Typing in dims: toggle between X and Y value with tab key

I draw a lot to specific sizes, as I’m sure we all do. It would be far more preferable to have these figures in two separate boxes, rather than in one and separated by a comma. I would rather have the user sequence as:

  • click the (say) line tool, move mouse
  • type first dimension
  • press tab to move to other box
  • type second dimension

All too often I have to manually type into that box, deleting stuff including the very annoying ~ which comes up. The tab solution would be far more preferable (much like Vectorworks, if anyone else uses that)

Apologies if this has already been suggested - searched but it did not come up (although it surprises me you’ve not already done it!)

There should be almost no reason to ever click into the VCB (the box you refer to) You should be just typing the input you want. What are they circumstances under which you need to click into the box? They are most likely avoidable.

You can always type ,4" to edit just the second number.

The ~ is an indicator the the dimension being shown is an approximation, not exact, which is SketchUps way of letting you know that your model is imprecise.

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or the ‘tilde’ ~ shows for two main reasons…
your setting for precision is too coarse for your model…
you have length snapping turned on and dimensions are being pulled out of shape…

they can’t even do that in the windows version…


Are you left handed? If you let go of the mouse, and just type what you need, you have more control.

This would work if you only used two dimensions, but probably would be useless for all the other operations where a second box isn’t necessary, or two boxes isn’t enough. Right now a single box works for all functions, and it can’t get simpler than that.


I agree with Ben. The VCB is flexible as designed.

This is a poorly thought out request and desire to shoehorm the SketchUp way into some other application’s way.

My vote is no … :-1:


@fisilk, I know Vectorworks, and I find the SketchUp solution very elegant and powerful once understood. You’re getting a lot of NO NO NO responses from many who do understand how to use the VCB efficiently. While I agree with them, it’s probably most productive for you to read all that as: “it actually works very well right now, perhaps we can help you better understand how to use it so it works well for you too”

If you can give us some more specific circumstances where you feel you need to do this, maybe we can help streamline your workflow in SketchUp. We’re here to help.

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Just like I used to do in AutoCad, I find myself almost always entering edge endpoints by dragging in the desired direction and typing the relative distance, almost never by entering x;y;z coordinates. I too don’t much like the Nemetschek/Graphisoft way of doing things. Whenever I need to enter coordinates the current way of using a delimiter character instead of Tab suits me quite OK.

I like drawing with the tab key for dimensions. I’ve been doing that in PowerDraw/PowerCADD for over 30 years now. In particular, it works very well with the Wacom tablet: once you hit Tab, it stops tracking the mouse position for drawing purposes, so your hand with the pen is free to move about. Not so with SketchUp which is entirely designed around the assumption of a three button, wheel mouse which will stay PERFECTLY still when you take your hand off it. The mouse position has to stay perfectly still, or the number you type in the VCB gets wiped out. Just try typing a number and then bumping the mouse with your hand and see what happens. It’s impossible to hold the Wacom pen perfectly still. I have adapted as best I can, and the one savior of the VDB feature set is that you can type a number after you clicked to set a value. I draw in the right direction and click to set some arbitrary value (which frees up the pen to move), and then type the value I want in the VDB. In fact, like the array tool, you can type different numbers and return over and over as long as you don’t start another drawing operation yet.

I’ve thought of asking for a feature to use the Tab key, but never bothered as I expected the responses as you see. The one possibility is to have two modes of numeric entry:

  1. Exactly as it is now for everyone who likes it that way so long as you don’t hit Tab, which you’re told not to do anyway
  2. A field based alternate system that is invoked by hitting the Tab key.

That way everyone could have it their way, but I doubt there’s much motivation to implement this.

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It’s funny, I’ve never considered that an issue with the wacom, tap tap type has always worked for me. I’d hate to have to use tab. Different strokes and all that.

Welp…! :smiley:

I’m going to make a video showing what I mean. I /think/ I’ve been using it correctly up till now, and I think my suggestion would save time, but let’s see. If it doesn’t and I’m an idiot you can move this thread to a more suitable forum and we can all forget it ever existed :wink:

Why are you using the Line tool? The Rectangle tool is generally less error prone, and you just type the two dimensions separated by either comma or semicolon, depending on your regional settings.

And as others have said, just type when SU is expecting typed input. Do NOT click in the VCB/Measurements box, EVER.

Well, I wouldn’t say never. There have been rare occasions when I’ve clicked or tabbed + left/right arrow keys to edit just one or two characters. If the other digits are good, you don’t have to remember and retype them without error that way, but it’s extremely rare.