macOS and SU 2020: How to make the Finder show Sketchup Files via QuickLook?

I would love to get a preview via QuickLook in the file manager finder of macOS.

Do you know a solution please?

macOS: Catalina (latest version)
SU: 2020


A QuickLook generator is included with SketchUp 2020 and ought to be working (it is working for me under Catalina). To verify that it is registered on your system, you can open a Terminal window and enter

qlmanage -m | grep SketchUp

You should see a list of various entries such as com.sketchup.skp with an arrow pointing to the path within the SketchUp 2020 Application where the qlgenerator lives. If that doesn’t work, try

qlmanage -r

to reset the quicklook system manager and then try the first command again.

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In Mojave and SU19, I get to click and see about 8 files this way then it stops and just shows the .skp icon.

I think the quicklook is also dependent of the size of the window.
Keep in mind, by default, SketchUp saves a thumbnail upon saving, so it is good practice to either create a scene to end a session, or at least be aware of it.
You can turn this behavior of in the File settings in [Menu]Model Info->Redefine thumbnail on save
It is Model controlled, not a General Preference.

I see similar behavior - where quick look ceases to function after some small number of successful invocations - with SketchUp 2018 on macOS Mojave. I don’t know what resets the behavior back to working for a while, but something apparently does (I never logout, so that’s not it. but I do switch users sometimes).

on my mac

SketchUpQL.qlgenerator v3 from SU v19 works but
SketchUpQL.qlgenerator v4 from SU v20 fails…

# renaming the folder
/Applications/SketchUp 2020/
# to 
/Applications/SketchUp 2020/!

and restarting the mac seems to fix it…


If you do the “qlmanage -m | grep SketchUp” that I mentioned before, does it show both 2019 and 2020 qlgenerators registered?

Possibly there is an install bug that fails to remove the registration for the earlier version, leading to a clash.

Or, perhaps the 2020 version 4 qlgenerator isn’t compatible with older macOS versions? The OP said they run Catalina so that shouldn’t be their issue, but it could affect others.

Renaming that folder will turn off the 2020 qlgenerator because the path no longer matches the one registered with quicklook.

Thanks for your hints.

A restart of the Mac solves the problem. I hope it will work permanently.
If not, I will give a feedback here.

actually, it still has issues with some skps…

another line of thought is:

SU must load the QL plugin when it runs as there isn’t a copy in System/Library, /Library or ~/Library…

that would mean you will not see any until SU runs unless they have an old style resource fork icon attached…


Actually, the quicklook system handles the whole process. SketchUp just has to register the UTI for the appropriate files. According to Apple developer docs the system starts a quicklook daemon when it determines that the UTI is not a system-defined type and the looks for a generator:

The user next requests a preview for a document that is not of a Quick Look native type. The following sequences of steps happens:

  1. The client (Finder) sends a message to the consumer part of Quick Look requesting a preview for the document.
  2. The Quick Look framework sees that the document format is not of a native type, so it forwards the message to the Quick Look daemon.
  3. Using the document’s content-type UTI, the daemon locates the appropriate generator and loads it if necessary.
  4. It forwards the preview request to the generator, which creates a preview and either returns it or tells the generator where to find it.
  5. The daemon returns the generator’s response to the consumer part of Quick Look.
  6. Quick Look loads the appropriate display bundle (if necessary).
  7. The display bundle draws the document in the document reader.

Installing Quick Look Generators

You can store a Quick Look generator in an application bundle (in ) or in one of the standard file-system locations:

  • ~/Library/QuickLook —third party generators, accessible only to logged-in user
  • /Library/QuickLook —third party generators, accessible to all users of the system
  • /System/Library/QuickLook —Apple-provided generators, accessible to all users of the system

When Quick Look searches for a generator to use, it first looks for it in the bundle of the associated application and then in the standard file-system locations in the order given in the list above. If two generators have the same UTI, Quick Look uses the first one it finds in this search order. If two generators claim the same UTI at the same level (for example, in /Library/QuickLook ), there is no way to determine which one of them will be chosen.


How do you store a Quick Look generator? (where do you get it from?)

Many apps provide one for their files. These come with the app and you don’t need to do anything. Otherwise some developer has to write one and then you just drop it into one of the folders mentioned in my earlier post. MacOS will find it without further action on your part.

So whether or not SketchUP provided one it doesn’t work right.

Hi everyone,

I also have this annoying issue which clearly slows down my workflow. I have been looking all forums I could to find a solution but in vain.

I am running Sketchup 2021 on an iMac Pro 2017 and I still can not figure out what to do to get rid of this preview issue. I did the following steps but it didn’t change anything :

  1. erased the older versions of SketchUpQL.qlgenerator (2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020)
  2. repair the hard drive authorizations
  3. restarted the computer

I have also noticed that thumbnails always disappears at the eleventh preview to be replaced by SU’s icon.

Has anybody found a solution?




Same here for 2019 on Mojave. Quick look just shows the thumbnails, and the thumbnails stop showing altogether.


Copy SketchUpQL.qlgenerator from

/Applications/SketchUp 2020/


System QuickLook

*change “SketchUp 2020” to your SketchUp Version

I tried this before checking to see if it failed, so I’m not sure if I would not have got a quicklook before the change.

QuickLook still only gives me a thumbnail image. Should something more impressive have happened?

I believe that the qlgenerator works from the thumbnail that is automatically embedded in each SketchUp file when you save the file. Rendering a new image each time would be significantly slower, especially since it would probably involve launching an instance of SketchUp in the background.