Moving Entities Around

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

This article is your guide to moving things around in your 3D model, from a simple click-and-move operation to moving precisely with 3D coordinates.

Note: The Move tool is humble tool whose name doesn’t show off 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, select the item (or items) you want to move.
  2. Select the Move tool () or press the M key.
  3. Click the item you want to move. Wherever you click becomes your move point.
    Tip: Moving is easier if select a corner as your move point. If you’re moving an item because you want to align it with something else in your model, make your move point the corner by which you want to align your item. For example, if you’re aligning the upper-right corner of a cabinet with another cabinet, click the upper-right corner, as shown in the figure.
  4. Move your mouse to move your selection. As you move your item, notice how the inferences and Measurements box change:
    • An inference line appears between the start and ending points of the move. (See callout 1 in the figure.)
    • The distance of the move is displayed dynamically in the Measurements box (2).
    • As you move your item close to other items in your model, you see inferences to nearby geometry. (3)
    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 hold down 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.
  5. Click the destination point to finish the move.
  6. (Optional) To move your item a precise distance, you can 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 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 set relative coordinates, 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.

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.

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: corner of group, midpoint of group, side center of group, center of group.

When you move your cursor over a corner which is obscured by other geometry, the gray dot will become blue and your component will display as transparent to help you see the obscured corner and grab it.