Did you know that most issues with SketchUp on a Mac can be solved in one of two ways?

If you run into an issue with SketchUp on the Mac, and things seem to be acting strange, features are missing, or things aren’t running the way they used to, there are two very common troubleshooting tactics that can put things back in the right order: Repair disk permissions, and reset SketchUp’s preferences file.

[Repair Disk Permissions]

  1. Restart your computer.
  2. Open a Finder window.
  3. Click Applications.
  4. Click Utilities.
  5. Double-click Disk Utility.
  6. Select your hard drive.
  7. Select the First Aid tab.
  8. Click Repair Disk Permissions.
  9. Please repeat step eight until you no longer see new errors during the repair. After the permissions a are repaired, exit Disk Utility.

[Reset SketchUp’s preferences file]

  1. Close SketchUp.
  2. Open a Finder window.
  3. Click Go in the top menu bar, press and hold the Option key, then click Library when it appears in the list.
  4. Click Preferences.
  5. Click and drag any of the following files, if present, to the trash:
    a. com.atlast.sketchup.plist
    b. com.google.sketchuppro.plist
    c. com.google.sketchuppro7.plist
    d. com.google.sketchuppro8.plist
    e. com.google.sketchupfree.plist
    f. com.sketchup.sketchup.plist
    g. com.sketchup.SketchUp.2014.plist
  6. Launch SketchUp.

And that should do the trick!


I think after deleting the plist file you also need to empty your trash.

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Is there a way to repair permissions on an external drive, or am I betraying my ignorance?

When using Disk Utility you have the ability to chose the drive that’s being repaired, however, Repair Permissions only works on a system disk. If you an external drive with the full OS on it, and you boot up using that drive then you can repair permissions, otherwise there isn’t an option.

Note that installing SketchUp on an external drive may not be something we can support and if we were to start troubleshooting problems we would start by moving SketchUp to the proper Applications folder to confirm if the problem persists.

Hope that helps!

5 posts were split to a new topic: Building a computer for SketchUp

even that won’t always work… osx now stores some sort of backup copy of .plists and if your timing isn’t right (lucky), the trashed and erased .plist will still come back… the surefire way to reset to default configuration is through terminal.app (Applications->Utilities)

quit sketchup and enter this in terminal:

defaults delete com.sketchup.SketchUp.2015

(or whatever .plist you’re attempting to reset)


Thanks Jeff - saved my bacon ! Spent a while yesterday trawling round for solution - you nailed it.


Even simpler sometimes: I just repaired a mysterious permissions issue by just restarting the computer.

I arrived at this topic because it was referenced from another that was current in early 2019. Since the original topic’s advice, some things have changed that require updating it:

  • Obviously, you need to substitute the correct year for your SketchUp version in place of “2014” in item g
  • macOS now caches your preferences settings in its memory and will continue to feed the previous ones to SketchUp until you cause macOS to reload its cache. You can do that by logging off macOS and then back on or by opening a Terminal window and running
killall cfprefsd

SketchUp must not be running while you manipulate the plist files because it only reads preferences as it starts, and will overwrite the plist file with its in-memory values when it quits.

  • As of SketchUp 2018, most user preferences are kept in two .json files:
~/Library/Application Support/SketchUp 2018/SketchUp/SharedPreferences.json
~/Library/Application Support/SketchUp 2018/SketchUp/PrivatePreferences.json

The plists referenced in the original post are now largely redundant and deleting them might have no effect if the relevant setting is now in one of the .json files.


So do we delete these .json files?

Or do we only perform the terminal command killall…?

As of 2018, delete the .json files. The plists and terminal command aren’t needed because SketchUp no longer uses the macOS preferences system for most user preference settings.

OK cool, thank you kindly! I just wanted to clarify to actually go and delete the .jasons

Thank you. I’ve run disk repair permissions, hopefully with success.

For resetting Preferences:
I click Library, then I do not see Preferences. Is it in the window?