Trays in SketchUp

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

Please don’t double post. I responded to your question in the other thread.

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


And all extensions should follow MFC dociking system (or sketchup’s implementation of it) not create their own whack toolbars etc.

I am not surprised. Currently trays are Windows editions only as they are Microsoft Foundation Classes objects.

There is a newer trend in Mac software where “tray-like” interfaces are appearing, but not being a Mac person I don’t know what GUI framework they are using.

This makes no sense at all Sam.
First of all there is no MFC on the Mac and extension usually are written to run on both SketchUp editions (Windows and OSX.) Secondly, API coders do not have a choice, they MUST follow SketchUp’s wrapping of the underlying OS’s toolbar implementation. No one is “creating their own whack toolbars”.

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I can’t say I’m a fan of the Tray system. It introduces yet another platform difference and the double scrollbars are plain annoying. Personally I don’t care about setting up custom trays. I use SU on too many computers and too many versions for setting that up.

my.sketchgup has a really interesting approach where the individual panels have a dynamic height depending on their content (even though I don’t agree with how things are sorted into the different panels, or like the styling of them).

They are easily adjusted so the rightmost scrollbar disappears.

But you can’t have ALL of the inspectors on one stupid “Default” tray, (in order to adjust the “master” scrollbar out.) Which is another reason I could NOT use the web edition.

They were never meant to be used like this (all in one big stack) by Microsoft. It was only called “Default” because they suggested all panels be visible when I user first installed and ran the application.

Oh, wouldn’t it nice if you could have your “setup” on a thumb drive and just plug it in to whatever workstation or computer you’re working at?

Roaming profiles are supposed to do this automatically within the same LAN. This is why they are called “roaming”.

Actually I personally wouldn’t bother plugin in my thumb drive all the time for this. I use SketchUp weekly on at least 3 computers. I just want to get on with whatever I am doing and not bother setting or syncing preferences. I can see though how others would benefit from it.

However, even if your own preferences were synced to all the various machines you may use SU on it would still lead to problems for teachers, students and friends learning from each other with too many arbitrary personal differences to the interface.

? (Head spins 'round and 'round, eyes pop out.)

I fail to see why me enjoying using any software with my preferences, much less SketchUp in particular, should lead to problems with how teachers, students or friends use said software.

We are a bit off the topic here, but I care only about software applications that are set up for a professional interface. I do not and will not support “dumbing down” the interface for ALL users, just so some young school students won’t feel overwhelmed. It’s apples and oranges! These poor lil’ teachers and students can use the silly dumbed down interface that is the web edition (of any software.)

The tray is dated…if you want to be efficient you have to have 2 monitors to keep them 100% open instead to open one and close 3 to get more real estate with one monitor…I think tabs is the way to go…Open one tray and scroll up and down …so the trays are above or below each other.


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“Whack” toolbars are things that have their own menu style/interface…
Estimator for SketchUp.

  • Overall menu window can’t be docked, collapsed/minimised or put in a tray
  • Huge space-wasting logo on the screen at all times
  • Unique style buttons/dropdown menus
  • Only a couple functions can be assigned to keyboard shortcuts.
  • Doesn’t adopt sketchup’s model units (doesnt even support metric units)

This isn’t a dig at Estimator…it’s just the first thing I noticed i had open at this time. There are many similar examples.

I’m like Eneroth …it’s too much effort to manage trays on various PCs and to respond to changed extensions etc, so I just stick with the default (which is OK but not great)

I have a 32" monitor at 2560x1440 and it feels surprisingly crowded a lot of the time :slight_smile: A real benefit would be having Sketchup Trays that dynamically adjusted to the size of the content - EG the Soften Edges, Entity Info and Shadow Settings trays could be slimmer if we have the tray set to a wider format. This means far less scrollwheeling to move menus around when we run out of space.

To Staff: Can there please be a SketchUp interface that allows slimmer/simpler trays (and darker colour theme)? (Adobe software is fantastic at this…)

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just a quick experiment :slight_smile:

Having the same software look and feel different on different machines is always troublesome when you want to show someone else how to do something or get help from someone. There are also good things about interface customization and this doesn’t outweigh them but it should be taken into consideration when designing a user interface.

To me the order of the browser in the tray for instance is irrelevant, as long as it is the same on every computer I use SketchUp on, and preferably the same on my friends’, coworkers’ and class mates’ computers. The order itself doesn’t matter, what matters is to know where things are without having to look for them. This is in my opinion one aspect the web interface has succeed in (even though I don’t like it in general).

This is nonsense and off topic. I have never said anything about overwhelming interfaces in this thread, and even if I had it applies just as much to professional users as school children. The only thing related to teaching I’ve said (which applies just as much to personal trainers as elementary school) is that it is preferable if the same user interface looks the same to both the teacher and the student. Arbitrary differences are just confusing and distracting.

Most users wont change the default settings for their user interface. It’s just not going to happen. Some prefer it to be pristine, some want to stick to the default for consistency between machines and some just don’t bother. Only a handful of people will organize their own trays.

If the interface is designed according to the assumption that you modify it, it is badly designed. It can allow customization but not demand it.