How do I select a polyline in 2014? Seems non-selectable!

I’m following along in the student book by DiVInci. On the section describing polylines. I can create a polyline with no problem. Cool. However, it seems that I can’t select the polyline. (In this case, I’m creating the polyline by holding shift while creating a freehand line)
Has anyone encountered this? I’ve reviewed the section a couple of times, but can’t seem to figure out what I’m doing wrong. Ideas?


  • Sean

Geeze. I was able to select it, but I needed to draw a border around the entire polyline. There has to be a better way to do this. Frustrated, but I know I have a lot to learn.

You seam to have found a bug in SketchUp 2014. Normally you should be able to select this with the selection just just by clicking on it. I’ll report it as a bug.

I have just confirmed with my copy of 2014 Make that “polyline” objects can indeed be selected with a single click, so I wouldn’t be so hasty to report it as a bug.

Incidentally, there is no native “polyline” entity in SU. Multiple segments forming a single entity other than an arc are identified by Entity Info as a “curve.”

Here’s a “curve” I just drew with the Freehand tool (which I don’t like and do not use) and then selected with one click. Seemingly, there’s no selection bug.


Maybe it’s a OS X problem or a retina problem (I have more problems related to my retina screen), because on my machine I can’t select it the normal way. And be sure I know how to select elements.

CleverCoder are you also on mac?

But I agree on not using the freehand.

Just to make sure we are talking about the same thing here:

Are we talking about the “3d Polyline” (name from Entity Info) entity you get when using the Freehand tool while holding down shift? Because I can reproduce problems selecting that ion my Windows machine here. I need to do a box selection fully containing the entity in order to select that.

Or is it the “Curve” entity you get from Freehand tool by normal drawing? I’m not having any trouble selecting that.

3d polyline, curve works perfect.

Oh boy, did I get that one wrong. I really wasn’t aware of this Shift-Freehand object. Now that I’ve been smacked across the face with a 3D polyline though, I see the exact same behavior reported by the OP. Sorry about that, all.

So exactly what is a 3D polyline good for? The thing I find most interesting about it is that it is actually thin in weight when standing alone in open space, something that can’t really be achieved with ordinary edges or curves. I wonder if there’s some way to make this thin line type more accessible, or to assign this entity type to lines drawn using inferencing–it would really fill a big void (in my opinion) in SU’s capabilities–namely, 3D annotation. To explain my point, I will excerpt here one of my own wishlist items, previously posted in the old forum:

Improved 3D Annotation Support. By “annotation,” I’m including all forms of human-readable information applied to the model, expressed in words, numbers, and symbols, and the various line types used to apply them. This includes dimensions and tolerances, item callouts, local notes, and things like weld symbols and surface texture symbols. Just as there’s no reason that a product definition must be a 2D drawing, there’s no reason that all these forms of annotation shouldn’t be applied directly to a 3D model to good effect. That is, there’s nothing about any of these forms of annotation that makes them applicable only to 2D drawings. As I’ve mentioned before, there are ANSI/ASME and ISO standards that define standard practices for the application of annotation to the 3D model.

I’m not asking for a complete ASME dimensioning package. I’m just asking for the basic ability for someone to construct these elements manually, which presently can’t be done in SU at all. Here are some requests all having generally to do with improving annotation:

a. Thin Graphic Line Type for Annotation. The big obstacle to full annotation is that there is presently no line type that can be used to construct leader, extension, dimension, center, and phantom lines, which are all supposed to be thin and visually subordinate to object lines. As it stands, any line drawn by itself in space comes out as a profile line, which is thick. This new line type should be sensitive to inference so it can be positioned accurately relative to geometry and text and so it can be built into dashed line patterns.

@tt_su, do you see any possibility of developing a line with the thickness of a 3D polyline and the ability to be controlled precisely with inferencing in the construction of 3D annotation?


The recalcitrant nature of selecting 3D Polylines has been known for a long time.
It’s not new to SU 2014 or 2013 or 8 or 7…

@Gully and @tt_su may recall a discussion ~4 years ago.
The topic was how 3d Polylines might be used to create thin line GD&T symbols.
Here’s the SketchUcation Topic

I ‘m not able to dredge up the topic in the old forum as yet.
It seems the topic links now redirect to the landing page.


Good question. This entity pre-dates any of my knowledge of SketchUp. I’ve wondered about this one myself. Most people are not aware of it, and it’s use is limited - probably why the issue with selecting it has been around for so long.

Currently the Ruby API lack support for this obscure entity. But if it was exposed it would be quite trivial to write a quick tool to draw straight lines with it.

However, annotations in the world of SketchUp is more of a responsibility of LayOut.
For what would you like to use the 3d polyline for?


I must disagree that annotations in the world of SketchUp is more of a responsibility of LayOut. I agree the day you provide us with an API for Layout. For today if I want to automate annotation and dimensioning I need to do this in SketchUp because I have an API in SU and not in LO.

You and Gully and I talked about this long ago.
See our past discussion:

If only we could access this topic link in the old forum.
There Gully described the concept in detail, complete with pictures.
Any way to get past the redirect?


Well, that’s the problem. I’m really of the opinion that 2D documents are lumbering dinosaurs, eventually to go the way of T-Rex. I consider LayOut to represent sort of a transitional phase in the evolution of true 3D design documentation–fully annotated and attributed 3D models. This is so much richer a medium than a 2D drawing, capable of conveying so much more information, so much more clearly, that it seems a waste to use models as little more than a means to produce static, 2D documents like we’ve seen for decades. In other words, I consider LayOut to be a backwards-looking distraction from the development of the next logical step in the evolution of design documentation that will eventually make 2D drawings look quaint, limited, and obsolete.

As it happens, I spent my last 15 years working at a major aerospace corporation on a team whose charter was to replace 2D engineering drawings with fully annotated 3D models. There was general agreement among our engineering staff and management that 2D drawings had outlived their usefulness, particularly as CNC fabrication technology, working directly from the models, became increasingly widespread. At the beginning of that period, there were numerous insuperable obstacles, both technological and cultural. At this point though, most of the technological barriers have fallen, and the main obstacle appears to be cultural: the tremendous resistance to change, even among industries that are technological front-runners. The main excuse for paper documents–the need for something that can be taken into the shop or the field–now stands bankrupt with the advent of mobile computing devices.


@Geo, I can barely remember what I did four weeks ago. Thanks for reminding me how long I’ve been harping on this (futilely, it would seem).


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This thread should have been forked a good number of posts ago. I don’t have admin power to do so, but maybe @jody?

In any case - I was trying to determine why people wanted to use the 3d polyline. Using it to annotate sound like a workaround to me. Addressing the real issue here would be the subject of annotations in SketchUp / LayOut.

To select a 3D Polyline you must drag a L-R Window Selection around the entire 3D Polyline.


Here’s an ugly way:

I’ll gladly delete it if @jody has a more elegant method.

No big deal. Just good to use the nice new features of the forum that allow conversations to fork. :slight_smile:

Man, you guys rock! Not only did you confirm what I was seeing, but now I know plenty more history that I would have ever dreamed! For the record, I’m using OSX with a 17" MBP (just before they stopped making them).
Thank you!

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