Applying Dashed Lines to Layers

In SketchUp, the Layers panel has dash patterns so you can change entity lines on a layer from solid to dashed. Any geometry on the layer inherits the layer’s dash pattern. Dashed lines appear in the model view at any screen scale.

With these dash patterns, you can define property boundaries, identify elements to be demolished in a model of an existing structure, or create a grid or reference lines (for elements like topology or hidden pipes or services).

Dashes also help you follow simple and efficient workflows when you use SketchUp with LayOut and/or a CAD program.

For details about how SketchUp layers work, see Controlling Visibility with Layers.

Follow the Dashes

Because you select dash patterns in the Layers panel, it’s helpful to think about how to apply dashes in the overall context of working with layers:

  1. When you draw your model, draw on Layer 0 and create groups or components as you normally would.
  2. Use layers to organize entities by type, such as a layer for trees and a layer for buildings or a separate layer for each floor of a building. (See Controlling Visibility with Layers for more information.)
  3. When you want to assign a dash pattern to a layer, give the layer a name that clarifies what the dash pattern communicates. For example, you might name the layer Property Boundary, Demolition Lines, or Underfloor Heating.
  4. In the Dashes column of the Layers panel, select the dash pattern you’d like to apply to the layer. Choose from several styles with dashes, dots, or some combination.
  5. Move the geometry that will have dashed lines to the layer you created. To move geometry to a layer, select the geometry you want to move and use the Layer drop-down menu in the Entity Info panel to move the selected geometry to the desired layer.
  6. (Optional) Toggle the visibility by layer to hide geometry or adjust whether all lines are solid or dashed globally for the model in the Styles panel.

Choose a dash pattern in the Layers panel

To choose a dash pattern for a layer, follow these steps:

  1. In the Layers panel, click Default in the Dashes column for the layer to which you want to add dashed lines.
  2. Select the dashed line style from the menu that appears. Any geometry on the layer now has dashed lines.

Tip: If you don’t see dashed lines, select the geometry that should be dashed and use the Entity Info panel to check that the geometry is on the correct layer. If that doesn’t work, open the Edit tab of the Styles panel, select the Edge Settings icon, and make sure the Dashes checkbox is selected.

With the Profiles and Depth Cue edge style options, edges appear thicker or thinner to create certain effects. These varied thicknesses apply to dashed lines in the same way they apply to solid lines.

Control dashes of components and groups

Note that components and groups inherit the dash style of their layer with one exception: edges assigned to a layer with a dashed line style within the component do not inherit the component’s line style.

Tip: You might be familiar with the way components inherit dashed lines if you’re familiar with the way components inherit materials. You can apply a material to an entity within a component and then apply a different material to component.

With this behavior, a component can contain 3D geometry and a patterned 2D representation on different layers. The following figure of a door is an example. The dash pattern that illustrates how the door swings is within the door component, and the lines of the 3D door and 2D swing pattern are different.

Toggle dash pattern visibility

Layers were designed to control the visibility of the geometry on a layer. When you toggle a layer’s visibility, you toggle the visibility of the edges and their dashes on that layer. To toggle a layer’s visibility, clear the Visible checkbox for the layer in the Layers panel.

Globally, you can control the visibility of only the dashes via the Styles panel. To show dashes, display the Edge Settings on the Edit tab and select the Dashes checkbox. When you clear the Dashes checkbox, the lines are visible but the dashes are not.

Work with dashes imported from a CAD file

All CAD line styles (imperial and metric equivalents) can be imported. When you import a CAD file (.dwg or .dxf) into SketchUp, the layers from the CAD file appear in SketchUp and retain a close approximation to the original dashed lines.

Note: When SketchUp doesn’t offer a dash pattern that’s an exact match for a CAD line style, SketchUp uses the closest match. If SketchUp doesn’t offer a close match for a CAD line style, the line appears with a solid dash pattern.

You can change the dashes in SketchUp on the Layers panel by selecting a different dash pattern for the layer.

Although you can print a model with dashes directly from SketchUp, using LayOut to print is recommended. For a professional SketchUp user, LayOut enables you to print more accurately and offers more control over size, page setup, and line thickness and quality.

To print a model with dashes from SketchUp, here’s the recommended workflow:

  1. Export the model as a PDF, which is a 2D vector graphic file.
  2. Print the PDF using a third-party application for printing PDFs.

On macOS, you can also print the model to a PDF via the print dialog box with good results.

If you choose to print a model via LayOut, here are a few tips for working with dashed lines in LayOut:

Export an image or model with dashes

When your SketchUp model contains dashed lines, you can preserve the dashes when you export to the following formats:

  • Vector image formats: PDF and EPS
  • Raster image formats: PNG, JPEG, TIF, BMP
  • CAD format: DWG and DXF

If the SketchUp model was originally imported from a CAD file and you didn’t edit the dashes, the dashes should remap back to the original CAD line styles. Otherwise, the SketchUp dash pattern is remapped to the equivalent CAD line style.