Not Loathing the community forums anymore

Does anyone else find it incredibly annoying and completely unprofessional that Sketchup will not support it’s own product and instead makes us suffer through this community forum? No offence to the wisdom and experience of the users but I really do not care one little bit what your know or do not know.

I want professionally indexed help menus created and maintained by the people that wrote the program. Why it that not offered? The community forum is fine for people with time to read about bad habits and incomplete understanding of the program. If I wanted to teach strangers I would offer that on Craigslist. I use it professionally and I have no time for the side stories, dead ends and rereading things I have understood for years. It is like fumbling around in the dark for something you lost.

Half of the topics are closed out and no replies are allowed and the rest is the most disorganized and pointless way to search for technical information. They still use FAQs FFS!, which have always been a sure sign that the company has 0 interest in actually helping you.

Why would anyone ever decide to throw thier paying customers into the ocean of unprofessional hacks? It is completely inexcusable and it needs to end now. Please use your voice to tell Sketchup they are failing in thier responsibility.

If anyone knows of another program that does similar work I would love to hear about it. I really want to leave this clown show behind and use a professionally documented and maintained program.



I beg to differ, ask a question here and you’ll get a response within minutes.

And believe me, this is not an “ocean of unprofessional hacks”.

So good night and good luck on your quest.

And I see how much interest you have in this forum.


So Lee, did you have a question you wanted answered, or just an opportunity to rant?

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I have no interest in asking questions. I want to systematically search an index and read clear vetted documentation that has 1 authoritative source. I want to search for information directly from the tool I am using. Why would I ask a question to the entire community that already has a definitive answer? Why would I risk getting bad advice or being distracted by someones incomplete understanding or personal story. That is all fine for social media junkies but professionals need technical answers not narrative ones. The forum could be fine if it was limited to advanced users who have solved unique problems with unique solutions. Most questions do not require that. Most problems could be resolved by reading the limits and abilities of the tool in a concise and factual description. Glad you like it. It is the worst thing I have ever had to endure.


So when you “search an index and read clear vetted documentation” for an answer, doesn’t that by default suggest you had an “interest in asking” a question?

Lee, there are comprehensive manuals for SketchUp and Layout.

What do you do, and what version of SU do you use? I’m just curious? (although you should add which version of SU you use to you profile, in case you do ever have a question, it helps).

There is this: Help Center | SketchUp Help


But don’t even think about going there if you need solutions to any of the hundreds of extensions.
I’m not trying to be a jerk to you, I’m just saying that if you don’t use this forum, you are missing out on a great resource.

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That is an FAQ page which is even worse than a community forum, nothing there is indexed.
I do not want to use a search engine, they are useless. I want the tools listed with direct links to thier limits and functions. If the basic functions were actually documented there would be no need for FAQs.
Then after the core functions are documented, if I still have questions I can proceed logically to more complex interactions and then finally to a community forum if my question is truly unique.
The fact that you think that page is in any way an index reveals just how little Sketchup understands what it’s users (i) need.

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Three clicks in @ Help Center | SketchUp Help and I get a marketing page, still no index.
Supposedly there are "chapters but they are not listed in any coherent way just random titles in a side bar.

I tried a few and the page started asking me questions, random questions that link to more narrative “articles” that link to more Articles with lots of "if"s still no index or even a hint of coherent organization.

For example I type in “Move Tool” . . .pretty basic right.
None of the returns I get from the search bar have anything to do with the Move Tool.

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So is that your question? How to use the move tool?

No I do not have a question today. My last question was how to reset the default material to the original. Today I am releasing years of frustration caused by having to suffer through this terrible “Help System” there really is no help system but I need to call it something.


Did you get an answer? On the default material thing? Did you ask it here?

My pet peeve is Lay Out. It frustrates the hell out of me, I could do it in a heartbeat in AutoCAD.

There is a “real” manual for SU. I’ve been trying to find it for you. But honestly, if you have questions this is the best place to ask. No matter what your experience level is.

This is a good forum, with good people.

And you might not know it, but John Bacus is the head of development for SU and has been there since @Last, Google, and now Trimble, and he at least tried to give you an answer.

So don’t give up on SU or this forum.

It is good to know someone like John B still reads the posts. It would be even better if he put his team to work to actually support the program instead of coming up with pointlessly clever pages that do nothing. I am 54 and i can still remember when programs really took pride in thier Help Menus. That was how I learned CAD and so many more. I will use this forum if I actually have something interesting to ask. I appreciate that SU tried (and succeeded) in creating something different than CAD but they also sacrificed the professional functions that i need. I have no need for Layout or the others and with all the dysfunctionality of SU I have 0 interest in learning it. If CAD was better at quick modeling I would never even consider SU. Since my current firm has all the Autodesk licenses I am motivated to use thier modeler and avoid the annoying protocols and the lack of support in SU. Thanks for your replies and advice. That is why the community forums have value. But it is no replacement for basic documentation. Send along that link for the technical manual if you find it.

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I’m 67 and have drawn on vellum and mylar with tee-squares, parallel bars, and drafting heads, there were no online instructions then. Be thankful it’s become this easy!
Try inking with a Rotring Rapidograph pen sometime.
Anyway welcome to the forums.


Oh yeah, my first design documentation class stressed the importance of hand lettering, get that stroke right and keep it tight. I was also the first in my school to use CAD for a construction document. I had to explain it to my professor.

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The SketchUp User Guide actually first begins on this page …

The page John B linked is the Help portal page. From that page if you open the “Help With…” drop down menu, it shows all the individual links to the various SketchUp family of products both desktop and online.

They are in a certain order which becomes more evident with use.

However, I find it (the Drupal system) to be difficult because the chapters are collapsed except for the current one. It is easier to find what you want when they all can be expanded at once. Also sections are not shown in the right side navigation list, you have to often open the first page of a chapter, and sometimes scroll down to see the section list of links.

The built-in search for the help has been complained about for years, with the oft answer that the Trimblers themselves often instead use Google to search their own help articles.

There have been several topic threads complaining about the help articles and system lately …

This is that “peek-a-boo” thing that pops out of the right side. Most ignore it, and there have been recent complaints about that as well in the Meta category.

SketchUp does have a built-in Instructor panel that will display help and feature instructions for all native tools and Ruby extension tools if the coder authored them. At the bottom of each instructor page there is usually a direct link into the online User Guide that should bring you to the article for using that tool.
In addition, at each state of the natives tools, the status bar displays concise help and modifier key usage.

BTW, this thread belongs in the Meta category.
(Thank you to @TheOnlyAaron for reassigning this to the correct forum category.)


I created a couple of index-like wiki posts for the Dynamic Components part of the User Guide.

@Locis, Take a look, and tell us which (or both) kind of thing you would like to see officially expanded for all of SketchUp (and perhaps all products) by the Trimblers ? (Ie, I posted in the forum and I’m not an employee, so it wasn’t “official”.)


I agree that the SketchUp folks have never been as good at writing technical documentation as, say the folks who wrote “Inside Macintosh” back in the 80s. But I do love their software!. So I bought a few books:

  1. Best book I ever read about SketchUp is “the SketchUp Book” by Bonnie Roskes, PE. Working through the hands-on examples brought me up to speed fast, and gave me a solid foundation that still holds up well. It was written for version 5, and is now out of print, but it’s still the best intro I ever found.
  2. These days, “SketchUp for Dummies” by Aidan Chopra and Rebecca Huehls is a good starting book.
  3. When you’re ready, Google “Automatic SketchUp” and download that PDF book (free) to learn how to program SketchUp using the Ruby API. That’s where SketchUp gets its superpowers from.
  4. Finally, do what Revit users do: Scour the forums, ask questions, share hacks and best practices. Because no software developer will ever really grok what it’s like to do what you do, but others in your field just might!

The version 6 user guide in PDF format posted in the thread linked below is still a good resource:

Most of the basic functions remain identical.

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