How Do You Offset in SketchUp?

How Do You Offset in SketchUp?

SketchUp is a powerful 3D modeling software that allows you to create and modify various objects in a virtual environment. One of the key features of SketchUp is the ability to offset edges, which can be extremely useful when creating complex shapes or adjusting existing ones.

Understanding the Offset Tool

The Offset tool in SketchUp allows you to create parallel lines or edges at a specified distance from an existing line or edge. It is particularly handy when you want to add thickness to a surface, create insets, or make adjustments to the shape of an object.

Step 1: Selecting the Offset Tool

To get started with offsetting in SketchUp, first select the Offset tool from the toolbar. It looks like two parallel lines with an arrow pointing in between.

Step 2: Click on the Edge

Once you have activated the Offset tool, click on the edge you want to offset. This will be your reference edge from which all offsets will be created.

Step 3: Enter an Offset Distance

After clicking on the reference edge, a measurement box will appear. Here, you can enter the desired distance for your offset. You can either type in a specific value or use your mouse to adjust it visually.

Tips for Using the Offset Tool Effectively

  • Keyboard Shortcuts: To expedite your workflow, learn some useful keyboard shortcuts for using the Offset tool. Pressing ‘Ctrl’ (or ‘Cmd’ on Mac) while performing an offset will create multiple offsets at once.
  • Avoid Self-Intersecting Geometry: When offsetting, be mindful of creating self-intersecting geometry, which can cause issues with your model.

    Always make sure the offsets do not overlap or intersect with existing edges.

  • Group or Component: If you want to offset a specific part of your model, it is recommended to group or create a component first. This way, you can isolate the geometry you want to modify without affecting the rest of the model.


The Offset tool in SketchUp is a powerful feature that allows you to make precise adjustments and add thickness to your models. By following the steps outlined in this tutorial and keeping these tips in mind, you can effectively use the Offset tool to enhance your 3D modeling projects.