How to Install Sketchup Plugins & Extensions and Increase Your Productivity

How to Install Sketchup Plugins and Extensions

Learning how to install Sketchup plugins and extensions can immensely increase your productivity, but it isn’t so intuitive.  It’s important that you learn the difference between tools, plugins, and extensions so moving forward you’re not confused about what’s what.  After that’s clear, I’ll take you through step by step on how to install extensions the automatic and manual way.  Finally, I’ll teach you how to install plugins and give some resources on where you can find plugins and extensions on your own.

The Difference Between Tools, Plugins, & Extensions When Referring to Sketchup

  • Tools are anything that is built into the Sketchup software.  That means the stuff that you can use right after you install the program.  Example: Distance, Move, Push/Pull, Rotate, etc.
  • Plugins are bits of code that can be added into Sketchup after the initial install to provide additional features.  Most times these are developed by 3rd parties.  In sketchup, plugins have the .rb file suffix.
  • Extensions are more robust plugins.  Where a plugin is a bandage to a current pain or problem, extensions are usually longer term solutions.  Additionally, by default, extensions can be toggled on and off while plugins cannot. For sketchup, extensions have the .rbz file suffix.

How to Install Extensions

 Method 1: Automatic

After clicking that you should see something similar to this window:

sketchup extension warehouse

  • Once you have the Extension Warehouse window open, make sure you’re signed in to your account.  The ‘Sign in’ button is located in the top right.  If you’re not signed in you won’t be able to download or install the extensions this way.
  • Navigate around for an extension that entices you.  Once you’ve found one click the red download button in the upper right corner.

download sketchup extension

  • You’ll be prompted by a few pop-ups.  Click through them and your extension should be installed!

 Method 2: Manual

  • You may have found an extension on the web and that’s perfectly fine.  Make sure you .rbz file is saved somewhere were you can easily find and receive it.  I like to put mine in the Sketchup/Tools folder.  In older versions you might want to use the Sketchup/Plugin folder.
  • Go to Window>Preferences
  • On the left make sure you have Extensions selected
  • Click Install Extension at the bottom left

install extensions

  • Navigate to location you saved your .rbz file, select it, and hit OK.
  • Click through the pop-ups and you’re cooking with fire!
  • Note: If you’d like you toggle your extensions on or off, you can do that using the check boxes next to your extension name in the Preferences dialog.

How to Install Sketchup Plugins

  • Once you’ve downloaded a .rb file from the interwebs save it to where sketchup can find it.  By default that location is your Sketchup/Tools folder. In older versions of sketchup you’ll need to use your Sketchup/Plugins folder.
  • After your file is in that folder, close and restart Sketchup.
  • When you reopen sketchup your plugin will initialize.  Depending on the plugin, using it’s functions may vary.  Consult the author if you have trouble finding out how to use your plugin.  A couple common places it might show up is in the new ‘Plugin’ tab at the top of your program or in the menu you get from r-clicking on objects.

install sketchup plugins

Where to Find Plugins and Extensions

I have three go to resources for when I’m looking to install sketchup plugins and extensions

  • Sketchup Extension Warehouse – By far the best place to get extensions.  This is the safest and easier place to go to find what you need.
  • Smustard – This used to be my only go to, but it seems in the past year or so, there are more paid plugins here than not.  While I want to support great plugin developers, if I can get the same thing for free, I’d prefer that.
  • Ruby Library Depot – This site has a huge list of free plugins and extensions to sort through.  It’s not the easiest to navigate, but other than that it’s pretty solid.
  • SketchUcation – I’ve touted this as being the best forum on the web for sketchup… because quite frankly it is.  They have a few extensions available for purchase on their site too.

I put together 5 essential plugins to help you get started if you’re new to all this plugin and extension business!

We have a tutorial page ready if you’re excited about you’re new found productivity and want to learn more too.

Find this helpful?  Know of anyone having trouble trying to install sketchup plugins or extensions?  Share this with them!

10 Comments

  1. Tony August 30, 2017 at 7:07 am #

    In the NCARB ARE 5.0 handbook they reference Fundamentals of Building Construction: Materials and Methods in both of their example questions for cost estimating. Unfortunately there isn’t a specific chapter on cost estimating, it’s woven throughout the content.

  2. Spencer August 30, 2017 at 1:15 am #

    What is the best reference for cost estimating for PDD.

  3. Amy July 26, 2017 at 3:24 pm #

    Thanks! Great advice

  4. Tony June 29, 2017 at 7:23 am #

    Deciduous trees should only be used for shade (especially in temperate climates). Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall and will have little protection against wind in the winter when it is most needed. Likewise, the leafless trees allow solar heat gain in the winter when it is desired, and shade in the summer.

    Coniferous trees are only to be used to block wind and views. Since they don’t lose their needles, they work great for these two items year-round.

  5. Shahid Logan June 28, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    Hello. My name is Shahid. This comment is for anyone who would like to reply. On the Siteplanning test. To block the wind, can you use a Deciduous tree or must you use a Coniferous tree?

  6. Mike January 4, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    Hi Tony,

    I need to take 5.0 PPD & PDD. Do you plan on posting notes such as “Caroline’s Notes” that you had posted for the various 4.0 exams for either of those sections? I found those notes to be some of the best resources in studying for the 4.0 sections. If so any idea when? Thanks

  7. Stephen October 17, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

    Hi Tony,
    Any updates on the SS exam ? If there’s an expected release date ? Thanks

  8. DesignerHacks October 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    Paige,

    We are releasing practice exams for the SS exam later this fall.

    Best,
    Tony

  9. Paige October 4, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    Will you have SS questions on here at some point?

  10. Daniel September 9, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    Great post, very helpful with the lists of suggested materials, I just passed CDs in July and am taking PPP in November so I definitely needed the list.

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