SketchUp Web versions capabilities

Hello I am new to SketchUp but a seasoned TinkerCad user. My main interest is building 3D finescale model locomotives.

I have set up a free web account and started to get familiar with some of the SketchUp features. I plan to start on the free version and then progress to a licenced version once I am confident that this is the package for me.

I am using the YouTube clips to learn but all of the clips show a different screen layout to the one I have access to through the free web version.

My question is whether the free web version of Sketchup is a very limited subset of the full features? Are the different layouts simply older versions or are they representative of the more sophisticated paid for version?

As far as I know the Free web version has almost if not quite all of the features of the current Pro version.


It doesn’t support extensions at all, and may never do so.

So long as you are not (or not yet, anyway) using it for commercial purposes I think you would find it easier to learn on the last version of SU for desktop called Sketchup Make (v2017 was the last such version).

You can download it here for Windows or Mac, 64 bit only.

That version starts as a 30-day trial of the Pro 2017 equivalent, then reverts to Make.

The main things you don’t get in Make are some professional import and export file types, nor the Solid Tools.

But it does support plugins.

If you find it does meet your needs, and you want to use it for commercial purposes, then you would need one of the SU2020 paid for versions.

There are several topics in this forum on the cost and other differences between the current licence types which allow you to use SU for commercial work. They include different combinations of related programs, and some are annual subscription, while the Classic licence - a fixed price which allows you to use the software indefinitely - includes mainly Sketchup and the associated 2-D presentation software Layout, and a tool to allow you to design different line styles. Included in the purchase price for the Classic licence is the first year cost of an annual maintenance fee, which allows you to upgrade to the next later version.

Thank you John - this is a big help I will download the make version. My models are for my own use _ am not a commercial model maker.

Once again thank you for your help.

As John indicated, it is possible to do the sort of modeling you’re after in the web versions but some of it may not be as easily done as it could in the desktop version due to tools that are available as extensions. You may also find that there are certain import and export options that could be useful to you which won’t be available in the free version.

Starting with the web version and switching to the desktop client version is fine however the user interfaces is considerably different so you might want to keep that in mind, too.

Ha. Just looked again at your profile.

I don’t think Make will run on a Chromebook. If that is the only computer you have, you may have to stick with the web version.

But even a five year old Windows machine, available cheaply second hand, will run SU Make quite well.

John is correct. The desktop client versions won’t run on Chromebook. You’ll need a PC or Mac for that.

Just found one recent link to a topic about the different licence types and capabilities, if you do have or decide to get a Mac or Windows machine to run the desktop version.

John/Dave thank you both. I prefer my Chromebook but have a Win10 machine that I use for MS Visio so I can simply use that…tomorrow i will download and start to practice.

Many thanks for your help.

1 Like

What scale do you work in generally? If you want a few tips about doing the sort of thing you are talking about, I can pass on what I’ve learned.

Hi Dave

I am an S Scale modeller. Brecon and Merthyr railway. I am creating models in a mix of etchings (using Microsoft Visio) and 3D via tinkercad and shapeway.

Trouble is tinkercad is not stable enough…it works but difficult to make chimneys and anything that requires the accurate integration of shapes.

What about you ?


Michael, since it would drag this thread off topic, I replied in a PM instead.