SketchUp, formerly Google Sketchup, is a 3D modeling computer program for a wide range of drawing applications such as architectural, interior design, landscape architecture, civil and mechanical engineering, film and video game design. It is available as a freeware version, SketchUp Make, and a paid version with additional functionality, SketchUp Pro.

SketchUp is owned by Trimble Inc.,[1][4] a mapping, surveying and navigation equipment company.[5] There is an online library of free model assemblies (e.g. windows, doors, automobiles), 3D Warehouse, to which users may contribute models. The program includes drawing layout functionality, allows surface rendering in variable "styles", supports third-party "plug-in" programs hosted on a site called Extension Warehouse to provide other capabilities (e.g. near photo-realistic rendering) and enables placement of its models within Google Earth.[6]


@Last Software

SketchUp was developed by startup company @Last Software of Boulder, Colorado, co-founded in 1999 by Brad Schell and Joe Esch.[7][8]

SketchUp debuted in August 2000 as a general-purpose 3D content creation tool and was envisioned as a software program "that would allow design professionals to draw the way they want by emulating the feel and freedom of working with pen and paper in a simple and elegant interface, that would be fun to use and easy to learn and that would be used by designers to play with their designs in a way that is not possible with traditional design software. It also has user friendly buttons to make it easier to use."[3]

The program won a Community Choice Award at its first tradeshow in 2000.[9]


Many different 3D and 2D exporters are available in SketchUp for uses such as rendering. This model was made in SketchUp and rendered with Kerkythea.

Google acquired @Last Software on March 14, 2006 for an undisclosed sum,[10] attracted by @Last Software's work developing a plugin for Google Earth.

On January 9, 2007, Google announced Google SketchUp 6, a free downloadable version of SketchUp, without some functionality of SketchUp Pro, but including integrated tools for uploading content to Google Earth and to the Google 3D Warehouse. A toolbox enables a viewer to "walk around" and see things from different viewpoints and supports labels for models, a look-around tool and an "any polygon" shape tool. Google SketchUp Pro 6 introduced a beta version of Google SketchUp LayOut. LayOut includes 2D vector tools and page layout tools allowing presentations to be produced without the need for a separate presentation program.[11]

On November 17, 2008, SketchUp 7 was released with changes intended to make it easier to use, integration of SketchUp's Component Browser with Google 3D Warehouse, LayOut 2 and dynamic components that respond to scaling. Windows 2000 was no longer supported.[3]

On September 1, 2010, SketchUp 8 was released with model geolocation with Google Maps and Building Maker integration. Mac OS X Tiger was no longer supported.[3]

Neither the free version nor the professional version was available in a native format for Linux, or Mac OS earlier than 10.5. SketchUp version 8 use under Wine has been rated "Gold".[12]

Geolocation information is always stored in the KMZ file.[13] The building designs themselves are saved in SKP.


Trimble Navigation (now Trimble Inc.) acquired SketchUp from Google on June 1, 2012 for an undisclosed sum.[14] In 2013 SketchUp 2013 was released. A new site was provided, Extension Warehouse, hosting plugins and extensions for Sketchup.[15]


SketchUp comes in multiple editions; all are proprietary software.


The under-construction Jeddah Tower and Google imagery used for it, designed with Sketchup Make 2013

Sketchup Make (formerly SketchUp for Home and Personal Use), introduced in May 2013, is a free-of-charge version for home, personal and educational use.[16] It begins with a 30-day trial of SketchUp Pro. After that time, users can agree to the Terms of Service and continue to use SketchUp Make for free.


SketchUp Pro includes the functionality of SketchUp Make plus importers and exporters to common 2D and 3D formats, access to LayOut (2D documentation software) and Style Builder (create custom edge styles for SketchUp models).[17] SketchUp Pro 2016 has native integration with Trimble Connect, treat 3D Warehouse models as references, a totally rebuilt Generate Report and now LayOut offers web-friendly reference objects as well as a new LayOut API.[18]

SketchUp Pro licensing is cross-platform and works on both Windows and Mac machines.


In November 2017, SketchUp Free was released as a web-based application which replaces SketchUp Make. [19]

3D Warehouse

SketchUp 3D Warehouse screen shot

3D Warehouse is an open library in which SketchUp users may upload and download 3D models to share. The models can be downloaded right into the program without anything having to be saved onto your computer's storage. File sizes of the models can be up to 50 MB. Anyone can make, modify and re-upload content to and from the 3D warehouse free of charge.[20] All the models in 3D Warehouse are free, so anyone can download files for use in SketchUp or even other software such as AutoCAD, Revit and ArchiCAD - all of which have apps allowing the retrieval of models from 3D Warehouse. Since 2014 Trimble has launched a new version of 3D Warehouse where companies may have an official page with their own 3D catalog of products. Trimble is currently investing in creating 3D developer partners in order to have more professionally modeled products available in 3D Warehouse. According to the Trimble, 3D Warehouse is the most popular 3D content site on the web. SketchUp designers may visit 3D Warehouse to discover new products or for inspiration when designing their own.


SketchUp holds U.S. Patent 6,628,279, granted in September 2003, on its "Push/Pull" technology.

Software extensions

SketchUp 4 and later support software extensions written in the Ruby programming language, which add specialized functionality. Many such extensions are available to others on the Trimble Extension Warehouse.[21] SketchUp has a Ruby console, an environment which allows experimentation with Ruby.[22]

Model viewers

SketchUp Mobile Viewer

SketchUp Mobile Viewer is an app released by Trimble.[23] It is available on iOS and Android.


Cubits for iPad and iOS is a 3D interactive model viewer/renderer.[24] It can view .kmz files from SketchUp either as attachments through e-mail or via Dropbox.

IrisVR Prospect

IrisVR Prospect software allows users to view SketchUp files in virtual reality with the use of head mounted displays such as the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.[25]


Kubity — the first mixed reality multiplex, is a system to instantly visualize 3D models on multiple devices: desktop computers, smartphones, tablets, augmented reality gear and virtual reality glasses. They also developed rvt2skp, a free plugin to export any Revit project to a .skp file.



  1. ^ a b "Trimble Navigation to Buy Google's SketchUp". Reuters. 26 April 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  2. ^ Release Notes
  3. ^ a b c d "SketchUp Hardware and Software Requirements". Trimble. Retrieved April 27, 2016. 
  4. ^ Bacus, John (2012-04-26). "A New Home for SketchUp". Trimble Navigation. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "Linking Positioning to Productivity". Trimble Navigation. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "Features: Context Modeling". Trimble Navigation. 2015. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "@Last Gets 'Googled'". March 15, 2006. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  9. ^ "DigitalMediaNet Announces DigitalCAD Community Choice Award Winners". November 16, 2000. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  10. ^ Martin, Jeff (2006-03-14). "A New Home for @Last Software". Google. Retrieved 2015-07-27. 
  11. ^ "Free Download: Google SketchUp 6 3D Model Design Tool with Free Upgrade for Pro". 
  12. ^ Zhao, James. "SketchUp 8.x". Retrieved 2015-07-01. 
  13. ^ "Can I Export My SketchUp Models to Other Programs or Formats?". Google. February 19, 2010. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Trimble to Enhance its Office-to-Field Platform with the Acquisition of Google's SketchUp 3D Modeling Platform". PR Newswire. Sunnyvale, California: Trimble Navigation. 26 April 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  15. ^ "What's New In SketchUp Pro 2013?". Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  16. ^ "Trimble SketchUp Make License". Retrieved May 27, 2013. 
  17. ^ "SketchUp Make and SketchUp Pro". Retrieved May 17, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Introducing SketchUp Pro 2016". Trimble. Retrieved November 17, 2015. 
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Extension Warehouse". 
  22. ^ SketchUp Ruby Documentation.
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Desktop". IrisVR - Virtual Reality for Architecture, Engineering, Design. Retrieved 2016-03-22. 

External links


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