Sketchup Blog - News and Notes from the Sketchup folks

Unlock the mysterious power of your keyboard

Posted by James Therrien, Lead Training Simian

Are you agog over the blazing modeling speed exhibited by experienced SketchUp users? Want to know one big secret of their success?

Stay away from the menus and toolbars!

Watch them closely, and you'll see the sleight-of-hand is in their fingertips; they're using key strokes to switch tools. All it takes is knowledge and some practice. Try this little bit of prestidigitation -- or should I say "sketch-i-digitation". Ouch.


  1. Create a new file, then use the Rectangle tool to create three rectangles on the ground (they don't have to be the same size). To activate the Rectangle tool without picking its icon or choosing it from the Draw menu, press R on your keyboard.
  2. Press P to activate the Push/Pull tool, and pull up the rectangles so you end up with three boxes.
  3. Now we need to shuffle the boxes. Press Space to activate the Select tool, then triple-click on one of the boxes to select it.
  4. Activate the Move tool by pressing M and move the box you selected in Step 3. Click once on the box to "pick it up", move your mouse, and click again to "put it down".
  5. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 with another box.

By the way, most modeling wizards get familiar with SketchUp's keyboard shortcuts by means of the Mystical Illuminated Secret Rostrum of Mysterious Runes, also know as the Quick Reference Card. It's available if you say "abracadabra" and look under the Help Menu. On the Quick Reference Card, each tool's shortcut key is in parentheses next to its name. Presto!

One more thing: This Help Center article includes information about setting up your own keyboard shortcuts, just in case that's the sort of thing you think you'd like to do.

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5 comments :

casio said...

google earth, thats a little off the universal observation dont you think?

Simon said...

[b]A very helpful missing shortcut.[/b]
I'm searching for a keyboard shortcut (or any other speed way) to come back with the tool i was using just before modify the point of view with orbital tool, pan tool or else.

thanks

Anonymous said...

Msg to Simon -- "Esc" is the key you're looking for!

Sage Radachowsky said...

"ESC" does work! That is great to know!

I know most keyboard commands, but I didn't know about triple-click to select a 3D object. That is great use!

One thing I need is the key command for text and dimensions. There is none. But guess what? I just learned that I can *add my own* key shortcuts with "Preferences".

Great work!

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