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Make (even) better drawings with LayOut in 2018

There's more to SketchUp than 3D modeling. But you know that, right? For presenting work to clients, planning boards, contractors -- whomever -- we still use 2D drawings to convey design and detail. That’s pretty clear. If you read this blog you’ve seen that LayOut is the most efficient way to turn SketchUp models into diagrams, drawings, CD sets, presentations, or even just scaled prints.

SketchUp Pro and LayOut are designed together to help you make phenomenal drawings. So why not take the next step and learn LayOut?

We think you should. Those drawings you make -- and how you make them -- are what our LayOut team thinks, breathes, and dreams about. The work we do on LayOut is solely focused on helping you make better drawings.

Of course, you’re welcome to download SketchUp Pro to give LayOut a try. But if you are already working in LayOut, we invite you to read on and learn how to make even better drawings.

Create Scaled Drawings

A SketchUp model is no longer the only entity that has a scale in LayOut. Now you can use LayOut’s tools to draw to scale in 2D. Sketch a detail from scratch or add scaled linework over your SketchUp models -- directly in LayOut. Gone are the days when you’d need go back into SketchUp to create a 2D drawing, or eyeball the position of a dashed line to show an overhead cabinet.

Once you’ve created a scaled drawing, you’re free to re-set scales as you wish; your work will resize as necessary. And as you would expect, your scaled drawings are fully supported by LayOut’s Dimension tool.

Now you can complement or sketch over SketchUp viewports with linework that can be drawn (and dimensioned) at scale.

For all the ways you draw...

Drawing heuristics are what we do. We made over thirty tweaks and improvements to LayOut’s existing tool set to make drawing details easier. Here are three of our favorites:

You can now use the 2 Point Arc tool to find tangent inferences. You can also use it to create chamfers and fillets with a specified radius.

When editing a line, you can now select multiple segments and points while adding and subtracting entities to your selection.

Don’t want LayOut to automatically join new line segments with existing ones while you’re drawing? We added a right-click menu item to toggle that off.

Group Edit and Entity Locking

To support scaled drawings, we made a significant change that LayOut regulars will notice right away: editing grouped entities in LayOut now works just like it does in SketchUp. That means it’s way easier to modify grouped entities and thus, it’s much easier to keep your documents well organized. Bonus: you can also control “rest of document” visibility while editing groups.

Similar to group editing, locking entities is fundamental to how many people organize and navigate projects (both models and documents). Now, in addition to locking layers, you can easily lock individual LayOut entities to cut down on accidental selections -- just like in SketchUp.

Draw to the .000001”

Accurate dimensions are an obvious requirement for any drawing set. We’ve improved the way LayOut calculates measurements, so it can now display dimensions as precisely as SketchUp can model: up to 0.000001 inches. That means LayOut can show the decimal equivalent of 1/64” (0.015625”).

By happy coincidence, this precision improvement also allows you to dimension across distinct SketchUp viewports in order to create an excellent section detail like this...

Two SketchUp viewports with clipping masks: one accurate dimension string.

LayOut: A+, plays well with others.

Finally, we understand that not everyone works in LayOut. Your colleagues may use other CAD applications. You may use other CAD applications. So we’re introducing a DWG/DXF importer to LayOut. You can now import files from your colleagues and your own existing CAD content -- title blocks, blocks, pages, and geometry -- all to a scale that fits within your LayOut paper size.

And yes, we also improved the quality of DWG files you export from LayOut. Because however you work -- in and out of SketchUp -- LayOut is here to help you make great drawings.

Start modeling with a free trial or pick the right SketchUp subscription for your workflow.

About the Author

Sandra is the product manager for LayOut in SketchUp Pro. After eleven years of carrying around this box, her arms are very tired.

Profile Photo of Sandra Winstead