Dimensions tool/tape measure unit display default

Hello, and thanks for taking a look at what is probably an overly simple question;
The question being: Is there a way to set the default display of units when using the dimensions tool and tape measure to read in inches only? For example: If I use the dimension tool to show the length of something and it reads 5’3" can I instead set sketchup to default to showing everything in inches only so that it would read 63"?

There’s decimal inches.
edit: Also there’s fractional inches.

Window>Model Info>Units



Okay, thanks. I see it now. Way to simple to have bothered everyone. Should I erase this thread? Can I?

I wouldn’t bother, it may help someone else someday.


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We see this as one of the most asked questions. (It was also one of mine when I first started.)

Obviously, units control is not where new users expect it to be.

(a) So, before you were told where it was, where did you expect it to be ?

(b) Where did you first go looking for it to be ?

(c) If it were labeled differently, what label would you think, would have helped you find it quickly without needing to ask, or go searching through the online help ?

(@Barry Once again…)

ADD: Anyone and everyone reading, should feel free to add their own answers to the questions posed above.

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Let’s see…

I actually think it is okay where it is. I can’t remember at this point where I was stumbling around looking for it, but now that I understand that the ‘model info’ window is the go to place for settings that apply to the entire model I am content. Except; I have noticed that not all of my pre-established units change after changing this setting. It would be useful to be able to switch back and forth between having all dimensions displayed in inches and having them all displayed in feet and inches as well as having the option to have some units displayed entirely in inches while others are displayed in feet and inches. It’s about how builders think.

I think ‘Model Info’ needs a link from ‘Preferences’, that’s definitely the first port of call with any new software I use…

Well, I remember looking for some menu item with the words “Settings” or “Setup” in them.

“Info” is not synonymous with “Setting”. “Info” also implies statistical information.


I must disagree here. “Preferences” applies to the software, ie, the interface.
Whereas the former applies to the Document. In LayOut (and many other applications) there is usually a “Document Setup” dialog. But a lot of users do not think of the model as a document.

Maybe “Model Setup” to trigger that association?

Then the statistics panel should be moved out to its own window, since it has really been inconsistent with the other panels all along. The others allow input of settings. That one presents a report plus a couple of fixup buttons.

I agree it’s NOT a software Preference, which is why I specified

a link from ‘Preferences’.

it just happens to be where I looked when starting out…

aside from Model Info being poorly named, confusion is compounded by having multiple places to change things and no cross linking to guide you…

an example of another place for model [genreric] changes which are rarely modified after the initial choice [without our prompting] is the Template

I like “Model Setup” much better, and LayOut uses “Document Setup” rather than “Settings”, so that would make things consistent.

@john_drivenupthewall, … okay, understood.

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I don’t have a problem with a Template gathering together an arbitrary suite of initial conditions for a new model, but I also see the issue with how “Model Setup” might be expected to contain all of them yet does not. For example: initial style, camera projection, camera location, shadow settings, fog, default model contents,…It seems like the “Window” menu is the only place all these things come together. But there they are mixed together with things that have no logical similarity aside from opening another dialog window! Maybe “Model Setup” should be a new menu item with all the panes now in Model Info plus all the items now in Window that control typically static setups?

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Well templates are another related sore point. There are people that like them, and those that that hate them. Some applications have a clone dialog of the document setup dialog that applies to global default settings. I have begun to see repeated requests for SketchUp and LayOut to have this alternate way of specifying global defaults rather than templates.

After all you can look at a dialog and “read” the settings, you cannot look at a file list and know what the settings are in a template. The description field is limited and you are at the mercy of whomever saved the template, to have entered a precise description. (Yet still there is not enough space to really get that detailed.)

another sort of random question concerning the tape measure tool. On a mac, is there anyway to make the little red dot that shows you were your tape measure tool will begin any bigger?

do a search for ‘mac inference retina’ and you’l find a workaround…

wow. first time actually taking part in this forum and I have an answer almost immediately. Thank you John!! This was great and totally helped.

How do you do this now
in 2017 pro

You don’t usually need to on a Mac, anyway. The SU team have gone further (but not yet completely) into adapting the software for high resolution screens.

You could set a lower resolution, if it is still a problem for you.

I believe on Windows 10 you can set a display scaling factor of up to 150% but can’t remember where you find the setting.

Start with this thread to find more

Links for Microsoft help here: