What are the hardware and software requirements for SketchUp?

Please visit this Help Center article for this information.

Troubleshooting hardware problems.

 

 

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.
 
And now Google SketchUp Videos can be downloaded.


Third-party videos are also available, many on YouTube.

 


How do I access the User Guide

SketchUp 8 support is only online.  Or from within the SketchUp program menu: click "Help" > "SketchUp Help" to begin.   


Getting Started PDF  SketchUp 7

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?

 
SketchUp 2013  main download site.
The MSI for the English version of SketchUp Pro 8 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.
  • Ensure that Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 or newer is installed.
  • Note: The regular install file (EXE) is compressed and is therefore much smaller than the MSI.

Older versions 

 
 

  

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.
  1. Leave the cursor in the workspace. 
  2. Type the measurement.  
  3. Press Enter in Windows, Return in Mac.

 
- video Colin Holgate
 
 

  

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 8, 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.

 

Tips:
  • 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

Plugin
People on Windows have an additional tool to import an entire folder of image files into SketchUp all at one.  In this tutorial, Batch production of SKM (material) files from JPGs using massmaterialimporter.rb,  DigitalThumb explains how to use massmaterialimporter.rb, available at the Ruby Library Depot, in the Materials-Render section.
 
 
  
 

What are Ruby Scripts and Plugins?

Overview

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 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'.
 
 

 

Installation

Installing Ruby Plugins  |  Extension Warehouse
 
There are several ways to install plugins.  SketchUp 2013 allows the user 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. 


Using the Extension Warehouse

In 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 - Sandbox, Dynamic Components, Advanced Camera Tools, Ruby Samples, etc. - are now optional and need to be obtained from the Extension Warehouse



Manually installing plugins with RB and RBS file extensions

Unless a developer instructs you to do otherwise, most of the Ruby scripts, plugins, and add-ons live in the SketchUp's Plugins directory.  Place the files in the following directories:

Windows:
In Windows XP/Vista/7/8 the plugins folder is at
C:\Program Files\Google\Google SketchUp 8\Plugins
 
 
and in Windows Vista/7/8 64-bit it is at
C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Google SketchUp 8\Plugins
 
You reach this through My Computer, not through the Start menu. By default, the contents of the C: drive and the Program files folders are hidden, so you must make them visible to be able to manipulate them. You must also have Administrator privileges to place files there.


 
Mac OS X: 
  • SketchUp 2013 
    • Mac HD > Users > [User] > Library > Application Support > SketchUp 2013 > SketchUp > [Folder, e.g. Components]
    • an alternative: Open a new Finder window, press and hold the Option key on your keyboard, the click Go in the menu bar > Library > Application Support > SketchUp 2013 > SketchUp > Plugins.
  • Pre-SketchUp 2013 - 'Hard Drive' [your user name]/Library/Application Support/Google SketchUp 8/SketchUp/Plugins
    • This "Library" folder is at the top level of your hard drive & should not be confused with the folder of the same name in your user (home) folder. If you are having trouble finding it, from the Finder, select "Go to Folder" from the "Go" menu. In the box that appears, type "/Library/Application Support/Google SketchUp 8/SketchUp/plugins" (without the quotes) & click the "Go" button. 
    • Calling Whaat and Fredo!! new MAC issues (SOLVED) Troubleshooting the confusing issues about plugin location on a Mac hard drive.
 
If there is a problem finding the Plugins directory to manually install a plugin - in either Windows or Mac - open SketchUp and open the Ruby Console (found under the Window menu).  Enter the following code:
 
UI.openURL("file://#{Sketchup.find_support_file("Plugins")}")
 
Press Enter (Return on a Mac.)
 
This will open a window with the correct directory.
 
 
Note:  Some scripts come with several files and folders. They all go in the Program's Plugins directory shown above. Do not create any sub-directories of your own to contain script files and folders.
 
 

 

A note about plugin instructions:  Some complex scripts, like this version of BezierSpline, have instructions inside its folder.  In this case, the instructions can be accessed through a submenu entry  from inside of  SketchUp.  Other scripts may come with a simple, informational text file or no special document.  Instructions may also be limited to some text inside the script itself.  There is no standard format.  
 
 
If you update a plugin: remove the older version to avoid loading errors and conflicts.  But if you want to keep copies of the older versions in the Plugins directory, then rename the file extension(s).
 
 
 
 

Install RBZ plugin from inside SketchUp

A SketchUp 8 maintenance release introduced the ability to add plugins through the SketchUp interface.  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:
 
 
Note: RBZ files are just renamed ZIP files containing the .rb and any sub-folders. You can open an .rbz file with WinZip or equivalent, and manually move the content into the SketchUp Plugins directory, or you can rename a .zip to a .rbz and have SketchUp install it.  

But if you try having SketchUp load your self-named RBZ, proceed with the knowledge that the content of your renamed ZIP may not unzip correctly in the SketchUp Plugins directory.  For example, the plugin content you really want may be wrapped inside another folder inside the RBZ.  The SketchUp installer only unzips the first level of the RBZ file.
 

Note: Some Mac systems will need to adjust the read/write permissions on the Plugins folder to install RBZ files.  Click on the image for the instructions (courtesy of Beryldrue).


 


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. 
 
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.  
 
 
Ruby Extension module refers to plugin coding that can use the Ruby program language to work with the SketchUp Ruby API and computing power outside of the SketchUp environment.
 
 
 

Some minutiae

Keyboard Shortcuts

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.
 
 

Text Editors

Unless the file is scrambled, scripts can open - be viewed - in a plain text editor.
  • Opening the script in anything other than a plain text editor, and saving the file, will introduce extra formating code which will make the script dysfunctional in SketchUp.  
  • Notepad is a plain text editor that comes with Windows.  In XP, it can be found in Start > All Programs > Accessories.
  • Other text editors are listed in the Ruby Stuff section of Resources.  Notepad++ is a good editor for Windows.  It is easy to use and has a lot of features.
 

Why you might want to open the script text file

  • Often the script text contains user instructions at the top.  Version history, copyright, developer contact information, etc. would located up there too.
  • Reviewing the code is a good way to learn how to write in the Ruby programming language.
  • Usually the script is added to the Plugins menu.  But it can be added under any menu and/or add a toolbar.  When you forget, look at the script code - usually located toward the bottom of the file - to learn where the script lives.
 
 

Look for "UI.menu" This bit of code from the script rectangle.rb says you can find it listed in the Program's Draw menu as Rotated Rectangle, underneath a separator line.

 
 
 

Loading scripts through the Ruby Console

Ruby scripts can be loaded while SketchUp is open.  Go to the Window  (SketchUp in Mac) menu and open the Ruby Console.

  • Type: load "scriptname.rb" or load 'scriptname.rb'
  • press Enter on the keyboard
  • The response should be true it loading succeeds




Some other places to go

  • SketchUp Sage's Plugins Resources  A listing of SketchUp plugin sites.
  • SketchUcation Ruby Discussion  In addition to the Ruby API Group over here, this is SketchUcation's great forum site discussing many new plugins.
  • Ruby Library Depot  Free Script repository.  It is available in both English and French (courtesy of the host, Didier Bur, who is French).  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
    • 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 downloading into recognizing files with the RB extension.
  • Old Ruby Forum archive  The original Ruby Forum.  Besides general archival value, it is a good place to look up information on some of the early ruby scripts.  Some of the threads are the only place with script instructions.  And it can be useful to see how the scripts were developed.
  • New Ruby API Group  Another place to ask questions about script use and development
  • SketchUp Plugin Review
 



Relevant plugins for managing plugins

  • Plugin Loader for SketchUp  Alex Schreyer developed this plugin to work in a 'locked down' school computer lab environment, and make finding and loading many plugins easier.
  • Organizer  Smustard - After you collect two-hundred, fifty million scripts and finally want to create an orderly arrangement in the Plugins menu, this script will help. - Fee
  • 000RedirectPlugins  Fredo6 - Plugin which will load plugins located outside SketchUp's Plugins directory.
 



Individual Plugin Tutorials

Sister Sites