Managing Units of Measurement

For most SketchUp 3D models, the unit of measurement is critical to the success of your final project. For example, buildings are typically modeled in feet or meters; woodworking projects in inches or centimeters.

This article introduces the ways you can control units of measurement in your sketchUp model and points you to other relevant articles for more detailed information.

Understand SketchUp templates

When you start a new 3D modeling project in SketchUp, you select a template. The template determines the unit of measurement for your model as a whole. You can see and change the unit of measurement for your template in the Model Info window.

In Getting Started in SketchUp, you learn the basics of selecting a template. If you’re interested in creating a custom template with your preferred unit settings, see Setting Up Templates.

Set units and precision in the Model Info window

After you start creating a 3D model in SketchUp, you can view and change the units of measurement for the model as a whole via the Model Info window. Follow these steps:

  1. With your model open in SketchUp, select Window > Model Info.
  2. In the sidebar on the left, select Units. The Units panel appears.
  3. From the Format drop-down list, select your desired unit format: Architectural, Decimal, Engineering, or Fractional. Depending on the format you select, different options on the Units panel are available, as explained in the following list.

Here’s what the Units options in the Model Info window do:

  • Format: Choose your desired format. The options are Architectural, Decimal, Engineering, or Fractional.
  • Length, Area, and Volume: Select your preferred unit for each type of measurement from the drop-down lists. When you select the Decimal format, you’re able to set different decimal units of measurement for length, area, and volume. For example, you might want length measured in centimeters but area and volume measured in meters. In this example, you could draw and measure line lengths in centimeters by default, but an entity’s area or volume would appear in meters.
  • Display precision: For each format, you can select how precise you want measurements to be. For example, the Architectural option lets you fine-tune measurements up to 1/64 of an inch, and the Engineering option lets you choose up to six decimal places.
  • Enable Length Snapping: When this checkbox is selected, your drawing tool will snap to the closest unit at the level of precision indicated in the text box.
  • Display Units Format: This option is available when you select the Decimal or Fractional option. When the checkbox is selected, the unit appears in ToolTips. When the check box is cleared, only the number appears.
  • Force Display of 0": This option is available when you select the Architectural format. When the checkbox is selected, trailing zeros appear in unit measurements (such as 3' 0" instead of 3').
  • Angle Degrees: Use the drop-down list to select how precise your angles need to be, up to three decimal places.
  • Enable Angle Snapping: When this checkbox is selected, angles you draw or measure will snap to the closest unit based on the level of precision indicated in the text box.

For details about other options in the Model Info window, see Exploring the Model Info dialog box, which is a section in Setting Up Templates.

Discover other measurement tools

As you draw with the SketchUp 3D modeling tools, you’ll find lots of ways to model precisely, check measurements, and label dimensions. The following tools and features are especially useful:

  • Specify a unit in the Measurements box: The box works differently depending on which tool you’re using. When you draw an entity, like a line or circle, the Measurements box lets you specify the precise dimensions and unit. To use a unit other than the default unit (specified on the Units panel in the Model Info dialog box), you can type a unit along with the measurement. The Measurements box also helps you position entities precisely, with the Move tool for example. This introduction to the SketchUp interface is helpful for beginners.

    See the articles about accomplishing specific tasks in Drawing Lines, Shapes, and 3D Objects for details about how the Measurement box works with a specific tool or check out this Measurements box quick reference.
  • See an entity’s measurement in the Entity Info panel: Want to know how long a line is? Need the area of a face or the volume of a solid? Simply select the entity and open the Entity Info panel, which displays a relevant measurement for the selected entity.
  • Mark measurements with dimensions: Dimensions are dynamic measurement labels that update automatically as you create a model. These details about marking dimensions dynamically explain how SketchUp dimensions work.
  • Understand the Tape Measure and Protractor tools: These tools can help you model precisely. The Tape Measure can also scale your model.
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