New User Intro

New user here. I’m pretty intuitive when it comes to computer programs, but am finding it somewhat difficult to do the most basic things. ‘Help’ seems to just take me to the forum. Is there an easy way to find out the basics? I’m talking about things like -

  • suddenly, I try to select a rectangle that I’ve previously drawn so I can change it’s shape/size, and I can’t. I can select a rectangle that I just now draw but can’t ‘grab’ the side of it to change it, or move it. It was working a minute ago.

  • Tried to delete a rectangle that I drew. Selected it, then hit ‘delete’ button. The interior became white instead of blue, but it’s still there.

  • Selected a rectangle I’ve drawn, and the measurements of that rectangle don’t show up in the measurements bar… they seem to only show up when I’m in the process of drawing the rectangle.

This is all pretty basic stuff. I mastered VISIO with ease, so I"m feeling pretty stupid with SketchUp at this point.

Watch the first four getting started videos on the SketchUp youtube channel, it will give you a good handle on all of the above and wont take much time at all.


Don’t feel stupid, you will be up and running no time with the videos that @liamk887 posted, and later you will read your post and all the previous behaviors will make sense. Sketchup is a powerful native 3D environment that has different rules, people often say they “know” photoshop, or illustrator or even autocad and struggle to apply that same workflow to sketchup with frustrating results. Time to start over, it is a rewarding learning process and the forum is a great place to ask questions. If a hardheaded hand drafter like me can learn it, then you can do it for sure. Good luck!

Use the move tool 1 to move stuff around.

Rectangles are made of 1 face and 4 edges. It sounds like you deleted the face, but didn’t delete the edges. Use the eraser tool 39%20PM to delete stuff.

You can measure edges a few ways in SketchUp. You can use the line tool 3 to measure lines. Just click both endpoints in a row, then look at the measurements bar. You can use the dimensions tool 4. You can use the tape measure tool 5. You can use entity info 6
You can find it in “Window” → “Default Tray” → “Entity Info”.

If you have any more questions, then feel free to ask.

Your profile says you are using SketchUp Pro version 8 … as a beginner? That’s an old version from many years ago.
In your questions, are you talking about the desktop version or the web based (free) version?

It’s the desktop version.

I had tried the old (very, very old) free Google SketchUp web based version when it first came out and never really liked it, but the company I work for has this instead of Visio, so I’m now trying to learn this.

Thanks a lot. I did look at a number of tutorials online, without a lot of success - either way too basic (here’s how to draw a line - now go play) or way too complicated (a lot of geometric nomenclature that I didn’t know).

I’ll try this.

Thanks for the encouragement, Riley.

You’re right - time to learn something new. I was super frustrated yesterday, because I was trying to get something specific done, and could hardly even get started.

1 Like

Thanks, Forest. I’ve learned with other tools that the more features something has, the more complicated it is to learn and that equals initial learning curve frustration. But in the long run, it always pays off. I’m just used to having a little more ‘help’ built into the program.

1 Like

Keep in mind that SketchUp doesn’t know what a rectangle is. Most of its geometry are just edges and faces. So is a drawn rectangle, 4 edges that bound a face.
A circle and an arc are exceptions in being more “complex” entities.
So selecting and deleting the rectangular face leaves you with four edges. Tripple click on the face (to select all connected) and delete will delete all selected entities.
You can select and move one edge to change the size of the previously created rectangular shape.
You can triple click the face or an edge and use the ‘Scale’ tool to change its size by factor or to exact dimensions. Scale to arbitrary size and then type the values for length and width, separated by comma and hit [Enter]. But include the units or ScetchUp uses the values as factors.

Window → Default Tray → Instructor

It gives you instructions on how to use your active tool.

Another resource is the knowledge center.

1 Like

aha! The knowledge center! Thanks! I think that will help a lot. Being an ‘old-timer’ who grew up in in the IT industry reading IBM manuals, I do better with written material. I found the instructor, but so far haven’t found it very useful, because it only tell you about the particular tool that you select, instead of being able to do a search. There are so many tools, it would take forever to find the one that you want.

One thing that confused me - Immediately after creating a rectangle, I could grab one of the sides and pull it to change it’s size (for instance, make it longer and narrower). But later, when I selected it, I couldn’t grab a side to change it’s size/shape. Does the ‘grab’ method only work while you are creating it in the first place? Is it the ‘enter’ key that changes it to a ‘done’ and then you have to change it using the measurements?

(sorry, I probably should check out the videos and knowledge center first)


That’s one of the most fundamental things you need to understand. Geometry in SU is made of edges and faces. So one rectangle is technically made of 5 elements. 4 edges and 1 face. Each of those entities can me modified separately or together depending on how you select them.
In this gif you see all five parts and how that can be moved.
Sorry about the green screen.

Good gif. I can see that the entity info window would be very valuable to keep up while I’m learning to help reinforce the concept of edges and faces as separate ‘things’.

I keep a separate tray for entity info floating all the time.

There is an online manual at There are chapters on the right hand of the screen. After you click a chapter, it will open subchapters. It should have all the information you need to know about how to use SketchUp.

If you do better with books, then there are manuals at Bookstores (like Amazon). I’m not sure if these will be as up-to-date as the online manual though. I haven’t read these, but there’s SketchUp For Dummies, SketchUp Success for Woodworkers, and many others available. I’m not sure if SketchUp itself has a printed user guide though… If not, then it’d be a helpful idea because some people prefer books.