Problems Indenting Text

Could someone help me… I am trying to learn how to add some text and “indent” it into a surface.

I worked it out for myself but have hit a problem, so turned to YouTube and the guides show exactly what I am doing… But for me its not working, so I am probably doing something stupid.

This is what I am doing.

  1. Draw a rectangle
  2. Push it into a slab
  3. Bring up the text tool…Untick “extrude”… Select a size and write some text.
  4. The text now appears and I can position it on the slab (and size it to make it bigger if I want).
  5. Now Right Click on the text and select “explode”.
  6. Select each letter with the push/pull tool and ‘pull’ it into the surface.

And this is where my problem starts… When I push it up, it creates extruded text no problem… But when I ‘pull’ it into the surface, odd things happen.

When I pull it, it doesn’t “indent” into the surface, the letter just goes white (And if I zoom it, I can see that it actually extruded OUT by 0.06mm

Now if I try to pull it again, the letter vanishes.

But I have found that if I pull it in a certain way I can actually get it to indent, but its hit and miss.

If I do the exact same thing with another shape (i.e circle) it does exactly what I expect… But with ‘text’ it acts in this way…

What am I missing?

Thanks in advance


Is the slab a group or component? The letters and the slab need to be in the same context. If they are, Select all the geometry, right click and choose Intersect Faces>With Selection (or With Model) and then try pushing the letters into the surface.

Wow… That was quick…

The slab is simply a rectangle, extruded into a 3d shape…

I just tried your “intersect faces” Suggestion and I just get an error saying “No Intersections found between selection set and rest of the model”…

But I still don’t understand how I can draw a circle or square or any other shape and “indent” it with the push/pull tool… Yet ‘text’ doesn’t work the same.


Edit: I think I can see the problem… The text is laying down 0.06mm off the surface… So the first time I “pull” it, it ends up extruding DOWN and then joining with the surface.

Why is text hovering like this.

It sounds like your problem is caused by your choice of non extruded text. This places the flat text ever so slightly off the surface to avoid z-fighting. So when you Push the text it goes through the other face without seeming to cut it.

That seems to be exactly what it is… If I zoom in, I can see the text hovering above the slab… So what you say is exactly right.

So I have now tried laying down “extruded” text, at 1mm high… But I can’t now work out how to indent it…

If i select the top face of the text and ‘pull’ it down, it goes level with the slab and stops… After this I can’t push or pull it again…

How do I get from this, to “indented” text?

You need to Right Click on the text and Unglue it, then use the move tool to place it and intersect it or explode it. There are several way and without seeing exactly what you have it is hard to be specific.

I am even more lost now… I don’t know what Unglue does and still can’t work this out…

Now if I lay down extruded text (say 1mm high)… I can pull it down 1mm to be flush… And then pull it down again to make it indented… And I thought I was making progress… But with characters that have ‘holes’ in (i.e e, a, q, etc) the ‘holes’ disappear.

I thought this would be easy… And now I am more than a little confused as to the process.

I think I need to search from some guides on YouTube and start again.


Sounds like you are trying to do things too small.
Scale up to avoid the tiny face issue that SU fall foul of. Once completed scale down again.
Anything smaller than 1mm with curves is going to fail to form faces.

I have tried going bigger… And the problem gets worse.

When I was doing my original tests, I was getting a 0.06mm gap… I have scaled up and now I am getting a 0.4mm gap between the slab and text…

I am actually getting more confused… All of the guides i have found simply show people adding text and ‘pulling’ it into the surface… Like this:

My situation couldn’t be simpler… I draw a rectangle… I pulled it into a thick 3D slab.

I then created some 3D text which fitted in the middle of the slab… And am trying to ‘intent’ it…To be fair, I can do it, by fiddling around… But would like to understand why its not working as per the guides.

You need to right-click > Unglue to push the text below the surface. Try it this way:


Try this; create your 3d text off to the side… completely separate from your “slab”.

The right click and explode your text.

Then group select and move your text onto your slab.

This SHOULD put the text directly on the top surface, and allow you to push into the rectangle.

Interesting… So in step 2, where you say “push text down”, I assume you mean with the move tool (rather than the push/pull tool)?

So we are doing this entirely without using the push/pull tool… I tried this and it worked… But the triangle ‘hole’ in the A ended up with no top… But I can fix that by drawing around it.


Edit: Just checked the results with “Sollid Inspector” (as ultimately I am going to 3D print this) and it showed a ton of errors which needed to be fixed… So I am not convinced I am doing it right!

Something like this:

Some letters (like the “e” in this example might not completely intersect with the face. In this case, just trace one of the lines and it should cut the surface properly.

That worked… Perfect… Cheers…

I’m a real novice to Sketchup Make, and have been reading with interest this thread. I seem to have found my own way of indenting text not mentioned here. I select 3D text, type in height in mm, and type in the depth as a minus figure, e.g. 1mm. I then place the text where I want it, explode it, and remove the top surface of each letter or punctuation mark. I can then see that the text is indented into the surface, and it prints out that way on my 3D Dremel printer.


A nice first post @Noelene that is a good way of doing it, but you need to be aware of orienting the faces correctly, the indented faces should be reversed as they would automatically be showing back faces. Front and back face orientation can be rather crucial with some printing software, as the direction of the face tells it which way is in and which is out.

Nice trick :slight_smile:

If you reverse all the faces prior to exploding the text, you eliminate the problem of having to reverse the faces afterwards:

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