SketchUpdate | News & Updates

SketchUpdate | News & Updates

Using Tables to manage spreadsheets in LayOut

In our never-ending quest to help you create the best documents (and get the most out of your SketchUp models), we built Tables: a great way to manage spreadsheets in LayOut.

Compelling documents communicate through drawings and information. We think it’s worth the time to polish the parts of your drawing sets that don’t usually get much love. Tables don’t just have to be functional, they can look good too! And when they look good, they’re more legible and convey information more efficiently.

Not only does this table accomplish its primary job of organizing information… it’s also pleasant to look at. This was created in LayOut by going to Tools > Table and using the Shape Style panel for styling. Table courtesy of Nick Sonder.

While you can easily create original Tables and input data manually, we’re guessing you may want to to leverage spreadsheets that already exist. Just like SketchUp model viewports, LayOut Tables can be dynamically connected to their source files (like XLSXs or CSVs). Let’s take a look at how you can use Tables to insert and manage spreadsheets in your documents.

Inserting formatted spreadsheets into LayOut

Excel Reference Options

Let’s start with a formatted spreadsheet – something you’ve styled to your liking in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. When you insert a XLSX file into LayOut, you’ll see the option to retain your formatting (check the Import Excel Formatting option). From here, you can continue to manage your spreadsheet data in the source application, while updating the Table reference as needed in LayOut (right-click > Update Table Reference).

Additional Table formatting can be done via the Shape Style panel within LayOut. And since you’ll want to keep any updated LayOut styling as your spreadsheet data changes, you can access your Table’s Excel Reference Options (just a right-click away) and uncheck that formatting checkbox. This allows you to proceed with beautiful LayOut styling, while maintaining the link to your spreadsheet data.

Window Schedule

The top Table is imported with Excel formatting retained, and the bottom Table is the same Table with an additional touch of LayOut styling applied.

Styling raw data with Scrapbooked Tables

As you develop tasteful Table styling, it’s a good idea to start building custom Scrapbooks so you can quickly re-use that formatting for any other Table with a few clicks of the Style tool. As your LayOut Scrapbooks grow, pulling together compelling documents becomes a swift, enjoyable process.

For instance, let’s say you use Generate Report from SketchUp Pro, or any extension that pulls take-off information from your SketchUp model into a CSV file. When you import this raw data into a LayOut Table, it comes in without any formatting. Just sample your styled Table – handy in a Scrapbook – and your data is instantly formatted. When your SketchUp model changes, simply re-run the take-off report and update the LayOut reference to that source file.

Swift Scrapbook sampling with Tables in LayOut.

Tables combine the best behaviors of a spreadsheet application (Excel, Google Sheets) with the best behaviors of a table editor (Word, Google Docs), and, of course, the unique styling and composition of LayOut. Read more about Adding Tables to a Document in the SketchUp Help Center as you dig into the new Tables feature.

Ed note: New to LayOut? Get started with our LayOut YouTube playlist, read more about LayOut on our blog, or explore our Help Center guide to Creating Documents in LayOut.

Josh Reilly

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!