Sharpening up SketchUp for Web: an update on shortcuts, Search, 3D Warehouse, menus, and more

Hi everyone,

I’m pleased to share a bit more detail on some updates today in SketchUp for Web. If you use the web version frequently, you’ll notice almost right away* that a few things are new.

For starters, we’ve consolidated the ‘file’ and ‘hamburger’ menus into one primary menu, in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. You can find all file commands (like Open, Save As, Export) here, as well as a few other utilities. The Home tab is also available in this one menu. Based on your feedback — and the difficulty we’ve observed people having to find file commands — we think one menu is better than two!

Another change that I would classify as a ‘no-brainer’: we’ve embedded the full 3D Warehouse inside of SketchUp for Web. Now, when you search in the Components panel, 3D Warehouse will open inside the app (similar to the desktop version). With this change, you can get a richer preview of 3D Warehouse search results, and even access content you’ve curated into folders or collections. 3D Warehouse has its own icon amongst the right-hand side utility tray, and you can also find it using Search.

Speaking of search results, you may notice something different as you are using Search to find and activate commands. In addition to listing default shortcut keys, any tool or command available in Search can be assigned a custom shortcut. For now, the shortcut customizations you make are available only within SketchUp for Web, but available across multiple browsers and still available if you clear your browser cache.

Searching to activate tools isn’t for everybody — many people still prefer to use a toolbar — but like most SketchUp features, we think it should be accessible to as many people as possible. Today, we are introducing this Search functionality in all supported translations of SketchUp for Web (and SketchUp for Schools). This includes French, German, Italian, Russian, Swedish, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, and Chinese. You can switch to a different translation using the Globe icon at the bottom of the modeling window.

If you are reading this deep into a post on the SketchUp Forum, you may be interested to know that translated Search also supports concept searching. In English versions of the app, if you search for a term related to 3D modeling (like ‘chamfer’), you’ll get the SketchUp tool that we think best accommodates your query (like Follow Me). We worked with SketchUp experts across the world to translate our modeling concepts. Personally, I’m very eager to hear how Search is working for you in non-English versions of the app. (I will certainly be paying attention to any feedback on this thread!)

I do keep tabs on this forum often to take notes and try to help our team better understand your feedback. (Side note: we hear you about auto-save preferences – hang on!). We’ll keep working to improve SketchUp to make it easier to figure out, easier to learn, and more productive to use. To those of you who post consistently on this forum, actually helping people figure out, learn, and be productive with SketchUp… thank you for helping us cover the gap!

Mark

*PS What do you think of our new loading animation? I’m sure you were getting a bit tired of the throbbing SketchUp logo. (We were, at least!) Got any other ideas on how the SketchUp logo might come to life?

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Very nice. Did you do something to the graphics? My models look nice in Sketchup for Web now than they used to.

Not specifically. We update the core modeling and model rendering along with the desktop version. It’s possible the new menu is just that much better looking than the old one. :wink:

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Nice to see these developments!

I guess it is tied to the Trimble ID? Should be possible to have the same shortcuts on the desktop client :slight_smile:

I did found it a bit difficult to spot (sore eyes…) unless there is all ready a shortcut assigned.

We always get to hear not to go in the measurements field, so I am a bit scared to enter this one…
I managed to set my favorite shortcut, though. (G for Make Group, Option + G for make Component)

Great Job!

This is a nice update. I like the startup animation. Adding keyboard shortcuts is a big improvement.

Searching for ‘explode’ returns no results so I can’t assign a keyboard shortcut to that one.

For those that I can assign shortcuts to, I can’t use command or control keys. I’m not surprised that command wasn’t available as it isn’t in the Desktop SketchUp either, apart from setting it in System Preferences. I thought control would be available though. The help makes it look as is only one modifier is disallowed on each platform:

Being able to set all my shortcuts with no modifier, shift and option is nice.

What about all those shortcuts that invoke extensions?…

@MikeWayzovski Yes, the shortcuts hook into a web-based preferences service that we hope to use more broadly across SketchUp apps. This is important infrastructure, as you might imagine, so we want to bang on it a good bit before introducing shortcuts… or adding it to other apps.

The shortcut assignment prompt is intentionally not ‘in your face.’ Our presumption is that you don’t want to assign a shortcut every time you activate a command. But, I also bet we can still improve this interaction.

Once you get over your hesitance to type into a SketchUp field, I bet you will find yourself using search more often. By the way, you can look up and assign your own shortcut to Search as well.

But as @McGordon has noticed: not every SketchUp command has been implemented in Search. Explode is on a list of commands that I hope we will be getting too soon. FWIW, we prioritize the improvements to Search based on the queries people make and don’t get a result for.

On both PC and Mac, there are two modifier keys for shortcuts, and they can be used together if you want. I’ll be interested to hear if people feel restricted by only having two options for shortcut modifier keys. Recently, I met someone who uses ‘the claw’ (Alt+Control+Shift) as a kind of secondary modifier for the keys on the very left side of the keyboard. Everybody is different, but generally we think that the easier a shortcut is to remember, the more likely you’ll remember and use it.

Thanks for the feedback, everybody… I’ll keep my ears open, in case you start finding some problems.

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Hi Mark,

I was just experimenting in SU-S with a rather heavy model and I think I’m seeing much better performance both in display quality and in speed. With all of these other changes, things are sure headed in the right direction.

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These are great news! It bugged me so much how the hamburger menu wasn’t full menu, despite that being the meaning of the hamburger icon, and how you more easily found the Trimble Connect entries than the normal File entries. It’s good to see this finally being fixed!

Regarding 3D Warehouse I don’t want it covering my modeling view (just as I don’t want to use the embedded 3D Warehouse window in the desktop app). And I absolutely do not want to lose my browsing by selecting a component. I’d very much prefer to keep it in a separate tab, and e.g. in the case SketchUp is running, the option "Add to " being added in the download drop down. 3D Warehouse was at its best in 2016 when you could use your normal web browser and just drag the Download button into SU and have the model appear there, no embedded browser used. I think all EW improvements since still don’t outweigh the lost ability to use your normal standalone browser along with SketchUp.

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Shortcuts :heart: :heart: :heart: ! I don’t know if there is more to say on this point. I really like the UI. Personally I’ve long loved the UI in the desktop app for assigning shortcuts compared to how other programs do it, but the stuff in Web may even … be … better :astonished: .

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“Here’s one I prepared earlier”, the cooks would say…

Consolidating the menus makes so much sense and a nice thought. The addition of custom shortcuts is a gamechanger from my perspective. The “Hide rest of model” and “Hide similar components” shortcuts, were two I particularly missed. I agree with Christina, the execution of assigning the custom shortcuts is very nice too.

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We have some more work to do on 3D Warehouse for sure. In particular, I agree about keeping your place in a search query while inspecting search results. You can now use the 3D preview inside of 3D Warehouse in SketchUp for Web, but there is some tightening we could do around opening and closing the window in between component downloads. I’m happy to say we are also looking at model searching as something that can happen in the context of a utility or a more dedicated search experience. The problem with our old 3D Warehouse search in the web version (in the Components panel) is that people couldn’t really evaluate the quality of search results… but it did take up less space. So, we will continue to iterate here!

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I’ve noticed I can’t get directly between the search result and the model info page without going through the preview, and honestly find it quite disruptive. It doesn’t show any info that you don’t have on either the search page or info page already so I don’t know why this extra step is added in between. Maybe its a workaround for the inherent issue with infinite scroll and history, but it’d be better to have the scroll positioned remembered when you press the back button (achievable with HTML5 history API).

My preferred way of using 3DWH is to scroll through the result and open every 5th or 10th or so result in new tabs based on the thumbnail. Once I’ve picked the potentially decent models I do a second iteration and close the tabs with the models I don’t like. Sometimes I do a third iteration, based on how many candidates I picked to start with. For me this side by side comparison of multiple assets at once by tabbing back and forth is crucial to find the right assets, and when I think of it, opening the new tabs also is a work around for losing your position in infinite scroll.

What bugs me about 3DWH is that it just keeps changing in different directions, but there has been no attempt to go in the direction of restoring what you could do about 4 years ago. Back then with SketchUp desktop I could quickly and efficiently search and filter assets in my browser as described above, then grab the download link in each asset and drag it into SketchUp desktop, and the component would appear. Today I when I’ve located the 10 or so assets I want to use, I have to either download them to my desktop, drag them into SketchUp and then delete the files, or try to locate the exact same component again from within SketchUp by searching on the exact name. I think the reason for stop having the Download button be a link pointing at the .skp file was to prevent third party sites from linking directly to these files.

Now it seems SketchUp web has gotten the same drawback as SketchUp desktop with a 3DWH covering the drawing area and the history being lost for each asset (you typically place 10 or so at a time when furnishing your architectural model), without gaining the benefits of inspecting and comparing models you’ have from using a separate tab.

If SketchUp web could be connected to a 3DWH search in a separate tab, I’d like to see the old non-intrusive component browser coming back on the side in SketchUp web.

Why not make a temp collection or add them to favorites?
I am not in favor of opening ten or more xtra tabs in a browser. Who is gonna close them?

Who is going to purge the dummy collections? These are not things I want to save for later, just see side by side to know what to use in my model. It’s a bit like picking up different cloths in a store and carry them with you when you look for more, and then go with all of them to the testing room once you have enough things to compare.

Also the collection doesn’t allow me to directly switch back and forth between the content, so I would still open the content of the collection in separate tabs to know what to remove from the collection.

Hi @eneroth3. You can do what you’re describing although it appears it’s not so obvious that the capability is there. If you click on the model title instead of the model image, you will be taken to the model details page instead of the modal popup window. So if you right click on the model title you can still choose to open the model details page in a new tab.

I hope this helps.

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Thanks!

This brings us back to the functionality we had some week ago. This could be improved by letting middle click open the model in a new tab regardless of where in the card you click, without affecting the primary click preview functionality for those who prefer that.

This recording show approximately how I browse the warehouse, except that I normally stay much longer in my first filtering phase and open maybe 10 or 15 additional tabs before looking more into details. EDIT: Normally I also do this a lot faster as you didn’t have to aim as precisely before.

The last step is me attempting to drag the download link into SketchUp, as you could do 4 years ago.

If that functionality is either restored, or gets a replacement, i.e. a way to directly take an asset you’ve located in your standalone browser and add it into your model (either desktop or web), that would hugely speed up and remove annoyance from the 2DWH for me.

The preview functionality is probably useful if you look at a lot of models sequential, but I think I’m not alone in looking at models in parallel. This is especially true when quickly doing an interior for an architectural model and you need to find items in a matching style.

Well, you might wanna keep the results and create a folder or drop them in an existing anyhow. I am not a fan of all these ‘open’ tabs.

I would like to see the same checkmarks in the preview tiles of the search results as we have in the folders/collections, so you could add them quickly to a folder/collection/favorites.

In general, the things you want can al ready reside in a former search, pr local collection, no need to scorch the Warehouse every time you need a chair.

It is much quicker to have some sort of base collection, save the search and investigation time for a sunday afternoon…