Reducing Clicks for Ergonomics

Sketchup after 10 years is killing my mouse hand with all the double-clicking and triple-clicking. We need a way to “dig into” groups and components (G/C) with fewer clicks. My suggestion is to add a feature to say, hold shift while clicking over a G/C as a shortcut to get all the way into whatever the cursor is over. I often have large and complex models that will have G/C within multiple levels of other G/C. To get to those buried G/C I have to do a LOT of clicking. After a day of working it amounts to so many clicks my right hand and forearm become fatigued. That’s terrible ergonomics.

As an example, the glass in a window component might be within group with glass and a window-frame that is embedded in a window component that is itself within a group that holds a part of a building within yet another group holding the building itself. In this case, selecting the glass requires eight clicks and that’s just too much. Typically I’m not editing things that far buried but it’s typical that everything I edit is at least a G/C within two other G/C, so at least 4 clicks just to access it.

The most basic solution would be something like a shift-click that digs all the way in, or perhaps a click while pressing a number for the number of “levels” (Inception anyone?) you want to dig into. So if I want to go through the first two groups to select something on the third level down I click over the object I want and hold number 3 on either the qwerty or the number pad (for righty’s and lefty’s).


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I see some value in what you describe however I wouldn’t expect a feature like that to be added any time soon. In the meantime, you could use outliner and just double click on the glass object in the window without having to double click on each nest above it.

Also, pressing Enter will open a selected object. You could program a button on your mouse to act as the Enter key.


I did not know this! You learn something new every day, it’s true.


Also I use AutoHotKey (Windows only) to assign a long press tab to do a double click and capslock as a single click.

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A select mode is common in the Trimble Connect viewer where every object is directly clickable, regardless of the nesting (eg. it has a ‘flat’ organisation)
For Tekla models, you can switch to ‘Assembly’ to select the higher level.

Somewhat similar could be implemented in SketchUp, an editing mode where every object is considered equal and then some sort of indicator in the entity panel.
( editing Component ‘thisandthat’ > Group ‘abc’ > ‘Group ‘ xyz’ etc.)

Btw. Groups could be ‘entered’ with return in older versions already, the naming to ‘Objects’ for Components and Groups added this option for Components as well.

Personally I use a stylus and graphic tablet. This means I can double tap, two finger tap, double tap with a button click, push a button on the tablet, hit enter or use a custom shortcut I have for double click. This flexibility means my hand isn’t stuck in one position all the time, I regularly change from stylus to fingertaps, shortcuts and even my normal mouse. I’m even typing this while holding the stylus.
I have the tablet set to confine the stylus to one monitor but with touch enabled over all four monitors, so as soon as I move the tip of the stylus near the tablet the mouse jumps into sketchup. And simple swipes with my fingers move to the other screens as necessary. I’ve also acquired several styluses over the years, so I have two others set to other screens so I can use other graphic programs on different screens with just the swap of a pen.
I could never go back to using a mouse full time.

Edit: I’ll just add a gif showing the difference between double clicking with a mouse and single button click on the stylus.
Double click

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I get round this (to some extent) by mapping two of my mouse buttons to double and triple click. On my Logitech MG Ergo those buttons are right next to the left main mouse button, so super handy.

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I knew about this but didn’t think of it a solution. It’s a little inconvenient and a little slow but it might be worth it once fatigue sets in.

AutoHotKey might be a good solution too if nothing Sketchup-specific can be done.

I must have scrolled right past Paul’s comment. Thanks, I’ll give those plugs a look. I love the open-source nature of SU for the extensions but it’s hard to keep up with new ones while filtering the junk.

Thanks Paul.

That’s odd because it is exactly what you asked for. It’s a shortcut to open groups quickly without clicking, or even using your right hand at all. It’s fast too because you don’t even have to lift your mouse hand. It’s as fast as holding shift, as you suggested.

Actually I really like the way the tool in SketchPlus so I just bought it. I had a similar issue in this thread Pick Deepest Group Extension - #10 by napperkt and after a LOT of researching I found a function in SketchPlus that reduced my clicking in deeply nested projects from maybe 10 double clicks to reach to the lowest group to Shift-D + 1 click (I set my shortcut to Shift-D for “Deep Select”. Tried Curics and tried and I use it too but for VERY different things - like picking ALL surfaces of all groups to get the m2 or something like that. But to reach a particular surface fast SketchPlus Deep Select was the only thing I could find.

The other thing to reduce clicking in Sketchup is to REALLY get into shortcuts. I hardly ever need to click on a tool because I have all important commands mapped to shortcuts and I know them without looking at the keyboard. Get’s really messy if I am at a keyboard that I am not familiar with but otherwise works great…

Do you mean actual RSI?

For nearly 3 decades, a Wacom tablet has helped be avoid RSI. I’ve been reminded of that in the past few months. This year my tablet has acted weird, (@TysonK even had to forgo his tablet on one livestream because he had problems too), so in the past few months I’ve mostly pushed the pen aside and used the MX Master 2S all the time, and guess what? The RSI is back and bothering me again! Tinkering with the settings, I’m back doing ok with the Wacom again. SketchUp is not particularly friendly to a tablet, but with a few tricks, it can be OK.

I’ve got an Intuos 5 that sits in a drawer.

Once in a while I get it out to see if I can make it work for me with SketchUp ( and Layout ) but I can’t seem to surpass the fluency of my mouse and extensive keyboard shortcuts…

I’m not suggesting a stylus works for everyone or even for everything, I use mine as part of the whole package. It would be less workable without the Spacemouse in the other hand. The quality of the touch function and the programmability available these days makes the combination of fingers and stylus really work for me. But I also have a normal mouse and use lots of keyboard shortcuts and an android tablet with shortcuts. I have never used a keyboard like others do, hand poised and not looking, I’m a two finger typist so I’m freely using both hands for shortcuts, easy to use the right with stylus sometimes or come off the spacemouse with the left for others.
Just explaining my workflow because it works for me at avoiding the RSI issues I used to have. This is all basically off topic, but addresses the side issue at the root of the original feature request.

To 2nd all of what Box is saying… It took me some time and practice to be fluent with my keyboard and Wacom, but I do really enjoy the combination once my brain re-wiring was complete.

That said, there are several tools, Offset in particular that just don’t work well with a tablet, so I keep my mouse handy and jump to it when I need a bit more accuracy. I also switched to a vertical mouse which helps as well.

Not a perfect solution, but possible.

Must be a Mac thing.

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That’s odd because it is exactly what you asked for. It’s a shortcut to open groups quickly without clicking, or even using your right hand at all. It’s fast too because you don’t even have to lift your mouse hand. It’s as fast as holding shift, as you suggested.

It’s ok, but it’s slower than I would like. If I could hover and just hit enter three times to get down 3 levels that would be good, but I have to select every entity then hit enter. Not bad though, better than endless clicking.

Why not change the workflow to eliminate the excessive nesting?

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If you follow Brightman’s method of architectural modelling, then there will be an amount of nesting of groups and components.

I don’t think this method is too excessive though.

But certainly, for me, Curic’s DIO and To Level makes the Brightman method a breeze…

Use the Outliner and get direct to the level you need