How to ask questions

I think we need a “How to ask questions in this forum” topic. A lot of first questions of newbies here first lead to another question like… which OS, which SketchUp version, example model/image, … It would be nice to have a post where all these questions, which will help us to help adequate, are collected and the questioner can be pointed to…


I have uploaded a model of the (Craft Cabinet Right Door/Door Unit) in the 3D warehouse.
pro 2015.

The question is: I have a animated door with drawers on it. How can I open the door and then open the drawers? When I try it just shuts the door.


and I have the door component working and the drawers working but when I put them together only the door works

Yes John, great example.

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I wholeheartedly support @Cotty’s idea. The topic should be pinned to make it easy for newbies to find. Here are some items to get it started.

  • Before posting your question, do some homework. Take the time to study the online documentation and tutorials on the Trimble SketchUp site and elsewhere. Use the help menu search and Knowledge Center in SketchUp. If you prefer hardcopy, buy a book and read it. Search this forum and others for related questions to see whether yours has already been answered. Then, if you still can’t understand them or try to follow and can’t make some aspect of SketchUp work, come here and post a specific question. People here will expend effort to help you; please have the courtesy to put similar effort into posing your question.

  • Use a topic title that clearly indicates your issue. This will help people to find it later if they have a similar question.

  • Whenever possible, attach a sample model. Often the problem isn’t what you thought or may be subtle, so your explanation might be misleading. A surprising number of “I can’t make this tool work” queries result from model flaws committed earlier. Images are better than nothing, but most of the time they are a poor substitute for a sample model. If your model is proprietary, it should still be possible to isolate a fragment that shows your issue without disclosing too much.

  • As clearly as possible, state what you are trying to accomplish, what SketchUp tools you tried, and what went wrong. Queries such as “dynamic components don’t work” are useless! An image with the query “what is wrong with my model?” is nearly as useless (though sometimes the experts will spot something they’ve seen happen before).

  • Don’t be evasive or coy. People here aren’t trying to steal your ideas or business. Don’t make us drag your real question out of you! There are far too many topics here in which the actual problem only emerges after three or more posts.

  • If your question is really a problem from a course you are taking, say so instead of being cute. We’re happy to help you learn, but don’t expect us to do your work for you!


it’s a tough one.

i think people who are good at asking questions are also good at figuring problems out on their own.


This is good. Indeed, still smarting from recent history, let me add another bullet or three:

  • Try to pose your question in the most natural, descriptive, and unambiguous language possible. Avoid metaphor, hyperbole, or irony or any other linguistic device that may detract from the clarity of your question. Do not abbreviate; do not invent terminology. Attempt to discover and use SU termnology rather than use terminology from another program. Please spell it out; what strikes you as a reasonable abbreviation may be incomprehensible to someone trying to help. Your primary concern should be to make your description as easy to understand as possible so the respondent can get directly to answering your question without wasting time trying to figure out what the problem or question is, or what your post even means at all. Remember, it is very much in your own interest to make your question easy to decipher.

  • Please post your question in the form of a specific question. Avoid presenting a rambling narrative describing the general outlines of a problem followed by something like, “Any thoughts?” Don’t force the respondent to extract your actual question from that mess. Ask a direct, answerable question, and you have a good chance of getting a direct, concise response.

  • Pose one question per post. That makes it easier to follow, understand, answer, and find again later. You can ask as many questions as you like, but please don’t ask them all at once.


Edit: And one more…

  • Please don’t ask what you’re doing wrong, particularly if you haven’t described in detail every single thing you’ve done. Aside from being unanswerable without lots more information, asking what you’re doing wrong really misses the point. The best way to learn something is to do it correctly without ever experiencing or being sidetracked by all the many ways there are to do it wrong. The saying, “we learn from our mistakes” may be true at some level, but the fact is, we learn better and faster from our successes. It avails nothing to perform an extensive post-mortem on a failed attempt. That’s time that could be much better spent learning and practicing the way to do it right.
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And another:

  • Don’t ask for someone to fix your model, ask for advice on how you can fix it yourself. Be open to the possibility that you will be told there is a better way and/or that you need to start over. It can be difficult to accept this advice when you have already invested hours or days building your model, but once things have gotten out of hand you may spend more time trying to repair it than you would spend doing it right.

…and if you spend your time repairing broken geometry, you never get a chance to experience doing it right, which is the process you wish to imprint on your muscle memory.


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and another…

  • Please take the time to fill out your profile information correctly and completely. Many times this information is vital for correctly answering your question.

A post was split to a new topic: Not able to download fps tool

what should i do

You should ask your question in the proper category.
There is a link at the top of the main “Latest” page (in the “link bar”) for the Categories Index page.

Your screenshot shows a blank 3D Warehouse window, therefore the Technical Problems > Warehouses sub-category is the most appropriate category to first search for blank window issues and if no existing topic threads are found, then start a new topic thread in that category.

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FYI, read the preceding comments in this thread and be sure to form questions where readers understand the problem encountered. Your question “What should I do” provides no context so the responses could very well range from a to z.

I’m new and simply want to know how to post a question. I don’t even know how I’ll know if this question has been answered. If you can/will you could send a reply to my email address

@Geos, please start by reading the posts in this category (above.)
This is a live forum that doesn’t lend itself well as an email listserv.

As said, get to know the categorical organization of the forum. Enter the closest category that you think proper for the question in your mind, … then use the “search” menu (magnifying glass icon, top right) to search that category and it’s subcategories using keywords (ie, try the nouns from your question.)

You should (being new) read at least the first chapter of the inline User Guide on creating a 3D model, and watch the beginner video tutorials (so you start to learn SketchUp terminology.)

Also, the old YouTube videos are still available …