Editable Timeline / History

I’ve used Sketchup intensively for the last year and it’s really great, but i really find something lacking in Sketchup : an editable timeline.

It would be wonderful to be able to go back in the modelling history (all actions would be stored in an history like for photoshop). This would give the possibility to go back at one point (when you messed up) and start again (don’t tell me there’s CTRL+Z (i know! but that’s not the same)).

What would be insane though, is to be able to go back at one step, make some changes but still be able to apply all the actions following the modified step. I understand that this would be a lot of work but it would make a huge difference in modelling under sketchup.

This would increase production Workflow, save you a LOT of time and increase the ease of modelling.

So Sketchup Team, what do you say ?


What you want sounds like a visual representation of SketchUp’s undo history. That would not have much more functionality than the existing Ctrl+Z except that you see a list that shows more than the directly previous operation. With thumbnails one could easierly understand what was changed (but SketchUp’s canvas is infinitely bigger than Photoshop’s, and what about operations that have no visual change?). This could be an inspector window like Components, Scenes, etc.

The second suggestion is about replacing the current “linear undo” model by a “non-linear undo” model (individual operations can be undone without having to undo all following operations). This is not trivial and can have not so obvious consequences for users (like undoing some operations may require undo of others), as well as technical challenges (impact on memory and storage).

As an example, solid modelers sometimes can do that, but SketchUp as a surface modeler, that automatically merges vertices and geometry, quickly leads to cascading dependencies: a subsequent operation on a merged edge can not be retained if the operation that triggered the edge merging is undone.


Hi Aerilius,

I still believe that visual undo history would be nicer than pressing 15 times ctrl+z. You’d go straight to the right step.

As for the non linear undo, i understand that this is not trivial. But for lot of actions this would work (like circle > pull >move, if you change the radius of the circle you can do the pull and move behind). As for the merging of vertices, maybe we could think of mode where every object is made like a group to avoid interactions with others until you merge them all when needed…

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you also have ‘File’ >> ‘Revert’, so if you save regularly, you can step back in just 2 clicks…


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I know but this is more like a “Snapshot” option not a real go back to a specific step.

There is another option you might find useful: file>save a copy as , it will auto-number your files “filename1”-2-3 and so on.

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I was about to make this suggestion until I found this thread. I would state it this way–when you save an SKP file, also save the list of steps that created the design. We know this list exists, since we can undo back to the beginning of the design and re-do forward to the same point. Although the file size would not increase by much, you also could make this a preference–store the steps along with the design.

I often want to reload a design, undo to a certain point, then re-edit. For example, I use the incredibly useful Fredo6 RoundCorner plug-in, but if I want to go back to measure edges that have been rounded, it is difficult to do when the sharp edges have been replaced by rounded ones. What I’d like to do is load the file, un-do past the rounding, do my measurements, then exit without saving. This restores all the steps I stepped past to do my measurements. And of course I can take the design in another direction by stepping back and continuing, then saving the file under a different name.

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This would be awesome, especially if you exit, and then realize that the dimmension for something is off. being able to go back even after a full exit, would be awesome:)

Different ballgame:

I think Aerilius explained very well why non-linear edit history, unfortunately, won’t work in SketchUp.

Another approach would be to have more parametric capabilities of SketchUp, like Dynamic Components but, well, good. That would allow us to change parameters for each operation, in a way I would find more intuitive than editing history.

He mean something like a time line steps like in fusion 360 ! EX: if you fillet an edge 2.5 mm than u continue working u can return to the fillet modifier to change the radius and every thing is changing and recalculated without losing any thing ; sketchup need that a lot + a subdiv modifier integrated in also :wink: . not a plugin

Modifiers are super powerful, but their concept is less focussed on a specific “timeline” than on non-destructive editing operations. They allow you to edit parameters in random order and you are not bound to a fixed sequence of steps (waterfall model).

The thing is:

SketchUp uses very small, low-level primitives (edges and faces), which is comparable to pixels in an image (think about that brush and pencil operations are often destructive to the previous pixel color values).

Many advanced operations like offset or various plugins have to dynamically create or remove such primitives, that is why they are destructive. These operations are not applied to a single primitive like an edge, but an imaginary higher-order element like a rim (e.g. a closed loop of edges). That means a modifier would not be associated with a single element, but a set of elements which are required for this modifier to function (and what if a previous modifier is changed and breaks these edges?).

The closest comparable concept to higher-order elements in SketchUp are components which must fulfill certain constraints: A component containing a closed loop of edges can accept an offset modifier. A component containing purely quad-face geometry can accept certain subdivision modifiers.


I’d love this functionality in SketchUp but it would be limited to objects drawn that way from the start, not applicable to existing meshes. Exploding such an object would end the non-linear capabilities.

There are a lot of use cases for this, like re-using the same window design but with different dimensions, but I think the main SketchUp drawing will always be based on the quick and simple mesh primitives.

SketchUp maintains a very long undo stack, as some have noted, and this can be used as a kind of history. It is only linear, however, and can’t accommodate branching or merging if you are exploring multiple ideas simultaneously.

Trimble Connect, if you are saving your models there, does maintain a comprehensive version control system. You can step back through every saved version right back to the very first line. Currently we don’t expose this history inside any of our SketchUp client applications, but you can find it through the Connect web interface.

We have a nice Skill Builder about this: [Skill Builder] Version Control using Trimble Connect


@Odolyte Inspired by your idea, I created a free SketchUp plugin called: Visual History. Now, you can visually control your SketchUp history and optionally export it to an animated GIF.


Credits: Nyra Woman Warrior by Arion Digital.