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Layers and dimensions: A smarter LayOut

What? You don’t use LayOut! Stop, right now, and watch this video.

If you love SketchUp, there’s a great chance you’ll love LayOut. For those of you familiar with LayOut’s magic, we think you’re really going to like the changes we’ve made for 2016...

We’ve improved pretty much everything about how LayOut files are organized. Whether you’re grouping elements across multiple layers, drawing on shared layers, or unearthing the bottom of a stacked viewport, our new layers are just plain better.

We’ve introduced new tool colors and highlights to help you notice when you’re creating or selecting entities on a shared layer. (No more drawing on a shared layer only to realize it an hour later!) Entities show a different highlight color and tool colors are different when you’re drawing on a shared layer (handy for title blocks).

Tool colors and highlights make it clear what kind of entity is selected; note that you can change these colors in LayOut’s preferences if desired.

If you like those tweaks to layer management, we think you’re going to love a new document capability called multi-layer groups. Simply, entities on different layers can now be grouped together. Previously, LayOut would collapse grouped entities on different layers into one single layer: sadface.

With this new grouping structure, you’ll notice that it’s way easier to cut and paste across pages, organize similar entities (like dimensions) across different pages and layers, and to keep track of where things are in your document. This is one of those improvements we hope you won’t notice at all; it just works better.

Groups can now host entities on multiple layers, allowing you to toggle visibility of particular entities within a group.

We’re really proud of LayOut’s dimension system. (Did you know you can quickly create dimension chains with the double-click technique?). All the same, we noticed that LayOut was having a tough time handling dimensions in small spaces: it was pretty easy for dimension text to interfere with arrows or extension lines.

So, we dug into the nooks and crannies of your LayOut docs (literally) to bring you ‘small dimensions’. Now, when dimension text is too big for the space you’re dimensioning, LayOut will politely pop text out to the side with a fully customizable leader line.

The new small dimensions automatically pop out text as you’re drawing, and further adjustments are easy.

We’re always striving to “get out of your way” more, and we hope small dimensions will save you some extra clicks as you’re navigating the labyrinth of lines and shapes that might ultimately become a beautifully polished PDF*.

*Bonus: we upgraded LayOut’s PDF exporter. Now, LayOut’s PDF exports are about 10-15x smaller.

High five!

About the Author

Josh originally joined the team for a year with Google as a SketchUp Trainer in 2008 and later rejoined SketchUp with Trimble in 2013. He is a map nerd, enjoys long walks in the mountains, skiing, playing soccer, kickball, disc golf, and... any sport or backyard game out there!

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