dimension text to one side;

  • EPS and DWG import.

With all these things added, I could drop AutoCAD and CorelDraw/illustrator for 90% of my work.


I agree with all these requests though some of them I wouldn’t even use.

Polyline is really an incumbrance and it’s even worse when it turns to a spline.

Again my question is: why wouldn’t Layout follow SU’s logic on everything.

In su you draw an edge and another and another until a plane is formed. it then “fills” it. In Layout, to follow how other vector software work, there’s the fill color… Why?

If we love sketchup it’s because it works, why following procedures for something so different than sketchup as a vector image editor and not follow sketchup’s that feel already natural to sketchup users?

With sketchup draw and modifier tools, with sketchup selections and with the current layer stacking and linestyle systems what would Layout be able to achieve?


Rudhamstile - I think maybe you lack experience in the program. Read a few books, check out the how-tos. The learning curve is very flat.
I have used Layout for architectural CDs for 10 years. It works.

I’m all for making the tools more powerful while keeping the simplicity. However it would be great with some actual examples of what that could involve. Adding things merely because AutoCad has it is not a good idea though. People use SketchUp and Layout instead of ArchiCad because they are simplistic and intuitive.


I can think of a few things:

Radius/diameter dimensioning.

An easier, more dependable way to snap to the edge of a curved surface, like the top of a baseboard or bottom of a crown molding in elevation, instead of some randomly selected facet of said curved surface. (Switching views to vector with very fine lineweight helps, but that’s cumbersome, and it’s still not without the zooming-in and out-of-frame problem that Novurba describes.)

Fix strange inferences, which sometimes for no discernable reason refuse to let me snap to the point I want. (Next time it happens I’ll try to get a gif of it).

Not sure this goes on the Layout to-do list, or the Skalp to-do list, but associative dimensions and Skalp do not play well together. Dimensions snap to the Skalp section face, which is regenerated from scratch every time a scene is viewed in Sketchup, so it gets a new PID and breaks the associativity. One easy fix (ok, it’s probably not so easy, but it’d have other benefits) would be a way, when two or more points overlap in a view, to choose which is snapped to. Do I want the wall, the floor, or the section face?

(Other than that, though, associative dimensions are a fantastic improvement. Thanks!)

And related to dimensioning: a more robust system for annotations that doesn’t require so many clicks and escapes to operate. Example: The drawing title block from the TB-Traditional scrapbook. It takes twelve mouse clicks and six escape key presses to fill out the title, scale, key and page number. On top of the actual typing of the information. Some way to tab through the several fields in a group would be a big help.


On my wishlist for Sketchup:

Paste at mouse would be big time-saver.