Using Layers to Present Google SketchUp 8 Models in LayOut Documents

LayOut has layers that act just like layers in InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and every other graphics program you’ve ever used. Knowing exactly how LayOut’s layers work gives you the confidence to use them all the time when presenting your Google SketchUp models. Layers let you

  • Keep collections of similar elements separate and organized.

  • Easily show or hide large numbers of elements at once.

  • Lock elements so you can’t accidentally change them.

  • Stack one group of elements on top of another.

  • Create design iterations by tweaking copies of the same elements.

Different elements on the page are assigned to different layers. When you work with layers, keep these points in mind:

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  • To know which is the active layer, look for the little red pencil icon; anything you insert, draw, or paste is assigned to the active layer.

  • To make another layer the active layer, click its name in the Layers panel.

  • To show or hide a layer, click the “eye” icon next to that layer’s name.

  • To change the stacking order of layers, drag them around in the Layers panel.

  • To see what layer an element is on currently, select the element and look for the tiny blue dot in the Layers panel. If you select two elements on two different layers, you see two blue dots.

  • To change which layer something’s on, select the destination layer in the Layers panel. Then right-click the element you want to move and choose Move to Current Layer. Selecting multiple elements, right-clicking one of them, and choosing Move to Current Layer moves them all.

Without overbeating this particular dead horse, using layers is the absolute best way to work efficiently in LayOut. Check out the following tips for working with layers:

  • Give your layers meaningful names. When you (or somebody else) open your file next year, you want to know what the heck is going on.

  • Lock layers you’re not using. It’s annoying to unlock a layer before you can modify its contents, but it’s even more annoying to accidentally move the wrong things, or even delete them. Lock a layer by clicking the lock icon next to its name in the Layers panel.

  • Improve performance by hiding layers. Make liberal use of the hide icon next to the name of each layer; hiding layers can really improve LayOut’s performance, especially on slower computers. Hide any layers you’re not working with, and you’ll notice the difference.

  • Duplicate a layer and its contents to save time. This is a quick way to iterate through several different versions. Here’s how:

    1. Lock all your other layers and choose Edit, Select All.

    2. Create a new layer and name it.

      Make sure it’s the active layer.

    3. Choose Edit, Paste.

  • Move several elements from multiple layers to a single layer with Copy and Paste. Copying elements from multiple layers and pasting them pastes them all on the same layer — the active one.

  • Group elements from different layers to create a group on the active layer.

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