Not Loathing the community forums anymore

You’ll also come across plenty of SketchUp shills who support the software blindly and you’re a fool to criticize. Hurts their egos.

Not to mention people that don’t see what makes SketchUp unique but literary want it to become a cheap Rhino or Revit clone.

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I think there is a way to make the OP’s point about the frustration involved in trying to use SU help (due to the lack of indexing) without disparaging the forum and its users.

Unfortunately he obscured the validity of his underlying point by attacking forum contributors — which include some of the most accomplished SU professionals out there.

Yes, a community forum shouldn’t be a replacement for a properly structured and indexed help system — which is needed. But it is a fantastic resource, and an invaluable one.

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I should also note that I think Trimble has done a good job of significantly improving the learning materials: tutorials, tips, and now, tracks (hat tip to Aaron especially).

What is still missing is a direct way to quickly access the relevant help page when you have a specific problem with a specific topic (once you are already well past the basics). The help search results are comically bad at directing you to the most relevant article/page.

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About a dozen of us are heading back to Boulder after the first Bootcamp Roadshow, which is two days of beginner training for SketchUp and LayOut. I think we will have learned a lot about what problems a new SketchUp user will hit.

The roadshow is done as three classes of 20 people, I was what SketchUp calls a Proctor, helping in Aaron’s class. One thing Aaron showed towards the end was the Forum. Someone in the class said: “what’s that one about ‘loathing’?”

I’ve read all the way through the thread, and I’m sure Aaron has too.

About the help thingy, that is an attempt to give exact answers to exact questions. But, I do see that although asking about the follow me tool does give one useful answer, asking about the move tool doesn’t.

The page does have a suggest a question option, if we had more questions it would most likely be more useful.

Reminder to readers of this thread, that this is about inadequacies in the Help system and whether the Forum can or should make up for them.

Please start another topic concerning “SketchUp uniqueness and comparison to other modeling products” in the main SketchUp category and do not yank this thread off topic.


Colin, note that there are Help feature / page requests still posted in the “Help Center - Report a Problem” subcategory that have not yet been implemented.

A recent example of not being able to find help. Several days ago, I was attempting to help with a question in the forum, and I tired to find the User Guide page(s) describing how to create a local collection (materials or components) and I could not. I feel I have seen it in the past, but cannot find it now.

The OP has a good point about expecting a list of links (index) for each one of the native tools. Looking at the User Guide’s navigation (chapter) list, it is not apparent or obvious which chapter to look in for help on the MoveTool as an example.

All of the terms that a user sees in the SketchUp interface need to appear in an index list (for each GUI language,) so users can look them up in the help. The user will be using the application and come across some control or setting or checkbox, etc. and they’ll need to know what it is for. So, they need to be able to look it up and get a link into the proper help page.

In addtion, MS Windows has the feature of a help button in dialog windows that can be used by users to hover over dialog controls and get some popup help. But SketchUp has never leveraged this ability.


Another peeve. I dislike how sectional (inter-page) links do not appear in the right side navigation list when the chapters are expanded. (Again, as a partial example, see my sectional outline for DC Help that shows the sectional links.)

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Your posts are flagged by community members as they are rude and off topic. There is no “manager” hiding them.

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A good old PDF with all the tools explained (per toolset) with an index at the end is minimum, It could be shipped with the installer, like in many other software.
The last v7 pdf is ( besides being outdated) to much trying to teach IMO, a simple list of the tools would suffice.

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For those who wonder: https://help.sketchup.com/en/sketchup/moving-entities-around

I agree that finding indexed help is difficult if not near impossible. So I use Google with the right key words if needed, very rarely though.

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The instructor could be used to link to the specific help pages., as they do allready for some of the tools…

I mentioned that way up there :arrow_up:

:wink:

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I do find it unfortunate that physical manuals tend to be outdated these days. For product cost cutting or saving the trees reasons whatever they may be.

PDF manuals are in my opinion, a bit annoying in that I find a particular software manual of 450 pages just tedious to navigate through to find the relevant parts. SketchUp on the other hand doesn’t even have an up to date PDF. The older version 7 one is still relevant but not up to date.

All in all, I suppose it’s all in the way the information is presented. I’ve found many answers on the Help Center, but I agree it does need work. Just larger submenus of tools/functions would be nice, it’s all a bit bundled from what I’ve seen.

If I had a preference it would be a good old physical manual, I’ve had best experiences with those for many things. But I doubt that will happen.

One thing I do really like is the connection to the user base the SketchUp team has in the way of a almost constant flurry of tips videos and livestreams.

I agree there should be a comprehensive indexed help. My personal experience as it pertains to Adobe for example, is that while they have a complete help section for all of their programs’ tools, 9 times out of 10 I find them less helpful than a forum answer! While the technical info is there and written by them, the forum or user experience answer comes from a different perspective which aligns more with mine as a fellow user. Maybe because its written by the developer who understandably has more comprehension, whereas the help written by the lay person is approached from a non-presumptive perspective and from experience knows better how to communicate that?

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Yes, I had read that, was merely suggesting that, as @g.h.hubers explained, using google search will often do the trick, but also brings you a variety of links to choose, the links in the instructor will have the ones who get you at the right spot in the ‘native’ SketchUp help files.

The instructor gif’s should be updated and cover the whole range of tools.

I’ve found that a lot of those complaining about help, do not know that there are direct links into the User Guide from the bottom of the Instructor pages.


I also just did a test in v2018. Activated the Rectangle Tool and pressed F1.
The page that appeared was totally unhelpful.

SHIFT + F1 … same thing

At the least the Help hotkey should bring up a relevant guide page for the active native tool.

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Thank you all so much for your replies and suggestions. I did not intend to disparage the users of this group but rather the fact that SU has made this the only place to get real help. I will test using the “instructor” more. I do see the value in the vast experience held by some of the users. It is truly an excellent place to take a very deep dive into the program and it’s functions. I would not expect SU to be able to provide that level of nuance in it’s pages. I do expect SU to do it’s job and document the basic and intermediate functions in a clear and professional way. I clearly hit on a topic that is a concern and a sore spot for many of the users and I am glad I was able to give all of you a place to share your view of the SU documentation and support. When the program was bought by Trimble I was encouraged and hopeful they would apply the precision they achieve with thier surveying tools to the program. I think it is clear they they failed to take on that mandate. Hopefully threads like this will be seen by the company and motivate them to take SU to the next level. I think we can end this thread now and move on or move to a new expression of the issue. Best Regards to you all.

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Nice to notice am not the only one with same issues.

If I can appreciate the Sketchup concept, I just hate this company attitude. Within years, some bugs have never been fixed and the commercial politic is really not that great.

Unfortunately, Sketchup has its particularities and I don’t know of any program that function that way and we have to admit that for the price, we get what we get.

Very good point, thank

I agree with Locis. I’ve asked a few questions on this forum, most of which were either never answered or maybe answered after a long time. When one is attempting to do something, waiting a week, a few days, or even a day is like no help whatsoever.

If you pay the subscription, you will get no better help.

I like sketchup, though, and I’ve hung in there but there are things that I can’t do or can’t do well that I’d really like to be able to do. What I do, is come back to them later and try again. Sometimes that’s been successful and sometimes not yet.

When I attempted to update from 2016 to 2017, it didn’t work. I attempted to get help and there was no help. I just reverted back to the 2016 version.

The same thing happened when AutoDesk acquired Eagle, the pcb layout & circuit design program. When Eagle was an independent program, there was this one guy who supported all be himself for a while. One could call in and get an answer. Now their help is worthless. One person. A big investment. At Eagle, that one guy probably sold more copies a year than his salary.

This just isn’t true by my experience on this forum although there have been a couple of times where it was true.