Bring back a non-pro version of the desktop application

I have been using Sketchup for 15+ years (from the days of Google) non-professionally for various hobby, woodworking and home renovation projects. Up until about six months ago I was using Sketchup Make 2017, however when I got a new laptop and could no longer download the 2017 version, I decided to finally subscribe to the “Go” plan with access to the web version. Given how much I’ve used Sketchup through the years and have certainly got value from the product personally, I had no hesitation in paying for a subscription to get the extra features over the free version.

After six months or so of using the web version, I am so dissapointed at how terrible it is and how much of a backward step it is in terms of usability, flexibility and reliability. It’s slow, buggy and really frustrating to use especially in regards to 3d Warehouse and cloud storage.

Some of the main gripes I’ve had include:

  • The app bogs down with even the most simple of models from 3d Warehouse. My computer is no slouch - a 2021 M1 Pro MBP with Google Chrome (always up to date), but it routinely locks up for 10+ seconds at a time when there’s a “complex” model in my project that I dare try to move or rotate. I never had performance issues like this with even very complex models on the desktop version 15 years ago.
  • The app will randomly crash the tab when using different controls in the sidebar. E.g. just today I toggled the guides visibility… “Ah snap!”
  • I can’t just leave a model open in the background. If I sleep my machine or don’t go back to the tab for a few hours, when I do I need to refresh the app (which takes you back home) to get it going again.
  • The 3d Warehouse “portal” (I guess you’d call it) is next to useless. Every time you open it it starts from scratch. Eg. search for something, choose a model, open 3d Warehouse again to try a different model but now my search is gone and I have to start again. Even the “Allow cookies” message comes up every single time. How does this behaviour pass UAT?!

As a web developer by trade, IMO Sketchup is not a tool that should be bound to the web browser. I know I could fork out an extra couple hundred bucks a year for the Pro subscription to get access to the desktop app, however as a hobbyist I have no use for any of the “pro” features so I cannot justify that extra cost. At this rate with how bad the web version is, I’m even struggling to justify renewing my “Go” subscription when the time comes later this year.

So, after all that, Trimble please bring back Sketchup Make desktop version for paid subscribers. Even if it’s just a rehash of the 2017 version with some minor stability updates… whatever, just please don’t force me to use the web version any longer.


A good thing about posting comments in the forum about your experience with SketchUp, is that a lot of SketchUp team members read the post. In your case the comments overlap a few teams, but the majority of the comments are web related.

It would be interesting to see what @Gopal says in response to your points.

1 Like

There has been no change to Make 2017 so you could have used the installer from your old computer.

1 Like

Maybe SU17 is not compatible on new mac OS?
He said that he has got an apple M1… not sure if that can be the problem.

I think he literally means that you could no longer download 2017. 6 months ago sounds about right, for when the download was removed.

As for 2017 working on M1 or latest macOS, I find that it runs for a little while on M1 or Intel, but does close at some point. The macOS changes seem to be more important than whether it’s M1.

Clearly it isn’t wise for Trimble to continue to offer SketchUp 2017 Make as it is considering that the internet security issues it now has due to end of support for the older web browsers it uses along with the changes, especially to the Mac OS, that cause problems.

The OP along with others seems to be willing to pay for a dumbed-down desktop version of SketchUp. Maybe just make it a desktop version of SketchUp Go and charge a similar price.

1 Like

Now if I can add to the gripes here, my mine (or at least one of them) is with the export stl function. Sketchup Free now calls it download stl, not export stl. The problem is you cannot download a selection, you have to download the whole file. For us hobbyists who like to play with 3d printers, Sketchup Free this is just not workable because many 3d printing objects consist of multiple parts. You want to export individual parts one at a time.

Yes, agreed, with a dumbed down desktop version. For us hobbyists who have become hopelessly addicted.

1 Like

It’s still an export. Just semantics.

Perhaps they will add an option to SketchUp Free to allow exporting just the selected object. In the meantime you can do it with minor gymnastics. Save your SketchUp model first. Then delete all but the component you want to print. Download the .stl file and then undo the deletion.

1 Like

It would be an extra step or two, but you can select something, Copy, menu/New, delete Ty, Paste, Download STL. Or, invert selection (command-shift-i on Mac), delete, download STL, Undo.

One difference between export and download is that export had to go through the Trimble conversion process, and some time later you were told the file was ready to download. That you can now immediately download an STL is a great improvement.

I noticed after typing that Dave had suggested the delete approach too. One difference in my steps is that you wouldn’t have to have saved the file first, as long as you trust Undo!

Unfortunately, I never keep the installers from apps I install (probably a bad habit), but also some quick research shows there is potential difficulties with running Sketchup 2017 on newer M1 based Macs.

Running version 2017 successfully aside, support for the old version is quickly becoming problematic. For example, you can only download models from 3d Warehouse for version 2020+ which almost makes Sketchup Make completely obsolete for my use cases.

I left Macs when os X was released because of these planned obsolescence issues.

That was quite some insight. SketchUp for Mac came out the year after MacOS X.

I was paid as a programmer from Feb 1992 until I joined SketchUp in Jan 2019. A few of the tools I used became obsolete after each major change in macOS. One such tool was MacroMind, then Macromedia, then Adobe, Director. Most CD-ROMs I made in the '90s don’t run on recent macOS versions. Someone in the Director community found a way to put MacOS 8 inside a wrapper that even runs natively on M1 Macs. Would be interesting to see if he could get SketchUp v2 working.


Sure, it’s frustrating at times dealing with Apple’s change of architecture every decade or so (Motorola > PowerPC [1991] > Intel [2006] > Apple Silicon [2021]), but each change has seen a monumental improvement in their product offerings. As an end user, these transitions have been worth the minor frustrations!

1 Like

@colin @Gopal Any thoughts or contributions from Trimble on this?

Bump. Would love some actual feedback from the SketchUp team. Any product managers/owners keen to chime in about this?