How to easy rotate organic models

I would like to know how to rotate models that doesn’t have flat surfaces in x,y,z directions, like this rock…
I want to rotate it in the green axes, every time I lose time having to create some “box” near it and place the the “rotation ruler”

I bet I am doing it in the wrong way and there is a much easier action to do it.

The easiest way is perhaps to use the Move tool instead of Rotate. When you hover over a selected group or component with the Move tool, you get tiny cross marks on the bounding box. Clicking on one starts a rotate on the corresponding side of the bounding box.

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Or klick with the mouse, hold the mouse button and drag the rotational axis in the right direction (until you find the green inference).


I would just get the Rotate tool and lock it to the green direction with the left cursor key.

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Yeah, have you tried the arrow keys? They lock most tools to the axis, including the rotate tool.

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Hi Cotty, could you explain that better? idk why the video you sent didnt show it

could you do a little video for me? :pray:

please Dave could you help me showing a little video of it? :pray:

Huh, well OK. It’s pretty simple though. Click on the Rotate tool, then press one of the arrow keys. Left is the green axis, right is the red axis, up is the blue axis, and down locks to a specific reference (magenta color). They work like toggles, press an arrow once to lock the tool to that plane, press it again to unlock.


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@marceltanure A lot of the questions you ask are about basic SketchUp knowledge every user should learn first. I suggest you spend some time at: and the official SketchUp YouTube channel:
Lots of very educational videos of witch even an experienced user can learn a lot!


OMG, so easy… and I didn’t know about that! I cant believe I spent 10 years wasting so much time creating planes near the model just to rotate :rofl: :exploding_head: thanks again guys

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I see you used a box to reference the green plane while all you needed was a vertical rectangle in the green plane…
You can do that also with the arrow keys. Default gives you a rectangle in the blue plane (and on the ground). Play with the arrow keys and you’ll see that you can make rectangles in other planes too!!
I bet you can save even more time than you first thought…


I think I may hear an echo sound

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Just trying to help, I guess if he didn’t know how to use inference locking on the rotate tool, he didn’t know he could use it on a lot of other tools too…

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thank you tweenulzeven! what else the lock arrows works for besides for moving and rotating?

Lock the line to the axis in a Line Tool
Lock the rectangle plane to axes in a Rectangle Tool
Lock the measurement direction in a Tape Measurement Tool
Lock the directions of the 3 Point Arc Tool

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To add to @dezmo : Lock the circle plane to axes in the circle tool…
edit: and Lock the protractor to axes.

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In general:

  • drawing tools such as circle, rectangle, polygon
  • arc, pie
  • other drawing tools may be locked to an axis, not a (two axes plane), such as with the line tool
  • Don’t forget the ‘Section Plane’ tool that can also be locked with the arrow keys.

Not to mention understanding the tools lets you lock to off axis as well.