Change axes Improvement

I would like to make a request to Change Axes. I have used this quite a bit and it is still frustrating because of how easy it is to have the axes reset to World when I still need it at the newly set orientation. I’m an architect and tend to group all geometry in a building model by tag according to what it is (window, wall etc.) and where it is (main level, exterior etc.). As I am working on a portion of a house that is angled off of the World Axes, clicking into and out of various groups, I am constantly having to reset the axes. Any chance the axes, once set, can only be reset by manually resetting them even when clicking into and out of groups? Or least have the option of making that a preference within a model? I know that this may be a more complex request than it seems on the surface. I think that within components, it would be fine to keep the axes functioning as they currently do.

I wonder if you could clarify or provide an example model. A group’s axes should maintain their alignment unless you change that. If the group has been rotated relative to the model (world) axes it would appear as though the axes are changing as you open the group for editing and switch between seeing the model axes and the group’s axes but there is no actual reset of axes going on.

Since model axis orientation can be saved as a scene property you could create scenes for different axis orientations depending on which part of the model you’re working on. Maybe not exactly what you’re asking for but it’s something you could do right now without waiting for a feature to be implemented.

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Hi Dave. Thanks for the quick reply. The model I’m currently working on at the moment I cannot share. I’ll look for an opportunity to share a relevant model, but it may take a little while as I’m pretty busy. I realize what is happening and why. What I am asking is the ability for SU to ignore the group axis orientation and use the orientation as set or reset until I manually set or reset it again whether in the axis command or by using scenes. I do use scenes set up with relevant axis orientation and generally it works pretty well. When I am working on a building that has a wing of the building aligned with world axis and a wing on some other angle, all the exterior walls (both wings) on the main level are within the same group and typically the group’s axis is where it was when I initially began to layout the building (usually on the world axis). I’m wanting to be able to work on the wing that is off axis whether on the exterior walls or within another group like interior walls, windows, doors or whatever (which are all in other groups) without it reverting to the world axis when I click out of say the exterior walls group and into the interior walls group. Hopefully that makes sense?

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Have you though about using Scenes. Scenes can be set to remember the axes position and orientation.

In your case, you may need a scene for each wing of the building. You can call them “Wing A” and “Wing B”, for example. Maybe a third scene can be called “Normal axes” or whatever if you want to quickly reset the axes.

After that, a simple click on any scene tab would set the axes as you want them.

Thanks. I do use scenes.

+1 on @jean_lemire_1 's comment. For clarity what he’s saying: If you check only the axes location and un-check all the other properties, that’s the only thing that will change with the scene.

Thanks, I know how to use scenes for this purpose. Please see my second post above. I’m asking for the option to decouple the axis from the group.

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When editing, you can change the scene tabs and if the only property of the scene(s) are the axes, those should remain after editing.
Create a scene with the world axes, first(only the axes property.
Then start editing a group that is correctly aligned and then create a scene(while in editing mode) with only the axes property.
See what happens if you click on the tabs.

Thanks Mike. I’ll restate, I know how to do what you are saying. I do indeed do this on every project where there are off world axis angles. When I click into a group (say - Walls - Interior) to work where I wish to work on off axis angles I can click the scene and set the axis that way - great. Then I click out of that group the axis goes back to world. When I click into another group (say Windows) I then need to click the scene tab again to set the axis back to off angle. I would just like the option to decouple the axis from the group so that I don’t keep needing to constantly click the scene tab to reset it back to off angle.

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OK, I think I get it better now.

First of all, I did a simple little test. We know, of course, when you open a group, you work in it’s local coordinate system (that’s a feature we don’t want to loose). We also understand that if you use the axis tools at this point, it changes the group’s coordinate system in a persistent way (that’s a feature we don’t want to loose). I was surprised to learn if you use the scene method described here while inside the group, it does affect the modeling axes at the moment, but it doesn’t persist for the group after exiting. That seems pretty slick, and not too painful as a one click operation. I rather like this trick.

That said, that’s just a five minute experiment. I can see how if you’re going in and out of groups all day, it would get tedious even if just one click each time. I don’t think group coordinate axes are going to go away, but I can imagine a setting to let the globally coordinates override all groups for modeling purposes as long as it’s turned on. This is not unlike the setting for View>Component Edit>Hide Rest of Model when editing groups. We so frequently want it one way or the other, most of us have a keyboard shortcut for it. You’d want to do the same for this. Probably something to the effect of a “Use Global/Use Local Axes” toggle for editing groups and components. Those things would still retain their local axes definitions as they always have, but a keyboard toggle could change which axes govern modeling constraints at the moment.

That seems like a reasonable request. You sold me.


Sorry, but after re-reading all posts I still don’t get it.
A model with two wings at an angle etc. … may help explaining where the persistent changed axes come into play and where they are lost with the way SketchUp works now.

Thanks! I was starting to wonder if I was a little crazy lol.

Well, honestly, my first impression when I set it up and tried it was,“This works pretty well! What’s wrong with it?” But I can see in a real world project with lots of groups it would get tedious and repetitive to have to reset the axes even if it is just one click every time you exit and enter another group. I can see wanting to be able to set your coordinate system, lock it in somehow, and then get on a roll: Enter group A, edit, exit, enter group B, edit, exit, etc., until at some point it’s time to switch to the other coordinate system and repeat.

A model showing an example of this would help.

First of all, your group’s and component’s local axes and origins should be logical for each of them.
Second, when entering a lower editing context you start out with its local axes. When going in the “opposite direction”, leaving the editing context you start with the one step heigher local axes.
Where do you want to introduce new persistent drawing axes? And for what specific reason(s).


Yes, I’ll see if I have time.

Actually I wasn’t really asking you for one. I can pretty much see what you are saying. But I wanted the OP to produce something.

Agreed, but if you let that be the driving force behind how you group things and organize your model, that might not be ideal for how you would like to organize your model for the project’s sake, like in architecture you might want all first floor walls to be one logical group, yet it contains raw geometry that’s governed by two different coordinate systems.

Starting with A, and organizing groups around local axes orientation, you probably do something like B, but forget about axes and organize the model naturally for architecture, you probably want something like C.

Again, the suggestion for using scenes to save multiple axes orientations is a workable solution to doing C with SU as it is now. The requested feature would just help reduce tedium and speed things up for heavy amounts of modeling with this situation.

Just whatever the root level global axes are set to at the time. An A-B toggle would switch between A) the current behavior SU does now, and B) the root axes overruling all underlying group/component axes for constraining/modeling purposes, i.e. not permanently changing the saved axes for that group.

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Please see my second comment.

Please see my sixth.