Best Practices

Three good practices you need to know to get the most out of SketchUp.
David Heim
7m 49s

Shortcuts in Lesson

Create ComponentGG
Copy (with Move tool selected)Drag + CtrDrag + Option

Updates in 2023

In the latest version of SketchUp 2023, you may not see the Flip Along component's axis in the right-click menu. You should use the new flip tool instead. See our guide on the flip tool for details on how to use.


Welcome back. In this video, I'll go over three good practices you need to know in order to get the most out of SketchUp. The three good practices are these; to work in SketchUp the way you would in the shop, to draw things in place, so you don't waste time, moving things that don't need to be moved and to draw things once and make as many copies as you need. I'll show you how they work, as I go through the steps in constructing a little bookcase. Here's the beginning of the bookcase. I'm working in SketchUp the way I think I would in the shop, starting with a side piece, I've laid down guidelines to know where the dadoes go for the shelves. And I've laid down another guideline over here to know where the second side piece goes.

The side is a component, because of course you always work with components. I'm just going to put in one last dado. Double click so I can make some changes to this component. I'll just trace right over the guidelines with the line tool and I'll use push pull to make the dado three eighths of an inch deep. I just type that value and SketchUp gives me that dimension. Now I can click away from that component to close it. I'll click once on it to select it. Use the move tool in conjunction with the option key, it would be control of a PC, to make a copy and get that copy positioned right where that guideline crosses the access line.

Then I'm going to right click and choose a command called flip along, to orient the two side pieces correctly. And now here's an example of drawing things in place. I want to put the top on next, but I'm going to put it right where it belongs, on the top of the side pieces. And I'll use the rectangle tool for that. First, I'm going to tap the up arrow to get the cursor oriented correctly. And then I'm going to click on one corner and then drag over to that other corner. Go back to my push pull tool and make the top three fourths of an inch thick. This time I can just draw a box around that part with the arrow tool and I'll tap the letter G to make this a component.

Yeah, right in place. The actual dimensions don't matter. I just know that it has to fit right on top of the sides. For the shelves, I don't have to draw them from scratch. Everything I need to create a shelf is right here at the bottom of the dado. So I'm going to double click that side piece and I'm going to double click at the base of that dado to select all that geometry. Go to edit, copy. Then I'm going to click away from the side piece, go back to edit and choose paste in place. That puts all that geometry right back where it belongs. So here I can draw one shelf right in place. And I'll just use the push pull tool again, to click on that geometry and start dragging until I can just touch the cursor to the base of the dado in the other side piece. I have to nudge it a little. There we go. Again, I'll just draw a box around it, type the letter G again, and make it a component. Now I don't have to draw the other shelves from scratch. I could just make copies. Again, use the move tool in conjunction with the option key. Just get it right in that dado. And we'll do that one more time.

I see my dadoes are off, a little. Let's do some checking. Okay. It's not the dado, it's my shelf. It's not quite the right thickness so I can easily fix that. Just going to double click the shelf, zoom in for a good close look, get the push pull tool, let top face up until I can touch it right to the end of the dado. And that will fix all of them because they're all copies of the same component. Now let's say that I want to make this bookcase wider. I can easily do that because I've been working with components.

I'm going to start by putting in a guideline where I want the new width to be and make it six inches wider. I'll just click once on that side piece to select it. I don't have to use the option key. I can just use the move tool to move it into its new position. Now I can double click on that shelf and use push pull to drag it, make it longer, and I'll do the same thing up here with the top. Double click it, use the push pull tool and SketchUp's inferencing. I'll just touch the cursor to the outside edge of the side piece. And that stops the movement, the pushing and pulling and lines up the end of the top with the edge of the bookcase.

And it's those good practices to work the way you would in the shop, to draw things in place, to draw things once and make copies. And of course, to always work with components that allowed me to construct the book case and then modify it in just a few minutes. In the next video, you can follow along with me to put these good practices into use, creating a model of a small table.