The future of SketchUp

Excellent, and very simple idea.

Boys and Girls, I have made a lot of my SketchUp models available on my cloud storage… Most of my models are too large to Warehouse and I like to add narratives for the user… Enough BS preamble…

I upload all my models in 2016 format as I believe that is the latest 32bit freebie PC version… as all other versions are now 64bit, and some/many still have older computers… though I question it’s (PC) ability to handle more modern SU models.

Why not just store it as say 2016 which should make it available to all… assuming V2016(free) is still attainable for hobbyists… V8’ers upgrade!
I feel Trimble’s direction is forcing hobbyists away, making SU much less popular than even just a couple of years ago.
In the forum I support, more and more people are drifting from SU… I haven’t noted where to, as I am a confirmed SU tragic… nevertheless, this old dog is prepared to learn new tricks.


Sorry Adobe Suite subscription is probably the only honest subscription around - if this is possible, alas, with the flaw. Some users do not want to spend money on upgrading the full (unsubscribed) version every year.
Calculate how much the complete suite used to cost to purchase it. Compare or better divide this amount with your yearly subscription. I found it would take me at least 5 years of saving this amount in order to purchase a permanent copy. Then upgrading it each year would be out of the question. Now you can see certain advantages of subscription. In the case of AD, which set this trend is quite the opposite: the software that had an exorbitant price to begin with became even more expensive except now if this were a payment plan at least after the trouble of paying the company 8-10 years of loan repayments (with interest) you would own it. This is NOT the case. A kind of a lease without any benefits or heavy discount. Trimble is going down this pathway and treats all users the same - educators, students, single operation, small and large companies, everyone has to pay up or shut up. And how Marxist theory of production rings true here. I do not think we have a choice or say here. We have to pick our staff in 2-3 years and go to blender. Start converting

Why not offer people the option to use the program that is on the sever that does the converting either as a download desktop app or online conversion tool. This could be another product. Then you would never have to store old versions just the latest. If someone wanted to download a current model they do the conversion themselves back to 2017 model.

I have been saying this for ages and they just don’t care. They seem to think everyone has great internet connection and work from a wall internet connection. But i am on the road and GPS is never full coverage. Loads of reason why people are sticking with 2017. Just total control freaks forcing people to comply. You will own nothing and be happy.

  • Introduce an extensible .skp file format. One single file format to store on 3DWH. Readers (like old SketchUp versions) read out what they understand. Most users are interested in the geometry, not in the fancy features that a newer SketchUp version has introduced.
  • Or make long-term supported versions. The “latest version − 3” rule excludes many wide-spread SketchUp installations. But with larger version steps skp2021, skp2017, (skp2013…) you would cover more installations because SketchUp 2018 is able to read skp2017 format etc.
  • Or generate rarely downloaded versions on demand (as TDahl suggested) and cache them. A possible problem could be that it needs only a single user/scraper to request a conversion and you end up having all models in all versions.

We always say use an application’s native/proprietary format to store your project, but use an open exchange format for sharing with collaborators and other applications. It should be self-evident that this applies to a model repository as well. We have been understanding that 3DWH is not focussed on sharing between 3D modelers of the competition but to promote and enhance SketchUp. However, it appears the incompatibility between SketchUp versions is turning into a strong disadvantage of your product.


Very good point. As soon as the free version is gone (the offline one basically already is), even if slightly dummed down, you will quickly lose a lot of followers. The more a product is known, the more people are likely to want to use it or upgrade for more features. I think any free version should have all the features of a paid version, at least be able to make everything a paid version can, but not all the shortcuts/simplified tools. If a program is too dumbed down, people won’t use it en masse anyway, unless there are no other options.


Lots of good ideas here all! As a humble instructor/demo monkey, I do not have any direct access to make any sorts of changes, but I will mention this thread to the powers that be!


Very well put, I also am disappointed with Sketchup free, took the time to learn how to use it over the last year only to loose it. Changed to a new three button mouse and it will not work with the software. Keeps crashing out. That’s it not interested in paying each year for the software I am retired and on fixed income so have to watch my spending. Thanks Wayne


Hi Aaron, I watched your videos on dynamic components and learnt a thing or two (although I believe you could use them to make MUCH more complex shapes) so thanks for that, but going back on topic the point is that not enough has been done in my opinion and I feel SketchUp is slowly loosing the edge over competition. Live components for example has been mentioned as one of the reason why they need newer versions (aside form dotted lines); wouldn’t have been much better to build up on dynamic components that are way more powerful and flexible, to turn then in some sort of Grasshopper like the one Rhino has? I don’t know guys I don’t want to be too negative, this is meant to be constructive criticism, I just see a lot of missed opportunities here.


If it not mistaken, the reason we don’t convert on demand is for site responsiveness. Think about the last time you visited a website. If it took 5 seconds to respond you probably started to wonder if it was down… 10 to 15 seconds and you might give up. Secondly, you’d be surprised how (relatively) inexpensive storage is these days. It’s worth the cost for us to serve up a model instantly so SketchUp users can keep on sketchin’!


SU can be used 28 days offline before a validation w/ the license server is required, seems to be sufficient for bridiging a longer internet outage.

as more or less every software company as e.g. Adobe, Autodesk, Microsft etc. pp is in the meanwhile doin’…

… didn’t someone says once “If you want to drain a swamp, you shouldn’t ask the frogs.”

After activating a recent SUP license you can be offline for 28 days before being required for checking w/ the license server again, at least if you don’t wanna use the online services of course.

…but not so inexpensive that it is worth the cost to consume 25% more storage (approximately) to keep more SketchUp users “sketchin”. This kind of decision reduces the audience of SketchUp. even if there are non-obvious ways for users to work short-comings in the service. Perhaps those ways (such as using SketchUp Free to do a manual conversion) should be more obvious - mentioned on the 3D Warehouse somewhere next to the download buttons or something?


if I understand the SU v2021.0 release notes correct, the new file format API will allow to open the file formats of future SU versions with SU v2021 and higher. Which should defuse the problem in the mid term but obviously doesn’t help recent user of old versions yet.

As @Anssi already menitoned above, keeping the rev. 2017 format ad infinitum plus the most recent 3 revisions would allow users of the latest Make version still get hold of the documents in the future.

Why do you ask Trimble to convert cost less it to SU 2017 ?
Not sure I understand the question, sorry

Why do you think anyone would love to work (even more) for you for free?
I paid the software 800€ thinking that I would have access to the 3d Warehouse, but I am not saying that Trimble did something illegal, I am just saying I might consider switching to another software.

Why don’t you ask the original uploader to upload in that format what you like?
Not practical for every single model, plus it does not concern me; I own 2019, as I mentioned, it does not affect me at the moment.

Why don’t you download it in a DAE format and use it?
Not the same thing, time is valuable.

Why don’t you go and open in free web app and download it yourself?
Read above

Why do you think if 2017 format can hold the new features (like live component)?
Perhaps, aside from dotted lines, is the only thing it could be difficult to adapt

You can download all the content and convert it to format 2017 yourself. Why don’t you go and do and upload it for the others for free?


To stay on commercial software (and not to mention the extraordinary development of Blender and also its policy of LTS Long Time Support on certain versions, but it is true that even the versions under development are incredibly stable), I think that McNeel’s policy is much more interesting for everyone.

There is a version every 4/5 years with real new features. Sometimes a version gets a technical update even when the next one is released, so we have stable and pro versions. You don’t lose your license if you don’t buy the update, and even if you buy them all and know how to calculate, you realize that you are paying less than SketchUp in subscription. There is also a real listening to customers.

Maybe SketchUp’s annual update was a mistake, it brought bugs that sometimes lingered over several years. New feature are poor compared to previous time.

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Absolutely agree with your post. I am a SK user since version 1…(I don’t even remember what the precise name of the version was…) but I still remember that I paid $60.00 for the license…
I still use Sketchup every single day but I haven’t seen any real improvement for years. Layout is a total piece of krap and Sketchup would not exist without the thousand of beautiful plug-ins.
It chokes like a crazy with heavy geometry and the lack of native tools makes this software an obsolete and expensive necessity. I feel scammed…
By the way…I am investing in learning time looking for other options. As soon as I find the right one for my needs I will dump Sketchup. Shame on Trimble


I agree fully


Thanks a lot Tangomiami for bringing up excellent points!

1 - I too find that Layout is too detached from SketchUp, cumbersome and not helpful, at least for me.
2 - The community of developers like Fredo, Thom Thom etc…is really what is bringing the software forward, I am very grateful to them and to the original creators that set up such a flexible platform where everyone can just contribute.
3 - I agree that, compared to other software, SkecthUp chockes with very little geometry.

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