Not Loathing the community forums anymore

I’d also be happy if there was a properly indexed ordered manual you could read front to back, starting with basic concepts and gradually moving into advanced techniques or special features. Unity and 3DSMax have it, just to name two, and it has been very useful for me.

However, I don’t think you need to worry about wrong answers in the forum. I very rarely see that and when it happens other people are very fast to correct it. I’d argue you can get better answers in the forum where professional trainers, extension developers and people with other perspectives can fill in each others answers.

One person might say the difference between groups and components is that components can share a common definition if they are identical, which allows you to edit them all at once as well as keeping down the file size. If I’m not mistaken this is how the help center puts it. However, in the forum someone would be quick to add that groups also share definition after being copied, until they are opened for editing at which point they are implicitly made unique. The former might be a more pedagogical way of putting it that most people are happy with, but the latter is the actual behavior of the program, and allows you to do a few useful things like converting identical groups into components with a shared definition at a later point. The point is that the forum gives you both perspectives.

For systematic information about the program itself, I’d ignore the help center where topics can span vaguely defined tasks, and use the status text and instructor inside of SketchUp. These sources should cover everything a tool does in a very consistent and concise way.


I love forums like this, you get the answer you want precisely rather than wading through unhelpful pages that aren’t related to your specific question. There’s probably room for both. My only dislike of forums is when some people ruin it with a bit of an unwelcoming attitude, but that’s life too.


I’d say this depends on the situation. As a beginner you often don’t even know what questions to ask, and having structured information to read (or at least skim) front to back can be immensely useful to get a wide overview. When you have specific questions the forum is great though.

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the latest as PDFs of version 7 in our SU download archive.

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Lee has a point… but an extended documentation (in multiple languages) needs dedicated pros doing it… which is expensive.

@trimble this looks promising:


Usually disappointed with a SU Help Center search. Would usually look there to refresh or look at a feature I never used before. Search results are usually totally unrelated to the common SU terms used.
Of course it is also no help if you want to learn how to use the program.

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Welcome to the world of Computers and their use. Have fun!

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RLGL you sound like you have been beaten down and have accepted the absence of reasonable accountability. That is sad. I have been using computers since day 1 and it is not something to be seen as commonplace. The information is there and it is completely reasonable to expect it to be presented in a professional way. Try to break out of you submission and stand up for yourself.

I must be in a different universe. Most of the stuff I use does not have good docs to go with it. This even goes back to the software I used in my working days, here it is go use it and figure it out on your own.

A good example is Vray. It has excellent, incredibly detailed, searchable, indexed documentation, choc full of interactive examples.
But the forums with experienced users and chaos group staff are the go to place for answers on implementation and nuance.

This SketchUp forum is one of the most active, helpful and useful communities I’ve ever been involved with. Using this forum is like having industry specific experts on tap (in fact it is industry specific experts on tap) and gives insight and answers usually within hours if not minutes!

Don’t think I’ve ever bothered with the official documentation (such that it is) apart from some layout thing a couple years back.

A decent reference manual would be good though.


I agree! And have several hundred dollars worth of books from Autodesk Press, because even the documentation they provided with their high dollar programs was insufficient by itself.

Of course they will be happy to provide you with a tutor, if you want to pay for it.

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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.


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.


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.


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.)


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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