Align and Distribute Objects


I like your style @jimmer57! I don’t know where you hale from but you could almost be a fellow Brit with that weapons grade sense of irony.

When I have banged on about the Copy and Mirror commands in the past, I didn’t get much support for my views, hence my conclusion that it was just me. I still maintain that a time and motion study that compares the default methods with those I have used elsewhere would quickly show up the deficiencies. But people start telling you about muscle memory and then you really know you should be speaking to the hand because the ears ain’t listening!


Check out Google SketchUp Cookbook by Bonnie Roskes, can get it used on Amazon for a few dollars. Has some great modeling techniques including making various arrays that are similar to align/distribute. It’s an older book but still applicable.


To all my “friends” in the SketchUp Community …

I received another e-mail from Trimble, did what it said … and it’s there and working!
Problem solved!


Care to share the solution to your problem with us? (Align or distribute or both)


There’s not much to it … I called several times, wrote some e-mails, and sent the requested screen shots. I think it was a case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease … all I did was insist on some help to look at the problem – and they came through!

I do have one assumption – and it’s a total assumption – that there was some kind of misalignment in a registration database somewhere with the Extension Warehouse. I say this because on TWO occasions, when I went to sign out, another person’s name appeared. (I didn’t know I had changed my name to Katherine!)

Again, thanks very much to those who sent suggestions and saw the value of my request. I will still look at them. A good holiday weekend to all!



I am a Brit, if you go back two generations. My wife (Spanish) accuses me of being snippy, snide and snurly, and of having cold heart-hands-feet. I maintain it’s my heritage, spoiled only by orthodontia and massive pacification of my facial tics.

I actually dialed that post back a LOT. I originally wrote it referring to the (common) attitude on the forums of— “if you twist up your face, tie your right hand behind your back, stand on one foot, and squint like a mfer, there’s no issue!” as such a common occurrence, that we should save the time and trouble of all the typing by simply calling it Sketchup Standard Response, or SSR for short. Then the Sketchup Sages could simply mock the newbies for not intuiting what SSR stands for.

In the old days, there was a fellow named Gaius, who might have even been paid by Google or their predecessors to keep the forums friendly and civil. A man of infinite patience, he helped with a kind heart and didn’t get snappy unless it was well and truly deserved. He might even still be around, but not in his former role.

I was once in the middle of a HUGE project, with a million or so faces. Part of it was importing an Autocad file as the basis for a church I was designing (and this was before the Autocad importing issues were widely known). If I drew a rectangle with the rectangle tool, odds were it was out of plane by several millionths of an inch. It would show a face when first drawn, but adjust it in any way and it would not close. Command Z and it still wouldn’t close. Very frustrating. I posted about it and had to listen to bucketloads of patronizing ■■■■ about how to draw a line or get an inference— which I’d originally pointed out was exactly my process— until I quoted Trimble support saying it was a known issue.

Long story short, I feel your pain. And while many of the Sketchup sages might have started with good intentions, it feels like their heart does not have the spirit of truly helping. I used to go on all the time to see what I could learn. Now I mostly avoid them, and only post to support like minds such as yours. I have read some of your ideas about mirror and such, and feel that if Trimble listened better to us folks, SU could truly be a great program.

Jim Lewis
Springwood Studios
(formerly Icarus Furniture)

154 4th St
Troy NY 12180


Jim, are you sure you want to spread your contact details around that openly? From what you’ve said about the sages and Trimble in general, it could make you a mark!

I haven’t quite reached your degree of hopelessness yet, and I am not really in pain. Frustrated occasionally, bemused a lot, but that’s about it. Sketchup is so good in so many ways that I almost feel unpatriotic making complaints or suggestions. And my experience of the sages differs a bit too. There are about half a dozen regulars who clearly just want to help, will spend enormous amounts of their time trying to do so (often under quite unreasonable fire), and generally stay calm and polite at all times.

I guess the commercial reality is that a developer always has to choose between listening to, and acting upon, the many (often conflicting) demands of its user base, and trying to break new ground or markets to keep things fresh and moving forward. It’s a tightrope walk.


Plus 1 for a convenient mirror command.
Scale works, kind of, but to make a copy, one must first make a copy of the objects to be mirrored (collecting subject objects into a group is helpful). Then, one must add another object (a line [or edge] works) to define the mirror plane. To be truly helpful, a workflow would be something like: select desired objects (similar to the move command), select the mirror plane, perform the operation. Using the Control key to force a copy would leave original objects in place, creating new geometry in the new location.

The problem with scale is that it operates only within the limitations of the current axis coordinates, either of the object itself (group or component) or world coordinates. And I know that one can reset the coordinate system but no one can convince me that’s an easy solution.

As is mentioned elsewhere in this thread, there are ways of obtaining desired results by going through lengthy and not always intuitive gyrations and contortions, but come on. What we all desire is not to train ourselves to be contortionists, but to rapidly and effectively create.

When I want to make a copy of Widget and have it appear over there, I initially found it awkward to first think of moving Widget, and THEN forcing the copy with a modifying key combination. But I’ve been doing that for so long, now, that when that function does NOT work, such as in using SCALE to mirror Widget, it’s akin to taking two steps up the sand dune and slipping back one, to figure out another way of dealing with the issue.