Trays in SketchUp

First of all, let me say how much I love sketchup for the way it simplifies otherwise complex taxes. I’ve been using it for 6 years every day (i’m a 3d artist) and love it to bits.
Having said that, guys… come on. This has been said a thousand times in the forums, but i really want to say it again.
The panel thingy introduced in 2016 (?) is just plain bad. We know it, you know, so let’s please stop behaving like autodesk and just admit it’s wrong and start from scratch next time.
And while you’re at it, take out the automatic “make unique” from dynamic components after scaling while you’re at it.
Come on guys. Don’t start disapointing your users now…

Not everyone agrees with you. I think the trays are excellent. It duplicates the way I’ve had SketchUp set up since there were utility windows to show.

Maybe i’m not looking at them the right way or using them wrong… What’s good about them?
Have you ever used Unreal Engine? Now that’s an example of a pretty good UI architecture, dont you agree? Even Photoshop manages the panels quite smoothly.

On the other hand the way panels is put into sketchup looks out of place. Too many buttons to press, too much complexity for no clear advantages (in my opinion)
Sliders over sliders, even if the panel only has one thing in it. I’m really sorry, but not only i’m not conviced, but i think it’s objectively porrly executed.
But then again, maybe i need some time to understand maybe why it’s like that.
I really hope i’m wrong

Compared to the way the SketchUp utility windows were used by many people the tray (and the way I used them in previous versions makes sense to me. I think most users used to just leave the windows floating over their drawing space or would close them entirely when they weren’t using them. Use SketchUp on a Mac. It’s still that way. You could dock the trays together but they still covered the model space.

In older versions of SketchUp, I set the main window narrow enough to allow the utility windows to be stacked on the right side of the screen outside the main window. That kept the windows available when I wanted them and off my drawing space. And I never missed having the model space filling the entire width of the monitor anyway.

Now, with the tray, I have the same basic layout as before but I can keep multiple windows expanded because I can scroll up and down the tray with the scroll wheel which wasn’t an option before. I also get some added toolbar real estate on top which I also didn’t have before.

You can still collapse utility windows you don’t currently need by clicking on their title bars and you can create custom trays if you want to make categories for them. Heck, make a tray for each utility window if you want. If you don’t want to see the tray all the time, click on the push pin icon at the top and it’ll collapse to the side. You can move it so it’s floating over the drawing space if you really like that. I don’t understand it but some people do seem to prefer having their model covered by utility windows. That’s still an option. Or you can move the tray off to another display if you want to do that. I prefer to leave all of SketchUp on one monitor because I use the second for other applications often at the same time.

Really, when it comes down to it, there are added features because of the trays and nothing has really been taken away.

Thank you for your answer, Dave.
We are not talking about the same thing at all.
I am not saying that the concept of panels is wrong. Exactly like i said before, Unreal Engine does it brilliantly. Photoshop does it pretty well, too.
You are showing me the advantages of using panels. I know them, and i use them.
I’m only saying that the architecture and the implementation of it in Sketchup is by far the worst i’ve ever seen.
Do you see my point?
Panels = good

No. I don’t see your point. I don’t see anything wrong with the implementation of the trays in SketchUp. Maybe you ought to work with what’s there for awhile.

If you want “panels”, set up the trays that way. It’s not difficult to do.

Ok, nevermind.
Now i’m totaly more focused in what it is that you are modelling.
Is it some kind of torture device… sex hardware?? eheheheheh
Anyways, thanks for your view on this.

LOL! It’s a frame I designed to go on an operating table to protect the patient’s head and airway from robots and leaning surgeons.

I’m disappointed and relieved at the same time.


I thought about topping it with stainless steel “sharks teeth” to get the attention of the surgeons but figured that might be overkill.

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You did well.

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The correct term is subjectively, because objective is not a personal opinion.

For your info, this is the Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC) tray system. Not something Trimble designed. It acts the way that Microsoft designed it to act. It is up to you, the user, to position and size the panels, so that unneeded scroll bars are hidden.

The “Default Tray”, was never intended to be the way a user would use it. It is simply a temporary tray with ALL of the panels in it. Microsoft always recommend that applications install this way, rather than having no tray, and no panels visible at first run of the application.

This is like the 3rd or 4th time I’ve had to defend the Microsoft tray system, from posters who do not seem to understand their power and versatility, nor realize just how many years they’ve been around. Visual Studio has had them as long as I can remember, near 30 years. As well as many major applications, ie, Visio, Excel, Access, etc.

Interface Elements | Microsoft Docs

You can modify the tray to meet your needs. You can create multiple trays. You can have some or all trays docked, some or all trays floating, some floating trays on other display monitors, and some docked trays that Autohide and slide out of sight into the window margins.

SketchUp User Guide

I have two trays auto-hidden into the left margin, and 4 custom tray tabs in the right-side dock.

See this image of my trays (but at that time, I had the “TREE” and “HELP” trays hidden on the right. I afterward moved them to the left side margin, so that the Outliner tree tray would not slide out and hide the Entity Info panel, in my “PROPERTIES” tray.)

Let’s not forget one can toggle the visibility of floating trays with a keyboard shortcut. I like to model with Entity Info hanging around in the upper right quadrant - as I’ve done pre-SU16. So Entity Info is the sole occupant of a small floating tray which becomes invisible with the tap of a key of my choice.

Ok, The trays in sketchup are amazing. They are the best in business.
They are based in a 30 year old architecture and that a very good thing. No one can question anything.
Got it,´
Now let me get back to work because no one seems to be trtying to read my comments

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Just to weigh in and spark up the debate again - on Mac, everything is different. I wish I had trays like in Windows, actually (first time I have ever wished for something like Windows).

I think the panels need an update generally (for Mac, at least). Panels behave and look differently to the WebDialogs used by plugins, and it is annoying.

Components Panel really needs to be overhauled - why can’t I easily bring up the selected component in the model? Why can’t I search my model for components?

Entity Info box is also not detailed enough - where can I put in a"Component Description" for example?

OK. I’ve learned something from reading this conversation and will reorganize my trays to eliminate a few inefficient mouse moves. So let’s say you’ve spent quite a bit of time to set up your trays just the way you want them and have all your tools & extensions (plugins) loaded with their icons placed where you are accustomed to finding them almost without looking.

Now comes the big question: Why bother updating Sketchup for a few added features you may never use when that update destroys your working environment and condemns you to hours rebuilding it? Said another way, how do you keep everything where it is now after updating Sketchup without spending hours reloading extensions and reestablishing your working environment? The best I’ve been able to do so far is to print a screenshot of the startup screen for reference prior to updating. An “analog” solution for the problem but the best I have so far. What’s the secret here? What do you do to deal with this issue?

There’s a huge problem with your process if it takes you hours to rebuild it. It shouldn’t even take 15 minutes to set up the new version like you had your old one.

So you print it on paper? I just import the screenshot of the previous version into SketchUp as an image and use it as a reference.

Use the Extension Warehouse and the Sketchucation Extension Store tools to automatically install current versions of the extensions you have in the previous version. They can both install them en masse.

I usually take the time to do some house cleaning, too, and get rid of or disable extensions I haven’t been using so I don’t have to wait for them to load at start up.

Here’s a little more: Migrating to SketchUp 2017

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The issue of extension migration has moved forward in the past several major cycles, whilst the the UI setup migration has been stagnant.

Why ?

There is a challenge with bringing the toolbar locations forward. And that is that all the extensions first need to be migrated, before SketchUp can attempt to load their toolbars and put them where they were in the previous version.

Should SketchUp just assume a user will install the entire same set of extensions ?

Re: tray location migration, should be something that can be implemented as, so far, all of them are controlled by SketchUp. (Although developers are wanting to be able to create docking panels for extensions.)

Anyway, it is not trivial. But I do wish it gets implemented.

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I may have exagerated the time needed, but you’re right. I’ll try your idea of importing the screenshot to serve as a model. The referenced URL was a big help, too. Thanks for your help!

I’m having trouble finding out how to set up a default tray with 2017 on my MacBook… help