Pan / Orbit preference

I wish SketchUp would allow an option based on user preference for the function of the middle button / wheel on a mouse. Right now, SketchUp uses the middle button to Orbit and SHIFT+middle button to Pan.

My preference would be the opposite, which would make the transition to SketchUp from traditional CAD programs easier with mouse function the same.


Been there. Requested it. It was refused. They feel that the default should be Orbit, because we are in a 3D environment.

(I was not happy, and still am not, in that I cannot choose what MY mouse buttons do. Attempts to override with Microsoft IntelliPoint or Logitech MouseWare fail.)

1 Like

I sincerely hate having to use the clumsy shift or ctrl+wheel button to orbit in Autodesk applications and Archicad (with no way to change to the SketchUp way there). I just almost never pan in 3D views. But I am all for more opportunities for the user to configure the interface to suit him/her.
In addition to the mouse buttons, other things that should be user configurable include

  • delimiting characters used in keyboard input
  • dimension unit abbreviations, different units for length, area, volume
  • what inferences are in use (some should probably be compulsory)


I thought I could change them for ACAD via Logitech Mouseware, but it has been years over ten years since I used AutoCAD.

Hello and this may help…I am using a Logitech middle button / scroll wheel. Yes it does go to Orbit when I depress the scroll wheel but while depressed. Right clicking brings up this selection options. Checking Pan it is now available. It will remain selected, depress the wheel, to orbit around and it will remain / hold to the Pan option after you release it. Space bar or right clicking again> Exit will release it back to orbit. It may not be your solution but you remain on-screen and only require one hand to navigate… small work around but not a fix…Peace…

My main frustration is that my job requires me to import CAD files from other companies into SketchUp for our internal work, so I am constant switching between SU and other CAD software.

The result is that I am constantly ticked off and slowed down because I pan when I meant to orbit or vice versa. I have to actually stop and think about which program I am using and what I want to do. Being able to set a user preference would help greatly.


Understand… I am learning Rhino 5 on the side and its right clicks options as well as Orbit and Pan has me guesting also. I also find myself trying to orbit on web pages or image files outside of the two!! Good luck with it and try and find a common denominator…Peace…

That is called “orbititis” and it is a virus that you catch when you spend too much time using SketchUp.

Anssi, another victim.


I just picked up a Microsoft Surface Pro 4, and it is so amazing for Sketchup. However, I do most of the work with the pen, and having the ability to pan one handed with the mouse in the other hand simultaneously sure would be nice. Having to move my hands away from the screen anytime I need to move the camera is obnoxious, and a more touch screen friendly camera movement ability would be great.

I know that Trimble owns both SketchUp and Tekla Structures.
SketchUp team should speak with TS team because Tekla Structures is in the same 3D environment and the shortcuts are:

  • middle button = pan
  • wheel mouse = zoom
  • Ctrl+middle button = orbit

I think that its better to have more options.
One size doesn’t fit all.

This 3D navigation SketchUp blindness is the same like refusing to add solids modeling.

1 Like

Yes totally. I am in the group with “always let the customer use the software product the way they wish to.” Especially the paying customers. (Ie, make it a Pro Only feature, if need be, but make it a feature regardless.)

1 Like

I’m having the same issue! I’m a Chartered Building Surveyor, so I get involved in the odd bits of design work. Just started using SketchUP and the existing orbit function is whack. Has this been resolved yet?


No. It is hard-coded and no option yet (as of SU2017) to change.

I really wish they would allow a keyboard shortcut to replicate a middle-button click. I also am transitioning from a Dell Latitude to a Surface Pro 4 and the old Dell had the middle button clicker which was awesome for 3d modeling without a mouse. Most new laptops separate the middle scroll button and usually have continuous track pads without designated clicking zones. Seperating the keys is better for 3d modelers and anyone who works with the Adobe products.

I just wish SketchUp 2018 would allow a user to have the space-bar replicate a middle wheel click so I could just hold it down while orbiting and use my other hand on the track pad for clicking. Also just orbiting by holding down a key is a lot easier on the hand then having to use the middle wheel button on a mouse over time so it would be better with a mouse also. Again, the old Dell was great at this and excessive middle wheel clicking noises were reduced.

1 Like

How is this still not an option? man it’s frustrating to switch back and forth from Revit, or Visual Analysis, or any other 3d program to sketchup. It makes me not want to use sketchup. it would seem that greater user customization equals greater user satisfaction.

1 Like

Any idea if this will be implemented anytime soon?

There has been no change to the Orbit and Pan since SketchUp was released. It’s unlikely there will be a change. Even if there is going to be a change we won’t know about it until it happens since the SketchUp folks are prohibited from talking about future feature releases. No point in even asking what will happen in the future or when.

Perhaps AutoHotKey could help…?

I can’t be bothered to think it through right now (time for bed).

…re-map the middle mouse button to do shift + middle mouse button and shift + middle mouse button to middle mouse button

:thinking: would that work

I am not very familiar with software for re-mapping mouse buttons, but how would you differentiate between SketchUp and CAD software? You wouldn’t want to alter the behaviour for non-SketchUp applications.

In the AutoHotKey script you can condition the re-mapping only when SketchUp is active