Selecting without changing tool

I was following the Getting Started With Sketchup Part 3 video, at the part where the window mullions are created. The narrator created the mullion in the 2nd pane by using the offset tool with a double-click to repeat the offset from the 1st pane. But before doing this, he moved to the tool box, switched to the select tool, selected the rectangle for the 2nd window pane, then went back to the tool box and picked the offset tool.

However, when he did the 3rd pane, he somehow selected the bottom left rectangle without ever dropping the offset tool. He had just finished the 2nd window mullion by double-clicking on the bottom edge of its rectangle, creating a 1/2" offset. Then he briefly moved his cursor into the 2nd pane rectangle, then moved it down into the 3rd pane rectangle, which became selected. (It got shaded.) The whole time he did this, the cursor showed the offset icon. It never changed to the plain arrow for the select icon. He double-clicked on an edge of the 3rd rectangle to create its offset.

My question is, how did he get the 3rd pane selected. I know the space bar is a hot key to switch to select. But that’s not what happened. If he did that, he would still need to go to the toolbox to pick up the offset tool again. When I follow along with this in my copy of the model, after I double-click to make the mullion in the second pane, then move my cursor into the 3rd pane, it never gets selected. It stays in the offset tool with an anchor still on the edge of the 2nd pane.

I’m guessing that maybe there is a modifier key that temporarily lets you select without ever dropping to tool you are using, but that’s just a guess. I’m curious because it seems so smooth and efficient when the narrator does this, compared with going back and forth to the tool box.

I haven’t looked at the video but if the panes are in the same context, as in both loose geometry (not grouped), there’s no need to select the face before running Offset. Likely the person in the video didn’t really need the steps of switching tools before running Offset on the second pane, either. Just hovering over a face with the Select tool is adequate.

as dave said, it’s a hover thing…

just try and stick to the same lock for each…

i.e. if I had used the inner for the second set, stick with the inner on the others…


Thanks, Dave and John. I’m sorry to say that I’m still having a bit of trouble. I tried to recreate the simple example you showed in the gif you created (and thank you very much for that!).

After creating the 4 rectangles, I selected the lower left one, switched to the offset tool, clicked on the left edge of the rectangle, and created the offset, just as I saw in your animation.

Next, I tried to move to the upper left rectangle, just as you did. In your gif, the red box marking the reference point for the offset jumps to the bottom edge of the 2nd rectangle. When I do it, it stays on the first rectangle no matter how far I move away from it.

Your cursor arrow includes the offset symbol the whole time, so I don’t think you are switching to the select tool. But somehow when you move to the 2nd rectangle, the offset tool starts working on it, but when I try it, I cannot get it to leave the 1st rectangle. (Of course, switching away from the offset tool to the select tool will do this, but then I need to grab the offset tool again.)

Am I missing something? Thanks for your very rapid response and advice!


Don’t select the first face. Just hover over it with the Offset tool.

If you preselect the face, it remains selected after the Offset operation.

If you feel you must preselect the face before getting the Offset tool, hit Esc after completing the offset operation.

That’s it. Thank you for clarifying that. Selecting the 1st rectangle “traps” everything there (which could be a good thing in some circumstances). Sorry I did not pick that up from your first explanation, and thank you both very much for your very fast assistance.

The last Offset you performed is remembered. So after doing the first Offset operation, just hover the tool over another face and double left-click to duplicate the same offset on that face.

Yes, that’s very handy. I got myself in trouble (well, not so much trouble as just having to do more work than I needed to) by over-using the select tool, which locked me in one pane until I selected the next one to work in it. But as Dave and John pointed out, selecting the rectangle was not necessary at all.

This topic was automatically closed 91 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.