Having it both ways

So I’m thinking the way to go is keep my Classic license as an insurance policy and go on subscription. If the subscription gets out of hand ($$$). I have a fall back position. Thoughts?

Subscribe only when you don’t feel your licensed software is enough. No use spending the extra money until you need to.


A classic license will not expire, but it applies only to a specific major version. Since multiple versions can be installed at the same time, there is no reason to remove that one and also no reason to start a subscription until you feel there is a fix or improvement you want.

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Previously I have renewed my M+S annually without question. Even that year when there were no new features!

As it stands, when my M+S expires in Feb 2021, I will not automatically subscribe.

Of course my view could change when they bring out 2021 or 2022 and I find that they have some real cool features or they have sorted out all the annoyances especially those in Layout.

In the meantime I’m looking into some recent interesting CAD-like addons in Blender. I’ve looked at Formz and Rhino. But for what I need, 3D model to 2D construction drawings, I (personally) keep coming back to SketchUp and Layout.

It’s not a realistic option for me, when possible ‘retirement’ is 20 years off, to stay with SketchUp 2020 until then.


That’s what I thought, but people are complaining that their license is changed (lost for the old version) when they initiate a new version.

Hmm…I don’t think that is supposed to happen. But I have seen some recent posts from people who didn’t understand that every classic license is version-specific, that is, you can’t download 2020 and then apply your 2019 license to it whether classic or not. That also means that you won’t be able to upgrade to 2021 using a classic license from 2020.

Some people have been misunderstanding how the license works.
It has long been the case that a certain period of time after you activate a new version you can nolonger activate a new installation of an older version. The old version doesn’t stop working, it’s just that you can’t install it again on another computer. This is logical because in a perfect world there should be no reason to install the old version once you have updated. I believe this is designed to stop you selling off your old license. When the occasion has arisen for people with a good reason support has adjusted the license to solve the issues for them.


@Box That’s why I’m talking about buying a new second license and keeping the old one. So I would own both. One perpetually. I still have my Autodesk Architectural Desktop 2013 perpetual license and they are constantly trying to get me to give it up. I never will.

I think of the subscription–in the near feature, the ONLY Pro application–as a lease for that year. That’s all. And I think of the Classic that we now have as owned, but it is NEVER to be updated past the last version, whether it ends up being 2020, 2021 (or whatever version you’ve qualified for last, through maintenance payments). I hope I understand it correctly.

At present it is critical for me to keep a certain version that is used by a colleague, currently 2019. I wouldn’t upgrade Classic out of fear of losing license to that version. The subscription method should give me the ability to dabble in new features if I want–or could it create a problem should I need to reload the Classic version (e.g. for migrating to a new computer )? It seems the Lease should not override the Ownership I now have. I’m paying / have paid for them both, accordingly.

Hi Paul,

It sounds like you’re in the architecture business like me. Back in the day when I used the old drawing boards, design was conceived via a plan, then elevations & some sections to assist along the way. When I first started using computers & then CAD seriously in 1991, I was after something bias towards architecture, not a dumb draughting tool. There wasn’t much around back then for 3D, but I do recall parametric ArchiCAD & maybe another, but all out of my budget.

I came across DataCAD & have used it for years for really fast 2D design. It has a 3D side to it, but not for me & when SU was released, I used both together when needed. But DC & the old method of 2D plans, elevations & sections is still hard to beat on presentation for construction plans.

The point being & perhaps somewhat ingrained in me, is that I still find the initial design process via a 2D plan, now in CAD, is still a good starting point & then 3D to develop a model with plans, sections & elevations extracted from the model.

SU-Pro is o.k. for that, but as no automated parametrics, apart from using a bunch of different extensions, is a little tedious for some projects for proper construction plans.

I recently came across ArchLine-Xp, a parametric architectural software that is perpetual license based & with easy payment instalments interest free for the top end Pro version. They even have a LT (light) version at around $585 usd. So, giving this ago & quite impressed with their extensive YOUTUBE videos. I won’t be SU-Subscriptioning, that’s for sure, but will still enjoy, I think, using SU-Pro from time to time.

Pretty much my thinking as well.

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This is exactly what I think.

If Trible renounces forced subscription, I will continue as before, but with the transition to something else in mind, due to the loss of confidence. But I think Trimble will persist until it realizes it is losing too many customers, and it will be too late.

In this case, I keep my perpetual license for a few years, which will be a loss of income for Trimble. Either I can’t switch to another software, but I won’t pay for 5 years. Either I will have successfully completed my transition. This situation is not very smart for Trimble, since it leaves its customers the option of no longer paying it and the ease of going elsewhere, since perpetual licenses are no longer worth anything.

This situation is also an opportunity to be creative. Grasshopper can save me a lot of time compared to SketchUp but does not offer the drawing facilities of SketchUp. For the past few days, I have been programming on an intuition to remedy this. And I got an interesting result last night. The idea is a first drawing interface. I draw the outside outline of walls. And with other lines and associated altitudes, I get walls with profile cutouts. Not only is it a way to find the idea of ​​drawing, but as it is completely interactive, with the possibility of ending up with a relatively complex shape, which I can change in a few seconds …

Thanks for sharing !

It’s funny … They put forward the perpetual license against forced subscription. That mean, subscription is a problem for many customers.

The classic license has a three states depending on the released and bought version.

Suppose you have bought in Dec 2019, that would have included a 1 - year M&S
You are using 2019, 2020 was released but you only trialed it, you did not activate it:

There would be two entries in the portal:

  • Version 2020 : Active - the last version you are entitled to
  • Version 2019 : On hold - the last version you activated.

in this example, you can keep removing your 2019 license to other machines.

The minute you activate the 2020, the states would change for the 2019 version:

  • Version 2020 : Active
  • Version 2019 : Version Upgrade - you can now only activate on machines where it was installed

If you don’t bother to use version 2020 , but prolong the M&S one more time (thus before 4 nov 2020), your M&S would expire nov 2021, but since that isn’t allowed ’Forced’:slight_smile: you get to pay less (somewhat 11/12*Price of M&S)
At the moment of the SketchUp 2021 release, you will now have 3 entries and states:

  • Version 2021 : Active
  • Version 2020 : Expiration Update (remember, you did not activate it)
  • Version 2019 : Version Upgrade

If you now trade your ‘classic’ license for a subscription, you’re current ‘Active’ license would be migrated, meaning it would be active, but could not be upgraded, anymore.
To get the latest ‘classic’ license available, you need to maintain the license for as long as you can, then decide to go Sub. But you might not get the Promotional discount, then.

The number of activations of the license is being tracked in the ’classic portal’, subscriptions are being tracked by another portal. At some point, the old classic license portal could not be maintained manually anymore, meaning, if you would loose an activating by a humpback that swallowed you’re laptop, you would loose that activation forever. So be careful with that classic license.

On the other hand, it is wise to explore the Xtra ’benefits’ of subscription and be prepared for the way the world will transform…

I think some may be missing my point here. The idea is to never migrate the last available version of the perpetual license.
WHAT IF they make changes that make it too difficult or just to much trouble for the countless third party plug-in developers to continue to update their respective tools. These are essential to making SU a complete solution. I could use the setup I have now forever and be quite satisfied.

But, since it would be the last to buy, why not take advantage of the promo and migrate?
I doubt if they will ever sell classic license’s again, so your license could never be upgraded anymore.
Might as well get something in return.

For this part:

  • Version 2019 : Version Upgrade - you can now only activate on machines where it was installed

would it be truer to say that you can activate on machines that it had previously already been activated on? That is, the license file already exists. In most cases if it is installed, it probably has been activated, but, if you uninstall an older version without removing the license first, you could reinstall later, and the license would be found.

Might test that some time, just to make sure.

If I understand what your saying is take incentive by upgrading and then simply buy the perpetual license before the deadline.

If you now have 2020 and you buy another just before nov 2020,
then you will have two classic licenses, the new one will have an active M&S until 3 nov 2021, which entitles you to upgrade to version 2021.
If you don’t pay M&S for the old one, and that plan expires before the release of 2021, that will be stuck at version 2020.
Both would be active and continu to work as it has always worked: (re)move to other machines etc. (I still have a V8 that’s active)

If you trade in now, your old one would be stuck on version 2020, just like the example above.
And you start Subscribing from this date.
If 2021 is released, you could sign in in that new version and keep version 2020 activated with the classic license info.

No sense in buying an extra classic unless you have 6+ machines and you don’t want to remove the license, all the time.

We don’t know what version 2021 will bring as regards to extensions. Some things might break. You would always have this version if you trade in now.

Since we skip most upgrades anyway, why not save the “discount” and just subscribe when you feel like it. Eventually you have to pay the full subscription price every year anyway. I don’t think it is much of a promotion. All you get is one year of updates.

Leads me to ask. If you subscribe do you have to update every year?

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