Did you hear? New icons and more in SketchUp for Schools

To help celebrate the launch of SketchUp for iPad, we’re giving SketchUp for Schools a facelift today!

A new set of icons and cursors

Color, contrast and consistency are key to being able to quickly recognize and select specific tools, so we’re excited to introduce our newest set of icons and tools in SketchUp for Schools. These icons embrace SketchUp’s history while bringing a renewed set of design principles that reflect the SketchUp brand’s unique blend of fun, and professionalism. They are also joining our entire family of web products and so will make it easy for your students when they eventually transition across the SketchUp portfolio.

P.S. – Don’t forget to say hi to Miles, our new icon for Search. He’s really good at fetching things.

Purge All Unused Items

If you’ve been working on a model for a while, you have probably accumulated some “clutter.” The new “purge all” dialog will prompt you at key points across your journey – like when exiting your model or initiating a manual save – to purge your model of unused components, materials, tags and styles.

Purge all can reduce your model’s file size and make it more performant. Note, you can tweak how often you see this in App Settings – including turning it on to always clean up your model or to never ask about purging.

As always, Happy Sketching!


Is SketchUp for iPad available free for education?

No, only available for the (paid) Higher Educational subscriprion.

Thanks for the quick reply. Sadly, this follows Trimbles trend of dropping support for our K-12 schools.

First, it was dropping free Pro licensing for teachers so they could learn the program to teach their students. Then they dropped the Pro state grant program. All of this while schools suffered through the pandemic. Now schools using iPads won’t have access to this tool.

I know this is not the fault of any of you sages that provide great support and there is nothing you can do about it, but next time you have a big shot visit, you might let them know that many schools are moving on to Tinkercad, Onshape and most of the Autodesk suite, especially Fusion 360, all of which are free for schools to use with their students.

It’s too bad. I’ve been teaching SketchUp since the @last days, but maybe it is time for me to finally move on with the others.

We appreciate your feedback Eric, and please know that it is taken in by the SketchUp Team. We truly value our educational community, and that’s why we are continually working to make SketchUp for Schools bigger and better, and to customize it for educators and students. We know that the K-12 community has unique user requirements and challenges and the more that we hear from users like you the better we are able to meet them.

Are there particular tools in SketchUp for iPad that you’d like to see available in educational offerings? Or is your primary concern increased touch support and compatibility with iPads and tablets in general?

I got the sense that it was the price. It’s not free for K-12.

Maybe you can educate me because education laws aren’t my field of expertise (I just taught the subject), but I got the vague understanding that SU for Schools as a separate product from SU Free was in part to address state laws regarding IT, privacy and tracking of children’s activities on the internet. If so, would there have to also be a special version of iPad to meet those regulations?

Thanks, Tori. I’m retired after 38 years in the classroom, so I don’t have any skin in the K-12 game. I understand as well anyone reading this has no part in deciding who gets what at any price.

SketchUp was a valuable tool in my CAD lab since the 1990s. I have trained many teachers since then in professional development classes on how to use SketchUp in their classrooms. Schools however have been moving away from labs to one-to-one Chromebooks and using SketchUp for Schools. The pandemic accelerated this big time. SfS helps with beginning classes for schools that use Chromebooks, I would guess 75% of the schools. However, the other 25% are using iPads and while they could use SfS on a browser, they would also need a keyboard and mouse to make it user-friendly, which is usually unavailable with tightening budgets. That is why for the sake of the students, I was disappointed to learn that the iPad version was not going to be available for free for schools. Maybe there are schools out there that will pay for it, but I never taught in a district that would.

However, after a semester of using SfS, instruction bogs down as Pro with Layup is no longer available. Knowing this going in as a new teacher, I’m not sure I would start my kids with SketchUp.

You see, as an instructor, I never taught students how to use a particular software program. Instead, I taught my students how to problem solve and think. I could do that with almost any software package, but SketchUp was always a hit with the kids. It was free and they could use it at home. Before I got into CAD, I taught 8/9 Algebra and Geometry. When I moved to the high school to teach CAD, Johnny would raise his hand and ask, “How do I put 5/8” into the computer as a decimal?" With a wry smile, I would respond, “Remember when you were in 8th grade and asked me when you were ever going to use this stuff? Well, Johnny, today is the day”.

If I was the King of the SketchUp World and wanted to add to my community while familiarizing young minds with my products hoping they would buy my products when they actually had some money, I’d make it as easy (and cheap) as possible for teachers to use SketchUp on the devices available to them. It is my opinion that Trimble has decided to milk every dime possible out of SketchUp, including the ed community.

This may work in the short term, but if I was starting a new class without all versions of SketchUp available on the equipment I had, I’d start the young kids off with Tinkercad, then to Fusion 360, and eventually into Inventor/Revit. I’ve taught all of those packages with success, but I usually started them off with SketchUp.

So, thanks for listening. I had a lot of kids leave my program with great tools to solve problems and move to more advanced studies. Maybe I just grieve as I watch an old fried fade away, but I am thankful to have had Sketchup as a tool to teach kids how to think for these last 25 years.