Large tool set is microscopic in Windows 8

As far as we found out, the issue of tiny user interface elements occurs on high-resolution screens. You need to know that modern operating systems, including Windows 8.1 (that your colleague probably has), offer to scale legacy applications if they don’t support high dpi settings on their own.

Unfortunately SketchUp blocks this compatibility option by accident, meaning on one hand SketchUp does not completely support high-res screens, and on the other hand SketchUp prevents Windows 8.1 to scale the application bigger.

I wouldn’t have too high hopes that there will be a fix or solution in SketchUp 2014, but to make the problem bearable I’d suggest:

  • In this topic I suggested to place a modified manifest file next to the SketchUp.exe in the hope it allows to enable the “Compatibility → Display scaling on high DPI settings”. I don’t know if this succeeds, it might just as well fail.
  • If the toolbars remains too tiny, you can use SketchUp extensions that offer alternate, scalable user interfaces. For example LaunchUp has a dynamic toolbar and scales well. There is unfortunately no extension that can help with the tiny value control box or the aperture (snapping distance) in drawing tools.
  • You can use a virtual machine (like VirtualBox) and install SketchUp inside. Virtual machines start quickly and can be comfortably scaled up/down to any size. This comes with a little performance cost, but is the best solution that is specific to SketchUp.
  • The last resort is to reduce the screen resolution, for example by setting it from 3200×1800 to 1600×900. This reduces the resolution of the desktop and everything and makes everything blurry.