I’ve been blessed with work and so I’ve been busy lately. But I wanted to find time to share a few practical tips to improve your SketchUp workflow.
- Customize your Toolbars
- Use Outliner
- Use Extensions
The first thing I do after opening a new SketchUp session on a new computer is to configure the toolbars. The default toolbars with which SketchUp opens has long been a lament of mine. Under the View menu you will find that you can customize the toolbars that start up with SU. My first toolbar suggestion is called the Large Tool Set. Thereafter I like to show the Standard Views, and Styles toolbars. I also will display the Model Info icon, Undo/Redo icons, and if you make sections often, the Section Tools are very useful to display. And finally, I like to check the option to use Small Size icons.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that keyboard shortcuts are just as important as toolbars. You can set your own keyboard shortcuts in SketchUp and I highly recommend doing so, or at least using the default shortcuts. If you never have to use SU on other peoples computers, feel free to customize your shortcuts to your hearts content.
"When your most used tools are there at your fingertips, you’ll work more efficiently."
The next tip for a more efficient workflow in SU is to use Outliner. Hidden under the Window menu, you’ll find this gem that few even know exist, and few ever use. It is a powerful dialog that not only visually outlines the structure of your file, but lets you control aspects of your model. Groups and Components can be re-ordered, re-named, opened and closed, hidden and unhidden and more- right from the Outliner. Get to know it and you’ll find your workflow improve, particularly when dealing with complex projects.
Finally on this list- for there are many more tips for another time- start using Extensions. More often referred to as plugins or rubies (being they are written using Ruby script), extensions are now easier to obtain and load than ever before thanks to Extension Warehouse. I actually use the SketchUcation Plugin Store/Manager and recommend it to everyone. Perhaps ironically the SketchUcation Plugin is an extension itself, but it cannot be obtained through the Extension Warehouse (go to SketchUcation.com). My point is, there are plugins that greatly extend the capabilities of SketchUp. Some extensions merely make convenient work of things that SU already can do, and some give SU powers it wouldn’t normally have. There are hundreds of plugins that will make your particular workflow faster and easier- I can almost guarantee it.
Look for more of my SU tips soon.