What’s up with SketchUp Make?



preferably to the core of the SU Professional version first.


Instead of making SketchUp Free from scratch, could they copy-paste SketchUp Make’s code & modify it to make a web version? I’m thinking it might be easier, but I don’t know…


If that was possible, don’t you think the developers would have done it?


Yeah… Probably. I still haven’t learned how to code yet though, so it’s all a mystery to me.


You can figure that they wouldn’t reinvent the wheel if they don’t have to.


As I recall from information that has been posed by SketchUp team members, this is in fact how SketchUp for Web (i.e., Free and Shop) have been implemented - derived from the SketchUp Desktop (i.e., Make and Pro) source code.


A lot of the codebase is shared between the versions, but it’s not copied and pasted. One of the first rules in coding is to never copy and paste! You should never repeat yourself. Instead you write something once, and then reference it from multiple places.


Really? Try using 2013 with the 3D warehouse, and see how far you get! It only supports back to 2014, just 3 versions earlier than 2017. We are already at 2019, 2 versions PAST 2017, so hold on to your hat if you expect Make 2017 to be compatible with anything in a year or two…


Yes. Really. The majority of free users are still using earlier versions of SketchUp. The reason that the 3D Warehouse only supports back to SU2014 is because Trimble had to move the 3D Warehouse off of Google’s servers which made the link to the warehouse non-functional. Those people using older versions of SketchUp can still get files from the Warehouse by downloading the Collada file and opening it.


How exactly did you get to this conclusion about what version the free users are using? Unless there is some type of way to see when they log on that seems like a guess to me. Just asking. Does SU call home to Trimble when the program starts?


There are statistics out there. And yes, if there’s an internet connection, SketchUp calls home.


OK, didn’t know. Was just curious about the data.


If the product is free, you are the product.


Interesting comparison - a table saw to a computer application. Tablesaws don’t change much over a few years these days. A table saw is a table saw is a table saw. The only reasons to upgrade a table saw, include it wears out, you need more power, want a safer saw, or you are moving into a more professional use and need a more professional saw. In the case of a computer application, it must be updated regularly or it just doesn’t work anymore. Even with regular updates to applications on other software, things just don’t work sometimes. A year may be too short a time, but I could see that Make 2017 will not longer function as desired within 2 years; hopefully longer, but I’m not counting on it.

Hopefully the Sketchup Team (Trimble) is interested in truly striking a balance between a professional version which isn’t required for users like myself who use it for creating furniture and other woodworking projects as a hobby and those who need the professional version. I’m not counting on it since the main reason for going the direction they are going is money and ease of maintenance. In the US, when the choice is between money and anything else, money wins.


Hobbyist and educational user of SketchUp since @last software created it. Got through the Google years unscathed, it even improved. The Web version is a massive step backwards. Friends have been too and can’t use their SpaceNavigators any more. Tut Tut.


I don’t know, I guess I would agree with @SketchUp3D_de on that one.

If you have been using something for over a decade for free, and then not happy it’s been reduced in scope after changing hands three times, it’s kind of hard to feel bad.

When I used to work as head of apps in my last company, it was great in the early days when we only had one size of iPad to worry about and a couple of phones. However within 5 years we had thousands of screens to hit. Despite the resources I had (even being one of the largest publishers in the world), we had to move away from bespoke apps targeted to devices or even OS’s and move into web apps (build once or twice and hit everything). It’s the only way we could manage to keep track of maintenance, developement and uptime. Although not the same as SketchUp the analogy is similar.

Make 17 still works fine, and the product team have been fairly open to say the web version is still WIP and then hope to include plugins in the future. I would think it fairly certain you would see some sort of Plugin Option before the depreciation of Make unless you are on a Mac, but even then it’s still up in the air regarding hardware and that would also affect Pro in the same way.


Hi Steve, thanks for posting and welcome to our user forums. I hope you find this is a place that is worth coming back to again. Lots of good and helpful people here. We appreciate the support you’ve shown for SketchUp over the many years you have used it.

If you are an educational user of SketchUp, I’m sure you know about our special programs for Students and Educators. If you qualify for those programs, SketchUp Pro, in the latest desktop client version, is either free or cheap for you.

Unfortunately, this one isn’t going to be easy or come soon. We need support from 3D Connexion to be able to access their devices from the browser, and we haven’t got that yet. I just popped over to their website to see if there is something new available to us, but I didn’t see what I needed on first glance. I sent off an email to see if there’s some help to be had. But this one probably will take time.

3D Connexion support is the only specific thing you mentioned as missing in SketchUp Free, but there must be some more things on your mind to qualify our browser implementation as a massive step backwards. What else are you missing? Can you share anything more about the kind of work you’re doing with SketchUp Make today?

Thanks, Liam- I appreciate the support. As you observe, it is tough to make something entirely new stick in the software development world, but we’re all very excited and energized by the adoption of SketchUp Free so far. Only a small percentage of users take the time to post in our forums (or in any forums on the internet), and a disproportionately large percentage of them are typically folks with a beef to share.

I am keen to support end-user development in SketchUp for Web in the future, but as you guys have seen me say several times already, this is a tough project that isn’t going to come soon. We’re much more able to implement the sort of features that are most commonly accessed through an extension right in the core application. That’s the path we’re on for now.

SketchUp for Web API(s) - what, when, how?

Some things I want improved with SketchUp Free:

  • The orbit tool doesn’t change into a hand when you hold shift.
  • Sometimes tools don’t change icons when I switch tools.
  • The web app crashes a lot once models get to a certain size. This is an extremely big problem because it makes the 3D modeling process take much longer and the program isn’t functioning properly for me.
  • Not enough materials in the free version for making realistic 3D models for art or game design.
  • The scroll wheel zoom is too fast.
  • Custom shortcuts (hidden geometry, explode, make group, etc.)
  • The rotated rectangle tool is unnecessary.
  • Add the extension warehouse This is the most important thing because people need certain extensions to accomplish what they want. For example, modeling extensions (round corner, extrude edges by vector, Eneroth erode terrain, etc), rendering (Twilight V2), etc.
  • A more reasonable side limit for circles than 999 because you can get lag from one circle.
  • The SketchUp watermark is unnecessary and it takes up screen space.
  • The upgrade now watermark could go into a menu to increase screen space. When people see the outliner or custom materials say, “Upgrade Now” they might want to upgrade. If people are legitimately using SketchUp Free, then they won’t miss the advertisement if it’s in a menu.
  • People love SketchUp Make, so they’re disappointed to see it discontinued. Even if the SketchUp team decided to update SketchUp Make only once every 5 years, I’m sure people would be happy to see SketchUp Make be continued. Users want a desktop version, so they can use it when they have no internet access. I’m worried that one day there won’t be a free desktop version anymore.
  • The “zoom window” tool doesn’t zoom to the exact window you draw, but SketchUp Make does.
  • In the right click menu, cut/paste is more recognizable as a word instead of an icon because people know how to read, but they won’t know what those symbols mean until they learn them. The same goes for the hide, receive shadows, and cast shadows symbols. And the icons on the right side of the screen (Entity Info, Outliner, Etc.)
  • “Right click -> Area -> Selection” doesn’t bring up the area of the selection, but SketchUp Make does.
  • List the shortcuts somewhere because I can’t figure out the shortcut for redo. Command + Z is undoing, but Shift + Command + Z isn’t redoing. I noticed there’s a redo button on the bottom of the screen though.
  • “Right Click -> Soften/Smooth Edges” doesn’t bring up the smooth edges sliders or anything.
  • Search Layers doesn’t work for me. Nothing happens when I type in the name of a layer.
  • Add length snapping.

Some things I like about SketchUp Free:

  • You can use it anywhere with internet access.
  • The freehand tool is more accurate than SketchUp Make’s.
  • It has the outer shell tool :smiley:.
  • The ground is transparent, so it doesn’t get in the way.
  • The UI looks really nice and polished with the bar on each side. Also, it’s more organized than the Mac version of SketchUp Make because the info windows collapse smaller (than in SketchUp Make) and they can’t break up into windows all over the screen.
  • It’s free :smiley:.
  • SketchUp for Web is sufficient for planning small personal projects.
  • I like the entity info box because it displays the information very clearly in an easy to understand way. Specifically, the “front face material” & “back face material” boxes have written titles, unlike in SketchUp Make (which just has a couple boxes).
  • The “add selection to current layer” button is a notably useful new tool. I’ve never seen that tool before.


Agree with most things except Add Selection to Active Layer. Changing the active layer is a recipe for disaster. As SketchUp layers aren’t really layers (drawing contexts owning entities) but tags or classes assigned to entities, changing it comes with a huge risk of accidentally merging entities with different layers and gets all sorts of weird behavior, especially when one of them is hidden. In my view just adding this action shows a lack of understanding what SketchUp layers are and how they are intended to be used. I wish the UI had gone the opposite direction here. When there was a change to re-design the UI from scratch it would be wise to try removing the active layer option altogether.


Thanks for your detailed list, this is very helpful to our engineering team as they look forward to the next things we should work on to make SketchUp better and better all the time. I especially appreciate the time you spent using SketchUp Free and I’m glad to see you see some of its best advantages as well.

You’ve seen me respond to several of your larger requests in detail elsewhere in these forums, but let me address some of your other ideas here as well. I appologise that this is a long response, but your list is also pretty long, so here we go…

These sound like straight-up bugs; thanks for reporting them. If we are able to reproduce them in the lab, I’ll file them for fixing with the engineering team.

This is certainly a common request, and it is one I have committed to working on elsewhere in these forums. Unfortunately, truly customizable keyboard shortcuts are wickedly complex to implement, so you shouldn’t be surprised if you have to wait a bit longer before we get them done. If custome shortcuts are critical to the way you work, I’d recommend sticking with the SketchUp Make desktop client for a while longer.

The crashing you are experiencing with larger models probably has to do with running out of memory. This is, unfortunately, something that is tough for us to predict programmatically (in fact, it is formally undecidable (an overly nerdy link but this is an interesting problem in computer science). And unfortunately, browsers aren’t as graceful in how they manage memory as you might like.

But in the end, nobody likes crashes and we’re always working to minimize them. Sometimes there is work we can do, sometimes it is up to the browser. Chrome and Firefox remain our best platforms for SketchUp Free. Looking at today’s crash stats, Chrome appears to be better at managing memory than Firefox. But this is changing all the time. We’re working on this kind of thing all the time.

These issues sound like changes you would have wanted us to make in the desktop application as well as the web application. I’m sure a bigger selection of stock materials would be appreciated by everyone, but possibly there would be more resistance to the idea of removing Rotated Rectangle entirely. Anyhow, we would want to study that more before committing to make a change.

These features have been implemented already, but it sounds like you don’t care for how we exposed them in the user interface. They do certainly represent changes from the UX for our desktop client application. I appreciate the feedback, but I can’t promise that we’ll make changes here without studying the problem with a wider set of users.