It should not be this hard

Clearly there is a disconnect between the developer and the end user of this software.
The developer needs to sit beside the end user and just watch, the moment they have to tell the end user a detail they have failed. One should not have to be a mind reader.

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Why do people think you shouldn’t have to learn things.


This is a user forum. What help are you seeking from other members?

Why do developers, and definitely not only the skp ones, not try to make interfaces which are selfexplanatory? Have been around it-dev for years and most (not all!) programmers are not really interested in the user. Also timeconstricts sometimes make buggy stuff rollout anyways. I was on the ‘write the workarounds’ side a long time. It-guys often have a different way of logical thinking as users have.
Learning software should be as light as possible. Which takes extra time to build and grouptest. Always use the usual terminology, (layers as a standard vs tags for example), to speed up learning.

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Interfaces have become less self-explanatory over time - a weird quirk of evolution…
IMHO SketchUp is much easier to use than most related apps - it’s like using a pencil to sketch, compared with AutoCAD which is like using a Rotring pen or Revit which is like filling in a tax-form on a spreadsheet !

In terms of ‘usual terminology’… e.g. SketchUp’s Layers were renamed Tags a couple of versions ago.
This was a decision to show a distinction between how CAD Layers work and SketchUp’s equivalent - e.g. CAD layers separate geometry, but if you assign a layer [aka tag] to a line in SketchUp its associated faces are still ‘connected’, even when you switch off their visibility, so delete the still visible line loses the faces too - a recipe for disaster [whether they are called layers or tags]. Grouping or Components separate SketchUp geometry [always having Untagged/Layer0], and these ‘containers’ then have their own tag/layer to control visibility…
The renaming to Tags was an attempt to make users see them as NOT Layers - the number of issues relating to incorrect layer use was massive…
Layout still uses ‘Layers’ because they do work in the usual CAD manner…

IMHO another name rather than Tag might have been better, but after almost endless debate behind the scenes Tag won… Label, Laybel, or Visibility etc could have won ! but they didn’t… Using the term Layer was confusing for many.

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You oversimplify things, generalize and categorize people into groups.

Users are not a homogenous group. Often resistence comes also from (some) users themselves, for which a “baby steps” UI gets into their way of working, because of unnecessary explanation, multiple wizard steps that could be one, big buttons, less content/tools visible at once. Power users have different requirements than new users, and new users have different requirements depending on which background they come from. SketchUp is actually proven to work well for people totally new to 3D, because of its 3D-first view (instead of multiple ISO views), and because of its minimal default set of tools (no extensions, and the SketchUp developers are very conservative about adding new tools).

One could also turn it around the other way: “often users are not interested in the developer”, especially when it comes to precision in reporting of problems or requesting features as too detailed implementations instead of use cases.

This is the same in other aspects of life. I personally prefer to explain new words with synonyms the first time they are introduced, and write abbreviations in full words. However collegues prefer abbreviations as they increase their productivity and are not meant to be unwelcoming to new team members, still everyone new has to keep asking and learn them.


Speaking of mind reading, can you tell us what the issue you are facing actually is?

I can tell you that the SketchUp team has some very enthusiastic employees who love sitting with users and watching them use new tools just to see how they react. What you mentioned is something that this team (unlike some other software developers I know of) does regularly!


I wouldn’t mind to have a new ‘getting started’ toolbar for Windows or ‘default toolbar’ on Mac.
First, an icon for Predesign, than the drawing tools, than add the ‘Make Component’ ( or new added icon for ‘Make group’)
Then the edit tools, Label, Tape, Paintbucket, 3D Warehouse.
Reading from left to right, there should be some logic in the order.

Another level that might be interesting is the software learning how the user is using it. Some order of changing tools is always the same, the software could keep a record, somehow. Or just a simple history of last used commands.
And some new gif’s in the Instructor with the next step suggestions. (What’s the most likely used next step?)

I recall I had difficulty myself starting with SketchUp.Coming from a MacDraw /Illustrator oriented drafting background where it is hard to get into trouble, it took some time to adjust to SketchUp. I would have benefited from some little training at the start, or even some of the tutorials now available online. Try them. Using other modeling software I don’t think SketchUp is any less accessible. There are definitely gotcha quirks in this software made by humans but a lot of developers trying to smooth the edges and add power.

Maybe someday there will be TurboSketch that asks you step by step what you want to model, and what you want it to look like, like TurboTax, and will be just as painless (YMMV). (that’s a joke BTW because I know many people enjoy modeling more than paying taxes< a fact).


Wow, am I happy that you aren’t part of the SketchUp developers team! :rofl:

Plain -k- rap, sorry for the choice of words.

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Ok perhaps not Predesign, but you see how many struggle with the concept of grouping for isolating geometry, why is the Make Component )or Make Group) not present in the Getting started toolbar?

What’s wrong with suggestions in the instructor when you click on a tool, or even better, open a panel or select a menu? (Instructor panel should not be in the tray, IMO)

Almost, I am searching:


Wo3dan, alas my experience in webdev and large scale implmentation of sap and siebel have made me cynical about them. Sorry…

“It should not be this hard”…trying to figure out what the heck this thread is about?.. :sob:

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The OP has not come back to elaborate. I don’t know either. To know one would have to be a mind reader. (My guess is “SketchUp is difficult to use!” to which everybody else is responding “No, it isn’t!”)

Mind Reader

Nope still can’t figure it out…

It is all in here:

No it’s not!


I would agree with you if there were not, literally, hundreds of online videos, class, tutorials, articles, etc. to help the user out.
As software gets more and more complex to help solve our many many issues it doesnt hurt to take the time to learn the tools that will make our lives easier. Even if a little up front effort is needed.
I love Sketchup. I have lots of issues too. Very happy to have an active community to help me through me problems!

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