How Do I Start Using SketchUp?

If you’re looking to dive into the world of 3D modeling, SketchUp is a fantastic place to start. Whether you’re an architect, interior designer, or just someone with a keen interest in creating 3D models, SketchUp offers a user-friendly platform that allows you to bring your ideas to life.

Getting Started

Before you begin using SketchUp, make sure you have the software installed on your computer. You can download SketchUp for free from their official website. Once you have it installed, follow these steps to get started:

Create a New Project

When you open SketchUp, you’ll be greeted with a blank canvas. To create a new project, go to the “File” menu and select “New” or use the shortcut Ctrl+N (Command+N for Mac users). This will create a new untitled project for you to work on.

Navigation Tools

Before we start creating objects in SketchUp, let’s familiarize ourselves with the navigation tools. These tools will help you move around and navigate your 3D workspace efficiently. Here are some essential navigation tools:

  • Pan Tool: This tool allows you to click and drag on the canvas to move around.
  • Orbit Tool: Use this tool to rotate your view around the 3D space.
  • Zoom Tool: Zoom in and out of your model using this tool.

Create Basic Shapes

Now that we know how to navigate our workspace let’s start creating some basic shapes:

The Rectangle Tool

The rectangle tool is one of the most commonly used tools in SketchUp. To create a rectangle, select the “Rectangle” tool from the toolbar or use the shortcut R. Click once to set the starting point and drag to define the size of your rectangle. Release the mouse button to complete the shape.

The Push/Pull Tool

Once you have a shape, you can use the push/pull tool to give it depth. Select the “Push/Pull” tool from the toolbar or use the shortcut P. Click on a face of your shape and drag it up or down to give it depth.

Organizing Your Model

As your model becomes more complex, it’s important to keep it organized. SketchUp offers several tools to help you manage your model effectively:

Groups and Components

Using groups and components allows you to isolate different parts of your model, making it easier to edit and manipulate individual elements. To create a group, select the objects you want to group and right-click. Choose “Make Group” from the context menu.


Layers are another useful feature in SketchUp for organizing your model. You can assign different objects or groups to separate layers, making them visible or invisible as needed. To create a new layer, go to “Window” > “Layers” and click on the “+” icon.

Final Thoughts

SketchUp is a powerful 3D modeling software that offers endless possibilities for creativity. By following these basic steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating impressive 3D models in no time.