Subscription differences

I am new to sketch up. I am coming to an end of my trial. Please help me understand why I would want/need a subscription versus just using the free version. What are the big differences? Thanks

SketchUp User Guide: Differences between SketchUp Free and SketchUp Pro

The Free and Make editions are for non-commercial use.

The latest Free edition is web based and runs in your web browser.

The last desktop Make edition is now 3 years old and no new versions will be released.

A subscription is a license type not an edition. The subscription gives you access for a year to a suite of SketchUp products.

The classic license is perpetual but only covers a single version, gives access to only desktop SketchUp Pro, LayOut and Style Builder. To keep updating each year, a classic license charges an additional yearly maintenance and support fee (after the first year. The first M&S fee is included in the initial price.)

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I don’t use it often… With the free online version am I able to save my work and use the warehouse? What tools are not available?

And what’s the perk of a desktop version instead of just online?

Lastly, if I got a subscription/license… would it be able to be used on multiple devices?


Shaun Lowery

Chief Executive Officer


It doesn’t matter how much you use it, it will still be considered ‘commercial’, so you need Pro or Shop in order to be compliant with the Eula.
‘Shop’ subscription comes with the trial, as well as access to the desktop client, that comes with LayOut and StyleBuilder, I guess you didn’t try them?
The main difference between the two Web based variants (Free and Shop) is that you cannot import .dwg or .dxf, edit Styles, solid tools with Free and have restricted Storage (10Gb) on Trimble Connect)
Your subscription will be tied to your Trimble ID and can be used on three devices (eg.Desktop, laptop and or Tablet/phone) the last mainly viewing stuff on Trimble connect or Viewer with AR, no ‘modelling’ on those devices)
If you are building the future, it might be worth diving a little deeper in how the way it works is transforming :slight_smile:


Some slight changes to what Dan and Mike said…

  1. Dan was almost word perfect, the only part to explain further is about how you get the new version. A long time ago you would pay about $500 to buy SketchUp, then $95 to update to the new release. I’m not sure how support was done, I never needed it at the time! Many years ago that was changed to be $575 of the cost is SketchUp, and $120 is maintenance and support (not just support). Also, you were obliged to be paying for the first year of M&S, hence the price of $695.

When you pay $120 to renew M&S you are paying for 12 months of support (phone, email, these forums). What updates that then gets you depends on the version release dates. If you happened to renew in late November 2017, you had the recently released 2018 version, but had run out of support before the 2019 version was released. If you renewed at the end of January 2019, you would have the 2018 version, soon got the 2019 version, and still be eligible for the 2020 release before your M&S ran out.

So, the license is a permanently working version of the latest SketchUp that you have activated, but any versions that are installed on the same machine will continue to work, and you may well have a license for versions that are later than the one you are currently using. Note that it isn’t permanent support or updates, if you don’t renew support you would need to stay on that latest version, and come to the forum to get help.

  1. What Mike says about being allowed to use SketchUp on three machines is technically possible, but not what the license covers (as I understand it). Both the permanent ‘Classic’ license and the subscription allow you to have two machines that can use SketchUp. For Classic that means you added the serial number based license to two particular machines. For subscription that means you have signed into your account on two given machines. There is some wording in the license that implies that you have to stop working on the first machine if you’re going to be using the second machine, but that’s small print that I don’t fully understand.

As it is not always convenient to remove the license, or sign out, from a second machine before activating on a third machine (perhaps you’re updating your computer), the system does let a third activation work. In the case of the Classic license you are likely to receive a warning email, to help remind you that you’re due to remove the license from the old machine.

In both cases, an attempt to use a fourth machine will fail. For Classic licenses it hopefully will be obvious to you that you had not removed the license from an old machine. For subscription it can be harder to understand. You may have forgotten signing in on a friend’s computer, or one at the library. There is also a problem case where if you sign in with 2019, update SketchUp to 2020, sign in to that (on the same machine), it can appear like you are signed in twice.

The solution to the too many activations of a subscription is that you can open 2019 briefly, sign out, open 2020, sign out, and sign in again. That fixes most cases. For other cases you can go into the account management page and deauthorize all devices, which will give you a fresh start, you would go to the computer you really needed to use, sign out, and sign in again.

Only other thing to mention is that the subscription covers two sign ins for each device type. If you are using AR features on mobile, you can be signed in on two devices to do that. It doesn’t count against your ability to also be signed in on two computers to use the desktop application.

Writing that last paragraph makes me realize there is something I need to test! I do strongly suspect that signing in with 2019, then 2020 without signing out of 2019, looks like two sign ins. I wonder if signing into Shop, then 2019 or 2020 desktop, would also seem like two sign ins…

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That is about Pro, specifically classic license, I do not think the OP has ever touched it or installed.

The desktop client is allowed to be activated on two machines, typically the desktop and and a laptop for ‘on the road’
Again, this is about SketchUp Pro (both subscription and classic)

With all forms of Subscription, the Eula talks about ‘devices’.
Typically, for Pro or Studio subscription, that would mean the aforementioned desktop and laptop and ‘a’ device for the AR/VR/MR Viewers.

You can log in on any computer or device with your login and start modelling or viewing, if you attempt to login on a fourth, you need to manage your subscriptions and deauthorize the other machines.
(Note that you cannot assign multiple identical plans to one Trimble ID, if you buy an Xtra Pro, that ‘seat’ must be assigned to another Trimble ID)
Since Classic Pro licenses have no access to the viewer, there is no need for a third activation, that one is reserved for crashes and lost laptops.
So, basically you get three activations, but you are only allowed to use two! That is a bit like leaving three biscuits on the table, tell the dog he may have two of them, and then leave the room…
Again, this is ‘classic’ Pro license.

For Shop (or Free), there is actually no (physical) limit by my knowledge, btw, merely inconvenience.

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Most of what I said was to answer things that you and Dan brought up, and not directly answering the original question.

What I said about it being two sign ins per device type is based on what the mobile app team told me.