Ergonomics and a tired wrist

I am using Sketchup Pro and Layout every day for architectural drafting work. I have found that my right forearm gets very fatigued from my mouse use (Logitech M215 three button scroll wheel mouse). The main stress seems to come from having to click into and out of nested groups. For instance, if I want to edit geometry that is nested inside of multiple groups, I sometimes have to click 10-15 times just to get into the correct group. Add this to the usual stresses on the body from typing/sitting all day and I find myself paranoid about carpel tunnel and an early death ;-).

Any solutions you have found to limit the amount of clicking you have to do? My searches haven’t yielded any results for keyboard modifiers/workflows to improve the workspace ergonomics.

I would submit that we start a category on here for healthy ergonomics!

You can use the Outliner to directly go into nested groups. Selecting a group and pressing enter also allows you to enter it with one less mouse click (at the cost of a button press). Saving out re-occurring components and edit them externally may also prevent some moving up and down the hierarchy, especially if you work simoltanesly on different places in the project as it allows you to alt+tab between them.

However I find it odd that moving up and down the hierarchy would be culprit. I use many levels of nesting but have never thought about that myself. Often it’s not the clicking itself that puts strain on the arm but precisely moving the mouse onto what you click. When entering groups you can move the mouse quite roughly onto anywhere on that group. Personally I use shortcuts a lot to avoid high precision clicking in menus, and use extensions to save high precision clicks in e.g. the layer inspector. Zooming close to the model also allows you to do much cruder mouse movements when selecting objects and picking points, but at the cost of scrolling more.


Thanks for the ideas! Hadn’t though of using the outliner to go directly in, though that would require a lot more labeling of groups in the outliner to know what you are looking for?

Would you be willing to share your shortcuts/workspace setup? I am curious if it would be possible to create a shortcut/plugin that would allow you press one modifier key and one click to drop all the way to the lowest nested group in a set of groups. Not sure how it would go about selecting which groups to go into if there are multiple, just an idea though.

I plan on doing this for a living well into the future and want to protect my wrists and tendons as much as possible!

I use the BackOut plugin to get completely out of the nested groups. However assigning a shortcut, it’s not very responsive. There should be a fast surefire key command built into SketchUp.
I also have requested a plugin that would open the context of any clicked object, but haven’t had any help there. Press a hotkey then click on a face, and it is editable.

I have to say though, my CAD work began long ago along with wrist, hand, arm, and neck problems. I solved most of it. I use a gaming mouse with sensitivity and acceleration turned up. Most of my mouse work is in my fingers. (People cannot use my mouse at all–it jumps around for them.) I also learned to protect my neck from constant twisting screen to screen etc. Get the best chair you can afford too.

Constant left click is an area to improve. Replacing clicks with keys is always best.

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I use a right angled mouse helps as it keeps your wrist in a more normal position. I also use an elbow support ( found on ergonomic sites), and finally a 3D spacemouse for the left hand helps navigate in 3D space with less scroll wheel action.


The API currently doesn’t allow opening up drawing contexts. There are hacks like simulating mouse clicks and key presses, but I avoid using that as the code may need to be reworked to function in later versions or on other platforms.

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I don’t use one but several of my colleagues at work have one and think it has helped.

In the old days I had problems when using a digitizer that had a puck with rather stiff buttons but since switching to a normal mouse I have got on OK.

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OSHA Computer Workstations eTool

The M215 is a compact mouse without any rubber grips.

Try a Logitech M510 Full-Size Comfort Mouse

Do you use a full-size keyboard?
Do you use an adjustable keyboard tray that has room for the mouse?


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Consider changing to a trackball, thumb and 2 fingers only. Mine is a Logitech M570.


I started using a Wacom tablet in 1993. Pressure sensitivity doesn’t (usually*) apply for CAD work, but the ergonomics do. Tips on using a Wacom tablet with SketchUp is probably another topic.

*The Wild Tools plugin for PoweCADD does have pressure and tilt support.


It would be fun to see ThomThom’s vertex tools with pressure sensitivity used for how much you select. Or SUbD with pressure sensitivity for how much you crease an edge :open_mouth: .


I’ve got some suggestions for you:
First things first, if you have a ‘wrist rest’ for your mouse, throw it out. The tendons in your wrist that can get inflamed (i.e. the tunnel of bones and muscles that house them and make up the carpal tunnel) are just inside the structure that those mouse rests are supposed to help. How you’re supposed to place pressure on your wrist WHILE using your wrist… it doesn’t compute.

They’re not ergonomic - they’re economic - for the the companies that sell them.

Secondly, get an app such as xmouse which:

XMouse Button Control (XMBC) allows you to create application and window specific profiles. This in turn, allows you to re-configure your mouse behaviour for individual applications or windows. For each profile you can also configure up to 5 ‘layers’ of different button configurations which you can switch between using hot-keys or mouse buttons.

XMouse Button Control

So for example, you can assign an extra mouse button to be a triple-click while you’re in Sketchup. That same button can then become ‘open a new desktop folder’ when in an OS window.

If you have a logitech mouse, you can also set buttons to do things by application in their Logitech Options program (free download if you haven’t bothered to get it in the past). It only allows single-key ‘macros’ and at most a double-click assigned to a button (no triple-clicks), but even that helps things along. It speeds things up substantially; I tried it.

I hope these help!

*** edit *** you can get Logitech options to do a triple-click. Found under gesture button - custom


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I have that same mouse and love it, with their Set Point package you can change or add what the 2 buttons to the side of left click do. So that gives 5 options with the wheel. Plus when Orbit is selected, SketchUp offers a right / context click Camera Tools option.

I have a Wacom Intuos and have a trick when working with 2 monitors. Instead of rolling the ball 20 times to cover the distance. One finger drag moves the cursor straight across, from one monitor to the other. Same as if it were a plain wireless mouse where you just slide the mouse to position the cursor.

Learn all the short cuts you can … I started with a laptop and no mouse. Just the built in finger pad and left / right button. Talk about hand cramps …

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Thanks for the links! Yes I have a keyboard and mouse tray with adjustable height. I am still noodling with the correct heights for everything, might need to raise the height of my desk in order to have more adjustability for the keyboard tray etc.

I am definitely in the market for a new mouse. I think I just need to go to the store and try a bunch out in person.

This is all really good stuff. Thanks ya’ll. Keep it coming - any other ergonomic considerations out there for those of us modeling/drafting full time?

Spike Monkey Typing GIF from Spike GIFs

I find 3DConnexion CAD mouse and Space Mouse (using Enterprise kit) quite nice. Definitely easier for my wrists than Logitech Performance MX mouse. Obviously, will depend on size of your palm and workflow/habbits.

I am originally trained as a keyboard player (Oberlin Conservatory Organ and Harpsichord Major) and had to learn, much as athletes do, to use the minimum amount of muscle power and to use the most comfortable position possible to avoid muscle/tendon/wrist damage. The basic idea is lay your arm horizontal on a horizontal surface (adjusting chair height is important as is the desk surface) - this is ideal. Over thirty years of computer drawing the single most comfortable drawing device is the Apple mouse (much aligned by others) as it only slightly raises my hand. I tried a dozen different mice and keyboards and the greater the angle that the wrist is raised the worse the problems. I had to go to a sports medicine doctor for issues and this is what solved it.


Agreed with Valmont. I didn’t mention, but I hardly think of it. The position my hand is at the mouse is in a resting position, not turned out but curled in.

Another good topic I’ve found here. I suffer a sore mouse (right) wrist sometimes because I kind of have boney wrists. I use a mouse pad to stop getting a sore spot on the bottom of my wrist :raised_hand: I do notice that the angle the wrist pad (gel filled one) places my wrist at a bit of a weird angle etc, & tends to cause some discomfort after intense mouse sessions. I try to take regular breaks etc but I’ve been interested in alternatives to a mouse & like to keep up to tabs on what’s available. I currently use a Roccat Kiro mouse which is ok. I don’t think you can program it for specific programs though so I’m keen to try X-Mouse Button Control that ItsBrett posted. Not sure how if it would be compatible with Roccat’s Swarm software which I also have installed. I like the look of that Logitech M570! Although I do find using side buttons on a mouse somewhat tricky. If anything, I’ve actually deactivated mine because I kept accidentally clicking them all the time. Unfortunately I live in rural Australia & there’s not a lot of choice when it comes to trying before you buy around here, which would be nice. Especially considering the cost of some of these devices. Still, nice to see the topic coming to light. You don’t realise how convenient it is to have wrists…until, like all things, it stops working etc. Cheers folks. Remember to exercise those wrists…I know I do on a regular basis…say no more :thinking::grin:

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Hi ajharlan!

I recommend that you check out Curic’s “Curic To Level” plug-in. It will save you bucket-loads of clicks and speed up your workflow to a crazy degree! =)

Just follow the info in the pop-up windows in Sketchup to set it up for both Groups and Components.

While you’re at it his “Curic Deep Select” might also be of interest, or not. =)

All the best!

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