How to Rotate Components in Sketchup

Updated April 17, 2017

SketchUp components are objects made of other objects. Rotating components works much like rotating other objects. The basic procedure is to create or find a component; select the rotation tool; then specify the angle of rotation with either the keyboard or the mouse. SketchUp gives you options for creating copies of the component during and after the rotation. The program also lets you specify which axis you want to rotate around. Understanding how to rotate components in SketchUp introduces you to concepts that are critical for becoming proficient in SketchUp, including inference and creating copies.

Click the "Components" item of the "Windows" menu to open the components window. From this window you'll choose a component to rotate.

Drag a component you like from the window onto SketchUp's drawing canvas.

Click the toolbar's "Rotate" button, which looks like two curved arrows, one atop the other. SketchUp will turn the mouse cursor into a protractor to indicate rotation mode.

Drag the protractor until it's over one of the corner's of the component then click the mouse. This makes SketchUp anchor the protractor's centre onto the component which establishes the axis that the component will rot around.

Drag the cursor to another point on the component then click the mouse again. This action establishes a lever by which you'll rotate the component.

Drag the mouse to start rotating the component. The text box in the lower right corner of the screen will update its display automatically as you drag. The box shows the current angle of rotation in degrees.

Click the mouse to complete the rotation.

Type "90" then press "Enter" to tell SketchUp you want to rotate the component again, this time by 90 degrees. This step shows you how to rotate a component with the keyboard as opposed to the mouse. Using the keyboard lets you enter precise measurements.

Click the "Component" item of the "Windows" menu to open the component window then drag a component from the window onto the drawing canvas.

Click the component to select it then press "Q" which is the keyboard shortcut for the rotation tool. SketchUp will turn the mouse cursor into a protractor.

Drag the mouse over each part of the drawing canvas and jot notes on where the protractor changes colour. SketchUp changes the protractor's colour to show which axis it will rotate the component around. SketchUp doesn't let you specify the rotation axis with menu or option clicks; you specify it only through the way you move the mouse over the screen. Google calls SketchUp's estimate of which axis you want to rotate around "inference." Understanding this concept is essential to understanding how to use SketchUp.

Read your notes to determine which part of the screen the protractor turns red in then move the mouse to that part.

Press "Shift" to lock the inference to rotate around the red axis then click a point on the component.

Drag the mouse to another part of the component and click again.

Drag the mouse to perform the rotation through the angle you want then release the mouse.

Type "/7" then press "Enter." SketchUp will create seven duplicates of the component that are evenly distributed throughout the rotation arc.

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About the Author

Darrin Koltow wrote about computer software until graphics programs reawakened his lifelong passion of becoming a master designer and draftsman. He has now committed to acquiring the training for a position designing characters, creatures and environments for video games, movies and other entertainment media.