Type in length or width first

I am new to SketchUp and I am having lots of problems.

First, when I do a rectangle - when to I type in the measurements for the width first and when do I type in measurements for the height first?

My programme does not seem to behave as the tutorials I am watching so I must be doing something wrong.

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Which comes first depends on a variety of things that are hard to define, easiest thing to do is look at the measurement box as you draw out your rectangle.
Try exaggerating the shape, pull it out long and thin, look at the measurement box for which is larger and what symbol is used between the numbers. Then just let go of the mouse, and without trying to click in the box, just type the sizes you want in the relevant order separated by the , or ; depending on which is shown and hit enter.

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@Skareby, start drawing the rectangle by the first corner. Then the lower right screen corner ‘Measurements’ field should indicate you which one comes first. There are different conditions that determine which comes first. (Rectangle is free or attatched to other geometry, which plane etc.)

sometimes it helps if you have the crosshairs ‘on’ (Window->Preferences->Drawing->Miscellaneous

I assume you are drawing a rectangle in a fresh drawing. When you start drawing the rectangle, SU will assume you want it on the “ground plane” (ie. Z=0).

When you type in dimensions, SU will assume the first dimension is in the X direction, parallel with the red axis. The second will be the Y dimension, parallel to the green axis.

Not always. It’s variable. I think it depends (perhaps among other things) on which direction you move the mouse most, and puts the longer dimension first - but the advice above is the best guide - make the original mouse move such that one direction is obviously bigger than the other and see whether that is x or y (or other axes if you aren’t in the x-y plane). And use comma or semicolon separator as shown in the measurements box.