We really need an independent move tool in Layout

I’m trying to copy a bunch of texts and each time I do that I have to click once to select and then click drag to copy it to a new location. As I’m trying to work as fast as I can, a lot of times what happens is:

  • Layout figures this is a double click to edit the text;
  • I hit the the rotate thingy and the text rotates.

It’s impossible to work as fast as I could. Layout, besides all the lag, forces you to drag yourself around with an insanely unintuitive workflow, instead of copying the insanely intuitive Sketchup workflow.

Layout is not fit for fast paced Sketchup users and there’s no other Layout users…

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I agree that the select/move workflow is super finicky and should improve.
It’s very different from other applications (adobe) and even different to how Sketchup’s select and move workflow works. I would at least expect Layout select, move and inferencing to work the same as in Sketchup, so we can use our muscle memory to in both programs in the same way. They now feel like two different programs by two different companies, and that no the case.

An example: I was selecting some drawn shapes and some lines to move them around. Then I used the zoom tool to zoom in close to a specific area (Please add a Marquee Zoom tool!!!). Then I press the select/zoom tool in the toolbar to move the selected items, poof the selection is then cancelled.
In Sketchup this is not the case, the selection is retained while switching between pan and move.
Please fix this.

And overall, make the application interaction more the same across Sketchup & Layout.

Agree… should be same methodology as Sketchup… bizarre decision making by the Layout Author

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What about your mouse double-click speed setting?

If it’s too slow it could be causing this…?

It may be, but it’s working fine in ALL my other software, using this same mouse, and this same fingers. None of these programs urge me to come to a forum, complain about the same things over and over, for ages… Each time I work with Layout, my quality of life lowers.


That’s because they kinda are. Layout was developed by Google when they bought SU. They made the bizarre decision to replicate some MOs from SU but to do other things a completely different way.

I think everyone knows Layout needs serious attention but it never seems to get it.

Maybe we should call it “Lowout”?
Living the Low life, had a blowout with Lowout …

My occasional rant, doesn’t mean disrespect.

Layout is capable of great things. It is my tool. I love it. I don’t want to mock it in any way.

I just want Layout to be better.

I agree with you completely … sorry about the mock, I guess I mocked up!

I think LAYOUT is a great example of someone proceeding with the “WRONG CONCEPT” a issue I constantly encounter in architectural design… if you concept is wrong then all the tweaking in the world will never make it right!

Someone decided that LAYOUT would be an independent software design… that basic concept was wrong!

I think it’s all related to the original intended purpose of LO.
Layout’s interface actually “feels” a lot like illustration apps for Android/IOS, such that I even wonder whether it originated as a touch or stylus-based app.
It also seems optimised for a low-resolution or small-scale display.

LayOut is definitely improving - recent version feels more mature - but it’s still a ways off being “fit for purpose” as a companion to SketchUp Pro.

I totally agree the move (and hand, and rotate tools) which I think are called the “Widget” are very simplistic for the type of work we do.

The problem with the interface is that it’s not consistent - the tools actually vary depending on LayOut’s Zoom level.
It’s smooth and intuitive enough for simple drawings, but not complex ones (like Architectural presentations).

Some specifics:

  • The Widget isn’t saving time, it’s adding complexity and bogging down many operations due to “handles” or Move tools popping up when these are unwanted.

  • Objects have a thick, invisible snapping zone around them, which is not consistent in size… this becomes pretty annoying if you are wanting to select detailed linework or dimensions.

  • Selecting objects behind others is difficult.

  • Rotate Tool doesn’t show up for small items until you zoom into something like 500%.

  • Scale tool can’t scale things easily (by scale factor), it’s just a “stretch” type of transformation that’s useful for text boxes and photos, but totally hopeless for scaled objects, or finer drafting/annotation elements (like leader text).

  • Layout gets confused by clicks or text entries that are too rapid.

  • There’s no “edit mode” or “outline mode” (like InDesign & illustrator) where you can focus on just the vectors, or view all the frame edges to assist with page layout adjustment…there’s just one basic LO view.

  • There’s a general lack of “precision” - the object selection boxes are thick chunky coloured lines, and the tools are large Hand symbols or Arrow symbols. Slice is a particularly unwieldly one. There’s also a lot of unncessary “padding” around things (eg dimension text).

  • LayOut can’t do some pretty simple operations such as moving a shape by selecting its corner as an anchor, or snap it to an edge on another shape.

  • There are no quick select “Selection Toys” (eg Select Similar, select same line style, select color, select Next object, etc)

A simple improvement would be to expose more of the settings to the user - let people utilise shortcuts for Rotate and Move (matching SketchUp), and alter snapping settings, selection padding, etc… and let us remove the Widget.

Some may argue “but we didn’t want it to feel just like InDesign or Illustrator, or Powerpoint, or AutoCAD”
…And to that I’d say "take the best bits and integrate them - why try to revolutionise what already works very well!?


My personal experience, and the reaction of the many students I have had, is/was, I found Sketchup an easy to use drawing system that happens to be a 3d modeller, but when I try to use the 2d Layout it is an incomprehensible minefield of unrelated tools.

I have since learnt to use it, but I see no reason for it not to behave the same as sketchup albeit in 2d. So many of the tools should carry over. So many things that are simple in sketchup are either difficult or nigh on impossible in Layout. I shake my head despairingly every time I want to draw a circle with a hole in it.

So I think I’m agreeing with everything in this thread.


Perfectly summarized. And - as you wrote - not too hard to fix either. Most of the stuff isn’t even “we need new functionality” it’s more “we need to access the existing functionality in a less Mad-Hatter-like way”

Some tea anyone?

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This is a summary of how Trimble should address Layout. I’d make a T-shirt of this and have it distributed through all Layout development team.


dump the widget !


A no widget Layout would be the best Layout release since it’s inception

Forgive me if I have misunderstood you, but does this not create a circle with a hole in…?


No, that’s two circles with no fill, I mean a circle with fill and a hole in the middle.

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I have made a t-shirt configurator for this:

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You’re right, the best approach for this is two half circles with offsets.

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