Help Panning & Zooming while drawing a line / shape

I have a model that I am building and sometimes to get the precision I need I have to zoom in so far that the other end is not visible. I start the line shape etc, and then want to draw to the other end but in order to do so I have to zoom out, or rotate the model. How do I do this on a mac.

If you have a scroll wheel mouse, that can be used to zoom in and out during a draw operation (but be sure to have the mouse pointer over a drawing element.)

You can access Pan and Orbit via the popup middle mouse button menu. These are interrupter tools. When done panning or zooming or orbiting, click the ESC key, and the draw operation will resume.

I don’t have a mouse. Does SketchUp require a mouse?

No. SketchUp doesn’t require a mouse but it’s sure definitelya good idea and it makes things a whole lot easier. It doesn’t have to be a fancy, expensive one. A simple three button scroll wheel mouse will suffice. Trying to use SketchUp without a mouse is a sure way to get your frustration level up.

1 Like

What have you been using ? A touchpad or a touch screen ?

An Apple “Magic” trackpad. BT.

Just get a mouse before you go any further with SketchUp.

Haven’t had a mouse for years… what do you recommend? BT & Apple.

Get the least expensive Logitech wireless mouse that has a button in the scroll wheel. Put a battery in it, plug in the receiver and get busy drawing. As I said before, there’s no need for an expensive mouse with SketchUp. You can go crazy with buttons and all sorts of other things but my advice is to start simple, get proficient with SketchUp and the basic mouse and figure out where you want to go from there.

For my use, I’ve never found any need for those fancy mice. That’s with over 13 years of SketchUp use.

I just bought a Logitech (M100) wired USB mouse at WalMart for ten dollars.

(I personally hate dealing with the batteries for the wireless mice.)

1 Like

Just to confirm…

I need to buy a mouse so that I can pan/rotate while drawing a line without closing it? I have managed to do everything else so far, but working on large models it is hard to work both ends of the model without orbiting or panning and the focal point when zooming is largely unpredictable.

Buying a mouse will probably entail buying a new desk… since my space is very small. And I suspect a trackball will not do what is required. A wired mouse will be tricky too unless

I have BT Wacom that I use on my lap when drawing in other apps, is there a way to make that work?

The reason the mouse is recommended is so you don’t need to drop the drawing or modification tool in order to zoom, orbit, or pan. You are finding it difficult to navigate the camera around the model space. A mouse will make than very easy to do. Without a mouse you are working harder than you need to.

I don’t know which Wacom product you are referring to but if you have to go to a toolbar or use a keyboard shortcut to activate Zoom, Orbit, or Pan. you’ll have the same problem you have now.

I manage quite well with a mouse on a mouse pad that is about 9" square.

Another thing you should learn is that the orbit and pan tools are “interrupters”. That is, if you activate them when another tool is active, do your orbit or pan, and then press escape the previous tool resumes where it was.

That said, I agree wholeheartedly that a mouse with a scroll-wheel and scroll button is vastly superior (and I’m on a Mac Book Pro Retina, so I have a touchpad too).

I found that out… and it works pretty well. But I will try a wheeled mouse and see what gives.

@DaveR Thanks. If I had 9" square my coffee cup would be on my desk and not… on the floor… I found a wheeled trackball I’ll try that…

Well no not if you have a way to click+drag, or if the “magic” pad has keyboard alternates for the select (left mouse button.) if the notebook has a built-in trackpad, it usually has mouse buttons or “tap areas” that act as mouse buttons.

You can use the keyboard shortcuts to interrupt the edge drawing, then hit ESC key to resume and select the end point of the edge.

O for Orbit
H for Pan (Hand)
Z for Zoom

You’ll see the mouse cursor change to the appropriate navigation tool.

A note about how you’ll be using Zoom. Instead of scrolling up for zooming in, scrolling down for out, … you’ll drag the cursor (in the same manner) whilst holding down the select key.

Actaully all 3 navigation tools need to use click drag

Or perhaps there is a keyboard utility that allows you to set F2, F3 and F4 as the mouse buttons ?

You’d want to activate the mouse commands with your left hand.

I work my mouse on the bit of space to the right of the touch pad on my laptop (actually on my laptop) … must be about 3-4" tall by 6" wide.

Hi folks.

I use Pan, Zoom and Orbit all the time in the middle of any drawing, moving, rotating, copying, whatever operation. I find this as one of the most powerful feature of SketchUp.

By the way, I never have to press the Esc key to get out of the Pan, Zoom, Orbit maneuver.

For example, to add an edge, I click to start the edge, pan, zoom and orbit as needed and then click again to place the end of the edge.

Remember that you can also change rendering mode and select a different scene in the middle of ay drawing, moving, rotating, copying operation.

Based on that, for a huge object that needs to be seen from opposite ends that require a lot of pan, orbit and zoom, I would create two scenes, one for each end.

Then the procedure would be:

1 - Click on first scene;

2 - Start the edge;

3 - Click on second scene;

4 - Finish the edge.

5 - Repeat as needed for additional edges.

Needless to say, you can create as many scenes as you need to quickly jump from one part of the model to te other.

It might be better if you disable scene transitions to save more time.

If you need to see through for special work, create a scene with the X-Ray mode.

Etc. Etc.

Just ideas.


Yea, it is nice that SketchUp workflow is multi-paradigm, Jean.

But, this thread is really about the OP not having any buttons to even initiate Pan, Orbit or Zoom.
He doesn’t (or did not have a mouse,) only a “Magic” Touchpad.

So the issue “on the table,” is can you Pan, Orbit and Zoom without mouse buttons, and only a touchpad ?

Can it be done if the user “Click Style” is changed in Preferences > Drawing …

… to “Click-move-click”:

And how do you click on a touchpad ? by tapping hard ?

Is there some utility on the Mac that allows you to create keyboard shortcuts to mouse buttons for the left hand ?

It annoys me when people bash the hell out of their machines: There are few touch pads that are pressure sensitive (on most stylus & tablet combinations it’s the pen that records the pressure) Just a gentle tap does, and tap-drag is equivalent to holding the mouse button down.
Most track pads have multiple digit configurations that can be set up: double finger dragging to act like a scroll wheel etc.

1 Like