macOS: How to choose another language temporarily

In another thread I was told, that in Windows you can choose another language by adding an argument to the path, which starts SU.

How please can I choose another language temporarily in macOS?


This is not a Windows thing at all (rather surprising it can be used on Windows)!

I don’t know specifically for macOS, but I would try:

  • Start the “Terminal” app.
  • Figure out how to launch SketchUp from there (maybe @driven can help)
    • /Applications/SketchUp/SketchUp\ 2019/
    • or
      open /Applications/SketchUp/SketchUp\ 2019/
  • When this works, do the same and add the arguments:
    • /Applications/SketchUp/SketchUp\ 2019/ -lang=pt-BR
    • or
      open /Applications/SketchUp/SketchUp\ 2019/ --args -lang=pt-BR

To avoid confusion:
In the first case you directly launch the SketchUp program with its arguments, and in the second case you launch the open program and tell it to start SketchUp (only here you must use --args before the arguments). Any mix between these cases won’t work.

Of course you need to have the language installed. Each SketchUp 2019 download comes with only one local language and English (so you need to have downloaded the right one). SketchUp 2020 offers to install several languages into one installation.

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You don’t need any more path past, though it will work with the further details:

open /Applications/SketchUp\ 2019/

I believe you need the --args part on Mac.

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I use SU 2020 and the both languages I installed are English and German.

open /Applications/SketchUp\ 2020/

works fine in the Terminal

open /Applications/SketchUp/SketchUp\ 2020/

does not work.

open /Applications/SketchUp\ 2020/ -lang=en

result: invalid option

open /Applications/SketchUp\ 2020/ --args -lang=en

SU starts, but in German.

try en-US

I’m not sure that will work, but no harm trying it.

I would try to sort out the call in Script Editor first…

do shell script ¬
	" \"/Applications/SketchUp 2020/\" --args -lang=en-US\\
        >/dev/null 2>&1 &"

you can then save it as an lang specific app…

I run 2020 on El Capitan this way…

EDIT: change to -lang=en-US
NOTE: you would need the second language installed version…


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Look in

/Applications/SketchUp\ 2020/

What folders do you find there?

Valid language codes are: en-US, fr, it, de, es, ja, ko, zh-CN, zh-TW, pt-BR, nl, ru

open /Applications/SketchUp\ 2020/ --args -lang=en-US

starts the German version.

Isn’t there any official way from the developers of SU?

There are the folders


During the installation when you could choose languages, the english version is standard and couldn’t be checked off.

you have both so my applescript should work…

I think…


@tt_su is there any official word on this?

That shows you indeed have both languages installed. So, at this point I am stumped.

I’m not experienced with the terminal. So I hope the developers of SU will clarify (in this thread?) how to start SU in one of the installed languages.

I wonder that there’s no option to change the language in the preferences.

SketchUp runs in the language of your operating system, if you have installed that language of SketchUp.

The idea of forcing it to use a particular language from Terminal is interesting. I think I will try that.

Beside to parameters that the application may accept, it should also honor the LANG environment variable. So if an application does not offer a -lang argument, you can change the environment variable in the current terminal session and then launch the application.

Side note, I find -lang and -DisableRubyAPI and similar on the internet. Is this correct? Typically arguments would be like /lang on Windows and --lang on Unix (or depending on whether it’s a single character then -l).

Julia Christina Eneroth told us in another thread, that she can force SU to open in a specific language with an added argument - in Windows.

So I hope, that there should be a way in macOS, too.

I found an application that displays the list of embedded languages, and lets you choose which one to use. It doesn’t work. Haven’t tried on Windows yet.

Is there anyone who could switch to an installed language on macOS with success?

It would be so helpful for users from other countries who like to post here, because than they could use the correct names of functions and commands of the english interface.

No official way - but,