Am I missing something?

I’ve been using Sketchup for several years now, for hobby projects that are nevertheless quite complex and published widely.

So, I just updated to Sketchup Pro 2018 - I make a point of keeping my software up to date. Having said that, I dread what now lies before me. Because Sketchup is NOT a commercial-grade software in its own right, with the full set of tools that you need for modelling, I will now need to spend the next (my estimate) 10 hours trying to re-install all the extensions that I need for my work. We’re talking about maybe 15-20 extensions. No - my old toolset does not show up in “Extension Manager”, not sure why.

Sketchup is effectively useless in its base installation - for example, there is no tool for drawing curves. The only reasonable toolset I found is BZ_Toolbar, a “Sketchucation” tool. There seems to be an issue with Sketchucation today - I can’t download any extensions at all. This toolset appears to sit entirely outside Sketchup’s realm of control.

Question - is it really Sketchup’s policy to rely on the “kindness of strangers” to develop the basic tools that you need to run the software, and for these tools to be provided at the whim of third parties? For example - if BZ_Toolbar was discontinued, Sketchup would be rendered absolutely useless for me, and I assume most other users.

It just seems to be a big risk. Aside from the huge pain and time-waste of having to re-load the toolset every year, maybe it’s time to move to a proper software that integrates and guarantees the core modelling functions?

I started using Sketchup as a free software and under those circumstances, you certainly take what you are offered for free - no complaints there. But is it really viable as a professional package?

Or am I missing something?

I wouldn’t agree with this statement at all.

SketchUp is a PAAS (Platform as a Service). It’s set up so there’s a basic powerful set of tools and an API that allows users to tailor it to their needs. In that respect it works very well.

As for installing extensions with the new version installation, you could copy the ones you have from the earlier installation but do it at your own risk. Ruby gets updates and so do extensions. Older copies of them may or may not work with the newer version of SketchUp. If you don’t mind chasing down potential errors due to outdated extensions, go ahead and copy them. Best practice is to install fresh. Extensions you installed directly through the Extension Warehouse can be automatically installed by clicking on My Extensions under your name in the upper right corner. If you installed the Sketchucation Plugin Store and installed extensions through it in your previous version, those will be included ina bundle which you can install automatically. I find a new version of SketchUp a good reason to do some house cleaning and omit extensions I don’t use anyway.

As for professional work from SketchUp, one doesn’t need to look very far to find it. There are many professionals using SketchUp and LayOut for their work.


Hello @Mer

I am one of those guys. SketchUp/LayOut has been my “go to” software for many years now after having relied heavily on AutoCad and later on VectorWorks. I find this software package to be capable of the same things I accomplished using the programs mentioned, and SU generally does them more rapidly and makes for a much better presentation (with documents shown in full color and texture).

Admittedly, it requires time to become well acquainted with this tool, but the learning curve is more accelerated than most similar products.

Despite your years of experience with the software, I encourage you to explore the various tutorials available online. Use of the numerous downloadable teaching videos and other materials proved to be an invaluable resource and I credit these sources along with frequent reviews of the posts on this Forum as the primary genesis in helping me become an advanced SU user.


Hi Dave - thanks for your response. I understand that there is an advantage in the platform approach and high degree of configurability. But I’m still not clear on why some of the most elementary tools (Bezier curve etc.) are not offered by Sketchup as part of the core package. We rely on the charity of third-party developers for a complete toolset. What happens if Fredo falls under a bus - the end of Sketchup?

Hi jvlee - thanks and you are probably right, I need to spend more time on tutorials etc. I do this at “upgrade time” every year, but most of it is lost by the time the next upgrade rolls around. I should probably sit down and write my own, abbreviated instruction manual.

Highly unlikely. He lives in the country where there are no buses. :smiley:

His demise would not spell the end of SketchUp. There are other tools to draw Bezier curves and in the unlikely event he drives into the city so he can be run over by a bus, someone else would likely take up the reigns. Maybe that would be you unless you get mashed by mass transit. Certainly SketchUp’s success does not rely on a single extension. It might be something you can’t do without but evidently there are plenty of SketchUp users who still don’t know about it.

FWIW, while it isn’t my only job, I do use Sketchup and LayOut professionally. I have no need for any other modeling software. And I didn’t use or even need Fredo’s Bezier tools in any of the last four major projects.

And I’m another! Like @jvleearchitects, I also migrated from Autocad but now find Sketchup easier to use and more adaptable.

I do agree that not having true curves is a problem. I believe it is because SU is surface modelling software and it “thinks” of a surface as a flat plane. So it has to approximate curves and curved surfaces by reproducing them as a series of facets.

In most architectural work, we have straight lines, rectilinear spaces, and flat walls, so curves only come into it in special cases or in detail work. There are a lot of architects who rely entirely on SU, so it is certainly professionally capable.

I haven’t actually used BZ_Toolbar myself but you have made me curious about it!

When you buy a smartphone you don’t get the apps you want and when you buy a computer you don’t get the programs you want. Same goes for SketchUp.

I think SketchUp’s modular architecture is brilliant! It means the core program is very easy to learn while you in many other programs would struggle to even find the equivalent of a line tool because it’s hidden among rendering settings, physic simulation parameters and slab tools. Instead people can add one new thing at a time and only install the features they need.

That said the migration between versions could probably be smoother. Extension Warehouse remembers your previous extensions and I think there is a Download All button somewhere. That won’t include extensions acquired elsewhere though.

Sorry Mer but I totally disagree! After downloading the new version I was up and running in like 15 minutes. After spending at most 35-40 mins total additional, all my tool bars are back to the way I like them in both SU and LayOut and I’ve got all the extensions I regularly use going…Mick C


the vast majority of SU uses, of all versions, have never installed an extension or plugin…

the problem you face, like many of us, is once you tried them, you can’t live without them and you can’t imagine that others may be tea-totalers…



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