Trouble consistently creating a guideline when I want to with the tape measure tool - sketchup free

Hi I’m trying to create a bottom mortise on a stile and then recess that mortise 7/8". I was able to create guidelines for the top mortise and get that one completed and did manage to draw only one guideline on the bottom of the stile but then I could no longer get the tape measure to create guide lines to layout the mortise, it just measures and that’s all. I’ve run into this numerous other times. The guidelines should be for a 1/4" wide mortise, 3/4" long located 3/8" from the top and bottom of the stile. The stile is 3/4" stock. How can I always get the tape measure to create a guide line when I want to? I’m attaching my .skp file.

My Sixth Drawing (1).skp (102.3 KB)

Thanks, Doug.

On windows the “ctrl” key toggles the creation of guides on and off. In one mode it makes guide lines, in the other it simply measures without making guides.


Also pulling a guide from an endpoint will not produce a guideline but a guide point. Pull from an edge to create a guideline.


Looking at your model I suspect @box is on to something here as you have a couple of guide points created that look like they were pulled from a corner. For guide lines, pull from an edge.


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Thanks to Endlessfix and Box for your help. I went back to the model and could see at the bottom of the screen that when I pressed the control key the tape measure tool would create a guideline and toggled off when I pressed the control key again. I was now successful and will remember to pull from the edge also.
Thanks a lot!!

Something to keep in mind as you move forward, guides are very useful for laying out some things manually, but don’t forget the inferencing system.
Here I have used the midpoint inference to quickly give me a rotation point at the middle of the object, then used ctrl rotate to place a copy at exactly the same place in the other end.

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I will give that a practice try, that is a nice way to get the other mortise located.
Thanks Box.

You could also just shorten the object to the midpoint then rotate copy the whole thing.
There are always many ways to do things in sketchup.

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Hi I am still having trouble consistently drawing guide lines with sketchup free.
I created a left stile component for a cabinet. I copied it out to work on creating mortises. I drew the guidelines on the top mortise, clicked on it and selected edit component, drew a rectangle within the guidelines and used pushed pull to create the mortise. I then clicked on white space outside of the component until the edit component ghost outlines went away. Then I panned down to the bottom mortise, selected tape measure, pressed control and dragged the guide line up from the bottom 1/4". Now no matter what I do I cannot draw a second guideline 1" from the same edge, using the same procedure as above,(which is how I make a 3/4" long mortise) when done. All I get is a dashed or dotted line and a + sign at the end, but no guideline. So what gives? I’m dragging from the same point as for the 1/4" guideline. I also have had a number of instances where a guideline will draw behind the stile, why?
I am using consistent technique with varying results. This has become very frustrating now! It shouldn’t be this hard. I really think this free software has bugs in it. I attached my model in the state where I have the first bottom 1/4" guideline drawn but I cannot get another to work. It seems that often when I select tape measure, press control , I do not get a guideline, why is that? I’m not measuring from a side but a bottom edge of the stile. I also can never create a guideline from a previously drawn guideline. Your comments are appreciated.

My Sixth Drawing (2).skp (95.8 KB)

Thanks, Doug

This indicates you are getting a guidepoint which you will get if you start from an intersection or endpoint. Start the tool on an edge if you want a guideline.

You shouldn’t need to be pressing Ctrl each time you want to make a guide.

Sorry. The only things I can see that are problematic come from your modeling methods.

Pressing Ctrl is toggling OFF the creating of guides. Don’t press Ctrl. Note there is a difference in the cursor when pressing Ctrl. When the guide indicator is turned off you won’t get a guide, you’ll only be able to measure. With the guide symbol shown next to the cursor Guides will be created.

This is in your model. The Tape Measure tool is behaving as expected.


Thanks Dave but that doesn’t change the fact that I have already drawn several guidelines from the edge, the 1/4" on the bottom and the completed mortise on top.

Your description of your actions indicates you are not being consistent in what you are doing.

If you want to create guides don’t press Ctrl. Leave that button alone in this case. The default stateof the Tape Measure tool is to create guides. Pressing Ctrl turns off the creation of guides.

FWIW, you could model the mortises without doing any layout at all.


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Ok, Thanks Dave. I appreciate your help.
On the bottom toolbar when the tape measure is selected and clicked on in white space it reads:

Click to create a guide or enter distance to resize model | Ctrl = toggle create guideline | Arrow keys = toggle lock inference direction

If I click on it again in white space I see:
Click to place guide or enter distance | ctrl = toggle create guides | Arrow keys = toggle lock inference direction

So that is why i used ctrl.

I noticed you clicked on a previously drawn line and drew another line off of that line but you were outside of the piece when you did that. If you do that on the stile itself it doesn’t draw a guideline. \

toggle means it turns on on first click and off on next click.
Or more correctly, the opposite of what it is currently.

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Again, when you press Ctrl you are turning OFF the creation of the guides.

I clicked outside the part for clarity. It would work the same way if you click on the guideline where it runs over the part unless you click on an intersection such as that at the corner of the part or where a guide crosses the vertical edge of the component.

Ok Thanks, I understand what you are saying now about toggle. Thanks for that.


I’m not sure what your last example shows, it looks as though you are having problem creating guidelines also.

I wasn’t having any problems creating guidelines. I created two guidelines by clicking on a guideline first and I did it on the component because you seemed to think that doesn’t work. Then I created a couple of guide points by starting the guide from intersections.