SketchUp User Guide / Reference Manual is needed!


Consider compiling the many SketchUp Knowledge Base articles into a printed User’s Guide. Many learning deficits can be overcome if users have a readily accessible source for referencing issues as they occur. A reference manual will better enable all users to get up to speed in less time.

Currently making use of the Knowledge Base is cumbersome and this makes it difficult to rely on as a useful resource. No discernible method exists to find an index so one is compelled to search for a specific concern in order to resolve an issue.

Note: This information was located after the initial post but no index was found:



It’s linked right at the top of the Resources page due to the repeated request for a downloadable manual over the years.


a complete documentation as PDF avail in at least the core languages would be highly appreciated by many users.


It seems all things Humanity invented over the centuries that make learning via the printed word efficient are viewed as unnecessary these days…

• Table of Contents
• Chapters
• Page Numbers
• Index
• Glossary
• Appendix

…All replaced by a haphazard collection of web articles.
And then hidden behind a search engine of irrefutable ineptitude.

Many SketchUp extension authors, like FREDO6, include PDF documentation in the package.
Why not SketchUp?

My favorite little CAD program installs HTML Help files; HTML Tutorials and a 125 page PDF Users Guide.
Why not SketchUp?

The extra file size of a User’s Guide added to the SU download package certainly isn’t an issue.
The aforementioned little CAD package is a mere 1.69MB download.
That includes: built-in HTML Help; HTML Tutorials and the 125 page PDF Users Guide packed with images.

Then again, a human friendly PDF Users Guide wouldn’t necessarily need to be a part of the SU installer.
Extension Warehouse provides a ready-made system for distribution and updating right from within SU.
• Distribute the User’s Guide as an extension.

PDF documentation is portable and durable, not to mention easily read, searched, bookmarked and annotated by the reader/owner of the PDF document.
Online docs have none of these qualities, as we’ve learned over several iterations of online SU docs.

SU 8 was released 9/1/2010.
Since then (~5 years) users have done without functionally readable, up-to-date PDF documentation.

How much time, effort and expense could it possibly take to bring the User’s Guide up-to-date?

I cannot fathom why there’s a PDF available for these resources…

Getting Started Guide
Concepts Guide
Quick Reference Card

…While there isn’t one for the most important user resource of all, The User’s Guide.


One of the less tangible reasons for the lack of user manual is that SketchUp’s main evangelist authored a popular book on SketchUp, so there may have been a disincentive to do the manual when a quasi official manual was available. He’s now left Trimble so perhaps some of the new staff will pick up the batton?


SU team should hire a dedicated documentation rep for doing the english documentation, external translation services could do the rest. +imho+


I’d be willing to undertake this task if an agreement could be arranged, but I understand that the User Guide is being developed currently.


SketchUP is free so I can completely understand why it lacks a manual and even the Pro version is far less cost than most CAD programs.

It seems to me that the SketchUp way is to let third parties provide the extras.
Once someone has gone to the great effort of creating a book it would not be nice to undercut their investment by giving away the same material,

I am not going to argue about what users should or should not expect for what they are paying or not.

Personally I would expect that for someone to develop a manual they will most likely want to be paid to do that. I would most likely be paying more for the pro version if a manual was included.

One possible partial solution is perhaps to create a Wiki manual. Put what is available already on it and then let users add. I would personally be willing to add better DC function examples.

The problem with that is that it still needs someone to manage it or it could become a mess.


The most disappointing thing about the manual is that prior to version 8 SketchUp had quite an adequate help system with a table of contents and index, and beside working from inside the application it could also be downloaded in PDF form.



ug_sketchup_win.pdf (3.0 MB)

This has been a staple for me and two ( I bought) PDF`s from Bonnie Roskes, to fill in the gaps. I had found the enclosed one in 2013 went I installed the free SU8 and still go back to it regularly. It has been very useful and on-hand, grounded with the needed essential basics and tool technics. I wished I spent more time with it the first 3-4 months then watching You Tube videos…only made learning the basics harder by neglecting them and installing plug-ins.