A new SketchUp Labs project: Trackpad Navigation

I also love the very natural two-finger trackpad controls on the web version, and don’t understand why they’re not available in my “Pro” version? I have to hold down THREE keys AND click-hold the trackpad to pan within an operation?

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Click H to enter the Pan tool, then click-drag on the trackpad.
Click ESC to return to previous tool.

ADD: I’m not dissing better Trackpad Navigation, just saying.

Thank you, I know. It’s very awkward to have to take focus away from what your looking at onscreen to do that. A modifier key (or esc) is fine, a letter key like O and H not.

Thank you @DanRathbun! I learned something from you. I didn’t know that pressing ESC would take you back to the in-progress operation. That’s a game changer for me. It’s still not as elegant as the web version but it will do.

Your most welcome. I cannot take credit as the camera manipulation tools have always operated in this “interrupter” mode (where ESC returns to the previous tool.)

I thought for sure this fact must be in the SketchUp Help, but checking the help page where it should be told, finds no mention:

On Mac there is an accessibility setting where you can set three fingers on trackpad to be the same as a mouse down. With that turned on, I can briefly press control and command, three finger touch my trackpad, and start to orbit. I can then release the two keys and two of my fingers, and I am then orbiting by softly stroking the trackpad with one finger. It’s an incredibly gentle way of working.

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I agree. If it can be done in the web version, lease do it in the Pro version. I switch back and forth too and it only makes sense to mave similar navigation that is more natural.

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Two years later + the latest 2023 update and still no trackpad support for the PRO version.


We are already two! I only use trackpad

:face_exhaling: Wow! There are too many keys to press for such an essential and frequently used operation like panning. There should definitely be a better replacement. Have you ever tried using the default Apple Maps app on Mac? This is the way panning, orbiting, and zooming should work when using a trackpad. Too bad that the SketchUp developers aren’t keen on implementing it.

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It works great, but will we ever get this feature in the desktop app? It’s almost 2024, and we still don’t have a good trackpad navigation system on the SketchUp Pro. :pensive:

On Mac, we should have more options to do it. Just implement it in the same effective manner as it’s done in the stock Maps app.

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That would be a total disaster, and the worst thing that could happen to my workflow. I would have to go back to using a mouse again. Easy logic recognition of the feature is important, but ergonomics is the most important aspect of how gestures should work. Pinch to zoom looks nice on a phone, but as a zoom gesture in sketchup, using it all day, you would quickly develop all kinds of muscular problems, eventually then giving up you profession and take up yoga in the jungle… :slight_smile:

As it is now , “zoom”, the most used navigation tool, uses the easiest gesture. That could not be better.

Orbiting and panning could maybe have been done easier, with just shift-swipe for instance, but the click-drag lets you set a precise start point, so thats good.

Even though there is now maybe a few more clicks that needed, this becomes muscular memory, and as the keys are all pressed at the samt time, it does not slow you down.

One should not change things that work, or rather, make real sure then, that it’s an actual improvement. As the gestures work now in sketchup for web its easier that on the desktop app, but not as precise, and it messes with system features like screen zoom. (on the Mac)

But Pinch to zoom is a terrible idea, and it works good now, although a bit convoluted.

Trackpad is way better than using a mouse, so its a pity so few it. I can understand why one then would want to make the gestures easier to learn, but be real careful about that, so one does not mess it up.
The “sketchup for web” way is for light work, not all-day efficiency.

maybe shift-click-drag for orbit and command click-drag could be an improvement, to make it easier to learn.

Are you sane? Do you really use a trackpad for all day use when working in SketchUp?
If you are truly concerned about ergonomics for all-day use when working in SketchUp, consider purchasing a mouse, like most people do.
So you wanna tell that pressing odd keyboard shortcuts like Control + (Shift +) Command + Click and Drag is more comfortable than pressing a scroll wheel on a mouse?

The trackpad gestures work great for 3D work. They have been widely used with various variations in many 3D and 2D software for a long time, such as Blender, Rhinoceros, SketchUp Web, Apple Maps, etc. Most people find them delightful.


Moreover, these gestures would enable people to use both the Trackpad and Mouse simultaneously. The Trackpad for panning, zooming, and orbiting, and the Mouse for precise pointer tracking, clicking, and dragging, creating the best workflow you can imagine.

I use the trackpad for everything too, I find it more annoying to press cmd+c and cmd+v which have a more uncomfortable position. ctrl+cmd I have it already internalized and it doesn’t cost me any work.

I meant using it in SketchUp when working all day with the software. A mouse is a much better tool for this purpose when working with 3D software all day as a professional.

I have it already internalized

That’s your personal habit you had to get adjusted to. Intuitive and easy-to-perform gestures (like two-finger movement (panning), pinch to zoom (zooming), and two-finger rotation (orbiting)) wouldn’t have required you to do so.


Actually, these shortcuts were designed with cleverness in mind. They are among the most comfortable shortcuts to use because these keys are placed very close to your index finger (C, V) and thumb (⌘). If they are annoying to you, it means that the issue is a personal one.

I find some comfort in not being the only one that you identify as having personal issues :slight_smile:

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