What’s up with SketchUp Make?

Is a not paying customer a customer?

Or the price ?

This will likely lead to a ‘race to the bottom’

Why ‘against’ when you can play along ?

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I’m not sure I agree. I personally believe Trimble intends to move everything to the cloud and this is the first step. As I mentioned earlier, it is a significant investment to create a cloud based platform and I can’t imagine it’s only for a free SU version. The question is when will they move Pro to the cloud, and what will be the eventual fallout at that time? At the minimum, I would expect all plugins will have to be rewritten.

This is obviously a huge shift in product marketing and strategy. I hope they paid attention to the New Coke fiasco as they may have a similar conundrum on their hands if not handled correctly. I once read where SU was the most used 3D application in the world. Perhaps that’s no longer a goal?

OTOH, there are some really good cloud-based apps out there. I’m a HUGE fan of Google Apps and insist all contractors I work with use them. The collaboration feature is awesome, and if sharing can be as seamless for SketchUp Live, then that could possibly be a game changer for some. Still, I would really like it if SketchUp would acknowledge others in the 3D ecosystem. There are lots of companies which are now focusing on trimming the pipelines and workflows between their products and 3rd party apps, and I’m not convinced SU yet knows how to play in this world.

We’re in for an interesting next couple of years. And unfortunately, I suspect not much in the way of new 3D functionality as I would think most all resources (people and money) will be spent on this new cloud platform.

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I agree with you to a degree, the simplicity of SketchUp is what draws me to it and the ability to pull in whatever plugin I like courtesy of the excellent API. However, there does seem to be some core functionality that is or was missing and I think other professional users can attest to this.

Don’t get me wrong I love using SketchUp, its a joy to use. I would hate to see it decline because of poor business decisions.


Google Apps does have some very handy tools, I agree that their are certain cloud based apps out there that do excel.

I just don’t see a web based CAD system as successful, at least not in its current form. If you can figure out how to incorporate the Ruby API and support plugins then it might have a chance but my suspicion is that its performance might suffer especially if it is somehow too dependent on the users internet connection.

Taking all of SketchUp to a web based app is utter silliness in my opinion. I always say don’t fix what isn’t broken. What does SketchUp stand to gain by taking their flagship product from a stable desktop app to a cloud based app?


“What does SketchUp stand to gain by taking their flagship product from a stable desktop app to a cloud based app?”

Very good point and the reason I seriously suggested the former Google developers may be trying to pad their resume. I really don’t see any other good reason-- especially when one looks at the downside and potential risks.

For instance, how can one not assume this foretells a similar move to the cloud for SU Pro in a year or two?


I first began using SketchUp when @last owned, as I was given a complimentary full version from @last at an architecture industry conference to encourage the firms use of it. Then years later I saw Google buy it and make great improvements to it, made a very functional free version, which in turn built an immense following behind the product. Now I have seen Trimble buy it and have since then watched Trimble bit by, bit by, bit destroy all the great things about it. I am so disappointed with the direction Trimble has been going and with striping away Make from a desktop version to a very inferior web version and then forcing consumers to pay $800 in order to have a desktop version for software that has been made weaker in the first place is beyond my comprehension… If you Trimble really wanted to keep the amount of users/following that Google helped SketchUp amass then you shouldn’t have spit in the faces of all those out there who can’t afford to pay $800 for a desktop application. If your web version did all the exact same things and more then I wouldn’t be making this statement. If the release of your web version is a reflection of Trimble’s position and loyalty to their users/following as a whole and how they feel about their users/followers then they just made the biggest middle finger statement to its users/followers who can’t afford their $800 pro version. Trimble needs to keep in mind that many of those users/followers if not most of them encourage their employers to purchase the pro versions. A user once had the ability to improve upon their SketchUp skills at home and find ways to utilize SketchUp and test new ways of working through the use of extensions and such. When a Make user goes to work they could introduce these newfound ways of working into their offices workflow with the pro versions that their companies paid for. As many offices don’t allow their employees to research or discover new ways to work out ideas on company time and the company dime. Granted Make 2017 is still currently available, we can be certain that even that won’t last long either. Now that the users ability to learn and develop at home and take that learning and development to the office is lost entirely there is little reason for users/followers to encourage their employers to buy the pro versions. There is no honest reason other than to force a purchase out of a user/followers desperation and no relationship born from desperation will ever last long… Most design firms already use an Autodesk product package and Autodesk has continued to develop their programs and they keep getting better and better (i.e. Formit)… SketchUp already had an incredible amount of competition but because of their free Make product, it has been keeping people from exploring some of these new competitor autodesk products as well as other competitor products out there. Trimble will have a big wake up call one day when they lose their market share due to their ignorance. Now that I have been spat upon, I am going to migrate away from Trimble products entirely. Trimble has decided to drop a big fat steamer and flipped the bird at their users/followers they had, it seems like now is as good of a time as any to dump Trimble all together and show them what loyalty really means. Trimble needs to realize and remember that just because Make users didn’t pay for the software doesn’t mean those users/followers have not contributed to SketchUp’s massive success, where a cult like following and community had been built. If anything I would say the fact that Make was free directly contributed to the overall success of SketchUp and doing so gave them an incredible reach. But sadly it seems that Trimble doesn’t care about any of that and so therefor I (the design director for my firm ), and many others like me to follow, will be making it a policy to no longer allow our staff to use any Trimble product ever again for any of our work. We have had an office meeting amongst our managers and we all concur to eliminate SketchUp from our workflow due to this and the other features having been removed from both Make and Pro. Nice work spitting on your users/followers Trimble, good luck surviving the storm you just created…


Dear SketchUp team,

I believe all modelers appreciate huge improvements you made to the software over the years. But it seems that you have forgotten that main reason for success of SketchUp was 3D warehouse and 3rd party plugins. Both of those were populated for free by thousands of developers and contributed vastly to the value that you are now trying to capitalize on.

Very disappointed.


Apparently some really upset people, myself included, and I don’t mind personally paying for the Pro version. What I don’t like is the huge investment I’ve made with the SketchUp platform only to have the rug pulled from under me as a developer. My upcoming clientele will now largely evaporate.

Some have suggested that I apply my coding skills at developing similar plugins for Revit instead. I already know that the structural plugin I am working on will be a big deal regardless of what platform I use, the question is will SketchUp be around long enough to support it should I choose that route?


A HORRIBLE idea to make Sketchup a web based application. Why would I put my work/ideas on somebody else’s hard drive, (cloud). Ever heard of Equifax?


Hello Caroline I’m sorry that they let you bring the news about the new ‘‘free’’ Sketchup. The slogan ALWAYS FREE , is a Very disappointing development for me and must be for many more users who with much pleasure using Sketchup sins the start. It feels like I’m offered a house, a nice house in your words, BUT, there doesn’t seem to be a roof on it needed windows and doors, its …Facking cold in here. As well as the transport to my so cold new place has really slow infrastructure to it. With mobile speed the joy of using it will soon be cone. So here i am with my Sketchup Make with all it’s nice extensions (some even paid for ! ) looking at a bleak new future of Sketchup, the warmed.
Any Way… I would like to shout and scream louder but i will hold my breath a bit longer.
I don’t think most people are ready for the internet version yet. Most or an lot of users are in very poor internet area’s and so you are cutting of a lot of good talent including me. Why don’t you have a Pro, Make with the opportunity to develop one self AND a free internet version with extreme little possibilities for on the go.
Anyway I’m extremely upset about this development and hope it will be rectified in the soon as possible future. Yours friendly Makki

Change is hard!!!

After I calmed down and realized that there are a ton of advantages to having a web-accessible version of SketchUp I began to embrace the change. Personally, I found it to be a good opportunity to go ahead and purchase SU Pro as I have been wanting to do for some time.

I appreciate the post, Caroline, and especially the link to the now vintage Make 2017. However it is clear that it’s not exactly being touted on the main website which might ease the transition for people. I would think having a stable Make app for Sketchup would be a good thing at the end of the day. If that is going to be SU 2017 that’s a good thing but I would try and make it more accessible from the website myself.

Caroline and others:

Here is your quote:

“That’s why you can continue to depend on SketchUp Make in its current build. Although we aren’t updating SketchUp Make this year – and we won’t be updating it in the future – it’s still available for download on our website252 or within our web app modeler35 if that’s your preference.”

This has to be the classic in-your-face statement from the software establishment. Are you folks not aware there is a very serious, game changing flaw with SketchUp Make 2017? Your corporate statement means the current bugs will not be addressed, much less fixed, from now on. Why in the world would anyone bother with your software? What you are saying is that the 5-20 second delay every time the SELECT TOOL is used, remains a permanent “feature” of the current SketchUp Make 2017 package, with no plans by you to consider a fix. Unfortunately, I have found it also applies to SketchUp Make 2016 as well and there is no lasting work-around I have discovered.

Since the SELECT TOOL is first used with almost every modeling action, this extremely irritating delay makes SketchUp Make useless. None of your serious users need, nor can tolerate this hassle. It is particularly irritating since Make 2017 was running fine until just recently. Although we don’t choose to, we users will do what you don’t want - move on to another software choice. Even those that would willingly upgrade to Pro, have to carefully consider throwing their lot ($) with a company and a software program that already has a full share of shortcomings. These shortcomings are not subtle and many have been noted in this and other threads. Printing is a fifteen year old prime example that comes to mind.

When the SELECT TOOL problem emerged, I installed a new copy of SketchUp 2017, and as expected, I was granted use of SketchUp Pro for 30 days. I quickly learned that the Pro edition also suffers from the SELECT TOOL problem, which raised the obvious question - “Why would anyone upgrade to Pro and pay $700 for a stagnant software program?”

From the thread, SketchUp.Live was described by experienced users as not much more than a “toy”. Evidently, it is slow, short of many basic functions, does not offer extensions, etc. Personally, I see no reason to even look at it. Sure, further development will probably come in the future, but as some informed posters have admitted, there are monumental problems bringing “Live” up to the level of “Make”, and will take considerable time, effort, and funds. Many users can’t suffer the wait and will move on, which is my only option.

I wouldn’t mind paying a nominal value for a qualified software modeler, but the Company’s current stance of providing no support, no further updates, no fixes, and requiring payment for the current bug-filled software, leaves me with no incentive to continue with this vendor. In fact, it has destroyed the trust built by this Company.


I haven’t experienced the issue myself and am not sure but I think it is addressed in SU2018 (which is the version you would buy if you decided to go pro today). Also this is a Windows issue that affects many programs so hopefully microsoft does a bugfix that also fixes SU2017.


Same here, haven’t had the select delay issue and I’m on v2017 Windows 10 x64.

Change should be for the better not the worse.

The win-win would be for SketchUp to offer a reasonably priced Make.


If the reasonably prize Make was allowed to be used commercially SU would probably lose a lot of revenue. A large part of Pro users don’t use Pro features but buy it just for the license.

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I didn’t say allow Make to be used for commercial work, only that it should be offered at a reasonable price for the casual user for personal use only.

For $99 I would be more than happy to purchase a copy of Make.


Eneroth3, look at the total picture. Yes, the commercial SU sales would probably drop. But the number of “free” subscribers greatly outnumber the “Pro” subscribers. Consequently, if only a portion of the “free” subscribers paid a nominal fee for the “Make” program, this would all be new income. In addition, the license problem would go away. Everyone would be required to have a license and if certain persons need the Pro capabilities, they pay extra for it. This makes it self policing. The revenue potential from licenses would soar past the current Pro sales and possibly the initial cost of purchasing a Pro license could be lowered, offering the possibility of even more sales. You might even use some of these funds to fix some of the real problems with the current software. You don’t increase the number of sales by increasing the price of a somewhat limited product.

My heart sank when i saw this.
Not only is the latest version a case of hurry up and wait for it to do something under the Windows ‘Fall-over’ update, now Trimble stick 2 fingers up to the free users, obviously they cant make money out of the free version and they have to make a product that is generic so that it will work with as many drivers as possible and just don’t want to be bothered.
What will shoot them in the foot is 3d warehouse, people will NOT contribute towards it, I bet that nearly 75% of content is from free users.

Well well done Dribbles, no i didn’t spell that wrong. You are just another Apple, you do what you want and not for the users, what you HAVEN’T considered is people that use Make away from an internet connection, or those using poor bandwidth. But what is the point, you HAVEN’T even replied to what has been said about this NAFF decision, but you carry on you APPLE wannabees. Stuff the users, they don’t make you enough money.
Maybe we should protest by up-loading rubbish to 3d Warehouse?
So we created this product by sheer number of users, we spread the news that MADE YOUR REPUTATION, and now you lift the lid turn around drop your trousers and use us as you are imagining right now.

Well done DRIBBLES!


I’m curious how that will be a problem. Trimble doesn’t make money off those uploads by Make users. They have to pay for the server space to host them. The Make users don’t get charged for that and neither do the users who download that content. Most of the Warehouse content that would be used by the pros comes from manufacturers, not from Make users.