Are there video tutorials for SketchUp?
Definitely. This YouTube channel
is designed specifically for beginners that are new to SketchUp. A list of other videos and other education resources is here
. Also, there's the Modeling Smart
session video from 3D Basecamp 2008.
Third-party videos are also available, many on YouTube.
How do I access the User Guide
Official SketchUp support is only online
. Or from within the SketchUp program menu: click "Help" > "SketchUp Help" to begin. More educational resources are listed here
Or download older, PDF manuals
from SketchUp 6 or 7. Most of the tool function has remained the same between versions, so the older manuals are still useful for users with spotty internet access.
Where can I download SketchUp?
main download site. Your selection from the drop-down menu determines which program version downloads. To get SketchUp Pro, choose Professional Work. To get SketchUp Make, choose Personal Projects, which comes with a 30-day trial of SketchUp Pro.
and older MSIs
for the English version of SketchUp Pro has been released. There will not be any technical support on distributing the MSI. But if someone is interested in using the MSI, they should be savvy enough to know how to distribute it ;-)
- Ensure that Windows Installer 3.1 or newer is present.
- Ensure that the OS is Windows XP Service Pack 2 or newer (SketchUp 2015 requires Windows 7 or newer.)
- Ensure that Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 or newer is installed.
- Note: The regular install file (EXE) is compressed and is therefore much smaller than the MSI.
Entering precise values "into" the Measurements toolbar
Many tools allow keyboard input to control the tool function. As soon as a tool is selected, the Measurements toolbar is activate for that tool and stays active until another tool is chosen. Any time the box is white, custom values are accepted through the Measurements toolbar.
- Some tools, like Circle , are ready to have the number of edges about the perimeter to be change when the tool is immediately selected. No mouse clicking is necessary.
- Some tools function require a single click in the workspace. Changing the radius of the Circle tool first requires that the center point is set through a mouse click.
- The Pencil and Push/Pull tools requires a click in the workspace to set a starting point AND a mouse drag to set a direction before values are changed through the Measurements toolbar.
- Use the Instructor and online Help resources to find specific tips and keyboard modifiers for each tool.
At no time will the cursor ever need to move over the Measurements toolbar. Moving the cursor out of the workspace will cause the computer to lose focus on the tool. Mac users can follow the same procedure as Windows users.
- Leave the cursor in the workspace.
- Type the measurement.
- Press Enter in Windows, Return in Mac.
- video Colin Holgate
Can the segment number of arcs and circles be changed?
As long as the Arc/Circle/Polygon tools are active, you can repeatedly change the segmentation by typing the desired segment number followed by s, like 5s, and press Enter on the keyboard.
After switching to another tool, the segmentation can be changed through Entity Info dialog. Open Entity Info from the Window menu. Choose the Arc/Circle/Polygon with the Select tool and change the segment value.
If the Entity Info Segment box is grayed out, something disrupted the entity so the segmentation cannot change - like asymmetrical scaling or if a circle was extruded with the Push/Pull tool.
What's the difference between light and dark faces?
SketchUp is a surface modeler. Because there is a front and back face to a surface, that can be used to define what kind of 'work' can be done to the faces. That lighter-colored face is front and the darker color is the back face.
- Many raytracing renderers will only render textures applied to the 'front' face.
- 3D printers define the front face as the outside surface and the dark face is the inside
- SketchUp plugins can be written to work specifically a certain way depending on face sidedness or disregard face sidedness.
- Textures paint correctly on the front face and reversed on the back face.
- Set up artificial lighting. Paint one side with desired texture and other side with a transparent material that will allow the sun to shine through. More examples/info.
The front and back face colors can be changed
How do I change my working space from 2D to 3D?
2D and 3D views are just the same file viewed differently.
If you are starting with a 2D view, you start in Top view with the red and green axis shown and a white background. The blue axis is there but is viewed from the end. When in 2D view, orbit to rotate the model to see it in 3D.
When in 3D, choose the top view (or any other standard view) from the "Camera" menu to obtain a 2D view. You may disable perspective for a more typical looking 2D view.
Use the Styles window to choose the background color and many other parameters.
When you open a saved file, you start with the view as it was when you saved the file. For new drawings, you start with another SketchUp file, the default template. SketchUp 5 has a default template that starts with a 2D view. SketchUp 6 has a default template that starts with a 3D view with all three axis shown, a colored background, and the Bryce (human figure) component.
Click "Window" > "Preferences" > "Template" to change the default template. You may also browse to your own SketchUp file to set as your new default template or add your own file to the Templates folder to add it to the Drawing Template list.
Jean (Johnny) Lemire
Any tool modifier tips?
Many SketchUp tools use keyboard modifiers to increase tool functionality. The modifiers on a PC are Shift, Ctrl and Alt. When using a tool, look down at the status bar for reminder tips about the additional functions.
Most modifier functions are listed - but not all. Case in point, the Erase tool can also be used to control edge visibility properties. Erase + Shift = Hide and Erase + Ctrl = Soften/Smooth are listed in the status bar. But Erase + Shift + Ctrl = Unsoften/Unsmooth is not not listed in the status bar.
Modifiers that may be missing in the status bar are covered in the Instructor. In SketchUp 7 and later, click on the down in the status bar. Otherwise go to Window (SketchUp in Mac) > Instructor.
How do I make Material and Component Collections?
Dragging and Dropping Components, Materials and Styles into Custom Collections
New component collections can be added through the Details Menu, to the right of the drop-down context menu - that odd-looking arrow. Your new collection can be saved to your preferred file location. It does not need to be saved in the SketchUp program file directory.
In SketchUp 6 a second browser window was added to the Components Palette. That allows you to drag and drop any In Model component into an existing Library or a new, custom Library. A component dragged into such a Favorite Collection will be available in subsequent SketchUp sessions.
You also can redistribute components between Collections.
Open different Collections in each browser window from the drop-down context menu. And drag and drop components from one Collection into another. Right-click and delete to remove unwanted components.
The Materials and Styles palettes have a similar arrangement for creating custom libraries.
- While you are here, be sure to explore the right-click context menu options available to each component shown in the browser.
- The context menu items for the In Model components and all the other Library components are not the same. The Libraries are storage facilities, so it does not have all the editing features as the components used in a model.
Note: Creating a Materials collection first requires that the image files to be imported into SketchUp and converted to SketchUp's SKM material files, which will appear in the Material browser. Importing a supported image type through File > Import has two options relevant for setting up a Materials collection. The option to Use as texture will convert the imported image to the SKM format, paint any face, and the image will appear in the Materials palette, In Model menu option. The import option to Use as image, will bring in an image entity. To convert the image entity to a texture, select the image entity, right-click and choose Explode. It turns into a SKM material texture.
SketchUp Knowledge Base articles
What are Ruby Scripts, Plugins and Extensions?
Back in version 4, SketchUp added the ability for public to add custom functionality for SketchUp in the Ruby programming language. Whether they are called Ruby scripts, plugins, extensions or add-ons, they all expand SketchUp function beyond its built-in toolsets. The difference between the correct word seems to depend on the magnitude of the developer's effort. Ruby scripts can be anything from short snippets of code in a .rb text file to more elaborate coding. While add-ons install the bulk of their application outside of the SketchUp program directory. But you cannot go wrong by referring to them collectively as 'plugins'.
Extensions - defined
The word 'extension' has several meanings in SketchUp-land.
A File Extension refers the filename suffix after the dot, like **.SKP, **.jpg, **.docx, etc. It tells the computer - and user - what is inside the file so the correct application can be used to open the file.
SketchUp plugins can been seen with different file extensions. The plugins you manually load in the appropriate SketchUp program directory come with the .rb and .rbs extension (when the code is scrambled).
An Extension refers to a plugin feature which added some coding to control the plugin loading from inside of SketchUp. To use plugins and other Ruby tools written by the SketchUp developers - like Sandbox and Dynamic Components - extensions have to be enabled.
Installing Ruby Plugins
| Extension Warehouse
There are several ways to install plugins. Beginning with SketchUp 2013, the user can to manage and install plugins through a web-based Extension Warehouse
. And a new file extension was introduced in SketchUp 8, RBZ, which lets install plugins from inside SketchUp. Some developers use installers to load files in the right places for you. But there still are a lot of plugins which will require you to manually place the plugin file(s) in the correct location yourself. Below are in instruction for manual and internal installation of SketchUp plugins.
Notice that SketchUp's Plugins menu is missing when the program is first installed. To use these extra tools for the first time, a plugin has to be added to the program's Plugins directory. To get started, enable the plugins that come bundled with SketchUp. Ruby Script Examples need to be checked in the program's System Preferences menu. But unless you want to limit how many things load when when SketchUp open, check all the boxes in the Extensions menu.
- PC: Window > Preferences > Extensions
- Mac OS X: SketchUp > Preferences > Extensions
Note: Some of the plugins which add toolbars will show up in the Extensions menu after they are installed. Usually those plugins will be written so their extension will load when the program is opened. But sometimes that may not happen. So you may need to go to the Extensions preference menu to see if everything you want is toggled on. And go to the View menu > Toolbars to select the toolbar.
Using the Extension Warehouse
Inside SketchUp 2013, go to Window > Extension Warehouse, which will open a web browser window pointed at the Extension Warehouse. This method will install the plugins offered on Warehouse and give you a way to start managing your plugin collection. Sign in using a Gmail account and follow the prompts.
The Extension Warehouse can still be used Navigate to the Extension Warehouse
in your favorite web browser. You will be allowed to download the plugins and install them manually, a method described below.
NOTE: Several of the plugins that were once included with the SketchUp installation before version 2013 - Ocean, Advanced Camera Tools (Pro), Ruby Samples, etc. - are now optional and need to be obtained from the Extension Warehouse.
Install RBZ plugin from inside SketchUp
A SketchUp 8 maintenance release introduced the ability to add plugins from inside SketchUp. This will only work on plugins with the RBZ file extension. If you want to install a plugin that has the RBZ file extension, go to the Extensions menu in Preferences:
- PC: Window > Preferences > Extensions
- Mac OS X: SketchUp > Preferences > Extensions
Click on the Install Extension button and follow the prompts:
Any of the plugins you install can be turned into keyboard shortcuts. Go to Window > Preferences > Shortcuts (SketchUp > Preferences > Shortcuts on Macs.)
In case you do not know where to find a plugin after it is installed, use the Shortcuts menu to find its menu location. Typing a few letters in the filter should be enough to find what you want.
Note: Some plugins that only appear in the right-click context menu will not appear in the Preferences > Shortcuts menu unless you first select some geometry that script could work upon.
Some other places to go
- SketchUp Sage's Plugins Resources A listing of SketchUp plugin sites. xx
- SketchUcation Ruby Discussion In addition to the Ruby API Group over here, this is SketchUcation's great forum site discussing plugins, plugin development and function.
- Ruby Library Depot First free script/plugin repository'archive for SketchUp. It was started by Didier Bur, one of the first plugin developers for SketchUp, to consolidate and house the growing number of plugins that were originally just posted in a SketchUp forum thread.
- From the left Menu, select either Metric Plugins or Imperial Plugins (for the feet and inch crowd.)
- Click on the script name to begin the download
- Unless the download was a ZIP, if something other that a file with an RB extension is downloaded, try r-clicking the file name and choosing Save As. This may help and also help to train your downloader into recognizing files with the RB extension.
- NOTE: Many of the plugins housed on the Ruby Library Depot may not work in the latest version of SketchUp, especially SketchUp 2014 and later, when Ruby was upgraded to version 2.0.
- Extension Warehouse forum Another place to ask questions about script use and development
- SketchUp Plugin Review
Individual Plugin Tutorials