Using Layers

In LayOut, layers enable you to control the entities on your document pages as follows:

  • Shared or nonshared: Regular layers don't share entities among pages, but shared layers do.
  • Draw order: Entities on a top layer are displayed over top of entities on a lower layer.
  • Visibility: A layer (and thus its entities) can be visible or hidden.
  • Locked or unlocked state: You can't accidentally (or intentionally) edit a layer's entities if the layer is locked.

You create, navigate, and manage layers on the Layers panel, shown in the following figure (as the panel appears in Microsoft Windows). To open the Layers panel, click its name in the panel tray or, if it's not on-screen, select Window > Layers. In the far-right column, a single-page icon indicates a regular layer; a four-page icon indicates a shared layer.

In LayOut, you create, navigate, and manage layers on the Layers panel
Tip: When you select a template for a new LayOut document, the template typically includes at least two layers: the Default layer and a shared layer called On Every Page. These preset layers help you organize your content without having to set up the layers. Some templates include additional layers. For example, a storyboard template may have a Page-Specific Elements layer that holds the boxes where you insert storyboard content. A title block template with a cover page has a Cover Page layer and another layer called On Every Inside Page. (For a refresher on selecting a template for your LayOut document, see Creating and Saving a LayOut Document. For details about creating your own templates, see Creating a Template in LayOut.)

In the sections that follow, find out how to create and navigate among a LayOut document's layers and use all the features in the Layers panel.

Understanding regular and shared layers

In Layout, regular layers (also called non-shared layers) enable you to control the visibility of document content. For example, if you want to separate text from SketchUp model entities, you can place each type of entity on its own layer. If you're using regular layers, you just need to remember to create or move each entity type to its respective layer on every page.

Shared layers display content on every page. When you need to display a logo, title, or other element on every page of your document, put it on a shared layer and you need to place the element only once.

Note: In LayOut, the Default layer is the layer on which all your content appears, well ... by default - that is, if you don't use layers at all. The Default layer works like a regular layer.

Creating and deleting layers

When you create a layer, you have access to the layer on every page in your LayOut document, including new pages that you add. To create a new regular or shared layer, follow these steps:

  1. In the Layers panel, click the Add New Layer button (the plus sign). A new, regular layer appears in the Layer's panel's list of layers, and becomes the active layer, which the red pencil icon indicates.
  2. Double-click the new layer's name to open the name for editing or select it and press Enter, as shown in the following figure (as the panel appears in Mac OS X).
  3. Type a name for the layer and press Enter. For example, if you want the layer to hold all the headings at the top, Heading is an intuitive name.
  4. (Optional) To make the layer a shared layer, click the single-page icon in the layer's far right column, and the icon changes to a four-page icon, indicating a shared layer.
Adding a layer to a LayOut presentation
Tip: To keep your list of layers organized in the Layers panel, you can move a layer up or down in the list by clicking and dragging the layer to your desired location. Moving a layer up or down in the list controls the draw order of entities. So, if your SketchUp layer is listed above your Dimensions layer, the SketchUp models are drawn on top of (and obscure) the dimension endpoints.

If you ever need to delete a layer, select the layer in the Layers panel and click the Delete Selected Layer icon (the minus sign).

Adding or moving content to a layer

Until you select a different layer, all the content you add to a LayOut document appears on the Default layer. When you select a layer in the Layers panel, it becomes the active layer, and content is added to that layer instead.

Tip: To keep track of which layer is active, look for the red pencil icon. For example, in the following figure, the red pencil icon indicates that the Heading layer is selected, so any content added while this layer is active will appear on the Heading layer.
In LayOut, content is added to the active layer, indicated by the red pencil icon.
Tip: If you're not sure on which layer an entity appears, select it in the drawing area, and a dot appears next to its layer in the Layers panel. For example, in the following figure, the blue dot indicates the selection is on the Construction Phase layer. If you mistakenly add content to the wrong layer, you can move content from one layer to another of the same layer type. By default, entities on shared layers have a dark red selection highlight, and entities on non-shared layers have a blue selection highlight.
Select content in the LayOut drawing area, and a blue dot in the Layers panel tells you on what layer the content appears.

To move any entity to a different layer, follow these steps:

  1. In the Layers panel, select the layer that you want to contain the entities. This layer becomes the active layer.
  2. With the Select tool (), select the entities that you want to move. In the Layers panel, a dot appears next to the selected content's current layer.
  3. Context-click your selection, hover over Move to Layer on the menu that appears, and select Current from the flyout menu. Alternatively, you can select any layer from the flyout menu. If you use this option, you don’t have to select the layer first, as noted in Step 1. The entities now appear on the layer you selected.

If a group is selected during the move command, all entities within that group will be moved to the same layer as well.

Toggling visibility and locking layers

When you organize content on a layer, you can toggle the content's visibility or lock entities on a layer.

  • To toggle a layer's visibility, click the Visibility icon (the eye). When a layer isn't visible, the Visibility icon is gray instead of black. Click the Visibility icon again to see the layer's contents. Whether a layer is a regular or shared layer, the visibility setting applies only to the current page. So, for example, you can use a shared layer to display an entity on every page except a cover page by changing the visibility only on the cover page.
  • To lock a layer so its contents can't be edited, click the Lock icon. When a layer is locked, its padlock icon is closed. Click the Lock icon again to unlock the layer and open the padlock. Whether you lock a regular or a shared layer, the layer becomes locked on every page.

Changing a layer's type

You can change a regular layer to a shared layer, or vice versa.

  • When a regular layer becomes a shared layer, you're asked to choose whether the layer contains entities on multiple pages: You can include only the entities from the current page, or collect entities from all pages. To perform this magic, simply click the layer's single-page icon in the far right column of the Layers panel. The icon changes to a four-page icon, which indicates a shared layer, and the layer's content appears on every page.
  • When a shared layer becomes a regular layer, you have to decide how you want the change to affect the layer's contents. To put the transformation in motion, click the shared layer's four-page icon. In the dialog box that appears, select Keep Contents on This Page Only or Copy Contents to All Pages and click the Apply button.
Tip: To change a setting for multiple layers at once, simply select all the layers you want to change. Shift-click to select a range of adjacent layers, or Ctrl- or Command-click to select non-consecutive layers.
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