face_to_face_largeWith a lot of help from Steve Baumgartner I added a Face To Face tool to the Construction Plus Toolbar. Face To Face tool’s icon is shown at left. Excuse my artistry; the tool’s icon is supposed to be two faces looking at each other representing the Face To Face tool. If there is a real artist out there who wishes to donate a better icon please feel free to do so.

So what does Face To Face do?

Imagine your job is to align all these objects along a face and an edge. Can you do it?Have you ever wanted to make the face of one object align with the face of another object, on the same or parallel plane, facing each other? Well now it takes just two clicks. Better yet, neither face has to align with a major plane (red/green, red/blue or blue/green). Both faces can be at any angle to any of the major planes.

In addition to aligning the faces on the same or parallel planes and facing each other, you can select a point on an edge of one object and move it to a point on the edge of a second object, just like the Move tool. You will see in the included video that Face To Face is often a better move tool that Move tool itself.

Lastly, if the points chosen in the previous paragraph are each end points of an edge that are brought together, then the edges themselves can be made collinear (brought together).

No problem for the Face To Face tool.This may all seem complex, but it isn’t. I will demonstrate the tool completely in the accompanying video. But first I need to explain a few things. The tool asks for Reference and Subject Faces, Reference and Subject Points and Reference and Subject Edges. Reference simply means the object that will not move, but serves as the face, point or edge that the Subject object will align to. To complicate things a little bit more, but in the name of flexibility, the Reference and Subject objects do not have to be the same objects for Face, Point and Edge alignment. The only restriction is that a Subject object must be a non-nested Group or Component Instance. The Reference object can be a primitive (Face or Edge), Group or Component Instance.

Lastly, there are six modes of operation: Face To Face; Point To Point; Edge To Edge; Face & Point To Face & Point; Point & Edge To Point & Edge; and Face, Point & Edge To Face, Point & Edge.

  • Face To Face aligns the selected Subject face to the selected Reference face such that they are on the same or parallel planes with the two faces facing each other. The exception is when one of the faces are reversed and the other is not i.e. facing inward to the object. In that case the two faces will be facing in the same direction.
  • Point To Point moves the Subject object to the Reference object, joining them at the selected points.
  • Edge To Edge aligns the selected Subject edge such that it is collinear with the selected Reference edge.
  • Face & Point To Face & Point performs the Face To Face operation first and then the Point To Point operation.
  • Point & Edge To Point & Edge performs the Point To Point operation first followed by the Edge To Edge operation.
  • Face, Point & Edge To Face, Point & Edge performs Face To Face operation first, Point To Point second and Edge To Edge third.


The cursor provides guidance by telling the user what the tool is looking for as explained below:


subject_face_cursorThe cursor will have an arrow pointing to the object you wish to select. The letter R or S will be prominent; R for Reference and S for Subject. There will be a face, line or point to indicate what the user should choose. The icon at left asks the user to choose a Reference Face. The icon at right asks the user to choose a Subject Face.


subject_point_cursorSimilarly, the cursor at left asks the user to choose a Reference Point, while the one at right asks the user to choose a Subject Point.


subject_edge_cursorAs you probably guessed, the cursor at left asks the user to choose a Reference Edge while the one at right asks the user to choose a Subject Edge.

Modes can be changed with the Tab key. The last mode selected becomes the default. When you reopen SketchUp the default mode will be the active mode it opens to.

The Esc key has two functions: first, if you need to use a camera tools such as Orbit, Pan or Zoom, you can return to the Face To Face tool where you left off by pressing the Esc key; second, if you wish to abort an operation and reset the tool simply press the Esc key.

The Undo/Redo tools can be used to Undo/Redo each step of the operation.

When might you use the Face To Face tool?

Often, especially when you are working with furniture or home design where faces are at angles to major planes, you find it easier to draw a component in place. Shortly thereafter you discover that the bounding box is misaligned to the part. This causes real problems for tools such as Cut List and Get Dimensions. With Face To Face you can easily align the component instance to a major plane and axis, explode it and remake the component. Now the bounding box will supply the correct dimensions to Cut List or Get Dimensions.

Imagine the problem in reverse. You draw the component aligned with a major plane and axis resulting in a bounding box that is correct, but now you need to move the component instance into place. You realize that the face of the component instance is not aligned to a major plane or axis. An example is moving a roof rafter into place. The end of the rafter must align with the surface of a ridge board; a perfect application for the Face To Face tool.

Does this occur in the design of furniture? Yes, a lot if your furniture has trim or sides not aligned to a major plane and axis. This is especially true with complex miter joints. Face To Face is not a tool you will use all the time, but when you need to align irregular faces, it is the perfect tool.

The video below will give you a complete demonstration of Face To Face tool. The Construction Plus toolbar and its tools can be obtained by downloading the zip file here and extracting it to your plugins folder. A SketchUp Face To Face Practice File can be downloaded here to help you follow along and practice using Face To Face.

Viewing The Face To Face Tutorial

You can view Introducing SketchUp Tool Face To Face by pressing the play icon below or by downloading it to your system.

The video file is mp4. It can be viewed with most video players including QuickTime and Media Player. If you have a default, or user specified, file association for .mp4 you may have to delete it or use a download manager to download this file. Otherwise the associated application may be invoked and file streaming will prevail over downloading. There are numerous free download managers on the internet. Be careful, and do some research to locate one that is not loaded with spyware or viruses.

If you are on a PC platform running Windows OS and have Internet Explorer or Firefox you don’t have to change file association or use a downloader. Simply right click on the link(s) below and choose Save Link As. When Explorer opens choose a destination folder and select Save.

To download Introducing SketchUp Tool Face To Face click on or paste


into your browser or download manager.

Full Screen Viewing

You may find it easier to view the video in full screen mode. Start the video before selecting this mode. To enter full screen mode click the little screen icon at the bottom of the video player. When in full screen view hold your cursor near the bottom of the screen to access the video

Leave a Reply

2 Responses to “Construction Plus Toolbar Gets A Face Lift”

  1. Bob Rath says:

    Joe—I have completed my first, basic drawing and would like to create a set of shop drawings. Is that covered in any of your tutorials, or do I just click on the orthographic view buttons and print that particular presentation. I haven’t watch all your segments yet so I’ve probably asked a question that you already have covered. Thanks for your excellent work…its been my sole guide to learning Sketchup.

  2. Joe says:


    I think it is Part 6 that covers dimensioning and shop drawings. Yes, I would do all dimensioning in Parallel Projection mode and use either the front, side or orthographic view.