Search icon CANCEL
Cart icon
Close icon
You have no products in your basket yet
Save more on your purchases!
Savings automatically calculated. No voucher code required
Arrow left icon
All Products
Best Sellers
New Releases
Learning Hub
Free Learning
Arrow right icon
The SketchUp Handbook for Interior Design
The SketchUp Handbook for Interior Design

The SketchUp Handbook for Interior Design: A step-by-step visual approach to planning, designing, and presenting interior spaces

By Dana Hoffman , Rebecca Terpstra
$43.99 $29.99
Book Jun 2024 598 pages 1st Edition
$43.99 $29.99
Free Trial
Renews at $15.99p/m
$43.99 $29.99
Free Trial
Renews at $15.99p/m

What do you get with eBook?

Product feature icon Instant access to your Digital eBook purchase
Product feature icon Download this book in EPUB and PDF formats
Product feature icon Access this title in our online reader with advanced features
Product feature icon DRM FREE - Read whenever, wherever and however you want
Table of content icon View table of contents Preview book icon Preview Book

The SketchUp Handbook for Interior Design

Using Essential Tools and Shortcuts for Space Planning

SketchUp shines as a premier 3D visualization tool embraced across diverse design sectors, from interior design and architecture to construction and landscape design.

It transforms concepts into reality during schematic and design development phases without the headache of switching between different programs.

Authored by two seasoned interior designers, this book is packed with intermediate-to-advanced tips, tricks, and techniques tailored for SketchUp for Desktop users, whether SketchUp Pro or SketchUp Studio. Leveraging your foundational SketchUp skills, we dig into practical applications within the design field while enhancing your modeling proficiency.

By the book’s conclusion, you’ll command SketchUp’s capabilities from a designer’s standpoint, refining your workflow strategies for optimal efficiency. You’ll know how to use SketchUp for your whole project, collaborate seamlessly with your design team, and craft vibrant presentation documents to show off your work.

In this first chapter, we will ease into SketchUp by reviewing the introductory items you should already know, but we will add an interior design spin to make it relatable. You will learn how to effectively use 2D applications, the importance of utilizing inferences, and how to create your own shortcuts. Finally, we will delve into the complexity of components and how they can improve your workflow productivity.

By the end of this chapter, you will probably pick up a tip or two that you didn’t know to make your modeling time more efficient!

In this chapter, we will cover the following topics:

  • Using camera views for 2D space planning
  • Modeling accurately using SketchUp’s tools and inferences
  • Creating 2D space plan items
  • Mastering components for repeated elements
  • Building information modeling and other data extraction

Technical requirements

This book focuses on SketchUp for Desktop software, whether SketchUp Pro or SketchUp Studio, which are paid subscriptions within SketchUp’s suite. Pro and Studio include SketchUp LayOut, which we will also teach and use in this book (Chapter 12 and Chapter 13).You will require the following:

  • A SketchUp Pro or SketchUp Studio subscription
  • A Trimble ID SketchUp login and an internet connection to access 3D Warehouse

Images in the book

Our images might look different than what you see on your screen. This is simply based on your version of SketchUp, your computer operating system, and the extensions we have chosen to install on our machines. Most screenshots in this book are from a Windows computer using SketchUp 2024.

Using camera views for 2D space planning

You are already familiar with SketchUp’s interface, so we will bypass the overview of the modeling window. Let’s jump into the menu bar options to set up a view for two-dimensional (2D) space planning:

Figure 1.1: Menu bar in SketchUp 2024 (Windows)

Figure 1.1: Menu bar in SketchUp 2024 (Windows)

When space planning in 2D, it is best to model using the Camera setting Top view to ensure we are modeling on top of the ground plane.

In the menu bar, click Camera, then go down to Standard Views. A flyout will give you seven view options: Top, Bottom, Front, Back, Left, Right, and Iso. These views are based on the original drawing coordinates (x, y, z):

Figure 1.2: Standard Views flyout under Camera menu

Figure 1.2: Standard Views flyout under Camera menu

Click on Top to choose a top-down look at the ground plane.

SketchUp modelers using a Windows computer have access to a toolbar called Views, which has icons for each of the seven views, and it can save a bit of time by single-clicking the icon. Figure 1.3 shows this toolbar:

Figure 1.3: Views toolbar in Windows OS (from left to right) Iso, Top, Front, Right, Left, Back, and Bottom

Figure 1.3: Views toolbar in Windows OS (from left to right) Iso, Top, Front, Right, Left, Back, and Bottom

MacOS users will discover identical icons within the Tools menu, presented individually rather than as a lengthy toolbar.

Finding tools

Can’t remember where to find additional toolbars? A quick way to access toolbars is by right-clicking in the gray toolbar area (underneath the Menu bar), which produces a list of available toolbars. Find the toolbar you want to use and click once on its name for it to open.

A second way to access toolbars is in the menu bar. For Windows users, click View, choose Toolbars, check the box next to the toolbar(s) you want to use, then click Close. On macOS, click View | Tool Palettes | and select the tool palette you want to use.

You can also use the search function or command for any type of tool or command (available in 2022 and later versions) by clicking the Search icon (or the shortcut Shift + S), typing top view, and clicking on the correct selection.

Now, looking down at the ground plane, check the upper-left corner of your modeling window. It should read Top, which is one of those helpful SketchUp inferences to let us know how we are oriented in our model:

Figure 1.4: Top view, looking down on the ground plane (Windows)

Figure 1.4: Top view, looking down on the ground plane (Windows)

In this section, we set up our modeling window to draw two-dimensionally. Let’s go to the next section for a list of tools and commands to help us draft precision-based objects.

Modeling accurately using SketchUp’s tools and inferences

Creating accuracy in SketchUp requires the knowledge and use of the following tools and commands. You might already be familiar with some of these, but their importance will be outlined as we go along.

Measurements toolbar

Think of the Measurements toolbar or Measurements box as your side view mirrors while driving. When we drive, we should consistently monitor those mirrors to avoid accidents. The same goes for the Measurements toolbar.

The Measurements box is a major way to draft accurately in SketchUp. Many designers believe that creating precision drafting is impossible with SketchUp, but it is done flawlessly by correctly typing in dimensions.

Depending on the template you are using (we are using the Inches template for this book), there is a default unit of measurement. However, you are not locked into using the template’s units. Typing in additional information after the number value will change the unit of measurement for the command you are performing:

  • Inches: Type " after the number, then Enter or Return on the keyboard. Example: 6".
  • Feet: Type ' after the number, then Enter or Return on the keyboard. Example: 6'.
  • Millimeters: Type mm after the number, then Enter or Return on the keyboard. Example: 6mm.
  • Centimeters: Type cm after the number, then Enter or Return on the keyboard. Example: 6cm.
  • Meters: Type m after the number, then Enter or Return on the keyboard. Example: 6m.


As a beginner to SketchUp, you should have learned about the inference types. SketchUp comes equipped with little “helpers” to make sure you are getting the most out of each tool. Here is a list to remind you of your helpers:

  • ScreenTips: Yellow boxes of black text that pop up when you hover over anything in the model while in a command or tool (other than Select). The ScreenTip quickly tells you what your mouse is hovering over (whether it’s an endpoint, component, edge, etc.).
  • Cursor/Icons: Your cursor will look like the icon of the tool you are using. The icons themselves give a glimpse of what the tool does. For example, the Tape Measure tool looks like a tape measure.
  • Point inferences: Each point (endpoint, midpoint, face, grouped endpoint, grouped midpoint, etc.) has a different color and, sometimes, a different shape. These are helpful for snapping to precise areas.
  • Shape inferences: While using a shape tool (rectangle, circle, arc), we can see the shape at the tip of our cursor. It will change color based on which axis we are drawing. A ScreenTip will pop up when we have created a half circle with the arc tool, a golden section with the rectangle, or a perfect square (all four sides equal) with the rectangle.
  • Linear inferences: These are the most common types of inference because they include most other inference types: point, shape, axes colors, and ScreenTip. Locking in any axis will show the linear inference by referencing the axes colors: red for the x-axis, green for the y-axis, and blue for the z-axis. We will discuss this more later on.
  • If you are using SketchUp 2024 or newer, your file’s title will include an asterisk (*) to the right of the name, just like in other software programs, indicating that you need to save your work.
  • Dashboard: The dashboard at the bottom of the modeling window gives instructions on what to do with the tool you chose based on your operating system. For example, when using the Select tool on a Windows computer, it shows this information:
Figure 1.5: Dashboard with Select tool activated

Figure 1.5: Dashboard with Select tool activated

More information

For more information about inferences, head over to to refresh your memory.

Locking in the axes (another type of inference)

To be more efficient when modeling, tapping arrow keys on the keyboard will easily lock in a particular axis. This is much more efficient than holding down Shift to lock it in for many reasons, such as easily switching the axis when the wrong one was chosen and the ability to perform a command without Shift hindering you from doing so.

Figure 1.6: Keyboard arrow keys compared to the axes in SketchUp

Figure 1.6: Keyboard arrow keys compared to the axes in SketchUp

To lock in an axis, tap the corresponding arrow keys. When you do, you will notice the line turns from a regular line thickness to a bold one:

  • Right arrow key = red or x-axis (horizontal)
  • Left arrow key = green or y-axis (depth)
  • Up arrow key = blue or z-axis (vertical)
  • Down arrow key = magenta; draw a line perpendicular to another

Important note

For those with some form of color blindness, the colors of the axes can be changed under Window | Preferences | Accessibility on Windows, or SketchUp | Settings | Accessibility on macOS.

As beginning modelers, it was important to practice drafting along an axis to get comfortable drawing accurately in the interface. If you have not already, you can begin drafting off the axes. However, note that you will still draft using axes approximately 80–90% of the time and should always try to lock in an axis, whether a novice or pro.

The Flip tool

The Flip tool is mentioned at this point in the chapter because it relies on the axis colors to use, though some users only rely on the rectangular plane it creates for flipping. Whichever method you rely on for the Flip tool, here are the basics to using it.

The Flip tool is for flipping or mirroring an object along an axis (x/red, y/green, or z/blue).

Figure 1.7: Door with Flip tool activated and the Dashboard with instructions for the tool

Figure 1.7: Door with Flip tool activated and the Dashboard with instructions for the tool

As mentioned in the Locking in the axes section, anything that uses axis colors means you can use the arrow keys to toggle through x, y, and z. Once you activate the Flip tool, you see the three planes. Lock in the plane to the corresponding axis using the right arrow for red (x-axis), left arrow for green (y-axis), and up arrow for blue (z-axis).

The Flip tool is also used for mirroring an object while copying it.

You can find the Flip tool in Tools | Flip, or in toolbars such as Getting Started and Large Toolset. It does not have a default shortcut, but you can assign one to it.

You can flip any object, whether a group, component, or loose geometry.

While most find it easier to select the object to flip first, you can activate the Flip tool and then click on the object to flip.

Objects are flipped along the central point of the object, where the three planes intersect. If you want to change where the objects flip from, click and drag the plane (not in Copy mode) to change the point where the flip happens.

Objects are flipped based on where the axes lie. If you get into Edit mode of a rotated component, for example, the local axes (inside Edit mode) are likely different from the model axes (called global axes). In Figure 1.8, the door on the right was rotated 30 degrees. In Edit mode of the group, the local axes have changed to match the rotation:

Figure 1.8: Local axes in Edit mode of a rotated object

Figure 1.8: Local axes in Edit mode of a rotated object

If you prefer to flip along the global axes, tap Alt (Windows) or Command (, macOS) to toggle the axes between global and local.

Here’s how to flip or mirror an object:

  1. Select the object and activate the Flip tool (or vice versa).
  2. Click once on a plane to flip the object along the x-, y-, or z-axis, or tap the corresponding axis’ arrow key one time.
  3. That’s it! Your object will be flipped.

    Here’s how you can copy with the Flip tool:

  4. Select the object to copy.
  5. With the Flip tool active, tap Ctrl (Windows) or Opt (macOS) to start Copy mode. You will see the plus sign inference attached to the cursor, which means you are in copy mode.
  6. Click and drag a plane to the desired spot for copying.


You can snap the copy to a point or edge for precision. While you are getting used to the tool, some find it easier to copy the original to line up with the object they are mirroring and then use the Move tool to place the object.

  1. When you release your mouse button, SketchUp creates a mirrored copy of your selected geometry.

The Flip tool is a great addition to SketchUp! Those of you who enjoyed Flip Along (the previous mirroring tool) will eventually come to like Flip (it took us a bit before we finally relinquished our loyalty).

Undo and redo (your new best friends)

If you are familiar with the Undo command in other software, it is the same in SketchUp.

Typing Ctrl/) + Z will undo the last step you performed in SketchUp (though remember that the default undo cache holds no more than 100 undo actions).

To Redo a command after accidentally (or purposely) using Undo, use Ctrl/) + Y.

Remember, once you close out of a SketchUp model and re-open it later, you can no longer use undo or redo work prior to closing out of the model (though one workaround for this is using Version History, which will be discussed in Chapter 3).

SketchUp Modeling Tips from the Pros: Shortcuts

Tip 1: You should always have one hand resting on the keyboard and the other hand on your three-button mouse (or 3D mouse).

Tip 2: Use keyboard and mouse shortcuts to boost productivity!

Using a three-button mouse

Who doesn’t want to increase their productivity? You will save a lot of time using a three-button mouse to navigate the modeling window rather than clicking the icons or tapping the keyboard shortcuts. You save time because you do not need to exit out of a command to navigate around the model and then get back into the command. You can perform the command and navigate all at the same time!

Mouse navigation shortcuts

Learning how to effectively use the mouse navigation shortcuts can take a bit of time to feel comfortable with, but once you get the hang of it, you will understand why it is so important. Give yourself time to practice using these shortcuts over and over:

  • Orbit = scroll wheel: Orbit is how you move three-dimensionally within the model, circling around objects. Hold down the scroll wheel in short increments, moving your mouse in all directions. Every now and then, lift your finger and put it down again so you don’t run out of room.
  • Zoom = scroll wheel: Move your cursor to the object or area you want to view better. Then, move the scroll wheel up (unless you inverted your scroll wheel). To zoom away from the object, move the scroll wheel down.

    Cursor placement is vital to making this work properly! Your cursor should be on the object or area you are scrolling to or away from. If you scroll randomly in your modeling window, your zoom may take you to Timbuktu. Be purposeful with your cursor placement. Do the same when scrolling out so you do not become stuck.

SketchUp Modeling Tips from the Pros: Zoom In!

Zoom in for accuracy! Modeling further away from the object you are editing negates SketchUp’s precision. For example, zoom in on existing points before adding a line, or make sure you selected a single face (or multiple) before adding materials.

  • Pan = scroll wheel + Shift: Pan takes you up and down and side to side. Hold down the scroll wheel and the Shift key at the same time. Just as with orbit, hold down the scroll wheel in short increments while moving your mouse to go where you want, toggling between lifting your finger and holding it down again.

Note that you can also use scroll wheel + left-click, though some find this difficult depending on the preferred finger for the scroll wheel.

Other mouse tips

There is much more to the mouse than navigating through SketchUp. The mouse is another powerful tool within SketchUp, allowing users to find hidden tools and effectively select and deselect one or more objects at one time:

  • Right-clicking in SketchUp: Whether you are in the modeling window or on an object, this quickly leads to additional tools within the Context menu. Right-click often!
Figure 1.9: Context menu (accessed by using a right-click on a component)

Figure 1.9: Context menu (accessed by using a right-click on a component)

  • Ways to select objects with the mouse:
    • We always select an object with a left-click; however, there is an important tip for this: do not hold down the button. You will almost always release the mouse before moving to the next step. The mantra for this tip is click and release, click and release.
    • When working with 2D shapes, edges and faces that are loose geometry, double-click the face to pick up the connected edges and faces that make up that shape.
    • When selecting 3D forms that are not yet grouped, triple-click (a fast 1-2-3) any of the faces to choose all connected shapes and edges that create the form.
    • After selecting, you can add other objects to the selection by holding down the Ctrl or Opt keys and left-clicking the new selections.
    • Holding down the Shift key allows you to add or subtract objects from the selection.
    • Ways to use the crossing windows:
      • Left-to-right crossing window (solid line): Clicking to the left side of the entities and dragging right, which is called a window selection or bounding box, selects only those elements completely within the selection rectangle.
      • Right-to-left crossing window (dotted lines): Clicking from the right side and dragging to the left, which is called a crossing selection, selects any elements within the selection rectangle, including those that are only partially contained in the rectangle.
    • With one or more edges selected, right-click and choose Select, and there are options based on what you have selected.
Figure 1.10: Right-click Context menu for the Select flyout

Figure 1.10: Right-click Context menu for the Select flyout

  • To invert the scroll wheel, do the following:
    • On Mac, click the SketchUp menu | Preferences | Compatibility. Then, in the Mouse Wheel Style area, check Invert and click OK
    • On Windows, click the Window menu | Preferences | Compatibility. Then, in the Mouse Wheel Style area, check Invert and click Close

Using a three-button mouse is critical to your success with the software. SketchUp is intuitive and powerful, but it cannot read our minds. We must choose the correct command and move our mouse purposefully, creating a symbiotic relationship between ourselves and our computer.

3D mouse compatibility

If you prefer using a 3D mouse, also referred to as a space mouse or CAD mouse, rest assured that SketchUp Pro and Studio support most brands. Whether it’s a compact travel-size 3D mouse or the robust 3dconnexion SpaceMouse Pro, many SketchUp users find great satisfaction in utilizing their 3D mouse within the SketchUp environment.

Creating keyboard shortcuts

While the SketchUp icons are a helpful visualization of a tool, using shortcuts will (you guessed it) shave a lot of time off modeling. If you do not have a list of shortcuts, one of our favorites— with corresponding large-scale shortcut graphics—comes from Matt Donley of Master SketchUp (

You can also find a list of shortcuts in beginners’ SketchUp books, online at, and when looking through the menu bar. Figure 1.10 shows the Tools menu (on a Windows computer), where the shortcuts are listed to the right of the name. Some of the shortcuts are ones we created specific for our needs, so they won’t match yours:

Figure 1.11: Shortcut letters to the right of a tool’s name

Figure 1.11: Shortcut letters to the right of a tool’s name

Creating your own shortcuts is imperative to a good modeling workflow. There are a few stipulations to creating your own shortcuts, but almost anything native to SketchUp can have a shortcut (and many of the plugins can, too!). Here are some basic rules for creating them. If you break one of these rules, you will see a popup telling you to choose another one:

  • You can use modifier keys in the command, such as Shift or Option (Opt).
  • The shortcut cannot start with a number due to conflicting with the Measurements box.
  • You cannot use shortcuts that are specific to your computer’s operating system. For example, Ctrl + P is not allowed on a Windows computer because that is the system’s shortcut for printing.
  • If there is a SketchUp default shortcut that you do not use and want to assign to another, you can reassign the shortcut. For example, the default shortcut G creates a component of the selected objects, but the authors of this book carefully pick and choose what should be made a component, so we do not need a shortcut for it. However, every object in our model should be grouped, so we reassigned G to Make Group.

Another command we use often is Paste in Place, which does not have a default shortcut.

What is Paste in Place? Sometimes, we need to move or copy an object from inside a group to outside a group or vice versa. This is done by cutting it—Ctrl/ + X—or copying with Ctrl/ + C, then pasting it in the exact same place outside the grouping using Paste in Place. It is also a great way to paste to the exact location in an identical SketchUp file.

To manually use Paste in Place after copying or cutting an object, use the Edit menu and arrow down to Paste in Place. To create a shortcut for the Paste in Place command instead, follow these steps:

  1. In the menu bar, select Window | Preferences (Windows) or SketchUp | Settings (macOS).
  2. A dialog box called SketchUp Preferences appears. In the sidebar (on the left), select Shortcuts.
  3. In the Filter box, start typing the name of the command you want to add a shortcut to. In this instance, type paste. Under Function, the menu bar where the tool or command can be found is listed first:
Figure 1.12: Adding a shortcut for Paste in Place (Windows)

Figure 1.12: Adding a shortcut for Paste in Place (Windows)

  1. Highlight the correct field (Edit/Paste in Place) to add a shortcut.
  2. For Windows users, click the box underneath Add Shortcut. Then, do the following:
    • For this shortcut, we are using a modifier key (Shift) plus the letter P. So, hold down the Shift key to make it auto-populate to the Add Shortcut field, then tap P.
    • Click the + sign next to the field. The shortcut will now show up in the Assigned box.
    • Click OK if you are done, or continue adding shortcuts.
  3. For macOS users, click the text box in the lower-left of the Shortcuts pane and type the keyboard shortcut that you want to assign to the command:
    • Hold down the Shift key to make it auto-populate to the Add Shortcut field, then tap P.
    • Your assigned shortcut then appears in the Key column. Do not hit Enter, or the shortcut will be deleted.
    • You can continue adding shortcuts, or close out of the dialog box.
  4. If you try to override a shortcut already in the system, a popup like this one will be displayed. You can select Yes to reassign the shortcut, or No to choose another command:
Figure 1.13: Shortcut warning dialog box

Figure 1.13: Shortcut warning dialog box

Other software-to-software shared shortcuts will also work in SketchUp, and are already enabled, some of which we already mentioned:

  • Copy = Ctrl/ + C = Copy
  • Paste = Ctrl/ + V
  • Cut= Ctrl/ + X
  • Select All = Ctrl/ + A (this selects everything in the model or, when in edit mode of a group or component, it selects everything inside that grouping)
  • Deselect All = Ctrl/ + T or click a blank area in the modeling window (this is not a software-to-software shortcut, but one that should be mentioned)

Note regarding Copy and Paste

Do not make a habit of using the shortcuts for Copy and Paste in your model when copying objects. Use the Move + Copy commands (copy is activated with a modifier key after activating Move (M) so you copy along the axis).

Guide lines and guide points

The Tape Measure tool not only measures objects, but its default purpose is to create guides for precision modeling. Both types of guides do not interfere with regular geometry and can be easily deleted or hidden using the Edit or View menus.

Here are tips for creating guides:

  • To create guide lines (dashed lines that stretch on infinitely), click an edge, face, or midpoint of an object, move your mouse in the direction of the measurement, and type in an increment. Note that you can lock in the tape measure movements (axes) using the arrow keys.
  • If a guide is not created, the Tape Measure tool might be in measure mode. You will know by looking at your cursor. When using the Tape Measure tool, if your cursor looks like a tape measure without a plus sign, it is only measuring. In the command, tap the modifier key (Ctrl on Windows or Opt on macOS) once, and a red plus sign will show above the Tape Measure tool. Try creating a guide line again.
  • To create a guide point, a dotted line with a black point at its end, click an endpoint, and move your mouse towards another endpoint, typing in the desired increment.
    • The beauty of a guide point versus a guide line is that objects can easily snap to the point. Whether you are moving an object to the point or creating a line or shape that begins or ends at that point, guide points are much easier to use as references than lines or guide lines.
    • If a guide point is not created, follow the steps for the guide line to ensure you are not in measure mode. Otherwise, make sure you are clicking an endpoint to create the guide point. It will not work if you first click a midpoint or edge.

Also, remember that the Protractor tool creates guide lines on a specific angle, which is great for roof pitch and other angled guides.

In this section, we reviewed multiple ways to model efficiently, including using mouse and keyboard shortcuts, inferences, and guides. In the next section, we will look at how to create a 2D sofa for a reusable space plan item with step-by-step instructions.

Creating 2D space plan items

A large part of the programming phase in interior design includes space planning, which influences how people interact, communicate, move, work, play, and feel (mentally). It also ensures that a room can be used to its maximum potential when incorporating Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment (FFE).

Creating space plan items in the 3D SketchUp world makes it easier to visualize how the items will interact while considering the volume of the space. Space planning in 2D CAD programs is fine but does not allow for a quick 3D view to determine spatial equity. Additionally, going between CAD and SketchUp can ultimately be a waste of time if most of the work will be done in SketchUp anyway.

For this example, we will create a 90” L x 33” D sofa to use for space planning; this is the kind of item that can be used over and over again:

Figure 1.14: Completed sofa

Figure 1.14: Completed sofa

To create any 2D Space Planning Objects in SketchUp, follow these steps:

  1. Set the Camera view to Top view.
  2. Zoom in to the origin point of the model, where all three axes meet.

SketchUp basics reminder

We should always begin modeling close to the origin point and then outward from that point to avoid future issues, such as clipping planes.

  1. We will first create the seat or base of the sofa, which is 78" L x 29" D:
    1. Activate your Rectangle tool by either clicking on the icon or tapping the shortcut R on your keyboard. Your cursor will change to a pencil with a little rectangle attached (another one of those awesome SketchUp inferences!).
    2. Lock in the blue/z-axis by tapping the up arrow key.
    3. Click once on the origin point and lift up your finger (do not hold down the mouse button).
    4. Move your mouse up to the right, diagonally from where you started.
    5. Now, remember how you should always keep an eye on your Measurements box? The text in the box has now changed to read Dimensions. This means it wants us to type in the dimensions of the rectangle. You do not need to click inside the Measurements box; in fact, you cannot. Instead, type 78,29 and hit Enter/Return. In top view, the first number is the red/x-axis, and the second is the green/y-axis.
Figure 1.15: Create a Rectangle in Top view

Figure 1.15: Create a Rectangle in Top view

Note regarding measurements

This exercise uses the inches template/units. Because we used a template that is in inches, we do not need to type the inch marks (") after each number set. If you are not using an inches template, you must type " after each number set.

  1. End your command by hitting the spacebar or clicking the Select tool icon.
  1. Next, immediately make the rectangle a group by double-clicking on the face (to pick up the face and the edges that created it), right-clicking on the shape, and choosing Make Group.

Important note regarding groups

Every object in your model should be grouped so that the geometry does not stick together. You can make an object a group before you started creating it, by right-clicking a blank area in your model and selecting Make Group, or immediately after you create the object. Make one of these options a habitual part of your workflow.

  1. We will now create the arms for the sofa, which are 6" W x 27" D:
    1. Activate the Rectangle tool, click the top-right endpoint of the rectangle group we made in the last step, release your mouse, and move it down the right. Type 6,27 and hit Enter/Return on your keyboard.
Figure 1.16: Create the first sofa arm

Figure 1.16: Create the first sofa arm

  1. Make that arm a group (or a component because it is a repeated object), then copy it over to the opposite side of the sofa, endpoint to endpoint:
Figure 1.17: Copy the sofa arm to the opposite side

Figure 1.17: Copy the sofa arm to the opposite side

  1. Now let’s create the back of the sofa, which is 90" L x 4" D:
    1. This time, let’s change it up by creating a group first. Right-click in the blank modeling window and choose Make Group. By doing this step first when drawing a shape, we will already be creating a group within edit mode, which is one less step to remember:
Figure 1.18: Right-click in the modeling window and choose Make Group

Figure 1.18: Right-click in the modeling window and choose Make Group

  1. Activate the Rectangle tool and lock in the blue/z-axis (using the up arrow key). Then, click an Endpoint on the sofa, move the mouse to the opposite corner, type 90,4, and tap Enter:
Figure 1.19: While already in Edit mode of a group, create the sofa back

Figure 1.19: While already in Edit mode of a group, create the sofa back

  1. Now, check the dimensions by using the Tape Measure tool. To accomplish this, use the following steps:
    1. Activate the tool by clicking the Tape Measure icon or using shortcut T.
    2. Find an endpoint inference by hovering around the square until you see an inference point and/or the yellow ScreenTip that says Endpoint; then, click that point. (As mentioned in the Using a three-button mouse section, zoom in! That way your measurements will be accurate.)
    3. Hover over the opposite endpoint and look at your Measurements box, or the ScreenTip, for the correct length.
  2. From here, you can add lines for cushions or other details or leave it as-is.
  3. When you are done, select all the sofa pieces (groups and geometry) and make them one overall group:
Figure 1.20: The completed and grouped sofa

Figure 1.20: The completed and grouped sofa

  1. Now, we will add 3D text to the shape so you can easily distinguish the variety of space plan items you will create in the model:
    1. In the Tools menu or Large Tool Set, choose 3D Text.
    2. There are many options inside the Place 3D Text dialog box. Here, you can choose the font, size, color, and extrusion:
Figure 1.21: 3D Text dialog box

Figure 1.21: 3D Text dialog box

  1. Once you have filled out the options, click Place and move the text on top of your 2D shape.
  1. You can use the Scale tool (shortcut S) to quickly size up or down the 3D text after placing it.
  2. Plus, you can get into Edit mode to add color to the text.
Figure 1.22: 3D Text and 2D shapes

Figure 1.22: 3D Text and 2D shapes

We cover 3D Text a bit more in Chapter 6.

In 3D Warehouse, we uploaded a SketchUp file called Space Plan Items, which you can download ( to use as a reference for creating your own shapes (or use them for your design needs).

Figure 1.23: Becca’s 2D Space Plan Items model in 3D Warehouse

Figure 1.23: Becca’s 2D Space Plan Items model in 3D Warehouse

You are now equipped with the knowledge to create 2D space planning shapes. The method outlined in this section is versatile and can be utilized for various design elements such as 2 x 4s, doors, windows, and columns.

In the final section of this chapter, we will discuss situations in which you should use components instead of groups and review the functionality of components.

Mastering components for repeated elements

To level up using components, this section begins by reviewing what you should already know and addressing the commonly asked questions when differentiating a group from a component. From there, more advanced component knowledge will be discussed that references Building Information Modeling (BIM), data extraction, and object classification.

Groups in SketchUp are vital to modeling success. Groups are when all geometry of an object—whether shapes, lines/edges, or forms—are fused together so they cannot be modified accidentally or mess up another object. We must reiterate what was stated earlier in this chapter because of its importance: every single item in your model must be grouped. The most visible reason for this is so objects do not stick to other objects. The technical reasons include loose geometry slows down the modeling file, creating lags, and this can create glitches.

Now, what is a component? A component is a group of geometries that will be reused more than once in a model. Components possess additional capabilities that groups do not, allowing modelers to edit linked objects (i.e., copied components) simultaneously, whether adding materials, changing the scale, adding or removing geometry, and more. Components require us to think ahead when modeling and efficiently plan when objects will be reused. A component does not appear to be more than a group until it has been copied.

When learning components, the most often-asked question is this: are components groups? The answer is yes; components are groups! After that answer, the second question is this: Do you need to make an object into a group before making it a component? Technically speaking, no, because making loose geometry a component automatically forms a group. That said, sometimes software is glitchy. Every now and then, we create a component of nongrouped objects, but for whatever reason, SketchUp does not group the objects. To be extra cautious, make it a habit to group an object before making it a component. Doing this ensures all geometry is fused together, regardless of glitches.

Let’s look at some additional questions that arise when learning components:

  • Can a group become a component?

    Yes. A quick way to do this is to right-click on the group (not in edit mode) and choose Make Component.

  • I created a component, but it is acting like a group. Why?

    After creating the component, you will not see its functionality until it is copied and then edited.

  • Can I just make everything a component so I don’t have to worry about what to make a group or what to make a component?

    That is entirely up to your workflow. Some prefer making all objects components, while others use them sparingly.

  • Can a component become just a group?

    No, not without exploding the entities (which we should avoid).

    A component can be made unique, by right-clicking on a component and selecting Make Unique so it is no longer tied to other components. However, it is still a component. To make it a group - which is something we only suggest doing once you have a thorough understanding of how components work - you can explode the component and regroup it.

    We can also make multiple objects unique together by selecting them all at one time and choosing Make Unique. This is helpful when you want to break the link between a series of components, but a few items should still link to each other.

  • Why do we not recommend exploding a component?

    We are not fans of exploding any object unless it is necessary because the geometry becomes separated, leading to issues such as glitches, bug splats (crashes), slowing down the model, and more. Another major problem that occurs has to do with tags. When a tagged object is exploded, the entities inside the grouping will take on the tag name. That is why we love the Paste in Place function mentioned in the Creating keyboard shortcuts section of this chapter, because if any geometry needs to be moved from one group or component to another while remaining in the same location, Paste in Place saves us from exploding.

  • I created a component of copied objects, but when I edit one, nothing happens to the rest of the copies. Why not?

    This answer comes in the form of a question. Did you create the component after making the copies? 99% of the time, their answer is yes. A component must be created before copying the object, which is why we should plan ahead when modeling. In instances like this, all but one of the groups should be deleted; the remaining group becomes a component, and then the component should be copied (again).

  • Do I need to name components? What about groups?

    To answer the first question, yes, you should name components. We name components to find and edit them easily, and for data extraction (discussed later in this section). Naming components should happen when you generate them (when the dialog box for creating them appears). Always name components what they are, though you may have to be specific if your model has more than one type.

    For example, we typically have more than one window size in a building. If you are creating a 38" x 50" casement window component, name it Window-5080 or name it by window type CSMT-5080. Another window size, 28" x 40", is created as a component named Window-2840 or DH-2840 (for double-hung).

    To answer the second question, no, you do not need to name groups.

    Naming groups takes extra legwork, especially when everything in your model should be grouped. It is very rare that professional modelers will name every group due to the time it takes. Naming groups must happen either in the Outliner toolbar (right-click and choose Rename) or in the Entity Info toolbar (type the name in the Instance box).

    Note that in the Outliner toolbar, we can change the name of one instance of a single component’s entity, but it will not change all components to that name.

  • How do I know if a grouped object is a group or a component?

    One of three ways, as follows:

    • Select the object and look at the Entity Info toolbar. The object type, whether Component, Group, Edges, or Faces, will be written at the top:
Figure 1.24: A selected component and its properties shown in the Entity Info toolbar

Figure 1.24: A selected component and its properties shown in the Entity Info toolbar

  • Right-click on the object and see if you have the option to Edit Group or Edit Component. If Edit Group is shown, the object is a group, and if Edit Component is shown, the object is a component (Figure 1.25).
  • In the Outliner toolbar, the name of the object you selected is highlighted (Figure 1.25). Alternatively, clicking on a line item in Outliner will show its location in the model with a selection box. An object is recognized as a component in Outliner by the presence of a specific graphic to its left, which consists of four small black boxes forming one square. Objects in the Outliner that are groups have only one solid black box to their left.
Figure 1.25: Edit component option when right-clicking on a component (left) and component shown in Outliner (right)

Figure 1.25: Edit component option when right-clicking on a component (left) and component shown in Outliner (right)

An additional (and awesome) capability of components emerges when you aim to select all instances of a component, meaning you want to simultaneously select every linked component. Right-click on the component, arrow down to Select, and click All Instances.

Figure 1.26: Right-click | Select | All Instances

Figure 1.26: Right-click | Select | All Instances

Hopefully, the review of groups and components in this section has been helpful. Becca hears these questions each semester when beginner and intermediate students start to modify objects, and she wants to ensure you fully understand the differences (and similarities) between the two.

Building information modeling and other data extraction

One of the goals of this book is to dispel the outdated perception of SketchUp. We’ve heard criticisms from previous users suggesting that SketchUp lacks precision for 2D plan views, space planning, or BIM functions, and that its capabilities are outdated. However, most of this chapter has already addressed and debunked those beliefs (hooray!), and this final section delves into the remaining two aspects.

Data extraction

When discussing components, we mentioned selecting an object and checking Entity Info to determine whether an object is a group or component. As you may have noticed in Figure 1.24, Entity Info also displayed the number of components in the model with the same name and other attributes, which is 11. SketchUp consistently compiles various lists of data, including groups, components, edges, and more. This feature proves incredibly useful for the design team, comprising architects, interior designers, estimators, electricians, and plumbers, aiding them in organizing and pricing items when ordering.

SketchUp created a report template for all users, called a Component Qualities Report, which is helpful for determining the units of each set of components in a model. These are the steps to run that report:

  1. To see a list of generated data, click on the File menu and arrow down to Generate Report:
Figure 1.27: Where to find Generate Report

Figure 1.27: Where to find Generate Report

  1. In the lower-right corner, click Run.
Figure 1.28: Click Run to see report data

Figure 1.28: Click Run to see report data

A tallied list of groups and components within the model is generated. Based on the information in this report, naming the groups in this model would be beneficial:

Figure 1.29: Report tallying all groups and components in the model

Figure 1.29: Report tallying all groups and components in the model

  1. You can download a .csv (CSV) file to sort the data and produce a report (you do not have a choice on the type of download it creates; it only creates a CSV). To produce the file, click Download in the lower-right corner.
  2. Open the CSV file, and it will look like this:
Figure 1.30: The downloaded report creates a .CSV file

Figure 1.30: The downloaded report creates a .CSV file

Afterwards, you can format the CSV file to suit any Excel functions and utilize the data for purchasing.

More information

To learn more about generating and customizing report data, check the section called Set up a template to customize report data.

Classifying BIM objects with IFC

If you have not heard about object classification in SketchUp, it is a hidden gem that is native to SketchUp (part of it was covered in the data extraction report we just made).

When working in SketchUp’s Architectural Template, classifying objects is easy because there are already IFC imports available (specifically IFC2x3 and IFC4).

Now, what is IFC? It is the international foundation class (IFC). Using objects in SketchUp that are classified with the IFC file structure are, in fact, building information modeling (BIM) objects. However, unlike other BIM file formats, IFC files are platform-neutral and can be read and edited by any BIM software.

These steps take you through setting up objects for classification:

  1. In SketchUp, using the IFC classification first takes place in the Window menu; then, choose Model Info. In the left sidebar, choose Classifications.
  2. You must import IFC systems to Classifications by first clicking Import:
Figure 1.31: Classifications is found in the Model Info toolbar

Figure 1.31: Classifications is found in the Model Info toolbar

  1. Choose the classifications you want to load into SketchUp and click Open:
Figure 1.32: Loading Classifications from SketchUp program files (Windows)

Figure 1.32: Loading Classifications from SketchUp program files (Windows)

You can select more than one classification to import at a time.

Figure 1.33: After loading the classifications that come with the Architectural Template

Figure 1.33: After loading the classifications that come with the Architectural Template

  1. Once imported, close out of the Model Info toolbar by clicking the X in the corner.
  2. Now open either the Classifier or Entity Info toolbar (see Figure 1.34).
  3. In the modeling window, select the component to classify.
  4. Open the drop-down menu in the Classifier toolbar or the Type box of the Entity Info Advanced Attributes area:

Figure 1.34: Classifier toolbar (top) and Entity Info- Advanced Attributes (bottom)

Figure 1.34: Classifier toolbar (top) and Entity Info- Advanced Attributes (bottom)

  1. Click the arrow next to the classification system, such as IFC 2x3, and select an object type. Alternatively, you can type the name of the object in the Filter box.

Classifying groups and components

You can only classify objects that are either a group or a component. When dealing with a grouped object, you need to utilize the Classifier toolbar; groups do not offer the Advanced Attributes option within Entity Info.

Choosing one component that is linked to multiple objects will result in all instances being classified at the same time.

More information

There is more to this tool and other ways to use classification. Read more about classifying objects (and generating data reports), including the ability to uniquely classify one component, at

Using extensions for BIM modeling

We will discuss Extension Warehouse and plugins in Chapter 6, but because we are on the subject of BIM, we will briefly introduce it here.

SketchUp is an incredible tool for the predesign, programming, and schematic design phases. There are limitations to SketchUp, but these are rectified with the use of plugins (also called extensions or ruby scripts due to their file type .RBZ or .rbz).

Performing a search in Extension Warehouse by typing bim (it is not case-sensitive) will result in many plugins that are specific to BIM functions.

Figure 1.35: BIM search in Extension Warehouse

Figure 1.35: BIM search in Extension Warehouse

We also suggest an internet search for the best BIM extensions for SketchUp. Because some extensions do not include the word BIM, an internet search will offer additional information on which plugins are out there, and include their pros and cons.

Here are links to a few SketchUp BIM extension sites, most of which are also found in the Extension Warehouse.

Many third-party sites allow for downloading plugins, which the authors of this book have done often. If you are concerned about downloading viruses, a trustworthy source for obtaining plugins that are not available in Extension Warehouse is

This briefly introduces data extraction and BIM functions within SketchUp. Be sure to read more about these functionalities at SketchUp’s website and investigate extensions that streamline tasks (we cannot wait for Chapter 6 when we show you how to use extensions!).

PreDesign with SketchUp

The mention of predesign at the start of this section prompted us to highlight another remarkable SketchUp feature before concluding this chapter. The SketchUp PreDesign Tool is included with a SketchUp Pro or Studio subscription and offers early-stage design analysis tools. It helps architects and designers explore environmental factors such as sunlight, shading, and energy efficiency, allowing them to make informed decisions during the initial phases of design.

PreDesign is located under File, and for further details, you can explore it in the SketchUp Help Center through this link:


In this chapter, we reviewed the basics of SketchUp you should already know but expanded on their importance in the worlds of architecture and design. Utilizing timesaving techniques, such as keyboard and mouse shortcuts, making groups of all objects, paying attention to inferences, and using the correct camera views, move you from a beginner to an intermediate SketchUp modeler. We introduced more advanced techniques using data extraction for BIM and delved into the ins and outs of components.

In the next chapter, we will wrap up our review of the basics of SketchUp and begin establishing a tried-and-true workflow for SketchUp: Becca’s Hierarchy of Modeling. We will detail our step-by-step approach to beginning a project and how to set the model up for any user to collaborate.

Left arrow icon Right arrow icon

Key benefits

  • Expand your SketchUp toolbox and create a seamless 3D modeling workflow specific to interior designers and architects
  • Learn how extensions can enhance the power of SketchUp and boost your productivity
  • Elevate your design presentations with SketchUp LayOut and create photorealistic renders
  • Purchase of the print or Kindle book includes a free PDF eBook


Design professionals often find it hard to help their clients visualize their unique concepts and visions. Luckily, SketchUp bridges this communication gap with a powerful set of tools for visualizing and presenting your design ideas. This book teaches the approach perfected by two successful interior designers who have mastered SketchUp Pro/Studio to generate a workflow that produces fascinating designs and enables you to communicate them through vivid illustrations. Starting with a review of the basics of creating 3D models, this book introduces Becca’s Hierarchy of Modeling—a ten-step process that establishes a rhythmic pattern in your workflow. As you progress, you’ll build on your SketchUp Pro knowledge by constructing architectural elements of a commercial building and furnishing a residential room with your own furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FFE) from scratch. From infusing photorealism into models to crafting appealing client presentations using SketchUp LayOut, this book has you covered. Each chapter provides step-by-step explanations of essential concepts and practical examples to reinforce learning. By the end of this book, you’ll have an advanced understanding of SketchUp Pro’s capabilities, ensuring you enjoy working on conceptual or full design projects from start to finish and showing off your design prowess.

What you will learn

Model accurately with Rebecca's hierarchy of modeling Experiment with colors, materials, and custom textures to enhance design details Explore 3D Warehouse for FFE and build furniture and architectural features using design tools from the Extension Warehouse Model a floor plan from hand drawings, CD sets, AutoCAD files, or Revit files Craft stunning client presentations using SketchUp LayOut Achieve photorealistic rendering using extensions or plugins such as SU Podium

Product Details

Country selected

Publication date : Jun 14, 2024
Length 598 pages
Edition : 1st Edition
Language : English
ISBN-13 : 9781837631872
Category :
Languages :
Concepts :
Tools :

What do you get with eBook?

Product feature icon Instant access to your Digital eBook purchase
Product feature icon Download this book in EPUB and PDF formats
Product feature icon Access this title in our online reader with advanced features
Product feature icon DRM FREE - Read whenever, wherever and however you want

Product Details

Publication date : Jun 14, 2024
Length 598 pages
Edition : 1st Edition
Language : English
ISBN-13 : 9781837631872
Category :
Languages :
Concepts :
Tools :

Table of Contents

23 Chapters
Preface Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
1. Part 1: Applying the Basics to Interior Design Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
2. Chapter 1: Using Essential Tools and Shortcuts for Space Planning Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
3. Chapter 2: Becca’s Hierarchy of Modeling and the Designer’s Modeling Approach Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
4. Chapter 3: Extruding along Curves and Other Timesavers Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
5. Part 2: Working with Floor Plans Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
6. Chapter 4: Importing and Exporting a Drawing Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
7. Chapter 5: Creating the As-Built Floor Plan Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
8. Chapter 6: Building Exterior Elements and Using the Extension Warehouse Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
9. Part 3: Adding Designer Details to a SketchUp Model Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
10. Chapter 7: Adding Interior Elements and 3D Warehouse Furnishings Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
11. Chapter 8: Modeling Furniture – From the Basics to Intricacy Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
12. Chapter 9: Applying and Customizing Colors and Materials Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
13. Chapter 10: Enhancing a Model with Details for Final Presentation Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
14. Part 4: Presenting SketchUp Designs Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
15. Chapter 11: Exporting Images and Animations Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
16. Chapter 12: SketchUp LayOut Part I – The Interface Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
17. Chapter 13: SketchUp LayOut Part II – Paper Space Content Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
18. Chapter 14: Photorealistic Rendering with SU Podium Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
19. Part 5: Bonus Tips for Quicker Modeling Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
20. Chapter 15: Tips and Tricks to Up Your SketchUp Game Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
21. Index Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
22. Other Books You May Enjoy Chevron down icon Chevron up icon

Customer reviews

Top Reviews
Rating distribution
Empty star icon Empty star icon Empty star icon Empty star icon Empty star icon 0
(0 Ratings)
5 star 0%
4 star 0%
3 star 0%
2 star 0%
1 star 0%
Top Reviews
No reviews found
Get free access to Packt library with over 7500+ books and video courses for 7 days!
Start Free Trial


How do I buy and download an eBook? Chevron down icon Chevron up icon

Where there is an eBook version of a title available, you can buy it from the book details for that title. Add either the standalone eBook or the eBook and print book bundle to your shopping cart. Your eBook will show in your cart as a product on its own. After completing checkout and payment in the normal way, you will receive your receipt on the screen containing a link to a personalised PDF download file. This link will remain active for 30 days. You can download backup copies of the file by logging in to your account at any time.

If you already have Adobe reader installed, then clicking on the link will download and open the PDF file directly. If you don't, then save the PDF file on your machine and download the Reader to view it.

Please Note: Packt eBooks are non-returnable and non-refundable.

Packt eBook and Licensing When you buy an eBook from Packt Publishing, completing your purchase means you accept the terms of our licence agreement. Please read the full text of the agreement. In it we have tried to balance the need for the ebook to be usable for you the reader with our needs to protect the rights of us as Publishers and of our authors. In summary, the agreement says:

  • You may make copies of your eBook for your own use onto any machine
  • You may not pass copies of the eBook on to anyone else
How can I make a purchase on your website? Chevron down icon Chevron up icon

If you want to purchase a video course, eBook or Bundle (Print+eBook) please follow below steps:

  1. Register on our website using your email address and the password.
  2. Search for the title by name or ISBN using the search option.
  3. Select the title you want to purchase.
  4. Choose the format you wish to purchase the title in; if you order the Print Book, you get a free eBook copy of the same title. 
  5. Proceed with the checkout process (payment to be made using Credit Card, Debit Cart, or PayPal)
Where can I access support around an eBook? Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
  • If you experience a problem with using or installing Adobe Reader, the contact Adobe directly.
  • To view the errata for the book, see and view the pages for the title you have.
  • To view your account details or to download a new copy of the book go to
  • To contact us directly if a problem is not resolved, use
What eBook formats do Packt support? Chevron down icon Chevron up icon

Our eBooks are currently available in a variety of formats such as PDF and ePubs. In the future, this may well change with trends and development in technology, but please note that our PDFs are not Adobe eBook Reader format, which has greater restrictions on security.

You will need to use Adobe Reader v9 or later in order to read Packt's PDF eBooks.

What are the benefits of eBooks? Chevron down icon Chevron up icon
  • You can get the information you need immediately
  • You can easily take them with you on a laptop
  • You can download them an unlimited number of times
  • You can print them out
  • They are copy-paste enabled
  • They are searchable
  • There is no password protection
  • They are lower price than print
  • They save resources and space
What is an eBook? Chevron down icon Chevron up icon

Packt eBooks are a complete electronic version of the print edition, available in PDF and ePub formats. Every piece of content down to the page numbering is the same. Because we save the costs of printing and shipping the book to you, we are able to offer eBooks at a lower cost than print editions.

When you have purchased an eBook, simply login to your account and click on the link in Your Download Area. We recommend you saving the file to your hard drive before opening it.

For optimal viewing of our eBooks, we recommend you download and install the free Adobe Reader version 9.