What’s up with SketchUp Make?



I will indeed continue to drive my “car” for a while, but I very much don’t want to be in the situation where I am driving my car like normal, and I take it to the gas station one day expecting to get more gas, and suddenly discover that all gas stations have been simultaneously upgraded to electric-only refueling and no longer sell gas, so that suddenly I am unexpectedly left stranded out in the middle of nowhere with no transportation and a desperate need to be somewhere.

Also, note that if SketchUp was a car, that it would be one for which the manufacturer made purchasers sign a contract (Trimble’s EULA) when they buy the car such that under no circumstances will “car owners” open the hood or attempt to figure out how the car works or attempt to repair anything inside it themselves or allow third parties to do so. In this case, the car manufacturer also apparently considers blueprints (source code) to be trade secrets. Consequently, if my abandoned-by-the-manufacturer car ever breaks unexpectedly, I will be completely helpless. The manufacturer won’t repair it, and they won’t allow anybody else to either. (Note, by the way, that such a contract for a car would be illegal, in blatant violation of the Magnuson-Moss warranty act, and that the legality of “licensed, not sold” contracts for other types of goods like software is rather legally questionable and has failed before when tested in court. But I digress…)

How long would you drive a car under these conditions? Wouldn’t you try to get a new car as soon as reasonably possible before unexpected circumstances (breakage, incompatibility) inevitably forced you to do so anyway, probably without warning and at the worst possible time?

If Trimble goes out of business or decides that future development of SketchUp (or SketchUp Free) is not in their best interests, their cloud service could go away with little warning, and anyone with data left in it could simply be out of luck. Even people with SketchUp Make 2017 installed on their own desktops could see their access to online services (extensions, plugins, model libraries, etc.) disappear without warning, with no recourse. And of course bugs, even serious ones, would never be fixed. (At least Blender was sold to the Open Source community for future development when the company that created it decided it was no longer financially viable. I see no fallback position like that here.)

I am a software developer by profession. Software rot (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_rot) is a real thing: I have learned the hard way not to invest large amounts of effort into dead and dying platforms, programming languages, and software tools. (“There is nothing as difficult and as expensive, but also nothing as futile, as to try to keep a corpse from stinking.” – Peter Drucker.) It remains to be seen whether SketchUp’s formerly dynamically thriving ecosystem can withstand being divided strictly into “people who can’t write or use extensions and can afford to trust all of their work to a potentially-unavailable-at-any-time severely-memory-and-performance-limited unscriptable cloud-based webservice” and “people who can afford to pay $700 for a CAD tool”. The reason I wrote my above post was to hope that long before I have had to make a decision to abandon Sketchup Make 2017 for something else, that Trimble will have given me, and people like me, an additional alternative to these options.

I can still use Sketchup Make 2017 for the time being. It meets my current needs of the moment, provided I don’t run into severe bugs. But if a year or two goes by and nothing has been done about this situation, I will assume that the hobbyist market for the product is effectively dead, and I will be seriously looking for alternatives. I hope that doesn’t happen, because I like SketchUp, and I have invested considerable time and effort into learning how to use it, but just as Trimble faces financial realities, so do I, and cutting my losses and starting to devote time to learning a new piece of software (instead of spending time becoming more expert at SketchUp) will eventually seem like the least risky strategy.


For all the reasons you given above I support your argument. The web based SketchUp is not a win-win for SketchUp or the end user.

Like you I would much rather pay $100 - $150 for a desktop SketchUp make than use a free web based version without any support for plugins.

The free web based version provides no revenue for SketchUp, how does this make sense?

Trying to push more quasi-serious users all the way to Pro is not going to work either, the price tag/cost barrier is just too high.

Please provide a middle ground solution for this segment of users and make some money in the process.

By leaving out layout and other advanced features I do not think that doing so will cannibalize sales.

I don’t like to talk negatively about SketchUp since I think it is an amazing piece of software and its people are also amazing (I was lucky enough to meet and chat with a few of you during Basecamp 2018). However, I do think that the leadership at the top need to take another hard look at this and give it some consideration.


If the license allowed commercial use I think it would. You don’t buy Pro for the extra features; you buy it to be able to use it for work.



Trimble has, in effect, removed the only good springboard to Sketchup Pro.

The top product strategy decision makers at Trimble Sketchup ought to take a long hard look at the user response to removing beginners’ sole desktop gateway to Pro. It is one year in. We have read the user response.

Executive summary: Users can contain their enthusiasm.

By themselves, web versions can be a good thing. So what’s the problem?

The problem is – that the web versions continually sever the link between newcomers and professionals. This flourishing connection was one of the things that made Sketchup great. New users will not find their way to a depreciated Make. Stopping development of Make while not substituting it with some middle ground desktop version – that is the problem.

What Sketchup needs is a desktop way to ease the transition to Pro. With extensionability and performance intact. Be it zero-cost, low-cost, or low-cost with 99 days full trial.

Thank you!

This very trusted and valued segment of the Sketchup community is left with a growing gulf between a perhaps large user base for the web version, and us. Commercial licensing notwithstanding, the web versions cannot be used professionally even for a start.

Why? The web versions:

• crash and burn by heavy geometry
• lack support of existing extensions
• eschew desktop UI conventions
• are so slow that they are outrun by my garden snail’s grandmother

Installation-less software can still install something. Into web newcomers – it installs a psychological bar to proceeding to desktop. Into the Pro and developer user base – it installs the sense of being subtly marooned. We can no longer help new users grow fond of, develop for, and transition to Pro. Simply because the websters are using another program.

We gaze into this growing Sketchup gulf – and the growing gulf also gazes into us.

I have worked with Sketchup every day for years and now use Pro professionally. I would never be here had it not been for Make. No Pro is an island.

Make Make great again


Make Make great again, I like it… MMGA!


I 100% agree with Jbacus

I got started using the prior to “make” editions. I had lots of extensions and mods to make the program work for me and help me over time learn the program better. At one point my company ordered around 7 pro versions to have me start training others for large layout ideas in production. This Browser version is just terrible at best and unstable with most medium size designs now.

I got started by getting familiar over the course of a year, using it on and off . I did this until I was able to finally have enough knowledge and confidence to make a model or 2 of the production lines to show to management that the program is worth buying by showing what it can do for us. We / I never would have looked at it if it had the functionality it has today. Its so limited and featureless that it can’t be used to do more than a kids school modeling project.

Let me give you an example. Make a simple room and try importing a few designs from the warehouse files. Thats where youll stop. because its to much for the browser. If it does work, its super slow. So before I left my last company I told them to cancel the current Pro-versions and I’ll find a new program to work with going forward…since new people are not going to be trained on one of the 7 pro-versions we have. Its sad to because they had a lot of floor design drawings I went and deleted because of that…

I also think that the decision was a low blow to people that have spent YEARS building stuff for the 3D Warehouse of theirs. These models severed 2 purposes. 1- to allow many items for importing to be created in high detail and 2- as a selling point for Trimble to say "hey…look at all these community creations available to choose from. Yes they did not have a paid version but they created stuff so those with them have a better program with more options now.

This goes for the Extensions also. All these great extension that were made are now useless in The WEB version. Sorry these extension made this program so much more powerful than in its stock version.

We all get the need to make a profit concept …BUT you should have done it a different way than the way you executed this roll out to make it more profitable.or get people to buy your pro version. Maybe offer Rendering or better materials,or different in-program testing simulations…



Pro and Make still have the same functionality!

Who says that pro is going to be discontinued in the near future?
I use Make for hobby purposes and it still works and will probably for many years!


You probably shouldn’t be using the web version for commercial work. Since your company has 7 Pro licenses, you should just use those.


I would have you prosecuted for theft of company assets…

you have no idea what the future holds or how valuable any asset may become…



REALLY? you thought i maliciously did that -NOT maliciously deleted them. We had no use for them after we decided to pitch the program and I just rebuilt the data in another program we decided to move to


Just so you know… Currently Pro licenses never expire. They come with one year of free upgrades, but the license itself is perpetual.

I probably wouldn’t have ditched $4,865 dollars worth (7 X $695) of software that still had a valid license, but that’s your choice.


So you destroyed a bunch of SketchUp files made by your company because development of SketchUp Make was discontinued? And that discontinuation affected you how? Unless you were using Make for commercial purposes, which means you were violating the license agreement, there’d be absolutely no impact on you.


When It came to teaching new people or trying to get them to see if they like doing that type of work to start with they were not going to buy a new license for each person. We would give them some things to try to tinker with or trial tasks that played to their hobbies at home to attempt to try at home on their time if they were interested. if they liked it then we would buy the program for them. Hence the 7 license we had at that point. We then had 2 leave and I was the point person that eventually left/planning to leave in a few months and I made the call to toss the program being that they didnt like the changes that came down the pipeline from Trimble and I wasnt going to revamp the way things were going to need to be done to address them either.


There’s a 30-day trial period of the pro version. No need to use Make for that.


I found minimal use for the basic or even pro version features. The Make version 2017 allowed extensions and other stuff I couldnt get with the browser version and dont feel I should pay to be able to use extensions that were free to add. kind of dumb. There was also grumblings that a subscription service was coming on a yearly basis and that was the final straw for my last place of work. I know they moved to something recently but not sure what program it is. I’ll have to ask next time I talk to people there.From what I hear, they like it a lot more than Sketchup. Kinda sad since I helped them launch the sketchup but I guess out with the old in with the new. I wish them all the best


So now it comes out. You were using SketchUp Make for commercial use. Make is not licensed for commercial use so you were violating the agreement you enter into. No sympathy here for you, then.


what I find most interesting in the responses back to me so far is the focus on licenses and nothing on any other point really except 1 person… For those more worried about being Trimbles Police Watch dog…I HAD 7 PRO VERSIONS (READ THE MESSAGES FOR ONCE)


OH please already…what ever the stupid 2017 pro version was called MAKE or PRO or whatever. Hell, I usually still refer to it as Google Sketchup a lot of times. And it was useful to have when sending people home to try stuff to seek out interest in doing this type work, to list a few extensions they could try that were highly suggested to use. Some of the community members I thought made better features than the programers for Sketchup.

Wait a minute aren’t you the one that goes by TOMTOM or something close like that in the community area (an extension developer)


as for the Browser version now. It s performance is dismal at best


A lot of us are not overly enthusiastic about the hobby version moving to the web. The desktop version is simply put superior in every way (except that it cannot run on Chromebooks and other almost-computers).

However I’m not sure how this change affects the ability to use Pro. Yes, we can feel sorry for all the kids and hobbyists that don’t get the chance to play with Make, but I can’t see how professional use is affected. Also SketchUp 2017 Make is still available if you want people to pick it up for hobby use and learn it at home. SketchUp 2017 is as good today as it was when released (at least on PC where backward compatibility is good).

Dave and ThomThom are different people btw (even though Dave’s profile picture features ThomThom’s legendary bowler hat).