• Quick Navigation in SketchUp with Wacom tablet and mouse
  • Posted on September 23, 2012
  • This is a simple tutorial that I hope will help those who like me wondered if there was a simpler and faster way to navigate in SketshUp then using the Orbit and Pan tool buttons.

    The two main features of 3D modeling software is probably Orbit and Pan. With Orbit enabled, we can spin and turn around our 3D model or landscape by clicking and move around the mouse or Pen. Pan on the other hand allows us to move us sideways, up and down. Just click and drag in the opposite direction we want to go, similar to using a Smartphone. Pan is also used instead of having scrollbars on the side and bottom.

    SketchUp has Orbit and Pan evident among the tools which make them easy to find and use. But once we are inside a project it’s disturbing when we need to switch between Orbit, Pan and the tool we otherwise use, which can lead to mistakes and wasted time.

    Orbit (left) and Pan (right), marked in red.

    The solution

    The solution to the problem is hotkeys or key combinations, which gives us a shortcut to functions or tools we want to use. In the case of Orbit the solution is very simple, it is enough to press the middle mouse button to start spinning around in the 3D view. Once the middle button is released latest tool will be reactivated again so no shifting between tools are needed. Pan is one step more complicated, it requires us to press the Shift key on your keyboard while pressing the middle mouse button. Most computer mice now days have no middle buttons, but mice with a scroll wheel you can usually press the wheel for the same function. It is not as pleasant as pressing a regular mouse button, but it is something we who have Wacom pen tablets gets around.

    How to map Orbit and Pan to the Wacom pen

    To map the functions to the Wacom pen we open Wacom Tablet Properties (located in the Start Menu and Control Panel) and select Grip Pen Tool.

    The settings are either the tablet or pen. Here we choose Grip Pen for pen settings.

    The next step is to choose the program we are going add specific functions to and we do this by pressing the + under Application and then select SketchUp in the list.

    If SketchUp is open is should appear on the list. If it does not you have to browse to the location of the Application.

    Once the program is selected, we will map the functions of the two buttons we find on the side of the pen. On top button, I chose the Pan tool. To do the same press the scroll list, select Modifier and click on the Shift under Keys and the Middle under Clicks. On the bottom button, I chose to have the Orbit and I did by selecting Middle Click in Clicks top of the scroll list. When we are done and can shut down the Wacom Tablet Properties. On the image bellow  you can see how it is suppose to look when done.

    This is how it will look when done.

    Now I have hopefully saved you some headaches and irritation. Personally, I will enjoy a little more flow in the 3D model making now that I can finally use SketchUp in a similar way as I do Blender. 🙂 Is there any doubt then just write a comment and I’ll see if I can help.