Sketchup 2023 update is a big disappointment


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Just like many profesional users I was hoping Sketchup 2023 would be a step forward for architectural work, since there’s quite a large part of community relying on it for our daily bread.

Unfortunately I have to say recent Sketchup 2023 release is a big disappointment. Here’s my review of new features and my personal opinion weather or not they are worth the upgrade (especially for those still on classic license).


Windows Common Installer - A new installation experience with more options, including Studio features.
Who really cares about installation experience?

Revit Importer - Speaking of Studio, Studio subscribers can now easily import Revit files into their SketchUp models.

This one might be useful for those using Revit. We don’t use it because we try to do all our work inside Sketchup. However now we are more than ever inclined to switch to Revit or another app since obviously Sketchup direction seems to be more in the direction of supporting larger, more expensive CAD apps than upgrading their own set of tools.
Worth the upgrade: Maybe if you use Revit.

Flip Tool - The new Flip tool makes it simpler to invert selections and create symmetry, replacing SketchUp’s Flip Along commands.

Several free plugins already exist for mirroring so I don’t consider this tool to be worth upgrading.

Large Model Saving Efficiency - Save big models with improved efficiency using multithreading technology.

I was excited to try this one out since files can grow really large in size. Unfortunately from what I have been able to test so far I don’t see any considerable difference. Also CPU graph doesn’t show Sketchup to be using all the cores.
Tested: Sketchup 200 MB file and Layout 400 mb file. Save time 2022 and 2023 exactly the same: 25 s
Worth the upgrade: NO

Overlays - Developers can now create extensions that can persist while using other native SketchUp tools and functions. We call this an Overlay. The new Overlays panel can help you manage extensions designed with this capability.

We’ll see how developers will use this in the future.
Worth the upgrade: not yet

Various Modeling updates and improvements including new Select options, freehand tool updates, and improvements to the Axes tool.
This is something one would expect within minor release update, not for a major yearly release.
Worth the upgrade: NO


DWG References - You can now manage inserted .dwg files as references, just like with SketchUp files.

I was actually excited to see this one on the list because we work alot with consultants that use 2D DWG only. So I went to test it immediately. However I was disappointed once again. First of all the instructions on release notes page are wrong. They instruct user to check “import as sketchup model” when in fact you should leave if off.
Importing medium sized DWG file (7 MB) takes a very long time (~1 minute) and it slows down Layout considerably. And what is most annoying - you actually cannot change the viewport of the imported file(!?!) nor can you turn DWG layers on or off or change anything about it.
Here’s an example of how imported DWG looks like:

Completely useless! And that’s with a DWG file that was previously exported from Layout…

Worth the upgrade: NO

Custom Rotation Start Angle - Define a custom start angle for rotating selected entities.
Finally one thing that is indeed useful and it actually works! Unfortunately it’s such a minor improvement that again by itself is not worth the upgrade.
Worth the upgrade: NO

Tag Visibility Improvements - We’ve added the ability to discreetly override styles across multiple viewports, separating line styles from other styles.
Useful, but again it’s a mini improvement not really worthy of one year of development and yearly subscription price.
Worth the upgrade: NO

Per-page Sequence Autotext - Sequenced auto-text can now be either per page or per document.
Never used this feature. I guess it can be useful in some cases. Again it’s something one would expect in a minor release.
Worth the upgrade: NO

Viewport Improvements - We’ve improved camera predictability for viewports by setting the Pan tool as the default tool when activating the Edit 3D View and fine-tuning the “Preserve scale on resize” option.
To be honest this is more of a bug-fix than an improvement. It’s definitely good that viewport doesn’t change the view once you click into it, however we have got used to work around it by now so it’s not worth the upgrade by itself.
Worth the upgrade: NO

Bugs that have not been addressed yet:

Even more disappointing is that there are several longstanding bugs that have not been addressed at all… For example:

Feature requests that would actually be useful but apparently no one listens


I’m sad to say Sketchup 2023 update is a big disappointment. I hate to sound so negative but I actually regret upgrading my subscription recently. As said before I wish Sketchup team would be more open about what is planned for Sketchup in the future.

We invested so much time and money in the past into adapting our workflow to Sketchup because I believed Sketchup would keep improving over time. Now it all feels like a dead end and forces us to think about switching to a different, more reliable software.


It’s not that the team isn’t doing anything. Building a complete web app, building an iPad app from the ground up, integrating all the Trimble-connect thingies have likely taken up considerable (all?) resources.

It’s just that we “Professionals” are the ones with the “high” subscription price (as opposed to Sketchup Go) and I also don’t get why they don’t pick some of the low hanging fruits to help us in our workflows. The flipping tool is nice, and I don’t agree with you: we can’t ■■■■■ about flipping being a shitty experience and once it is solved say: well there was a plugin for that so never mind. They fixed that - nice! Well done. :slight_smile:

But we need much more and the list grows longer every year that so few points are being addressed.

I was shocked to see your DWG Layout-test. Has anybody else gotten better results on that? I haven’t tried it myself yet but I thought that this was a really, really nice addition. It has to work of course.

So yes - I am also disappointed. Not very, because I didn’t expect anything and I love the features Sketchup has - but disappointed non the less.

One problem I see is of course that once you have three apps - a platform if you will - you will have a hard time making any fundamental changes because you will need to role them out everywhere at once in order to make the files compatible. But that shouldn’t be OUR problem, should it… :wink:

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Are the new features (mentioned) all together and all the bug fixes (unmentioned) enough to be worth upgrading ?


(The bug fix-list certainly helped. I poured over it yesterday night and was happy about a few of the points. And once you are a subscriber it is always not worth not upgrading… We always want the newest version …)

I don’t want to sound rude or crass, but it sounds like you want all the features of the high price software for the price of SketchUp. You are free to find an alternative that meets your needs if you so wish.


For me - no.

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I’d actually be willing to pay more if those features were added.

Sure. But as I wrote above we invested a lot of time and money to adapt our workflow to Sketchup because we believed software would improve with time. This was also promised by the team when they switched to subscription model. And at first it looked like they were working in the right direction (2020 and 2021 updates were actually worth upgrading). Then it seems like everything stalled…


That is a fine balancing act. Most of what you want, with a price increase, would put SU out of my price range. As it is I am finding it hard to justify paying the subscription fee or staying with my classic license from 2021.

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could be some Netscaping? (delay updates while company sale is pending) or perhaps the ipad and web users are the majority of users now (lots of small revenue can total up to real money) and therefore they get the attention?

I doubt it. Sketchup is a tool marketed squarely at the AEC industry, architecture especially. No serious designer would use an ipad.


That’s the thing… We don’t actually know who is their focusing group. Sketchup Team needs to decide who they want to cater to and be clear about it. If it’s hobbyists then so be it. As long as they state it clearly so we know what to expect…


Personally, I’m very happy with my $0 subscription.
I am fascinated by “flip” tool and even more by the removal of flip-along.

I become more and more unclear as to what Sketchup actually develops with each years update release notes. 2022 development was 10x better then this years. I have not been impressed with this company and how they manage their business for a long time.


Amidst this important feedback and critique I want to remind everyone what an amazing tool SketchUp has been for most of us. I bet you all have stories of how it was a game changer for you. Here is mine: I started using SU in 2010 when I returned to practicing architecture as a one-person firm from years in a big firm and consulting where my daily production skills had waned performing mostly project management duties. Returning to my roots SU allowed me to become a fully proficient cad user by “importing” all my hand drafting skills (I’m 65 now). In the 80’s as an intern I was tasked with bringing our office into the modern age — looking at autocad and several other now long gone platforms for the small firm I worked at. I thought they were all such a barrier to design that about the only thing they sped up was the title block. A single station cost tens of thousands of dollars, we
spent whole days babysitting pen plotters for output. When SketchUp (Outlast) came along they shamed all the other companies by finally offering a tool that worked the way we work. And they did if from scratch, not a bloated company funded by huge government contracts.

SU is still a small company and I feel blessed to have a tool that is continuously improved — some years better than others — by real people like me who are always trying to learn, improve, do better. For me it is also a home grown company since I live in Boulder.

The subscription price is overly fair. I bet every single one of us spends $300 every year on something that doesn’t return near the value SU does. The dollar a day I spend returns $100’s of dollars to either me in earnings or my clients and builders in better value on higher quality deliverables.

I just hope the SU team reading this thread do not feel demoralized or that SU users don’t value the work they do. We do value it and they should only take the criticism as a challenge to keep trying, listen for good suggestions, and take pride in making a tool that is helping to reshape our world by SU users who are sometimes overly critical because they are also hard on themselves. That is the nature of creative people — SU: keep up the good work and take pride in what you e accomplished since the Outlast days.


Absolutely, and there is good news : inference and PushPull workflow in next Rhino 8 version !!


And they (Rhino) 'll bring to the latest version basic features of SketchUp.


I whole heartedly agree. As for the OP commenting on “If you use Revit”? Are you kidding me? Everyone uses that dang program…it’s the reason I have to spend $500 a year to bring in their .rvt files and then DXF them out of Revit and then import them into Sketchup so I can work with them. Man if I can just use Sketchup importer then I save myself the $500 easily AND save some time. So I dunno about “if”. Just about everyone I deal with does so there is no “if” when I have to consult for these companies.


I’m also a bit underwhelmed and possibly disappointed that more effort wasn’t put into some of the Pro wishlist items that have been circulating for YEARS. It’s fair to say that I got my hopes up for more LayOut tools and functions.

I agree that the “focus groups” perhaps don’t represent my interests very well.

You can see on the Forums for every Feature Request or Wishlist item, there are people that say “SketchUp is fine as it is now.” I’m not in that camp.

From what I can tell there are some fundamental types of user groups in the SketchUp space, all with different prioritites:
-Hobbiests (“makers”), students and part-time users;
The “Go” and Ipad versions are suited to this group. I’d be surprised if more features are needed here except to continue supporting new hardware and OSs. Wishlist are: Easy, low cost (or free) and universal.

- Small architect or contracting forms (1-3 computer-based staff) who use SketchUp to document smaller projects or single-types of projects
This is the Pro version with minimal extensions. This is the happy medium where things are probably 99% as good as they’ll ever need to be. Performance improvements are probably the key wishlist item here. SketchUp seems to have this market well covered with FormIt and Chief Architect being the closest competitors that I can think of.

- Designers who use SketchUp for conceptual modelling for interiors, landscape, architecture, urban planning, etc
This is Pro with rendering (Vray) and Seifara, etc… ie, fluid concept design where the output tends to be 3d-based renderings and colored plans. Again this is pretty well covered at the moment by SketchUp and LayOut.
For these users, people seem to be calling for better rendering integration (eg raytracing within LayOut) or simplified documentation (eg a Reports to include a bill of materials). SketchUp performance is an ongoing concern for many (due to too many 3d objects in a scene). Blender would be the main competitor here, until TwinMotion starts to offer more modelling tools.

Architects, Engineers and others who use SketchUp for large and complex projects, including construction docs, with detailed and customised information.
This group demand interoperability (e.g. consultancy-based), and outputs need to align with industry standards. They typically rely on many extensions.
The wish list for this group includes DWG interop, co-ordinated model origins, more bundled or better-supported extensions, and LayOut tools designed for larger documents (things like Paragraph Styles or Annotation Components inside layout). All the wishlist items of other groups also apply here.

I suspect the last group falls outside of Trimble’s “target market” for the product because it would be competing with ArchiCAD, Revit and Vectorworks in many areas. Development of new functions in this space may be more expensive, compared with keeping the other 3 groups happy.

My view is that those other AEC software types are trying to compete with SketchUp in the conceptual modelling space. SketchUp’s strength is that it offers the ability to transition from basic to advanced within one platform and the versatility of that platform. I can get my junior or part time staff into SketchUp to do basic things while I get my senior staff to handle the model organization, detailing and documentation…so it sort of grows with the user. Low barrier to entry but high ultimate capability.

The solution, I think, is to develop Studio ( a higher priced subscription) to start ticking off some of the Pro users’ wishlist items, albiet at a higher price. Or develop some paid extensions eg LayOut++ which could include paragraph styles and page templates (Eg indesgn).
I’m clearly not a software engineer or product owner, but I’m trying to think of ways to get SketchUp moving forward. The fundamentals of how I use SketchUp have changed radically as I moved from Group 1, through to Group 2 and 3 and now 4. But the software seems to have stalled at Group 2/3


Hearing you say this has me even more worried now, ArayaCAD.
It was you, after all, that had the time, energy, and follow through to conduct that whole “LayOut Petition” process with Trimble a few years ago (BTW, a big “Thank You” for doing that!). It was my impression that you were fairly positive and hopeful after that effort that LayOut would finally receive some much needed time and money investment from Trimble.
But here, now in 2023, we find LayOut pretty much the same … still needing much of the upgrades and improvements we all petitioned for.
Like “jure” in this thread, I would also very gladly PAY more to get some basic LayOut performance and feature upgrades … but Trimble won’t even give us that option! I’ve advocated for years that Trimble should just offer a “LayOut Pro” option for those of us who want a full function, robust 2D production platform.
So, what can we do?


For me the biggest disappointment is the layout performance and the DWG importer, I won’t repeat what I’ve commented on other posts, cause there’s a person that appears every time I complain about the API sketchup is using, I don’t know if he works for OpenGL or just loves it. On the sketchup side I haven’t really noticed the saving a file performance boost, the flipping tool is a nice feature, and the overlays are still on an early stage so will have to wait and see how useful it becomes. I also agree that with a subscription plan we should get more frequent updates for the software not wait an entire year to fix some bugs or add new features, Blender is a free software and releases updates every 4 months and most of them are huge improvements.