Tool window management MacOS SketchUp 2023

Hey All! New to the community. I have been using SketchUp since about 2013 for casual things and in the last couple of years have gone to pro subscription and am using it more and more professionally. I am a custom carpentry and remodeling contractor and I largely use it for communicating with clients, working out complex detailing, and sometimes for materials takeoffs.

I recently made the switch to Mac, and updated to version 2023 about the same time. I am having a bear of a time with window management. The bank of windows containing components, entity info, etc. I switch fairly regularly between a monitor and the laptop screen, and it seems like every time my window layout changes. I end up with some windows on the laptop screen and some on the monitor, and I end up having to rebuild my bank of windows almost every time I open a project. It’s very frustrating to have to rebuild your workspace every time. I have searched this issue and so far, whether due to the OS change or due to the update to 2023, anything I’m seeing about window management seems to not apply to what I am working with. I’d greatly appreciate some advice on setting up my workspace and keeping it the same way. TIA!

there is a funny thing with mac os.

when you have a window partially outside of the screen, there is a risk mac os reopens it later on a different screen.

here for example, the sandbox might open on my other screen next time. same for the tags panel.

Capture d’écran 2023-05-14 à 02.22.14
and as a proof, I quit, then reopen, and voilà, the tag panel is on my other screen (sandbox remained)

This is a standard macos behaviour, for years now. the problem in SU is that all the panels are actually tiny windows, and work as such. the os seems to think it’s helping you, “hey, looks like you needed more space, I put all that junk next door”

Capture d’écran 2023-05-14 à 02.25.22
same way, there is actually a “safe zone” on the dock. I’m sure someone will come by and say “well acthually, you could hide the dock, and make some more space blablabla” I know, but I’m a docker.

as you see, my SU window rests on top of the dock. I like it that way, allow me to have some files ready at hand on the sides of the dock (I find this a handy space). You see my solid toolbar actually hangs lower, it’s invading the dock space.

Capture d’écran 2023-05-14 à 02.28.55
and this is after restart. it got slightly shifted up so the dock space is clean.

Since you recently switched, you’ll find many little things like that, they’ll feel weird because you’re used to a pc, for long time mac users, they’re actually normal. it’s like switching languages.


why is it like that?

Mac OS GUI. all those years ago, the dev team developed the mac version using the macos graphic interface. That’s also the reason we have the macos colour panel instead of SU’s one.

Wouldn’t it be better to have the same on mac and PC ? yeah, I agree. Adobe jumped the gun a few years ago (darn, a decade ago? more?) by revamping both interfaces. it’s a big task, as SU 2023 proves (changing the GUI framework on PC this year was not completely smooth)
No idea if it’s in the pipes. we’ll just have to live and tell.


how do I organise my space ?

like that. I don’t have a lot of stuff, my panels are on the side where they don’t annoy me, most of them are closed, if I have extra toolbars I need, they’ll go top right, so they won’t cover fredo’s tools. On PC, I tend to have more toolbars, rows and rows, but in the end, I don’t use the majority of the tools and panels on a daily basis.

This year the windows GUI for SketchUp was reworked to use the Qt library. The only reason that would make sense is if the devs want to unify the GUI across Windows and Mac, otherwise it would be effort with no obvious justification. So cross your fingers that a Mac rework is also planned and will eliminate as many as possible of the quirky differences between SketchUp on the two platforms. Who knows, it might even enable the Linux version that has been requested so often.

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Thanks so much for this response, very helpful. So far this is the biggest issue I have had with switching. I’ve been very happy with the switch (mostly for continuity with iPad/phone) otherwise, and it seemed odd to me this was happening and I couldn’t find a fix.

The thing that is most annoying about it is that it changes the order of my window stack, which I now realize is because half of the windows are off the screen a tiny bit or whatever. I use a very similar layout to you, and it wouldn’t be a big deal if the stack ended up on another screen but having to re order it each time is infuriating. But now that I know what is causing the issue I can set my space up to try to mitigate it.

thank you again!

That would be fantastic. I occasionally hop to the old windows machine for one reason or another and I feel like right now my workflow and instincts are caught somewhere in the middle.

yeah, I wrote my message at 2.30 am, and I didn’t have the energy to go check, but as you say, Qt works on both. A guess would be that first they are working on converting the standard pc interface in Qt, then when it’s solid, they can “simply” use it to convert the mac one. if that’s the case, I hope they can go 100%, and not leave us some macos quirck like the colour panel.

I used to stack them on the screen edge, like on a pc, and just like you describe, it was annoying. some panel, when you unfold them, are a bit larger, and thus the whole pile gets a bit larger, and bam, problem.

so in the end, I leave myself a margin, my SU window goes border to border, and panels float on top, I don’t try to reproduce the PC interface.

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