I’m noticing that when I extrude and scale together, I’m creating duplicate vertices from the point I extruded from (the below screenshot is an example of the placement of these). I’m able to correct it by dissolving them, but how can avoid this happening in the first place?
That is not what is creating the extra geometry.
Extrude creates geometry from the moment you press E.
Cancelling like by pressing escape does not cancel the new geometry.
This is the most common issue those new to Blender have.
You have discovered the primary solution though, M merge by distance.
E then S will not be creating ‘extra’ geometry. It will create new geometry and the S will scale it instead of moving it which is the instruction the E press is waiting on otherwise.
So then what should be my order of operations be so that I don’t do that in the future, eliminating the need for the merge?
Be very careful if you do any extrusion and change your mind, cancel it, etc.
Use Undo, Ctrl Z.
Just being aware of the possibility, will mean you can check, and know what to look out for if a problem shows up anyway.
Clean operations of E extrude, basically.
I guess this is where I’m confused because it happens every time. I press E, then immediately after I’m pressing S to scale and immediately after that Z to scale on the Z axis, then I move the cursor. When I do this, there are always two.
Well I test answers to triple check before answering, it just does not happen for me.
Try, new file, with the default cube, to edit mode, face mode, select the top one and press E then S and move the mouse then click to set. Then check it over for this problem, is it there?
It is not for me.