New(ish) User - Advice on using Rotated Rectangle tool?


This is my first time on the forum so greetings to everyone here :smile:

I’ve been using the basic tools on Sketchup (2017) for a little while but now I need to do something for the first time using the Rotated Rectangle tool. I’ve played around with it quite a bit and I’ve looked online but I can’t see if there’s a way to do this so I’m hoping some of you good folks might be able to help me out.

How can I draw a rotated rectangle where the width and length are fixed but the angle needs to be set based on the inference engine interesecting a certain plane. Here’s my situation…

  1. Draw a rectangle of whatever size parallel to the “ground” (so horizontal) at say 500mm above the “ground”. Like the top of a workbench say.

  2. From the side view create a guide line parallel to a horizontal edge of the above rectangle at, say 200mm below it

  3. Now the problem… how would I draw a rotated rectangle which…

a. has one edge “attached” to the front face of the 500mm high rectangle
b. has a fixed length and width of 800mm
b. needs it’s lower edge be at whatever angle intersects the guideline (200mm below the 500mm rectangle)

It’s hard to explain in text but if that question makes any sense to anyone can you please help?
It’s got me stumped, but it’s probably obviouse to someone more experienced.

Thanks for any help.

You can split the task into subproblems:

  • Draw a rectangle of a specific size
    • Therefore you can use the Rectangle Tool, Rotated Rectangle Tool
    • or the Line Tool!
  • Orient a rectangle in space
    • Use the Rotate Tool
    • Use inferences, guidelines, helper geometry.
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Hi Aerillius

Thanks for your quick reply and for your recommendation. Would those 2 steps achieve the same goal?

When I tried that I found that the second step of rotating the rectangle resulted in it being impossible to get exactly on the guildeline. It “snaps” from just above it to just below it where I actually wanted it right between those two points (mathematically exactly on the line).

I had hoped the Rotated rectangle tool would give me more control because Sketchup would be forced to find the intersecting angle itselfas part of the drawing process, if that makes sense.

It sounds like maybe I’m misundertanding what the RR tool can (and can’t) do. It’s the first time I’ve really ried to do much with it so entirely possible…

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It’s really hard to understand what you are trying to do or, better still, the ultimate goal.

If you have a plane hovering 500mm above the base plane and you draw a construction line 200mm directly below on edge, that line will be parallel to the edge of your plane (and 300mm above the base plane. If what you are calling your rotated rectangle has one edge fixed to edge of your elevated plane, the angle at which it intersects with the construction line will forcibly be 90 degrees. But maybe I have misinterpreted you?

I would suggest you do two things: firstly explain where you are trying to get to rather than the detail of how you plan to get there. Secondly, if you are able to, sketch your problem and scan it. These two things will make helping you very much easier.

If I correctly understand what you are trying to accomplish (the animation below will show you if I do!), the base of the issue is that the guide line provides a degree of freedom along it that SketchUp’s inference engine can’t resolve correctly without help. It jumps around the desired result but can’t quite resolve what you want.

In a shameless plug, this is the sort of problem my Circle Intersect extension (available free from the SketchUcation plugin store) was made to solve. It will place a guide point exactly at the intersection of the real circle represented by SketchUp’s segmented geometry and another circle, arc, edge, or guide. See the attached animation for an example in which I draw a circle whose radius matches the 800mm of the rectangle, use the tool to find its intersection with the guide line 200 mm down from the side edge, and then use the rotate tool to align the corner of the rectangle with that guide point.


Hi folks

Thanks for the replies and for trying to help me with this. I appreciate it.

I don’t know if my image upload in this messsage will come through ok but hopefully it will. It shows 2 workbenches at different heights joined by a sloping board.

I’ve joined the 3 main parts (high bench, sloping board and low bench) together by “eye” on the screen to demontrate what I can’t do “properly”.

Here’s the sequence I need to accomplish…

  1. draw the high bench (done)
    2, draw the low bench (done)
  2. draw the sloping board (fixed length and width) such that one end is attached to the front edge of the high bench (as seen) then SOMEHOW angle the sloping board such that it’s lower end sits at the height of the lower bench. Only by doing that can I attach then move the lower bench to the correct position to attach to the lower edgge of the slopoing board.
    I can’t see any other way of achieving my goal accurately without solving step 3.

The drawing I’ve (hopefully) uploaded is just a rough version with everything lined up by eye, but I need more accuracy than that for various reasons.

I’d hoped the rotated Rectangle tool might allow me to constrain the length of the sloping board and but still leave the angle unspecified so as to be able to use the Inference Engine to “swing” the board to the correct height (and therefore also distance) by using a guideline set to th height of the lower bench, so that the lower bench could eventually attach to it.

Hope all tha tmakes better sense and that the diagram uploads ok.

Thanks again


That’s the same general idea as I showed, just rotating out to the side rather than underneath (my extension finds both possible guide points).

OK thanks Steve.

We’re all lucky there are folks like you around I guess otherwise the limitations of Sketchup could be problematic with what you’d imagine should be simple things to accimplish given the “vast array of [native] tools”

I’ll head on over and take a closer look at your excellent-looking extension.

Thanks again

steve’s tool is great, but you can use the pie tool to find the intersect point…

sometime it’s best to take the basic issue into a simplified file to work out the steps…

modelling in 3D whilst in Parallel Projection mode can never help visualise solutions…


That works perfectly. Thank you John.

Just one last question about that method to help me learn…

when I create the arc with the pie tool, if the arc touches the object, as in your example, the inference engine will lock on to the line I’m near wand all is good, BUT if I use a guideline instead of an actual object it doesn’t seem to “find” it.

thIs that how it’s supposed to be, or am I doing something wrong in my method?

Like I said, it works great with if it touches the edge of the object but not if I try it (out of interest) with a guideline, even though the guideline is co-planar.


If you had the lower bench closer you could rotate the bridge with the selection on the edgepoint in group and as you rotate wait for inference to show its on face of lower bench and then move lower bench out to be flush with edge?

In the example below I have assumed the wokbench heights are known as is the offset of the lower bench from the higher one. The construction lines are at these offset distances. So why would you bother manipulating chunks of ready-drawn 3D geometry rather than just drawing the profile and extruding it as shown? If you need each section to be discrete, you can achieve that by some tidying up afterwards.

with the ‘Pie Tool’, the inference engine is using ‘from point’ which guidelines don’t have…

the ‘Rotate Tool’, takes into account your ‘snap’ setting’s and look for other types of inferences…

the main point of the question, is that the offset is unknown

‘Rotated Rectangle Tool’ works if you know the offset and you don’t need any guidelines…


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Yes btw steve. You were correct and your diagram accurately illustrates the problem I had, IT was the degrees of freedom along the guildline which made it impossible to cocntrain the point of intersection with it.

It apperas that your extension and john’s pie method both resolve the problem effectively.

thankyou for your help. I appreciate you taking the time.

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The probelm I had Simon was that although the heights of both horizontal objects were known, the offset wasn’t becasue it depended on the ditance created once the slope was “swung” down to the height of the lower bench. As with a right angled triangle, the the length of the base of the triangle (like the offset) depended on where the hypotenuse (the sloped piece) interested with it once it was swung down at that end.

Initially, it was a catch-22 I couldn’t work out, becasue without being able to angle the loped part down to the correct height there was no way of knowing what the distance (offset) between the to benched would be.

The methods folks have kndly shown me here are really helpful and my problem is fixed.

Thank you for your help with it.

I must so though I am very surprised that the RR tool doesn’t just allow you to do this whilst drawing the slope to start with. I was after all trying to draw exactly that… a Rotated Rectangle. It’s bizarre to say the least.

apologies for the awful typing in that last msg.

Just one final word…

This was my first time on this forum and I’ve been blown away by how helpful everyone has been. I really didn’t expect so many good folks helping me to resolve my problem and so quickly.

thank you all again :smile: