Trial period woes


Well, this is a consistent problem I have - I down load some trial software and because I am busy I might actually use it for an hour or two and the month has passed, and I never really used any of the full version attributes. Such is the case with this latest 2016 version. Personally I prefer the time used rather than the calendar days trials.

The other problem - the dreaded learning curve. Maybe it was SU 14 or 15 I tried to learn layout by doing a project. It made my life hell trying to bang out a project before the software ran out, as I kept tripping over my lack of understanding how layout worked. Ultimately, I had to down load SU on my other computer to finish the job.

The city plan checker tore my plans apart in front of my client, who decided he was an a**, and so we bootlegged in the work, and I never did make his corrections. So I have never opened layout since

Now, much later, I wonder if there’s a better way to do trial runs, such as making different trial options - if you want X hrs press option A, or if you would prefer 30 days, press option B etc.



Won’t happen again likely. It was being abused. The license software has changed vendor since the old days when the trail was hours spent. Not sure even if the new license scheme can support x hours.

Then again, you use the term “client”, which suggest a commercial use of SketchUp, which requires a Pro license. Which makes the whole argument you’re making seem strange.


It’s the tool that sits in one of your bins that seldom gets used. I have a beam saw - it cost maybe $350 when I bought it in the 80’s. I maybe use it once a year. It it were stolen, I wouldn’t replace it. But it is very handy when I do use it. I am not a design professional. I don’t draw buildings or additions for a living. I would like to do more of that because I am older, and I don’t have the speed, strength or stamina I used to. So I need to alter my career path. Now I have to learn the ropes. I have to self train. I don’t have time to sit around and learn by practice drawing stuff like I did in photography college. I was there for the BA program and we did setups of the different lighting etc. to learn that trade. I have a wife, bills, mortgage, and employees who depend on my being able to sell jobs.

I had to draw up a complicated range hood duct. It had to go from 4" x 12" to 8" square while staying below the cabinet line and go sideways around the stud in the wall. I used it to give to the sheet metal fabricator. I could have drawn it by hand but a sketchup drawing looks crisper.

Is that considered commercial use?

The bulk of the things I use it for are like that - to communicate my concept to another professional. And there are times it is faster to draw it by hand, and yet I may spend the time using sketchup to improve my facility with the program. To me that’s a vast grey area.

I was going to draw a quick as-built of a section through an elevated carport so the engineer could tell me if the floor beams could be notched or not. I had my lap to there - instead, I drew if by hand, photographed it with my cell phone and texted it to him. I could have used sketchup - it would have been to scale, but I would have spent 3 times as much time. Further, that time would have doubled yet again if I had exported it to layont. Style builder? I have never even opened it. It’s the cousin you’ve never met yet is related to you.

I would be willing to pay $2-300 for the free version that did not have layout or the style builder, but could read auto cad files etc. I have used layout once. Frankly it was hell trying to learn to use it. It irks me to some extent to pay $700 for a tool that a third I would never use. In my last few additions I that I designed, I drew up versions with sketchup, got a customer ok, then hired a draftsman to do the plans in auto cad for submittal to the city.

I think that Trimble should consider that as an option. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are plenty of people in the same I am - they use the gelded free version because they have no need for layout.

Anyway, am I all wet here?



You aren’t all wet in discussing a thinned-down, lower-cost but not free version of SketchUp. That request comes up fairly often and is reasonable. There are a lot of people who would like the solid tools and importer/exporter extensions from Pro but don’t care about Layout or Style Builder.

It is a Trimble business decision whether to introduce such a version and, if they do, what price and license terms to put on it. I don’t work for Trimble and so far as I know they have never publicly discussed their thoughts on this subject, so I won’t pretend to read the tea leaves on what they may do in the future.

However, I have to agree with @DanRathbun that the cases you describe are clearly commercial use. It does not matter how often you use the tool or which features you need and do not need. What matters is whether you are using it for personal purposes or as part of a business. Under the current license terms, you must get a Pro license to use SketchUp in any part of your business.


well, maybe I’ll go back to using the sketchup version 8 - that way there is no conflict with Trimbles regulations, since it’s not one of their products. If I can find a copy that doesn’t have a virus attached to it like the last time I downloaded that version.