Zoom through walls horribly slow

I’m sure this has been asked many times, but a search of this forum did not find a solution.

When zooming out, if you go through a wall accidentally (very easy to do if you’re trying to get the best perspective from the corner of a room) then try to reverse and go back a bit, zooming slows waaaaaaay down. You have to scroll and scroll and scroll to push through the wall, then it speeds way up again, putting you too far into the room.

Who thought this was a good idea, and why isn’t there at least a preference to turn this annoying behavior off?


Hi Michael,

When you find yourself suddenly boxed in; stop. Click … Camera > Previous

SketchUp stores the camera position every time you pause.
IIRC the camera position buffer retains six previous positions.
There’s an extension which boosts the buffer to twenty.

Previous is also one of the native tools of the Camera Toolbar
Camera Menu (Windows)


If all you want to do is get out of your wall fast, try panning or rotate sideways, I find it’s the quick simple solution.
Also, if you use scenes a lot, make a hotkey to the next or previous scene that way you can get out of the wall with the least mouse clicks/key press. I use " ` " as mine as it’s free and near all of my common hotkeys.

As previously stated, panning is a good way to get out. Just hold SHIFT while orbiting with the middle mouse button to pan. Camera → Previous is very handy at times, but I tend to use other methods because if I’ve backed into something, it’s because I actually WANT to have my camera at that perspective to get a better view of what I’m working on. So I like to focus on hiding the wall I backed into, instead of re-positioning my camera.

Here are some ways to temporarily hide things like walls in order to provide you with a better view of what you’re working on: The key to these methods is setting up custom keyboard shortcuts so you can quickly toggle them.

  • I set N to Edit → Hide, and J to Edit → Unhide → Last. So when I find myself trapped in a wall, I just select the wall I’m in (Simply by clicking anywhere on the screen with the Select tool, lol), and tap N to hide it. When I’m done and want to bring the wall back, I tap J to “unhide last”.
  • If I’m editing a group, and find myself backing into geometry that’s OUTSIDE the group, a use the “Hide rest of Model” setting found in View → Component Edit → Hide Rest of Model. I set a custom keyboard shortcut for that too, assigning it to the letter X. I toggle this on and off ALL the time when modeling.
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Thank you, everyone, for the replies. The Camera > Previous command is helpful.

My real question, though, is what is the purpose of this seemingly idiotic behavior? Does slowing way down when you are against a wall help in some way? Why not just always zoom in and out at the same speed? Why can you back up through a wall quickly but have to go forward so slowly? Makes no sense.


The reason is simple … distance.

Theoretically, SketchUp’s model space extends to infinity.
In practice, SketchUp is capable of models several kilometers in size.

Thus urban planners can use SketchUp to create very large models encompassing many city blocks.
While others can use the same SketchUp tools to model much smaller objects, say, a faucet handle.
SketchUp’s camera behavior supports both.

As you zoom by rolling the mouse wheel the Camera travels straight towards or away from the exact point in 3D space upon which you have placed the cursor.
The distance the camera travels with each revolution of the scroll wheel is proportional to the distance between Camera and cursor location in 3D space.

That is…
The greater the distance between Camera and cursor location in 3D space …
The greater distance the camera travels with each revolution of the wheel.

That proportional behavior enables the camera to traverse great distances efficiently while providing increasingly precise control as the distance from camera to target becomes less and less.

Consequently when you back the camera through a face the distance from camera to target (face) is minimal and camera travel per revolution of the scroll wheel is, as you now know, in proportion to that tiny distance.

It’s best to stop the moment you’re lost inside geometry or inadvertently zoomed into outer space.
New users tend to continue flailing about zooming, orbiting and panning which readily purges the desired view from the camera buffer.



Position your cursor over some geometry for spatial reference when zooming.

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Use a 3D connexion 3D mouse and walls aren’t a problem anymore. They should ship a 3D mouse together with SketchUp! I can’t live without one for working with SketchUp.

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Good Point! Yes, a 3Dconnexxion mouse completely eliminates this from happening.

Hi there, I am new to Sketchup and teaching myself to draw an addition I am envisioning. I have been fairly successful in mastering most basics, but am really frustrated by the moving through walls problem.

What Michael described here is exactly the same problem I am experiencing with the 3D Connection mouse. Just when I think I mastered the movement with the mouse, Sketchup does some weird slow down and speed up flinging you to the other side, because it’s almost like the sample rate slows down when you hit a wall. I really wish there was a way to fix it. I’ve tried every setting with the 3D connection mouse and it just is super frustrating.

I wonder if there is a way to request for a camera bump, so when your camera backs or hits a wall that is not the reverse side, you stop, or there is a key you press to allow you to pass through solids. This would help I think.


Things may have changed in the >7 years since the last post in this topic. I did thing that Space Mouse did its own thing, and could swoop around the place smoothly. @TheOnlyAaron may have a thought about that.

SketchUp itself does vary the zooming through things speed, based on what you are pointing at.

I’m hoping Aaron has an idea to help with your question.

What Michael was talking about is the intentional slowing of the zoom when the camera approaches a surface. That was and still is how SketchUp works. If you are seeing this behavior with a 3D mouse… something maybe wrong with your driver or the hardware. 3DConnexion nice zoom smoothly regardless of what is in front of the camera. Maybe you can post a video of what you are seeing?

Hi, @alan2

Consider installing an extension called ‘Curic Zoom Through’ while you figure out what is going on with your Space Mouse. New to SketchUp and designing an addition/kitchen, I found myself stuck in walls constantly. I was just about to invest in a Space Mouse when I found ‘Curic Zoom Through.’ Works very well with an ordinary mouse.

You can watch a SketchUp Essentials YouTube video here:

Just something to consider until you have your Space Mouse sorted out. If you do install the extension, you will have to click it off when you want to zoom in on small details or it will literally ‘zoom through’ it.

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Try the X-ray function. I’ve noticed sometimes that X-ray, at times when active, seems to pass thru surfaces quicker, without all the zooming in or out, but you do have to pay greater attention to how many surfaces you’ve gone thru.

To the original poster, I second this:

I use it a lot and I wouldn’t want to have to go without it.

Another trick to add to the already described very good ideas above is to hide one or more walls to allow going back in a room a lot easier by zooming in.

Remember that you can set Scenes to remember the status of hidden objects.


I did exactly that until I found ‘Zoom Through.’ Every time I created a new SU file I’d immediately set up a scene named ‘Escape Scene.’ There are a few other workarounds to avoid getting stuck in walls–like using ‘Walk’ or ‘Last View.’

Still, I feel we shouldn’t have to use workarounds or buy a pricey mouse or download a plugin to avoid this problem.