Why even bother with Sketchup?

As a longtime paying customer, I’m wondering why I still have to rely on 30+ extensions and plugins in order to use this program like a normal 3d program. Whats going on, Trimble?!

Are you even developing this software? How come you don’t integrate these basic modeling features into the main program? What do you do with your profits? Shareholder get-together in the Bahamas? Guided tours for all employees to Mt. Everest?

Let me tell you about the grief I get for every version update. Why can’t updates be just that? Updates! Instead of having to install a completely new program, losing everything in terms of plugins and preferences.

The only reason I’m suffering this software is because of my boss lacking skill in more professional 3d software.


As someone who has used SketchUp nearly every day for the past 15 years, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for the program’s simplicity. For the most part, operations are pretty self-evident and direct. The developers seem to do a good job of resisting the kind of bloat that affects a good deal of other software. I also appreciate the symbiosis that exists between SketchUp and the horde of plug-in developers around the world. By and large, they’re unpaid, adding free extensions that enhance SketchUp’s versatility for those who want it. My two SketchUp mentors are a good example. Tim Killen, who uses SketchUp to design the furniture he makes, uses very few extensions and produces excellent work efficiently. Dave Richards (no stranger to this forum) seems to have never met a plug-in he didn’t like. He, too, produces excellent work efficiently. There are plenty of other very creative people who rely on SketchUp for their livelihood. That’s as professional and normal as you can get.
Snarky comments about Trimble’s profits aren’t helpful. SketchUp isn’t AutoCAD. It will never be AutoCAD. Thank heaven for that.


You could always find another boss…


Use that, export to SketchUp and lie to your boss that you used Sketchup.


Two completely different programs and silly to even compare.


I liked one of the suggestions, though there seems to be a Covid outbreak going on there.


I’d guess you should maybe try to learn using SU without plug-ins. There is no need to rely on plug-ins to use SU.


I agree there is no need to use plugins but they will in some instances make your life a lot easier and save you a considerable amount of time, which equates to money.


Absolutely! I’m not knocking extensions.

The biggest problem I see with many users is not diving into the native capabilities first. That makes evaluating which plug-ins you need much more informative. So many users load up on extensions resulting in “relying” on them, when they can perform the same tasks quite easily with a native solution.


I agree, as i novice user of su just for my own entertainment, it takes me a long time to do things sometime because i try not to use extensions so i can learn. Anyways my 2 cents

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Yes, that does seem to be a problem and you would be surprised at the number of support calls and emails that I receive that really have nothing to do with my plugins and more to do with basic SketchUp skills and features.

I’ve even had people purchase my plugins who don’t even know what SketchUp is and are wondering why they need to buy this “other” program.

So yeah, I get it. First wrap your head around SketchUp for a couple of months then start exploring the SketchUp Extension universe, but without a doubt getting a decent grasp of native SketchUp tools should be the first step for everyone.


If you haven’t noticed, updates install over the older version, and version upgrades install separately. This is what happens with all professional applications (AutoCad, Revit, Archicad, for instance). It is not professional to overwrite a working installation with a new version that hasn’t been tested on your particular setup. And it is sometimes desirable, or a client requirement, to finish an ongoing project using the version it was started in. Or, you need to use an extension that hasn’t been upgraded to work with the new version,


It’s this, but it’s more than this. The program has great capability if people let it, but then it also has extensions, which make the program uniquely the user’s. If they suddenly baked in all the ‘needed’ extension functionality, there would still be longtime users who went with a specific extension because they liked the interface or minute workings.

I completely agree that people should focus down learning the program before hitting the bells and whistles buttons.


Therein lies the challenge. Who determines what are “needed” extensions for everyone else.

The base tenet of SU has always been simplicity. Extensions allow you to make it as big or small as you want it.

This discussion has happened many times before in this forum, resulting in some cases, very heated debate.


SketchUp and its extensions are very complementary and that’s what makes the strength of this 3D software!

Extension developers should be considerate of SketchUp, but Trimble should also be considerate of independent developers.

They form an essential teamwork and the opinion of the developers on major political decisions such as the removal of SketchUp Make 2017 should be taken into account.

I hope the future will offer better communication between the two parties in order to push SketchUp to its best level.

Ps: I can’t wait that the WEB version will allow extension developers to express their creativity.


You’re absolutely correct but it’d be nice to have a migration assistant when installing a new version.


If users were forced to keep their extensions up to date migration of extensions to a new version would be much easier.

The Sketchucation Extension Store makes it simple to migrate your extensions from there into a new version.

For me, migrating to a new version of SketchUp takes me about 10 minutes. Slightly longer if I choose to spend time doing some spring cleaning to eliminate extensions I don’t need or use. I don’t think that’s too bad.

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Or instead of a 3rd party Trimble could do it. I mean if AutoDesk and Adobe can do it surely Trimble can do it. I even get to pick and choose what items I want migrated over or start from scratch.

Edit: I agree that it doesn’t take me long to do it either but I think we are better at than others, clearly or it wouldn’t come up so frequently.


Why even bother with sketchup? Because it’s the least boring software I know of, for doing what it does.

I don’t think power users and SU masters, as I’m seeing here, should reply to threads like this. You’re just giving credibility to the original poster’s argument and people will eventually see you as biased and think that you have a strangely tight connection to Sketchup or Trimble, when this is not the case.

However, when you reply, there are always great points put on the table about why sketchup is a very capable software and turns out to be rather cool and the discussion becomes a bit off topic as it turns to be more about sharing than about arguments.

About extensions: I don’t install them whenever a new SU version comes along. I just install each one whenever I need it. Example: I want to erase stray edges and hit the shortcut and it doesn’t work, I go install the extension. What this means is only a 1 minute break the moment I need the extension a quick search and a one click install. Eventually in the process I find a new extension that might be interesting. I never go to Extension Warehouse or Sketchucation Plugin Store as an habit, so that moment is very rewarding and I always see something new. They also make it so easy to install extensions that it’s pointless to complain.

Layout is a bit more boring as I always loose my panels, shortcuts and toolbars, oh well, Layout is always a bit more boring… I still bother with it. Very capable and useful for people using Sketchup.


I’m not sure I see your logic on power users not responding? This is a public forum. I’m fairly confident nobody is hiding their relationship with Trimble.