What are your Layout tricks?

I recently discovered another trick to prevent layout from crashing.

It is hard to gather all the knowledge about how to navigate Layout’s speed bumps. I wanted to share the things that I do, maybe if everyone shares their tips, then everyone can access this information more quickly and easily than sorting through hours of videos (not to diminish the value of educational videos).

  • Initially layout large files with models in Raster, because that is the fastest for Layout to handle.

  • In the main Default Tray, under “Sketchup Model” make sure the “Auto” box next to Raster/Vector/Hybrid is UNCHECKED. Then Layout will not try to continually render your model. Then you have to manually click the “Render” button for each viewport after you make changes to your model.

  • When Layout crashes while trying to render a model, first render it in Raster, then it is less likely to crash when switching it to Vector.

  • File > Document Setup > Paper > Rendering Resolution: keep Display Resolution to LOW and you can keep Output Resolution at HIGH.

  • If you have a secondary monitor, it might be causing Layout to run slower. When I unplug my secondary monitor, Layout runs faster.

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  • Map zoom to extents to a mouse button or shortcut. Recentering to entire page without scrolling will eliminate screen freezes.
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I do that as well, also hide the layers I’m not using, or hide the viewports I’m not working with.


Didn’t think to also hide viewports.

I didn’t know this! I found “View” > “Group edit” > “Hide rest of document” - is that it?

Yes that way when you get into a group the rest of the document won’t be shown on screen. Yo hide the viewports you must put them in different layers.

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  • When I need to render a lot of models on multiple pages, I just export to PDF, and that renders everything faster than going page-by-page.
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I click inside the plan and section viewports so as to involve “panning”, and click out without any changes. That breaks the live link to camera settings for the scene. So now I know updating a scene in SU carelessly will not shift my viewport geometry around. This became very much easier in LO 23 where “pan” is the default tool inside the viewport.

I also keep a small vignette of my project on a separate “on every page” layer. That’s nice aesthetically, but I use it as a “button”: I right click that small viewport and update my model easily even if all other content is on locked layers. That’s easier than going to “document setup” to update SU model.

I give “real map coordinates” using prefix numbers before automatic coordinates in labels, like this pair of UTM coordinates:
7 354 <Coordinates(y)>
461 <Coordinates(x)>
This adds distance from map zero to the coordinates. You have to set model origin to fit so that the last digits given by sketchup adds up to the correct coordinates, obviously.

I reuse scenes to many viewports. All elevations are derived from one SU scene, and I choose “front-back-left-right” in standard views for the viewport to set that up. That works as long as not every elevation has its own section cut to cut terrain shown in the elevation.

I keep SU tags logically organised in folders for main themes, like: surroundings, the actual site, help geometry, stories folder, all stories (where all building component tags go), so that I can more easily override tags for a viewport on tag folder level.

I use “always face camera” on grid notation components, and different tags for each grid of different orientation, so that I can reuse an elevation scene and have numbers not being mirrored. Parallel grids on both sides of the building are then instances of the same component.

Is this feature is only in Layout 2022? I can’t find it in Layout 2021 :frowning:

It’s not a Sketchup thing.

Do you know how to setup keyboard shortcuts?

Learn how to do that first. Find the “Zoom Extents” tool and bind it to a key on your keyboard.

Next you will need to go to your mouse drive software or if you are on a Mac you can go to “System Preferences” and find the “Mouse” icon.

Which ever it is, you pick a mouse button (in my case, I have a Elcom Huge Track Ball with 10 buttons) and set the mouse button to activate the keyboard key you set in Sketchup.

When you have done that, you will see that when in Sketchup, if you hit that mouse button, the zoom extents will activate.

I am using 3D Connexion CAD Mouse and for some reason I can arrange this in Sketchup but I can’t do it in Layout :frowning: It dosen’t recognize Layout app in Windows 10, only the app I used before the Layout app :frowning:
Do you have any ideas how to do this on Windows 10?

Have no idea on Windows. Mac User here. You might inquire in a different location on the forum or hope that someone will comment here about it.

Some interesting methods there. Some I do not yet understand.

The vignette, are they on the sheet or off to the side? If you have multiple SU files linked, do you have multiple vignettes? The whole idea is a time saver?

Why the real map coordinates in labels?

The grid system is interesting. But having the grid in the SU versus in Layout creates some complexity, I assume. Do you put the grid on a separate layer to control the visibility of the grid? In other words, so the grid be on top of the drawing?

Thanks for the ideas.

In your SketchUp scenes for Layout turn off all detail that’s not visible in the scene - all that hidden detailed structural metalwork, all those detailed door latches and keeps.

For external elevations turn off internal furniture, equipment and ornate stairs.

Better still create proxy solids for ridiculously detailed building components or model your own simpler components.

There was one model where I downloaded a really nice pantile from the 3D Warehouse and proceeded to populate the roofs with it - hundreds of nice detailed pantiles.

In Layout, for a while, I was puzzled as to why it was taking forever for viewports to update ( at the time 30+ A3 sheets per Layout file and 3 to 6 stacked viewports per sheet - do the maths ).

For another model - a period house - I downloaded ridiculously high poly ornate stair components. You guessed it - Layout ground to a halt.

And at 1:100, how much of that detail is actually visible !

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yes. without it I would have to unlock the layer so as to get something to righht-click on to update the model, and then lock it again afterwards, or keeping “document setup” open, which is not ideal.with multible models I would need multiple “vignettes”, and they could just as well be off to the side of the page.

The label auto text for <Coordinates(y)> and <Coordinates(x)> reads out the distance from origo in the scene ( with the axis used in the scene) so if the x-coordinate on my map is 7242333 meters from map zero for a certain spot on the building I would place my building x = 333 meters away from model origo. The layout label would then report x=333. I would then just manually add 7254 in front of <Coordinates(x)>, so that it add up to 7242333 m.
This label I can copy around and get coordinates all around the building automatically.

On a section I would need to have a stacked viewport on top to show the grid properly with all the other tag for that viewport turned off, or just accept as I do, that the grid is partially invisible on section cuts.

I have my building grid inside the sketchup model because I actively use it for reference all the time while modeling. Some say they make the grid in Layout, but that makes no sense to me. I would give measurements in Layout that refer to that grid, and if the grid is Layout geometry I would get paperspace measurements and not the real distance.


I also place the grids in SU and then in Layout, place them in a layer titled “References”. That layer also holds other references, such as the center points of circles, etc. Then I draw grid lines in Layout snapped to the SU grid lines. Draw one, copy the others, two seconds. That way the grid lines are drawn for the viewport. I hide the reference layer for PDF exports.

I had not considered adding labels with “always facing camera” on. I have tried making the grid lines translucent planes as I do with building setback lines, property lines, etc. The jury is out on that method for me; it gets a little busy. I think your way is better, simpler and cleaner. I will try this next time.

Thanks for the ideas!

Thanks, Paul. I am aware of those practices. You see, all the tags on because I was compiling multiple models into one. That house layout is driven by a post and beam structure (that you mentioned) that had to be communicated to the engineer and then approved. You can also see floor trusses that don’t fit the floor sections floating around that the engineer changed. Now that I have the final structure from the engineer, I am adjusting the plan, and I will delete the structure.

I choose this point to convert to version 2023. With version 2022, I found I had too many models that were just imports of the base model. Such as imported models for section planes, elevations, interior elevations, etc. It took too long to update the imported model and then update Layout. The reduction in linked models and the multi-core faster update of SU remaining imported models was beginning to work for me. Until vector line issue.

Again, I appreciate your time and attention.

I have the same issue, which is very frustrating!

See my response above regarding the use of tags which you asks about in the other post…

I found a thread on the 3D Connexion forum that said it was due to Trimble lack of API support. I don’t know if it’s true or not Layout Drivers (with Sketchup Pro) - 3Dconnexion Forum

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