What is Layout?

I’m a complete beginner, and I’ve downloaded SketchUp, it also installed something called Layout, but I can’t find any simple description of what this program does or how it relates to SketchUp?

LayOut is the tool for creating documentation from your SketchUp model. You start in SketchUp, draw your project and create scenes to show the different views. then you can send the file to LayOut, add dimensions, labels, other text, perhaps photos or whatever. then export a PDF file to send to a client or use it to do a presentation on screen.

There’s a dynamic link maintained from the SketchUp model to the LayOut document so it you edit the SketchUp model, those changes can be shown in the LayOut doc.

What are you planning to use SketchUp for? What sort of projects will you model with it/

One thing you will discover in a few days is that Layout and Style Builder are Pro features. Although you downloaded Make, you get to try out those for a few days. If you don’t plan on buying Pro, then just do nothing, the preview of those features will go away on its own.

Thanks for the info,

I’m looking for a tool/system to do simple mechanical design for home constructed electronic projects, mostly boxes with holes, but being able to model assembly of modules inside an enclosure would be very useful.

So start in SketchUp and draw your project there. Then, if you need to create documents such as plans with dimensions, use LayOut for that end of it.

U have the same issue - seems like layout is surplus to requirements I can’t see what i can do in layout that i can’t do in sketchup… unless i’m missing somthing?

You can indeed do a great deal in SketchUp alone.

But Layout is designed to help produce 2D documents for construction drawings, and has better facilities for titling, dimensioning, overlaying detail views in one viewport, and printing to scale for starters. Some people find it invaluable for their workflow.

On the other hand, for many purposes, SU alone is ‘good enough’.

So not ‘surplus to requirements’ for everyone, though it may be for you.

Evidently you haven’t actually taken the time to look at LayOut and learn about how it works and what it does. You should do that before putting it down.

Simply put: LayOut is for creating 2D presentations (e.g. drawings) from 3D models.

That said I have to admit that I couldn’t figure out what it was for when I first started it. As a hobby user I got it as a part of the 8 h Pro trial. I opened it, looked at it, drew an edge, drew an arc, tried to rotate the camera and closed it again not knowing what that could be useful for. Later I’ve learned it quite well and had very much use for it!

However, I think the purpose of the program would be much better conveyed to casual users who just happen to open it if the first button in the toolbar was for inserting models/files.

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My apologies to layout for any offence wasn’t intensional. re: johns reply if you can only print to scale in layout then I have my answer sir and thank you very much that would make it worth the effort.

There’s a whole lot more to LayOut than just printing to scale. You can do that in SketchUp. I’m just telling you to actually look at the capabilities of LO.

Thanks for your replies DaveR - I bought sketchup and I’m learning how to use it my question should have been “I want to create house plans do I really need to teach myself to use LO too?”. if I can print to scale too then it seems like a no.

There’s a lot more to creating a house plan than just printing to scale. You don’t have to learn how to use LayOut but I don’t know why you wouldn’t. Especially if you need to make these house plans usable by others.

After suggested investigation I see now that drawings saved in different scenes can be exported to LO and placed all together with dimentions and text much better than in Sketchup

And it’s not just exported to LayOut. It’s linked. When you edit your model you can just update the link in LayOut and the drawings/presentation will be updated as well.

Yea maybe it just be called ‘Layout Mode’ instead of a different program

I don’t think that would be better. LayOut is a 2d program meant for tasks that requires a different tool set. Forcing this into the same program would lead to one cluttered confusing program that does too many different things.

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I think @sholland has a point; AutoCAD, Vectorworks, Revit etc all have different modes for the 2D element of the process.

Us Layout users have moved on though.

A lot of my peers in Architecture dismissed LayOut thinking it was an afterthought which suffers from the same problem as SketchUp, that people think it is a simple toy. It’s far from that and should be considered as a viable contender for all the major players in the CAD arena.

I now use Layout for all sorts of things, above being the fulcrum for my whole design process. In fact it has surpassed Indesign for my mood board presentations too!


Totally agree, layout is a very powerful tool that speeds up the whole process. That said it’s crucial the model is accurate and no short cuts have been made whilst drawing it. If this is so you’ll speed up the whole design process by about 30% which is good news in the days of tight fees.

Thanks to all for this. I just spent a number of weekends in SketchUp creating a design for a remodel of a cottage. I need to create some drawings for a builder and now know that my next step will be to learn LayOut.

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