Best way to learn Sketchup?



I’m disappointed by the lack of a curriculum for the newbie. There are lot’s of resources here in the forum, through SU Help, on the web, and in print, but I have yet to see any concise curriculum which includes the many things I’ve already learned through this forum and YouTube that aren’t part of the SU Help introductory stuff.

This post, for me, is not actually asking for advice. It’s a plea for SU Experts to consider taking the time to make such a curriculum!

Square 1: Where to start?

I thought the book SketchUp For Dummies was a good investment.


I think the best (and fastest) way to learn any program is to actually talk to/learn from someone who’s using the program doing the same kind of work as you do.

Books and videos can get you quite far but actually talking to / learning from an expert in one on one sessions really can speed up your learning process. The opportunity to ask questions while using the program is most important. Also, a good teacher/trainer will always show you multiple ways at the same time to achieve the same 3d model.


I can also heartily recommend Dave Richards’s DVD, SketchUp Guide for Woodworkers: The Basics, from the Taunton Press.


I must say, this is what I have been trying to find. Heck, it took me hours just to get to this page with this question! I have been a draftsman off and on since 1957 but I am having a hard time understanding this type of format. I used mini-cad, then vectorworks which I understood and could use. Since we are a 501©(3) not-for-profit corp. I really don’t want to spend what little resources we have on a very expensive program. The SketchUp folks have been very kind in donating a year of this program, I hope they will continue to do so. I am determined to conquer this program! I really do need help in getting started. For instance: how do you use the “measure” box at the bottom right? Which do you start out your drawing in Layout or SketchUp? I just downloaded the 2016 pro and now I can’t open the drawings I did before, nor will my original passwords work. I, like this fellow need some basic, help that is really basic! Thanks for someones help.


Try using the introductory videos to help you get up to speed with the program. SketchUp is actually much easier to learn and use than Vectorworks IMO, so you should be able to achieve some skill with the software with little difficulty. The videos can be found HERE - CLICK THIS.

As to your other questions:
You do not type into the Value Control Box (VCB) - what you have referred to as the “measure” box. Just select the tool you want to activate, whether it be the line tool, the rectangle tool, or the tape measure tool and just type your desired dimension after making your selection. If you are activating the rectangle tool, then type the width dimension separated by a comma from the length dimension thus: 25’6,15’. No need to type in the inch symbol or the dash following the feet designation. Of course if you are set up for metric dimensions, just type the numbers separated either by a semi-colon or a comma depending on where in the world you’re located.

Start your work in SketchUp. Layout is a companion to SU and is used to present “paper space” type documents similar to the way drawings are indicated in ACAD or Vworks. You can get a bit more info on how to use LO in these videos - CLICK HERE.

You should have received a new password with the new SketchUp installation. The old password would not work with a different installation.

Also read thru this THREAD - CLICK HERE to see more helpful info about using Layout. (I thank @Barbara (Drischel), an architect and structural engineer from Germany, for authoring the information in the referenced thread.)

Yours is an interesting website, btw.

Good luck.


Not promoting it, but DaveR a Sketch Up Sage here, has posts at Fine Wood Even if you are not into wood working. By following his practices with native tools as well as what most you consider common go-to extensions. You get a // and build your own understand of how to manipulate the tools, create a work flow. As well as opening up your eyes and thoughts as to exploring the possibilities. You have in your head but having nothing to draw from to proceed and make it happen. His tutorials fills in the gaps and he explains why he is doing it this way as he goes. A GREAT help starting out, as you are completing something as you learn. Not just trying to mimic someones You Tube video. Check it out…Peace…


Here’s a more comprehensive listing of educational resources. There are quite a few resources geared for specific types of modeling.

I personally never bothered with anything other than the videos, manual and forum when I first started - but then that was all that was available at the time. My formal education and professional work also greatly affected how I approach SU modeling. There is no one size fits all curriculum as there are so many different uses for SU.


@catamountain That looks like a (nearly) great collection of educational resources! Why “(nearly)”? While I didn’t explore it in depth, in general it needs an update to SU 2016.

What I’m hoping from this discussion is that someone (not me, too many projects in my queue) will summarize this, then push SketchUp to make it easy to find. I’m thinking prominent on the Help page!

I’ve already (I think) learned what I need to know for the current project, but I’m bookmarking your reply for future use!


Thank you so much for your help. I looked at the first one, then tried to do some modeling. I still don’t have the pass words etc. for the 2016 program so it won’t let me do anything but the trial. The program has quit both times I tried to use it, is this normal? Can’t get anything accomplished with a program that won’t run!


Actually, the site has mostly been updated to SU16. The core SU tools haven’t changed over the years, so all the old stuff is still good. If people are interested in resources that cost money, the older books would cost less, and may be available used on sites like Amazon. Tutorials dating back to SU6 are still quite useful.

The SU team will not be releasing a PDF user manual, so the old ones from SU7 will be it for those people who like to read and have iffy internet access (waiting to to be fixed at SU’s end,)


I suggest contacting SketchUp Tech Support to resolve this issue. If you have the Pro version, the password and the authorization code can be provided to you via this resource.


Here is a good list of resources, including a couple of mine:

Some of these start from square one while others cover more advanced topics. One of the issues in creating what you’re looking for is the state of the publishing industry today. Conventional publishers aren’t really interested in topics they consider too esoteric, so the best resources tend to be self-published. That can make things hard to find.

I wouldn’t get too hung-up on which version of SketchUp is used in any reference, the basics are consistent and if you have a good grasp of the basics you can catch on to enhancements of new versions of the program.

Bob Lang


You can also uninstall the pro version and install SketchUp Make 2016 and it will continue to work for you.


Thanks to your help getting me to the correct info. source I am building a complete aviation cadet training base of the 40’s-50’s time frame. Using this program has made my modeling possible. When it is complete I will send you a link to it if you like. One gnawing problem is when I move, rotate etc. it moves so fast and wants to snap to an invisible grid. Is there a “nudge” command? Any ideas? Thanks,


As you probably have discovered, SketchUp automatically infers to specific points in your model. You can hover over a midpoint, an edge, an intersection, a tangent, etc. in order to reference an entity to be snapped to. I can’t say why the cursor moves too fast though. It may be something as simple as becoming more acclimated to the way the cursor responds to your movements or perhaps the mouse sensitivity can be adjusted to not move so quickly. Try performing a browser (google or other) search for “adjusting mouse sensitivity”. The Orbit tool allows you to rotate the model or to visually circumnavigate around the model. Here is a reference article from the SU Knowledge Center on navigating in your models** - CLICK HERE**.

There is no nudge command in SketchUp although you can nudge objects or text in Layout. There may be an optional SU extension that allows nudging, but I am not aware of one at the moment.

i would definitely like to get the link to the work when completed…Thanks for offering to send that.


from the window menu, model info,select “units” in left column and check that enable length snapping is unchecked