Dynamics 365 Layout User Guide

Use Microsoft Dynamics 365 Layout to create and design space plans on HoloLens or on a Windows Mixed Reality immersive headset. Import 3D models and design, edit, and collaborate virtually, on a real-world scale.

Need more help? Check out the Layout FAQ for answers to common questions.

Watch how-to videos about Layout.

What you’ll need

Install the apps

How you install Layout and the Import Tool depends on how your administrator chooses to distribute the apps. Your admin may have you install the app from the Microsoft Store for Consumers, from your organization’s private store, through an email link, or another method. 

The following table describes the app/tool, and how to install them from the public store.

App Device Use to To install from Microsoft store
Layout HoloLens
  • Create layouts by scanning your surroundings
  • Place models in your layouts
On your HoloLens, go to Start Start > Microsoft Store Microsoft Store, search for “Dynamics 365 Layout," and then install the app.
Layout Mixed reality headset
  • Place models in layouts imported from HoloLens or Microsoft Visio
1. On your PC go to Start Start > Microsoft Store Microsoft Store, search for “Dynamics 365 Layout," and then install the app.
2. Connect your mixed reality headset to the PC and find the app on the mixed reality Start menu.
Import Tool PC
  • Transfer floorplans from Microsoft Visio to HoloLens or Windows Mixed Reality
  • Transfer layouts between HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality
  • Process 3D models for use on HoloLens
On your PC go to Start Start > Microsoft Store Microsoft Store, search for “Dynamics 365 Import Tool (Preview)," and then install the app.

Use Layout

To use Layout, you create space layouts on your HoloLens or PC, and then use a HoloLens or Windows Mixed Reality immersive headset to place 3D models in the layouts. The Layout app comes with a set of preinstalled models, and you can also add your own.

Create a layout

There are two ways to create a layout:

  • Use Microsoft Visio to design a floor plan, and then export it to HoloLens or Windows Mixed Reality.

  • Use Layout on your HoloLens to scan a space.

Create a layout with Microsoft Visio

Step 1: Download and install the Visio Add-in for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Layout

  1. Open the Import Tool.

  2. Select About, and then select the 32-bit or the 64-bit download (choose the one that matches your version of Visio).

    Download Visio add-in

  3. Open Visio, and then select File > OptionsAdd-ins.

  4. Next to Manage, select COM Add-ins, and then select Go.

  5. Select Visio Add-in for Dynamics 365 Layout, and then select Add.

Step 2: Create your floor plan with Microsoft Visio

  • When the floor plan is ready, select the Layout tab, select Export, and then save your floor plan.

Step 3: Import your floor plan using the Import Tool

  1. In the Import Tool, select This PC > Add layout, and then navigate to the floor plan.

  2. Select the floor plan, and then select Open.

    The floor plan will show up automatically in Layout on a mixed reality immersive headset connected to the same PC.

To use the layout on HoloLens, you’ll need to move it there:

  1. Connect your HoloLens to your PC using the USB cable.

  2. Open the Import Tool on the PC, and then select This PC > Layouts.

  3. Select the check box on the layouts you want to copy, and then select Send.

    Move layout to HoloLens

  4. On HoloLens, open the Layout app. You’ll find your layout on the Layouts tab.

Create a layout with HoloLens

  1. On your HoloLens, open the Layout app.

  2. Select New layout, and then follow the instructions for scanning your space and creating a layout.

To move the layout to your PC so you can open it on a mixed reality immersive headset: 

  1. Connect the HoloLens to the PC using the USB cable.

  2. Open the Import Tool, and then select the HoloLens name.

  3. Select the check box on the layout you want to send to your PC, and then select Send.

    Move layout from HoloLens

Convert 3D models for use on HoloLens or Windows Mixed Reality headsets

To use 3D models on HoloLens or your immersive headset, you’ll need to convert them to the correct file format using the Import Tool, and then move them to the device you want to use them on.

The Import Tool provides three options for preparing your 3D models. Use the following table to determine which option is best for your needs.

Option Description Supported file formats
Optimize using the Microsoft Cloud Service This is the simplest way to optimize your 3D models. The Microsoft Cloud Service automatically transcodes and simplifies the models you select. You can specify the type of device (HoloLens or Windows Mixed Reality headset) to optimize for, and also the number of models that you intend to view simultaneously. If you're not happy with the initial results after optimizing, you can use a sliding scale to re-optimize the model, focusing on performance or quality. FBX, OBJ, SKP, JT, STP, STEP, GLTF, GLB
Convert without optimizing Use this option if you've already optimized a model using an external tool and want to retain the model properties when you convert it for use on HoloLens or Mixed Reality headsets. The Microsoft Cloud Service automatically transcodes the models you select without doing any optimization. FBX, OBJ, SKP, JT, STP, STEP, GLTF, GLB
Convert using your PC Use this option if you want to bring in self-authored assets without any optimization. GLB only

Specific instructions for each option are provided below.

Optimize using the Microsoft Cloud Service

  1. On your PC, open the Import Tool.

  2. Select Models > This PC, and then select Add models.

  3. Go to the folder where your models are saved, and then select the models you want to import (up to 25 at a time).

  4. Select Open.

  5. Select Optimize using the Microsoft Cloud Service.

    Microsoft Cloud Service option

  6. Under Optimization settings, choose the type of device you're optimizing for (HoloLens or Mixed Reality headsets) and the number of models that you'll use in a single scene. These settings will apply to all models you selected in step 3.

    Optimization settings

  7. Select Optimize to start the optimization process. This process might take a while, depending on how many models you're importing.

  8. When the optimization process is complete, open each model to view the results. If you aren't happy with the results of any model, do the following:

    1. On the Properties tab for the model, select Optimize again in the lower right corner of the screen.

    2. Under Optimize this model again in the center of the screen, pull the slider to the left to optimize for performance or to the right to optimize for quality. Optimizing for performance will result in a model that performs better on HoloLens or Mixed Reality headsets, but may compromise on visual quality. Optimizing for quality will result in a model that has better visual quality but may adversely affect device performance, resulting in user discomfort.

      Re-optimization slider

    3. Once you've moved the slider to the desired level, select Optimize.

    4. Repeat steps a, b, and c until you're satisfied with the results.

      Note

      The re-optimization option is available for 24 hours after the first optimization done using the cloud service.

If you're using a Windows Mixed Reality immersive headset, your imported models will show up automatically in Layout.

To use your models on HoloLens, you’ll need to copy them to the HoloLens device.

Convert without optimizing

  1. On your PC, open the Import Tool.

  2. Select Models > This PC, and then select Add models.

  3. Go to the folder where your models are saved, and then select the models you want to import (up to 25 at a time).

  4. Select Open.

  5. Select Convert without optimizing.

    Convert without optimizing option

  6. Select Optimize to start the optimization process. This process might take a while, depending on how many models you're importing.

If you're using a Windows Mixed Reality immersive headset, your imported models will show up automatically in Layout.

To use your models on HoloLens, you’ll need to copy them to the HoloLens device.

Convert using your PC

  1. On your PC, open the Import Tool.

  2. Select Models > This PC, and then select Add models.

  3. Go to the folder where your models are saved, and then select the models you want to import (up to 25 at a time).

  4. Select Open.

  5. Select Convert using this PC.

    Convert with PC option

    Note

    The Convert using this PC option will not be available if any of your source models are not in GLB file format. For more information on file type limitations, see File types and guidelines below.

  6. Select Optimize to start the optimization process. The optimization process might take a while, depending on how many models you're importing.

If you're using a Windows Mixed Reality immersive headset, your imported models will show up automatically in Layout.

To use your models on HoloLens, you’ll need to copy them to the HoloLens device.

Copy models to a HoloLens device

To use optimized/converted models on a HoloLens, you need to copy them to the device first.

  1. On your PC, open the Import Tool.
  2. Connect your HoloLens to the PC, and then sign in to the HoloLens.
  3. In the Import Tool, select This PC > Models, and then select the check boxes for the models you want to send to HoloLens.
  4. Select Send.

Provide feedback and submit assets for manual processing if the quality is unsatisfactory

You can provide feedback on the quality of prepared 3D models and get assistance from Microsoft if you're not satisfied with the quality.

  1. Select the Models or All tab, and then select the model you want to provide feedback on.

  2. At the bottom of the Properties tab, under How does the model look?, select Looks good or Looks broken to record your feedback.

    Provide feedback

    Note

    You can't update feedback after you submit it.

If you rate the quality at 3 or below (out of 5), you'll be prompted to optionally submit the model to Microsoft for manual optimization. To submit a model for manual optimization:

  1. Review the terms and conditions, and then if you consent, select the check box.
  2. Select Next.
  3. Enter the location of the source file, why you're dissatisfied with the results, and your email address.
  4. Select Next to upload the file to Microsoft safely and securely. You'll receive an acknowledgement confirming receipt of the model (and will also receive an email confirmation).

Microsoft will update you on the progress of the manual optimization through email and will let you know when the model is ready to download.

To download a model after manual optimization when ready:

  1. Open the Import Tool.

  2. Right-click the model that was submitted for manual processing, and then select Download from Microsoft.

    Download model

    The manually optimized model will replace the previous model in the Import Tool.

File types and guidelines

There are different limits on the types of files you can import, depending on whether you use the cloud or your PC to convert the files. Using the cloud service simplifies the conversion process. If you use the PC option, you’ll need to adhere to a number of prerequisites.

For the cloud service

Item Description
File format
  • FBX (version 7.5 or earlier)
  • OBJ
  • SKP (version 18 or earlier)
  • JT (versions 8 and 9)
  • STP, STEP (versions AP203 and AP214)
  • GLTF, GLB
    • Version 2.0
    • Supported extensions:
      • Input:
        • MSFT_texture_dds
        • KHR_materials_pbrSpecularGlossiness
      • Output
        • MSFT_packing_occlusionRoughnessMetallic
        • MSFT_packing_normalRoughnessMetallic
        • MSFT_texture_dds (supported but not used)
  • ZIP
External files If your model references external files, such as the following, you'll need to create a ZIP file containing the model and the files it references to import the model:
  • Textures (PNG, TGA, etc.)
  • Materials (MTL)
  • Other parts
The ZIP file should only contain the above file formats and their dependent external files.
Textures Textures are unembedded. Zip your file with the unembedded textures. You can only zip one model at a time with its textures.
Model orientation
  • Floor-associated objects: the model’s +Y axis should point up and the +Z axis should point forward.
  • Ceiling-associated objects: the model’s +Y axis should point down and the +Z axis should point forward.
  • Wall-associated objects: the model’s +Y axis should point away from the wall and the +Z axis should point up the wall.

See the next section in this topic to learn how the cloud service works.

For the PC

Item Description
File format GLB file formats only, with the following recommendations:
  • No more than 1 set of UVs per mesh
  • Less than 5,000 polygons
  • Texture size of 512 x 512
Textures Textures are embedded. Export your model from your CAD program as a single self-contained file.
Note: Emissive, occlusion, specular, and gloss textures will be ignored.
Model orientation
  • Floor-associated objects: the model’s +Y axis should point up and the +Z axis should point forward.
  • Ceiling-associated objects: the model’s +Y axis should point down and the +Z axis should point forward.
  • Wall-associated objects: the model’s +Y axis should point away from the wall and the +Z axis should point up the wall.

Best practices for importing 3D models

  • When you’re creating a 3D model using 3D creation tools, make sure that the model is not too far off from the center (the origin of the grid).

  • When exporting from 3D creation tools, if available, choose the “embed texture option” in FBX export. If not available, include the FBX file and any image files in a ZIP archive and use the resulting ZIP as your import file.

The Import Tool is designed to import 3D models that can be individually used in any spatial design layout. It is not optimized for importing intact scenes or layouts (complete buildings files with multiple models already positioned). Also note that:

  • Models with interiors will not be preserved.

  • Existing offsets in models, any transforms off the 3D origin (0,0,0), or relative offsets from other models will be preserved on export and subsequent import.

  • Any usage of layers for grouping or defining model colors will not be preserved.

  • Any use of “hatching” in AutoCAD will not be preserved.

  • Imported models that are comprised of multiple individual sub-objects will result in a single combined mesh to enable more efficient interaction with the complete model.

How does the Microsoft cloud service work?

When you convert a 3D model, the Import Tool uploads the raw model to the Microsoft cloud service, which is hosted on a Microsoft Azure web service. The cloud service transcodes and simplifies the model and then returns the simplified models to the Import Tool, restricting access via the use of obfuscated URLs.

  • Both the raw model and the simplified model are transferred by using the HTTPS protocol.

  • Both the raw model and the simplified model are hosted on Azure Blob storage.

  • Both the raw model and the simplified model are purged from Azure Blob storage after 24 hours.

  • The simplified model is fetched via an obfuscated URL by using the HTTPS protocol.

    Simplified model

Work with models

On HoloLens and in Windows Mixed Reality, you can place, move, copy, resize, and rotate 3D models.

On HoloLens

To Do this
Place Select Models, and then gaze and air tap to select the model you want to place. Use gaze to move the model, and then air tap again to place it.
Move Gaze at a model, and then tap and hold it. Move your hand to reposition the model, then release.
Copy Gaze and air tap to select the model, and then select Copy. Move the model where you want it, and then air tap to place it. Select Done.
Resize Gaze and air tap to select a model, and then select Resize. Tap and hold any edge of the model, and then move your hand in or out.
Rotate Gaze and air tap to select the model. Select one of the rotation arrows to rotate 90 degrees. For more precise rotation, tap and hold the round rotation control, and then move your hand to rotate.
Multi-select Gaze at an empty spot. Tap and hold, and then move your hand diagonally to form a rectangle around all the models you want to select. Gaze at any of the models you’ve selected to see what you can do with all of them.

On an immersive headset

To Do this
Place Select Models on the app menu. Point your controller at the model you want, and then pull and hold the trigger to pick it up. Point to where you want to place the model, and then let go of the trigger.
Move Point at the model and pull and hold the trigger. Move your controller, and then let go of the trigger to place it.
Copy Select the model, and then select Copy. Point your controller to where you want to place the copy, and then pull the trigger again to place it. To place multiple copies, just point and select again—no need to go back to the original. Select Done on the last copy.
Resize Select the model, and then select Resize. Point at one edge of the object, and then pull and hold the trigger. Drag the edge, and then release the trigger.
Rotate Point and pull the trigger to select the model. Then point at one of the rotation arrows and pull the trigger to rotate the model 90 degrees. For more precise rotation, use the round rotation control: point, pull, and hold the trigger, and then move your controller to rotate.
Multi-select Point your controller at an empty spot. Pull and hold the trigger and drag to form a rectangle around the models you want to select. Point at any of the models you’ve selected to see what you can do with all of them.

Improve performance when your assets don't require texture or multiple colors

In certain scenarios, textures or multiple colors might not be important for visualizing 3D assets. In these cases, to improve performance, you might want to turn off textures and use a single color. You can do this by using the Performance setting.

To turn the Performance setting on or off:

  • Select Settings, select Performance, and then select the Simplify objects by using just one color option.

Performance mode setting

See also

How-to videos
FAQ
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