A document is rich in its layout. The entities of interest can be scattered over the document page. Traditional layout matching has involved modeling layout structure as grids, graphs, and spatial histograms of patches. In this paper we propose a new way of representing layout, which we call attributed paths. This representation admits a string edit distance based match measure. Our experiments show that layout based retrieval using attributed paths is computationally efficient and more effective. It also offers flexibility in tuning the match criterion. We have demonstrated effectiveness of attributed paths in performing layout based retrieval tasks on datasets of floor plan images  and journal pages . © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019.