Tips and Tricks

If you are just getting started with SketchUp you may not even know where to begin. To help things get moving in the right direction, we want to cover some common snags that users who are new to SketchUp may encounter, and the best way to move past them or avoid them altogether.

  • Click and Release - Click and release is the standard input method for most of SketchUp's tools. Unless the tool says otherwise, do not click and hold down the mouse button while moving the cursor.
  • Inference Points - While drawing you will see inference points. An inference point is another part of your model - a face, an edge, one of the axes - that you can use to align things without having to perform calculations. Each inference point is color coded to help identify what it represents:
    • Green circle inferences represent endpoints
    • Blue circle inferences represent midpoints
    • Blue diamond inferences represent points on shapes
    • Red X inferences represent intersections
    • Red square inferences represent an inference along a line or curve
  • Guidelines - Use guidelines to improve placement accuracy. Using inference points and guidelines together can help make your modeling even more precise.
  • Orbit and Zoom - Learn to orbit and zoom constantly while modeling. SketchUp was designed to let you experience your model. Using the mouse to move around helps keep your mind engaged with your hands and reinforces what your model is doing.
  • Beware of Accidental Moves - Entity selection persits between tools and operations. This means picking a new tool won't change your current selection and neither will completing an operation. Always double check your selection when switching tools or starting a new operation.
  • Use Groups to Isolate Geometry - Groups are single instances of an object. A copy of a group will remain distinct from its original. Grouping geometry within a component can help you manipulate that geometry without making unintended changes to the surrounding entities.
  • ESC Before Undo - Try hitting the ESC key before you Undo an action. ESC will cancel the current operation, while Undo will remove the last completed operation. Some things in SketchUp are not affected by Undo, like creating scenes, switching scenes, selecting entities, orbiting, and viewing. Using ESC first may save you from extra work.
  • Simplify Your Shapes - The segmentation in 2D arcs and circles is not easy to change once you pull them into 3D shapes. Simplify these shapes by eliminating segments, smoothing edges, and minimizing geometry.