Disabling Z axis temporarily!

Is there a way to temporarily disable the Z axis when using the Move tool? I want to be able to move objects in X and Y axis only, just like in a 2D world! Even when I am in Top view and Parallel Projection, I am still not able to accurately move object from let say, left to right without the object getting pushed in the Z axis which is frustrating me!

I have used many 3D applications before such as Cinema 4D, and all of them allows me to move 3D objects in one axis very easily, unlike SketchUp. Also all of them provides flat 2D views for each axis which helps so much to make extremely precise object movement… is that possible in SketchUp? Finally, is it possible to use the arrow keys to move objects in the XY directions?

You can lock the Move direction to the X or Y direction with the right and left cursor keys. Or use Shift. There is no way to disable the Z direction, though.

What version of SketchUp are you using? Please complete your profile.

Sorry … I just updated my profile. Using version 2021.

When I use Shift, it only allows me to move in one axis, not XY at the same time. Is there a way that I can move objects in XY axis freely?

Only without locking the direction but that won’t eliminate the Z direction.

Here is a quick test I just did in Cinema 4D:

As you can see, I can freely move any object in the XY direction at the same time. Is that possible in SketchUp or an extension to disable the Z axis

In SketchUp you don’t have to drag on the object itself, you can click some distance away. If you want to move an object around on the ground, don’t click on the object (except to select it before you start to move), but click on the ground instead. Now you can move around the ground, and the object will only move in the X and Y directions.

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Thank you very much, Colin … this trick will do, though it is no obvious to find out.

SketchUp should offer 2D views like what most 3D applications do. 2D views (like what is shown in the video above) is still very useful.

Perhaps. But, the rest of your world experience is in 3D, I think there is a way to understand the movements you are doing in 2D while viewing the world in 3D.

I was once asked whether I use 3D. I said: “sure, all the time, otherwise I would just slide across my wall.”

I understand your desire to sometimes work in 2D. Colin’s suggestion is the next best thing. I find I rarely move the object itself any more. After selecting it, I will usually use the floor (or equivalent) for moving in the XY plane. In addition, I usually use the straight edges along walls for moves in only one axis. I could use the modifier keys for that, but I almost always have a straight edge nearby going the direction I want and it’s quick to just drag along that.

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With Fredo Tools > MoveAlong


I guess I am having such difficulty with SketchUp because I am coming from other 3D packages which all functioned similar to Cinema 4D when it comes to moving object in top view 2D plane. Maybe it is a matter of time to get used to SketchUp way, though I still prefer the others way because it’s more logical and much more precise.

I couldn’t find this extension in the Warehouse! From where to obtain it?

FredoTools - SketchUp Plugins | PluginStore | SketchUcation


Many thanks for the link. Just wondering, why many developers does not publish their extensions in the Extensions Warehouse? Its much easier and faster to download it from there!

Hi Anoammar,

I don’t think you’ve been introduced to SketchUp’s Inference System yet. (but I could be wrong here… I haven’t read all of your forum comments). Colin has flirted with this idea in his comments above… but it doesn’t necessarily equate directly with the video you guys were referencing… so it didn’t get isolated in the way that you should probably think of it in.

Regardless of how someone might try to draw comparisons here… I think if you look into the inference system as it’s own area of study… you’ll come out the other end of that inquiry with most of the answers, for the questions you are dancing around with right now.

My own take on this would be to say, as an introduction for outside CAD trained Users:

In SketchUP you gain the feature of an Inference System. . . and this largely bypasses two of the more common navigation features found in other in other CAD programs. The first being the 4 panel view system (what you’ve show in the Cinema 4D video) which locks to whatever xyz plane the viewport are assigned to… And the second is the Gumball/Gizmo tools which SU doesn’t have by default (though some plug-ins DO make use of such a thing).

I could be wrong here… But I’m pretty sure that SU has a patent on their inference system. And I’m only saying this because I want to place emphasis on the idea that many people might site this and the one killer feature that SU has. To me it’s their most highly developed idea throughout the entire program. And it sits behind how most of the tools get to interact with all of the objects that are placed inside of the SU 3D model space.

You learn about it by playing around and modeling… The early discovery is how SU automatically favors motion on one of the 3 major axes. The next might be that you are told how you can hold down arrow to keys to force a lock onto a specific direction. And somewhere in the middle of that is the discovery that you can interact with your model from a distance. This is the stuff Colin was talking about above. But within the Inference Modeling idea… lives a lot of very clever and intuitive ways to work within the model space… and you’ll see many of these tips on the forum here.

Having the inference system within SU means that every other object within the model space becomes an active reference point for what you are currently trying to do. Any object you see could be used for measuring, or positioning, or for tracking along a specific path.

The end result of this, is that once you get a FEEL for it… you’re not going to be left wanting too much more… The inference system pretty much supports everything you’ll need to do. And to some extent you’ll find yourself modeling in a little different way… because of what the capabilities can allow for.

It’s an important thing and worth looking up as it’s own search term, when you get a chance.

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Many thanks for your detailed feedback, Jim. :+1:

I will try to learn more about the inference system and see how it goes.

As for “Gumball/Gizmo” tools, what plugins are you referring to?

This is the one I always remember.

It called Vertex Tools by ThomThom

ThomThom was an independent developer, that now works for SketchUP… during the free time when he’s not running his Evil Software Empire.

I’m not a big plugin / extension user… so I’m not too sure how many options exist in the plugin world. I just have strong memories from the day when Vertex tools first launched, and I was excited to see the gizmo tool.

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THanks :+1: