3D navigation customization

Is there any possibility to add to SketchUp some customization for 3D navigation in order to make easier for those who are using other software in parallel with SketchUp?

When you use AutoCAD:
pan = middle click button
orbit = shift + middle button click
zoom = mouse wheel

If you want to revert the settings, you can choose pan + orbit + zoom = Default.

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I personally am for it, (as well as assignment of any command to MMB buttons,) … but the possibility is unlikley. It has been repeatedly requested, and repeatedly refused.

Their (SketchUp management’s) reasoning is that SketchUp is a 3D modeling application and it makes more sense to have Orbit as the default MMB command. A secondary issue is that it would cause complex documentation issue(s), where many help pages and tutorial videos would become erroneous, where they refer to middle mouse button commands.

I wish that the MMB+RMB context menu would allow the user’s choice of a MMB view command to be persistent. Now, it only works with the current use of the tool. Once you return to the previous tool (via ESC,) the MMB command is reset back to Orbit. (It works this way “by design.”)

Oh, an BTW, many of us have tried to override this behavior using Logitech Mouseware or Microsoft IntelliMouse application specific settings. SketchUp does not honor these settings.

I am also a fan of all kinds of customizability. However, there are fundamental differences between the UI of AutoCad and SketchUp to justify the default behaviour that the Sketchup developers have selected.

  • the default AutoCad navigation is geared towards 2D drafting where panning and zooming are the most used navigation commands. Navigating in AutoCad’s 3D environment is much more awkward (I tend to use the ViewCube).
  • SketchUp is designed to be used primarily in a 3D perspective view. When you get used to that you will notice that your most used navigation tool will become the Orbit tool, and it is awkward to need a modification key to use it. I generally use the Pan only when my other operations have caused my model to shift partly out of view.


There is another major difference that needs mentioning. AutoCAD has (or allows) scrollbars on the viewport window that put the pan command to shame. When I used AutoCAD, I never actually needed to invoke the pan command. I just used the scrollbars, or a function key to center the view on the mouse position.
Most often, though, I would zoom out using 3 function key presses, move the mouse where I wanted to be and zoom back in with 3 function key presses. (I think they were F9 & F10, … not sure as it’s been a long time.)

Everyone has his favourite ways - I have always turned the scrollbars off and use the mouse middle button to pan. In the early days there were no mouse wheels so I had customized a couple of function keys to zoom in or out incrementally. I maintained a custom menu system in our office (at the time it was mainly a tablet menu). Today we rely mostly on standard AutoCad menus and load what is left of my “system” on a separate pulldown menu.


Exactly the whole point of this and previous threads asking for customization features.