AUTOSAVE FILES - Where are they located


I realise that this is an old topic and I have reviewed the previous posts. However these posts have not resolved my question.

I have the following questions:

  1. In previous posts it has been pointed out that the AUTOSAVE files should be stored in the folder specified in the Preferences - Files Tab. Previous posts have not said which of the files listed does this. I ask because there is no AUTOSAVE listed in this list.

  2. Given the above comment I wondered why I had an AUTOSAVE file in the same folder to which I have been saving my files and in which the back up files are also showing. Has something changed since the previous threads.

I have AUTOSAVE set for 5 minutes. But only have 1 AUTOSAVE File. I have searched the entire computer and only have this 1 random AUTOSAVE file.

  1. I pulled up the folder and noted the time of my last save and backup. I made an edit and left the file unattended for 10 minutes. No new or additional back ups were made. I am confused. Surely it should have made a save at 5 minutes.

I back up like it going out of fashion. I also keep a Drop Box copy of my drawings.

The reason for my post is that the computer shut down and I lost a small amount of work. It set me to look for the AUTOSAVE files and I was surprised that they weren’t there.


Auto-Save files are only saved when SketchUp exits abnormally. (When it crashes)
Backup files are saved each time you save an existing file.

You must have the Auto-Save and Backup features enabled and set properly for them to function.
Look to the top menus … Window > Preferences > General

An Auto-Save file is a temporary file available on the file system should SketchUp abnormally exit.
The Auto-Save file is saved in the directory where the original .skp file exists.
The Auto-Save file name will be a combination of the word " AutoSave " with the original filename.
Example: AutoSave_Smith Home.skp.

A Backup file is created when you save an existing SketchUp.skp file.
The original as-opened .skp file is converted to a backup .skb file.
The current drawing is saved in place of that preexisting file.
Thus, the backup .skb file is chronologically one save behind the .skp model file.
The Backup .skb file is saved in the directory where the original .skp file exists.
Example: Smith Home.skb

Missing file problems and other odd behavior may occur when working from an external drive.
The path to an external drive is subject to change, which may cause the loss of Backup and Auto-Save files.
Drop Box is an external drive.

Best Practice:
Always open files from your local drive and save your work to the local drive.
Afterward, copy your original file from your local drive to other drives if you wish.


This isn’t the behavior I experience. For me, an auto save file is created and updated by sketchup every 5 minutes with normal use. It lives in the same location as the original file and there is one for every file. I can’t remember having a crash in over a year either. I assumed it was the backup system at work.


The auto-save file is kept until you successfully save your original file.
If SketchUp crashes while you’re working on a model the auto-save file is not deleted.

In other words, each time you successfully save your original file the Auto-Save file is deleted.

It makes no difference whether you save and close the original file or save and continue working.
With each successful save of the original file the Auto-Save file is deleted and the auto-save timer resets.


On Mac, the file extension stays the same, namely .skp but it is preceded with a tilde ~ , resulting in: Document~.skp


This isn’t the behavior I experience. My auto save files don’t delete themselves. They persist and always have for the years I’ve used SketchUp since 2015. Is this not normal?


Thank you that explains why there is only 1 autosave file. I do follow your best practice already i.e. I do save from sketch up and then take a copy and put it on drop box. The drop box file is not connected with sketchup driectly.

However I remain confused about the the description in the preferences. If I have the time period set to 5 minutes should it not save my file and create a new back my file up at 5 minute intervals. Or am I being stupid?

Reading your response it appears that the skb file only created after a manual saving of the file. Which is the experience I am having. But it does not tally with the description in preferences.


The description is in the SketchUp User Guide

Backing up a SketchUp file or restoring an Auto-save file

SketchUp creates a backup file the second time you successfully save your SketchUp file and any subsequent saves. This file is an exact copy of the previously saved version of the file. The backup file uses the naming convention FILENAME.skb on Windows and FILENAME~.skp on OS X, and it’s located in the same folder as the original file.

By default, SketchUp automatically saves your files every five minutes while you’re actively working. If, for example, you’re working on a file named FILENAME.skp , the automatic save creates a file named AutoSave_FILENAME.skp . The auto-save file is kept until you successfully save your original file or specifically confirm that you don’t want to save changes. If SketchUp crashes while you’re working on a model the auto-save file is not deleted . You can recover your work from the point the last auto-save was performed by opening the auto-save file in the same location as your original file. If you’ve never saved your work the auto-save file is stored inyour Documents folder.


Thank you for providing that description. So this then leads on to the question why is sketchup not doing this.

"By default, SketchUp automatically saves your files every five minutes while you’re actively working. If, for example, you’re working on a file named FILENAME.skp"

In that it does not do a save and create a backup every five minutes! It only save and backs up when I specifically ask it to.


Perhaps they assume that there can only be one Model. It is the one you are working on.
Many times, we see names like ‘Autosave_Autosave_Final_Last_Version_oh_there_is_one_more_change_drawing.skp’
The key is to have some sort of system that works for you.
If you want different versions, do a ‘Save as’ and add a timestamp, yourself.


Don’t know why, it doesn’t work for you.

I’ve always disabled autosave the first thing after installing any new SketchUp version. Never liked how it worked, it always seemed to save at the worst times, and just got in my way. I’ve long ago trained myself to do incremental saves using the adage “whenever the time (and therefore money) spent to save the file is less than the time spent on the modifications, … save.”


I sense some confusion about the difference between Auto-Save and Create Backup .
They are two separate functions that come into play during different events.

The purpose of Auto-Save is a safety net in case SU crashes.
It is not intended to relieve the user of their responsibility to save their work at appropriate intervals.


Same here! Having used Macs through the '90s as a graphic designer, it was absolutely essential to key-command in a save after almost every operation. To this day, it’s second nature. :slight_smile:


Ok Guys that all makes sense, sort of. What I have been doing - i.e. saving after each action is the way to go. So revert to normal practice and forget I ever heard of autosave or read the description saying it will save after five minutes. Because it won’t.

That’s absolutely fine. I just needed to know whats what.


Is there any confusion here with the “other” way Autosave operates? If you don’t name a file, Autosave doesn’t know where to put the autosaved file so it defaults to an Autosave folder set up within the application folder tree as here:

Obviously, good practice suggests you should name and save a new drawing almost as soon as you start and then this default location would not be used (as you can see, I haven’t always followed my own advice!).


It really should. I think you should keep it on just in case you do have a crash, as that will allow you to open the autosave file and at least get some work back (if you don’t save yourself quick enough).



Your explanations have been spot on, JohnMike is just not grasping what you keep saying. I just wanted to tell you that you helped me better understand the whole thing, so Thank You~!


Thank you Gary for your insulting and unhelpful comment,

How do you know what I do and do not understand?

This thread has served to make clear the function of the auto save. However it also shows that the description of the functions as shown in the settings page could be made clearer to avoid confusion.

We have also established that on my installation there is no regular timed back up as the setting implies there should be. Where as others report that there is.

Hence I have reverted to my start point and do what I have always done. Which is to save regularly which generates replacement back ups. And further to take copies and place them on drop box as a double safety.

This serves me just fine and I am quite happy doing this as I then know that the work is adequately backed up. I would urge others to do the same and not to rely on the setting which clearly does not work in all installations.