What Is Orbit Tool in SketchUp?

The Orbit tool is an essential feature in SketchUp that allows you to navigate and explore your 3D models with ease. It provides a dynamic way to view your designs from different angles, giving you a better understanding of how your model looks in 3D space.

Understanding the Orbit Tool

The Orbit tool is represented by an icon resembling a circle with two arrows on each side. You can find it in the toolbar at the top of the SketchUp interface. Once selected, you can use it to rotate and tilt your model freely.

Using the Orbit Tool

To use the Orbit tool, simply click and hold down your mouse button anywhere on the screen. Then, move your mouse in any direction to rotate your model around its center point. This allows you to view your design from different perspectives.

Pro Tip: Holding down the Shift key while using the Orbit tool allows you to orbit around a specific point or axis within your model.

Panning and Zooming

In addition to rotating your model, the Orbit tool also enables panning and zooming functionalities.


  • Select the Orbit tool.
  • Hold down the Ctrl key (Windows) or Option key (Mac).
  • Click and hold down your mouse button anywhere on the screen.
  • Move your mouse in any direction to pan across your model.
  • Release the mouse button once you have positioned your model as desired.


  • Select the Orbit tool.
  • Scroll up or down on your mouse wheel to zoom in or out.
  • Alternatively, you can use the Zoom tool from the toolbar for more precise control over the zoom level.

Benefits of Using the Orbit Tool

The Orbit tool offers several advantages that enhance your modeling experience:

  • Visualization: The ability to orbit around your model provides a realistic view, allowing you to visualize your design from all angles.
  • Inspection: By rotating and tilting your model, you can closely inspect specific areas, ensuring accuracy and identifying any potential issues.
  • Presentation: The Orbit tool is invaluable when it comes to creating presentations or showcasing your design to clients or colleagues. It enables you to present your model from different perspectives, making it easier for others to understand and appreciate your work.

Tips for Using the Orbit Tool Effectively

To make the most out of the Orbit tool in SketchUp, keep these tips in mind:

  • Practice: Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the Orbit tool’s functionality. The more you practice, the more comfortable and efficient you will become.
  • Use other navigation tools: While the Orbit tool is great for rotating and tilting models, remember that SketchUp offers other navigation tools like Pan, Zoom, and Walk.

    Combining these tools can further enhance your modeling experience.

  • Simplify complex models: If working with a complex model slows down your performance while orbiting, consider simplifying it by hiding unnecessary details or using components and groups to organize your model.
  • Save views: If there are specific angles or views you frequently refer to, save them as scenes in SketchUp. This allows you to quickly access and switch between different viewpoints without the need for constant orbiting.

Now that you understand the power of the Orbit tool in SketchUp, take advantage of this feature to navigate your models effortlessly, inspect details accurately, and present your designs more effectively.