Moving Entities Around

When you're drawing a model in SketchUp, moving your model (or parts of it) takes on a third dimension. Literally.

Here's your guide to moving things around in your 3D model, from a simple click-and-move operation to moving precisely with 3D coordinates.

Note: Move is a humble tool whose name doesn't reveal all it can do. See Stretching Geometry, Copying What You've Already Drawn, and Flipping and Rotating for details about the Move tool's other tricks.

Ready to move? Follow these steps:

  1. With the Select () tool or the Lasso () tool, select the item (or items) you want to move.
  2. Select the Move tool () or press the M key.
  3. Select the item you want to move and your move point.

    Move Points: Moving is easier if you select a corner as your move point. If you’re moving an item and want to align it with something else in your model, make your move point the corner you want lined up with the other item. For example, in the figure below we’ve selected the upper-right corner of the cabinet as our move point allowing us to easily move the cabinet and align it with the other cabinet.
  4. Move your mouse to move your selection. As you move your selection, the inference points and the values in the Measurements box change. Let's take a look at how this looks when we move our cabinet:

    • (1) An inference line appears between the start and ending points of the move.
    • (2) The distance of the move is displayed dynamically in the Measurements box.
    • (3) As you move your item close to other items in your model, you see inferences to nearby geometry.
    Tip: To lock an inference to an axis as you move, hold down the Shift key when the move line turns the color of your desired axis. Or tap the up arrow key to lock your move to the blue axis, the left arrow to lock your move to the green axis, or right arrow to lock the move to the red axis. You'll see a notification at the cursor that the inference is locked.
  5. Click the destination point to finish the move.
  6. (Optional) To move your item a precise distance type either of the following during or immediately after the move:
    • Distance: The number you type can be positive or negative, such as 20' or -35mm. If you specify a unit of measurement, that unit overrides your template's default units. For example, you can type 3' 6" even if you are using the metric system as your default.
    • Coordinates: The Measurements box accepts global or relative coordinates. To enter global coordinates, use square brackets, such as [3', 4', 5'] to designate coordinates from the model origin. To set relative coordinates (from the starting point of the move operation), use angle brackets, such as <3', 4', 5'>.

To see these steps in action, along with a few extra tips for moving, watch the following video.


Tip: The Move tool can also help you copy objects! See Copying What You’ve Already Drawn for details on how to make one copy or multiple copies of your objects.

Corner Inference Grips

When selecting or hovering over a component/group, you'll notice there are inference icons at the corners of the component/group's bounding box to help you better move the component/group. In the image below, you'll see a gray dot at every corner of the box. These are grips that you can grab to move the object. When you hover over a corner obscured by the object itself, SketchUp temporarily makes the object transparent, allowing you to use that corner as a grip .

Tip: When a component/group is selected and you are not hovering over a corner grip, you can cycle through visible grips by pressing the CMD (MacOS) or ALT (Windows 10) key, allowing you to switch between: corners of a group, midpoints of a group, side centers of a group, or the center of a group.

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