Trouble opening old files

I created files back in 2018 which have been stored on an external hard drive for some time - I now need access to them again but they won’t open - it just says ‘Failed to open Document’ I am still using an old free version 2017 of sketchup, the file is large - 508MB so I am unable to open it with the online version as it is too big … looking to upgrade soon and concerned that I will also have the same problem if I invest in a newer version.

It will depend on your hardware, not the desktop SU version.

I’ve worked with even larger SU files a few years ago, with millions of edges, and many tens of thousands of component instances and found it was only usable with a lot of layers/tags turned off. Even then, the largest files created by a colleague (around 800MB) took me up to 20 mins to open. They could then be fluid to orbit, zoom, and work in though.

Faster single thread CPU and more RAM may help - mine was then, and still is, an i5 iMac, with 32 GB RAM and a 2GB AMD graphics card.

He had an i7 processor, which worked very markedly faster, but only a 21" screen to drive, which may have helped too.

Is there a reason you posted this in the SketchUp for Web category? And your profile says you are using SketchUp Free (web).

Share the .skp file with us so we can take a look. Maybe we can get it to open.


I am still quite new to the Sketup Forum… I have used Sketch Free for Work and Personal use since 2012 but have only ever used it with its Free limitations. The file is of a large Bathroom showroom I designed years back which I now need access to again, it has a lot of warehouse components – baths/ toilets/ basins/radiators ect which mainly contributed to its large size. Below is the file (via Wetransfer) if you are able to view it and help I would be forever grateful! I have also just purchased Sketch-up Pro and it still does not open!

Many thanks!


Well, that’s not good. It’s a violation of the EULA. You need to be using SketchUp Pro or at least SketchUp Shop.

I suspected that. It’s not uncommon for 3D Warehouse components to be bloated and overly detailed for the way folks like you need to use them. That’s one of the reasons why it is recommended to download components into a separate file so they can be cleaned up and streamlined.

I tried opening your file and get the Unexpected File Format message. It might be that @colin can open it but I’m going to guess you would be smarter to first start using sketchUp 2022 Pro and then rebuild your model correctly making sure that the components you add are not overly detailed. Also make sure you are purging unused stuff from your file. If you insert a component and later change your mind and delete it from the model space, you still need to purge the component from the file. Just deleting that ugly couch from the model space doesn’t get rid of it. You’ve only dragged it out to the garage. Purge to get it off the property.

I couldn’t recover anything in the scene. This file has the materials and components recovered, you will have to rebuild the scene using the components that are in the In Model set in the Components tray.

Thanks Dave,

To be honest it was something I downloaded when I attended college in 2009 and only just used it for its basic line drawing ability initially until I started designing our showroom – we actually use a programme called Fusion and also Innoplus for our Bathrooms and Kitchen client designs which is fully licenced and paid for but like I said I have infact just purchased a Sketchup Pro Licence.

Thank you very much for your advice – I wasn’t aware that if you download components into a separate folder first before importing them that they save space or that it is important to purge the file – I will certainly look into doing that.



Simply downloading them into a separate file before adding them to your project doesn’t save space. It gives you an opportunity to look at the component, decide whether it is what you want, and clean it up as needed before stuffing it into your project. It’s not unusual for components from the 3DWH to be overly detailed for the way you will use them in an interior design. Bathroom fixtures seem to be a big offender in this area. Here’s a good example. Looks nice but at 57 Mb it’s a liability in your model if you’re designing an entire bathroom. It has much more detail than would ever be seen unless you zoom in closely to it.

Purging unused will get rid of components and materials you no longer want in your file. Of course if you are examing and cleaning components before you bring them into your model there’ll probably be less purging needed. It’s still important in cases where you or the client change your mind later.

If you’re using SketchUp 2022 Pro please correct your forum profile.

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