SketchUp Review: A Highly Efficient 3D Modelling Program (Windows, macOS & Web-based.


1. Accessibility: 5 out of 5

Apart from being available natively on Windows and Mac, there’s a fully-functional version of SketchUp for the web irrespective of your device — even a mobile phone!

2. Price: 4 out of 5

The paid versions of SketchUp are a bit expensive ($55 to $1200), however, there’s a free version (SketchUp Free).

3. Ease of Use: 4 out of 5

First-timers/total beginners find it a bit tough to find their way around at first.

4. Effectiveness: 5 of 5

Efficiently creates anything from simple treehouses to recreations of large cities and sites.

Sketchup: Review Summary

Platforms: Windows, Mac OS X, Web-based.

SketchUp can be used for a wide range of products including (but not limited to) architectural design and models, interior and landscape architecture/designs and models, landscape architecture, civil & mechanical engineering models, animated films, and video games designs. Apart from the paid versions of SketchUp on Windows and macOS, there’s also a fully functional and free version for the Web.

Plans and pricing vary according to the nature of use. For personal use, there’s SketchUp Shop for about $120 per year, SketchUp Pro at about $300 per year. For professionals, there’s the web-based version at about $200/year, and desktop + web-based alone at about $300/year and then SketchUp Studio (both desktop and Web-based) at about $1200/year. For students and educators, the software goes for $55/year.

Pros & Cons


· Powerful, highly efficient 3D modeling software

· Free web-based version

· Long trial period (30 days) and a Flexible learning curve

· Powerful extensions such as Scalp, Vali architect tools, Artisan, Skatter, among others.


· The free version of SketchUp does not support extensions, creation or editing of materials.

· A single license can only be installed on a maximum of two devices, and cannot be used on the two devices at a time

· Difficult to maneuver, especially for newer users

· Quite expensive — moneywise

Quick Navigation

// Why Trust Me

// SketchUp: FAQs

// SketchUp: A Detailed Review

// Reasons Behind The Review & Ratings

// SketchUp: Alternatives

// Final Words

Why Trust Me?

Before discovering SketchUp about 8 years ago, I had been using other similar software (Autocad, Autodesk Revit, Navisworks, and the likes…) for learning, tutoring, building personal projects and client projects for ages. I’ve tested and reviewed a lot of 3d-modeling software including SketchUp (here).

This is a detailed review of SketchUp and my discoveries using the app.

SketchUp: FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about SketchUp (especially by first-timers), and answers:

1. Does SketchUp Require Administrator Rights for Installation?

Yes. SketchUp Pro does require administrator rights for proper installation and authorization. If it’s a personal computer, signing in with administrator rights shouldn’t be an issue. However, on a work computer probably, you might need to contact the system admin/IT desk for proper installation.

2. In What Ways Exactly, Does SketchUp Pro for Education Licenses Varies From Full-priced Commercial Licenses?

Well, the difference between the educational licenses and commercial licenses is that one has an expiration date and the other doesn’t — otherwise, there’s no difference whatsoever. The educational licenses have expiration dates while full-priced commercial licenses don’t. Functionally speaking, there’s nothing that can be achieved with the commercial versions that can’t be achieved by the educational versions. All features are the same — just the time limit. However, SketchUp offers free version upgrades on educational licenses free of maintenance fees.

Note: Although commercial licenses do not expire, there’s an additional cost if you want to upgrade. Also, there’s an additional cost when buying new licenses, unless otherwise noted.

3. Can a Single SketchUp Licence Be Transferred or Used Across Several Computers At The Same Time?

A single-user license/subscription is tied to one person. However, licenses could be installed on 2 devices running either Windows or Mac OS X…but there’s more to that: if one license is used for two different devices, only one can run SketchUp Pro at a time. If you do not want to use a particular license anymore on a computer, you could easily transfer it to your new device when the need arises. If you use a sign-in subscription plan, simply sign out of the software on the device (Mac or Windows) you no longer want to use from your Account menu > Sign out.

SketchUp: A Detailed Review

SketchUp is a BIM software — a 3D-modelling program that is used for:

· Architectural designs and models

· Interior designs and models

· Landscape designs and models

· Civil engineering models

· Mechanical engineering models and design

· Animated films

· Animated characters

· Video games, among other applications…


For personal use:

· SketchUp Shop for about $120 per year

· SketchUp Pro at about $300 per year.

For professionals:

· There’s the web-based version at about $200/year

· Desktop + web-based at about $300/year

· SketchUp Studio (desktop and Web) at about $1200/year

For students and educators:

· Student plan at $55 per year

· Educator plan at $55 per year


SketchUp is available on Windows and Mac OS X. In addition to those, SketchUp is also available with full functionalities online which can, of course, be accessed by any other device running any operating systems including mobile operating systems like Android and iOS. All that matters with the web version of SketchUp is a modern browser.

Free Vs. Paid Versions of SketchUp

The free version of SketchUp was initially known as SketchUp Make. SketchUp Make was a standalone software for home, personal, and educational use. However, sometime in November 2017, SketchUp Make was replaced by SketchUp Free: the fully functional Web version of SketchUp available only on the web. License for the paid version costs from $55 to $1300. Some of the paid versions can be accessed from the Web in addition to the standalone app for your device. SketchUp Free runs on the browser — and when you think about it running on your phone or iPads and Tabs, it’s actually cool! However, for optimum experience when using SketchUp on the web (on mobile phones, tablets, or iPads), you should use a wireless mouse or keyboard as SketchUp for Web isn’t really cantered on touch devices.

Features of SketchUp:

SketchUp offers many advanced features to its users for great 3D-modelling experience:

1. Ability to Work In Mixed Reality

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With SketchUp Viewer, you could design better buildings in real-time — where the work is happening. You could visualize the design in the space it would be built. The augmented reality allows you to simply merge your design with the world around you! For viewing your models in mixed reality, all you need to do is to download the SketchUp Viewer app on your phone/tablet. The app uses your camera: while viewing a particular area, you just place objects on the area and watch how it blends!

2. Import A 2D Floor Plan In Form of a PDF File To Make a 3D Model of it in SketchUp

This is another great feature of SketchUp Pro. If your building’s floor plan is available in pdf format, you could simply import the PDF 2D plan to SketchUp and continue your work in 3D! This allows for 100% accuracy in works. On Mac, t
his can be easily done from File > Import. If you encounter any difficulties importing your file on a Windows machine, you could use 3rdparty programs such as Snipping Tools or any other app/web-based app to create a PNG image from the PDF floor plan before importing the new PNG file into SketchUp, OR Adobe Illustrator to convert the 2D PDF file to a DWG or DXF format. Thereafter, you can import the DWG into SketchUp with ease.

3. SketchUp Everywhere

Weather on your computer or mobile devices — including phones, tablets, or iPads, you could easily use SketchUp To its full capabilities online. SketchUp Free is totally web-based, however, premium plans such as SketchUp Pro and SketchUp Studio could be accessed with full functionalities from the Web.

4. 10 GB of Cloud Storage

Users get 10 GB of Trimble Connect cloud storage. This really facilitates the way projects are shared for teams collaborating on a particular project. Apart from project sharing, 10 GB of cloud storage is huge (though a single file could be as large as 50MB) and perfect for storing your files somewhere (without consuming your space) you could access on any device — anytime, anywhere.

5. SketchUp Free

SketchUp Free — the free web-based version of SketchUp. It is a great tool that can be accessed on any device. All you need is an Internet connection and a modern browser.

So, What CAN’T SketchUp Free do?

· Terrain modeling with sandbox tools

· Solid tools for making cut-outs, connecting two complex shapes together, or joineries

· Import a PDF (2D Plan) to be converted to a 3D Plan in SketchUp, etc.

SketchUp Free is deliberately limited in a lot of ways. The free version is limited, however, it’s a great way of savoring the software’s features. Starting with the free version makes it easier to decide if SketchUp is for you or not. If you like what you get even with the free version, then SketchUp Pro might be for you. It comes at a huge price but if you enjoy the free version, then SketchUp Pro would be definitely worth it as there’s a huge difference (feature-wise) between SketchUp Free and SketchUp Pro.

6. 3D Warehouse

3D Warehouse is an open library of 3D models. SketchUp users upload and download 3D models to/from 3D Warehouse. All users can download, edit, and/or re-upload contents directly to the service free of charge!

Reasons Behind The Review & Ratings

1. Supported Platforms

Being available for native platforms (Windows and Mac) is convenient. However, SketchUp pushed that convenience a bit more after releasing SketchUp Free (the fully functional SketchUp) for the web in 2017.

2. Price

SketchUp Pro ranges between $55 to a whopping $1200 depending on the plan you’re going for. If you’re a first-timer, it’s advised that you try out SketchUp free before purchasing a license. The education plans for students and educators go for $55 and is time-limited.

3. Effectiveness

SketchUp has won the hearts of many professional 3D modelers — and with good reason? It is a perfect 3D-modelling software for bringing your ideas to life…and in 3D!

4. Support

SketchUp has a great community of over a thousand active users who are always willing to answer your questions, provide you with tips, tricks, and advice. In addition, there’s also the traditional customer service if the need ever arises or if you want quick VIP answers.

SketchUp: Alternatives

Lots of apps similar to SketchUp currently exist. In the end, it boils down to what suits you best. Here are a few similar apps:

1. AUTOCAD Revit


Autodesk Revit is made available by Autodesk — the same as Autocad. It is a building information and modeling software utilized by contractors, architects, and engineers.

2. Navisworks

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Navisworks is another 3D design program for Windows users. Navisworks is primarily used in the construction industry alongside 3D design packages. The software allows users to open and combine 3D models among other features.

3. Autocad


AutoCAD is another BIM software similar to SketchUp and made available by Autodesk. Many types of designers utilize Autocad to create their designs. The program helps designers bring their ideas to life in a fast and efficient way. It also has lots of features similar to SketchUp.

Final Words

There are lots of BIM software out there, they function in their own unique ways. When picking a 3D-modelling software, you should put your experiences, and how much you’re willing to spend on it into consideration. SketchUp Free, for instance, is a 3D-modelling Web app that is great, independent of device and operating system type, and totally free. The paid versions of SketchUp are quite expensive, however, considering the features SketchUp Pro provides, it might be worth it after all!

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