How To Download and Install SketchUp Plugins

Updated Dec 26, 2010

What are Plugins


Beginning with version 4, SketchUp has shipped with an embedded Ruby-language interpreter allowing anyone to write Ruby scripts which can automate, extend, and customize SketchUp.

Why Use Plugins


Plugins can save time, and allow SketchUp modelers to do things that are difficult to achieve otherwise.

Where to Find Plugins

There is no central place to find SketchUp plugins. Many people have contributed plugins, which are hosted at sites across the Internet.

  • Smustard.com - the site of the original plugins guys, Todd and Rick offering many free and paid plugins, support forum, and custom plugins services.
  • Ruby Library Depot - Didier Bur's plugins archive. Many older plugins not available elsewhere.


How to Download Plugins

Plugins are distributed in several forms:
  • Ruby scripts (.rb extension)
  • Compressed archives (.zip or .rar)
  • Installable executable file (.exe or .msi)
In theory, downloading any file should be as easy as left-clicking on its link. In my experience, it is not always that easy.

The most reliable way to download plugins to right-click on their link, then select "Save link as" or "Save Target as" (depending on your browser.) You may be prompted by the browser for a location to which to save the file. Save the file to a convenient location.

How to Install Plugins

For single-file Ruby (.rb) plugins, installing just means moving the file to SketchUp's Plugins folder.

There seem to be more problems when the plugin is a .zip archive which consists of multiple files. The important point is that folders and sub-folders within the .zip archive must be preserved when extracting. When using WinZip, for example, there is an option to "use folders" which must be checked in order to preserve the folders when extracted.

When a plugin comes as a .zip archive, it is common that its contents consist of a single Ruby script and its associated support folder:

In a case like this, both the .rb file and its associated folder would be put in the Plugins folder.
There may also be further sub-folders under the main folder - again, the key is that all folders and sub-folders be kept when extracting from the .zip archive.

How to Find the Plugins Folder


The location of the Plugins folder in SketchUp is dependent on the version of SketchUp installed, and the  operating system in use.

The most reliable way to find the Plugins folder is to ask SketchUp. With SketchUp running, open the Ruby Console from the Windows menu. In the Ruby Console's  input box (lower white box), type or cut&paste in the following code:
 
Sketchup.find_support_file("plugins")


SketchUp 8 Ruby Console on Windows XP

SketchUp 7 Ruby Console on Mac OSX


If correct, you should see something similar to the above image; which is telling me my Plugins folder is located:

C:/Program Files/Google/Google SketchUp 8/plugins

This is the location to which you will move or copy the plugin files; whether they be a single .rb file, or a unzipped file and folder.

Once the file(s) are moved, you will need to close then start SketchUp again.

Where Are The Plugins In SketchUp?

In short, plugins can appear in any of several places.

  • Plugins can use any of the top-level menus: File, Edit, View, Camera, Draw, Tools, Windows, Plugins, and Help.
  • Plugins can create sub-menus in any of the aforementioned top-level menus.
  • Plugins can also create right-click, or context menus that only appear when the appropriate type of entities are right-clicked using the mouse.
  • Plugins can also create Toolbars in which case the plugin's Toolbar name would be visible in the View/Toolbars menu.
  • Finally, plugins may use the Extension feature. Extensions can be enabled or disabled when first installed, so you should check the Preferences/Extensions dialog window for disabled extensions.


How Can I Find Out Exactly Where A Plugin Will Appear?

Open the plugin file in a text editor (such as Notepad.exe), and look for code concerning the creation of menus and toolbars. Typically this code occurs near the top, or more likely at the bottom of a script.

Corrections and feedback on this article are appreciated.

22 comments:

m a x said...

Thanks Lots. By the way, the tutorial you've made in excellent. Will be revisiting your blog cause I'm discovering Sketchup.
Thanks again for your help.

-r|e|w- said...

thank you

Jaz Asbury said...

I've tried downloading and installing various plugins and I've followed the steps precisely. However, after doing all the correct procedures there is no sign of any plugins added to the plugins menu. Any ideas what's going on?

Rienke said...

Hi,
I am starting to work with Sketchup on a mac. I tried to install plugins but they do not work. I put them in the map as you have noted above. Does any one know what to do if the plugins do not instal by re-starting Sketchup?

Thnx

Andy said...

On the Mac, I had to create a folder called Plugins in the location specified above, and place the .rb files inside.

Udo said...

you can just go to the Sketchup App Icon-right click and go down to show package contents.
From there you can see everything.
for Mac of course.

Hope it helps

Christian said...

Hi,

I also tried to install plugins on my mac for sktechup. there is a plugin folder, but what seems seldom to me is that there are no rubyfiles there - just files with the ending "plugin". Do the ruby files for the mac do not have the ending "rb"? But the plugin I downloaded was for mac and tehre have beeb rubyfiles in it. Well, I copied a plugin rb there and nothing happend. I also restarted the mac but nothing. Any idea?
Thanks risoto

ibej57 said...

still no loading of ruby scripts, su says it's not a su model. also get error 1639. help

isabela! said...

please help!! i need a sketchup plugin to export to 3dmax and i cant seem to find the plugins when i open sketchup now that i have downlaoded them!! i need this for my final project heelp asap!!! (i tranfer my download to the plugins folder and nothing happens!!!!)

British Team said...

Installing plugins on a Mac and Sketchup 8:
1) Quit Sketchup
2) Download the plugin and then put it here:
'Hard Drive'/Library/Application Support/Google SketchUp 8/SketchUp/Plugins
3) Restart Sketchup.
Info from here:
http://sketchup.google.com/intl/en/download/rubyscripts.html

Anonymous said...

i love you! haha, thanx so much!
wierd thing is i had a folder for sketch up 6, 7 and 8 in my home library..

Anonymous said...

I can not have the "plugin" on the menu bar, thus can not locate cutlist plugin.
I have downloaded cutlist.zip and extracted it and moved it together with the subfolders to \plugins folder. Can not run layout or cutlist.
Help will be highly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

further for cutlist.
I now found out that I needed
Window > Preferences > Extensions activation which I did.
Thanks to catamountain;
I now see Plugins in the menu; I see Cost and Ocean Floor, but not all the others I have downloaded and located in the Plugins folder.

Thankfully

X said...

i was copying the cutlist files to the wrong location and finally figured it out.

go to finder>preferences>general and make sure hard disk is checked to show on the desktop. look in the Hard Drive on the desk top and you can find the Hard Drive'/Library/Application Support/Google SketchUp 8/SketchUp/Plugins folder.

I was putting the plugin in the sketch up folder under my name...not the one on the hard drive...now it works!!!

X said...

make sure you are putting the files in your HD sketch up folder not the one under your name.

go to finder > preferences> and click hard drive to make sure it is on the desk top.

Then put the files in the sketch up folder there...

Anonymous said...

i have some plugins installed on my macbookpro osx 10.6.8
they are svg outline plugin-for lasercutting
it is in the correct folder:

Hard Drive'/Library/Application Support/Google SketchUp 8/SketchUp/Plugins folder.

it still doesnt work. any suggestions.

Anonymous said...

thanks a lot, sorted a problem I had !

s said...

thanx man, your this blog really helped me a lot.

DAN said...

X i love u, i was all this week looking out how to install plugins and know i found the real location thxs a lot!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Encountered the same problem with the Plugins menu not showing up in Sketchup 8 on OSX. I resolved this problem by putting the plugin files within the plugins directory here:

/Library/Application Support/Google SketchUp 8/SketchUp/plugins/

I noticed that in the console log sketchup identifies this as the folder plugins are loaded from.

Once you put your plugin in this directory it should be recognized the next time you restart sketchup.

Anonymous said...

THANKS!!! IT WORKS....IT'S ALIVE!!!

Hard Drive'/Library/Application Support/Google SketchUp 8/SketchUp/Plugins folder.

sk2up.rb
install export plugin kerykethea to sketchup
how to install
problem


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the exporter tool. Looks like it performs perfectly, however, I'm getting a "File is Invalid" when I import the .xaml file. Anyone else having issues?

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