I keep getting frustrated with this program


There are a variety of issues with your model that are likely causing your frustration. Mainly they indicate that you need to try to shut off your CAD instincts and study SketchUp as its own beast.

The most serious issue is that there are multiple examples in the model suggesting you are not carefully using SketchUp’s system of inference snaps and locks. There are edges that are offset by a tiny amount from adjacent ones, as if you didn’t wait for an inference snap tooltip before drawing or aligning them. There is at least one interior wall surface that is slightly askew from the axis and not parallel to the outer surface, as if you didn’t lock the direction when you drew it. I’d suggest that you practice drawing while paying very careful attention to inference engine tooltips, snaps, and locks until they become second nature. The tiny errors that result from not doing so often lead to mysterious glitches that are hard to find and to correct. Also, while you practice this I’d set the model units to as small as available so that tiny discrepancies are revealed when you tape-measure something or add a dimension.

As @eric-s noted, you are using SketchUp’s layers as if they are 2D CAD layers, which they are not. SketchUp’s (unfortunately named) “Layers” are tags that can cause multiple objects to be displayed or not with a single setting, but they do not in any other sense gather, isolate, or structure the objects. You can associate edges with two different SketchUp layers and they will still “stick to” and intersect each other and the faces they bound.

So, drawing some edges with the “Existing Structure” layer active and others with “Outline” active does not isolate them. You use groups and components to isolate collections of edges and faces that constitute a single “object” from others. Once you create a component or group, you can assign a layer to it to affect its visibility, but it isn’t necessary to assign the same layer to its contents and doing so can actually cause confusing issues with visibility. All edges and faces should always be drawn with Layer0 active and left that way. And there are only special circumstances in which you should make anything other than Layer0 “Active”, none of which apply to models such as the example you attached.

Regarding solids, in SketchUp a “solid” is a group or component that contains a minimal collection of faces that completely enclose a single volume of model space. By minimal, I mean that there are no extras such as “flaps” or internal partitions and also no non-face edges. Your outside walls component has some examples of both extra partitions and stray edges. Many of these look like they resulted from the small offset edges I mentioned above. By completely enclose, I mean that there are no holes connecting the interior to the exterior (called “surface boundaries” in some discussions). In you sample model, the walls do not have tops so they fail this last point. There is also a problem with a portion of the bottom of the walls due to one of the slightly offset edges not meeting cleanly at a corner.


And has been wrapped up as a component or group. Loose geometry will not be recognised as a solid in SU.


I’ve tried to utilize all of those “tricks” which still seem counter intuitive even in relation to paper drafting and of course the frustration.
This doesn’t really address the fact that I create a structure that I understand is a solid but as you can see it’s become a shell and I have never been successful utilizing the sold tools because I always get the message saying I cannot use them.
It also makes me question if whether most of these seeming “bugs” are really an effort to push the purchase of the Pro software.


No, it simply means you haven’t taken the time to understand how to use the software.


Just had a quick look at your model and firstly you need to read up on how layers work.
Have a look here.


Ok thanks. Maybe there is something I am missing regarding the snaps and locks you are referencing because when I am drawing I absolutely rely on those which is a direct carryover from my other CAD self training, using and relying on snaps. I will say that finding and securing those locks and snaps are not at all intuitive nor does it seem reliable. Too many times I have attempted a lock or apply a constraint and the program just doesn’t.
I will look at the model units settings and I use the tape measure pretty much all the time since I can’t set datum or other reference points in this drawing.
Is there any way to recover and repair what I’ve done so far? When I try to look closer my screen ends up “whiting out” and I don’t have any reference for where I am and what I’m looking to fix. And where is the extend line/surface tool to make fixing these more effective?

I have to admit, the layer thing really ticks me off more and more; seeing as I can make them only visible or invisible. There is no grayed option and therefore impossible to create a reference layer for things.
And there is no apparent recovery method when I make mistakes other than completely starting over.And after spending an hour or two on a project to discover that the model is f-ed up I often want to launch my computer across the room and just go back to paper and pencil because I am so far from a place to be able to afford AudoCAD or Vectorworks.


wow, that really is not at all helpful. Clearly, if I am asking for help telling me all that I have NOT done does not really add to my experience.


Sorry you feel that way, I was simply pointing out the you have several times said that you are self taught in this and other software.
My comment was to point out that there is a huge amount of educational information available, basic starter videos, help files, you tube tuts and an assortment of other good and bad tutorials.
In this day and age with the amount of info available at the tap of a keyboard it should be possible that self taught also means well read.

By the way, Clipping might be a good search term for a solution to whiting out.


Without watching over your shoulder, I can’t tell what you might be missing, sorry! But there are quite a few places in that model where things are just a tiny bit out of whack. Sometimes you have to pause a moment to let SketchUp’s inference engine analyze what is going on. Often you should enter exact values into the measurements box instead of attempting to hit them by moving the mouse, even with inference snaps. Once an object is just a bit crooked, for example, you can’t move it up against another without causing this kind of errors.

Likewise, I can’t tell why locking an inference doesn’t work for you. Pressing an arrow key should lock cursor movement to an axis in the model. Holding down shift should lock inferences to their current state, such as on a surface or edge.

Unfortunately, the way to repair a damaged model varies enormously depending on the specific error. Sometimes moving something a small distance will work. Sometimes erasing an edge and redrawing it will work. But since things interact with each other, it is also possible that each attempted fix just makes more issues! As a result, often it is actually faster to start over and work carefully to avoid making the same mistakes.

I don’t mean this as an insult, only as context: the example model you showed is really not very complicated. An experienced SketchUp user could probably create it from scratch in perhaps 5 minutes.


As an afterthought, maybe it would be beneficial if you could find an experienced SketchUp user to with you to watch how you are working and offer constructive suggestions specific to the actions that are frustrating you.


What you’ve described are not bugs in the software. It’s workflow. Keep at it. It takes time. And like @slbaumgartner, sounds like enrolling in a class or looking for an online tutor may be your best place to start. Good luck.


I am firmly convinced that I hate this software.

I am just trying to dimension a drawing so i can cheat convert it to construction drawings.
I mean even the most basic garbage in garbage out is so frustrating.

I don’t want to launch something as much as I do when trying to use this. If I could afford it I would get anything else where the tools do exactly what they say they will. Where I can set a view and dimension like I would with a piece of paper.
I don’t see any way this is remotely a kind of crossover since it appears to have it’s own language.

And I am still looking for someting useful in the guides or tutorials or even the search.

I almost feel as if it was created by a “clique” and unless you know the secret handshake and are in on all the inside jokes you can’t “get it” in an effort to exclude anyone on the outside.

Yes I am venting, but any time I try to take on something with this program it makes me crazy like nothing else.


It sounds like you are too frustrated to even try to learn how to use the program correctly. It’s certainly capable of doing what it sounds like you are trying to do but like any other software, you have to learn how to use it. Learn to walk before you run. I’d be willing to try to help you but I have a feeling it’s too late for that now. You apparently have your mind made up that it doesn’t work. Maybe at this stage you’d best go back to pencil and paper.


So I went here:


where the only instructions are to point and click to create a dimension.

Now I know I need to associate the dimension with an object, which I do, even getting an endpoint tool tip on each end of a dimension but NO that doesn’t work. I tab, spacebar, shift, command anything that has helped me identify what I am associating with and there’s nothing.

so I am not being hyperbolic when I use the word hate


at this point it’s too late for going backwards.

I took the advice, I took the time
I redrew over half of this to make sure I got all the “secrets” there are

And of course the implication that there is only one ‘correct’ way to use it is kind of highlights its limitations.


I intended no implication that there is only one correct way to use SketchUp. There are incorrect ways, however. With long experience teaching others how to use the program, I’ve seen a lot of people who get frustrated because they are doing things incorrectly. Most people, when they’ve taken the time to learn how to use a program the way it was intended, find that it works just fine.


Again, without watching over your shoulder, I can’t say exactly where you are going wrong. But here’s an animation to see if it clears up anything. It’s nothing different from the tutorials, but sometimes seeing another view can clarify something. The GUI shown is on the Mac version, but you should be able to find equivalents in Windows or the web versions.

  1. Select the dimension tool
  2. Move the cursor to a point to start a dimension. Wait for an inference tooltip.
  3. Click the left mouse button to set that endpoint
  4. Move the cursor to the other end of the edge to be dimensioned. Again wait for an inference tooltip.
  5. Click the left mouse button to set the second endpoint
  6. Move the cursor away from the edge to set the direction and distance of the dimension.
  7. Click the left mouse button to commit the finished dimension.

Repeat steps 2-7 for each additional dimension.



Creating multiple views. Plan, Section and elevation.

I watched the video, multiple times.
I adjust view.
I get the purple dot
I drag along the axis to extend.

I change view it’s not there.

I adjust,
then the measurement is incorrect.

I adjust again

Finally just draw it in correctly and manually


Baptism Box.skp (545.4 KB)

Ok, I stepped back and looked over a few more tutorials and created a ritual to completely alter my mindset before starting a project. As such I knocked out this building everything including the hardware from scratch per hardware from Grainger. It is super rough and need help in a few areas (ugly follow me stuff) but I feel I have a couple boxes fewer frustration with Sketchup.
I’m open to feedback and suggestions to move forward taking this to the next level. Like I know I am going to have to redraw completely to explode this into construction drawings and such. If my employment challenges clear up I think I’ll invest in the Shop subscription. It’s not quite the deal I have on Adobe CC but it ok.

Finally, thank you to everyone for being patient with me and you willingness to read my rants. I thought at the very least this community would be willing to listen and give feedback.


It’s a good start. You have a lot of reversed faces that need to be corrected.

Instead of exploding it to make your Construction drawings, Create a new model and components for each part you would make out of a piece of wood or plywood. Easiest process would be to start with one large side. Make it a component, copy it and flip it to make the opposite side. Then draw an end panel, make it a component, copy it and flip the copy to make the opposite one. If you put the two long sides in the right places relative to each other, you can use them for reference for the ends and so on.

It should look something like this when you are finished.