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Most Popular SketchUp Plugins

After working a while with SketchUp, every 3D modeler will invariably find out that the best thing about this software is that it can easily be extended using free plugins. If a function is not available in plain (free) SketchUp, then chances are actually quite good that there is a plugin available on the internet to fill that void. Functionality that can be added to SketchUp in this manner includes curved shapes (like spheres or onion domes), physics simulation, otherwise unsupported file export (like OBJ or STL) and many others.

By the way: Check out my new book, “Architectural Design with SketchUp: Component-Based Modeling, Plugins, Rendering, and Scripting.” In chapter 4, I have many tutorials that show how you can use these plugins.

SketchUp Plugins is a blog that collects and documents many of these plugins (another good collection can be found on Didier Bur’s website). As featured in a recent post on their page, the most downloaded (and thus most popular) plugins are:

  1. Unfold tool – Unfold models for papercraft, sheetmetal work
  2. OBJ Exporter – Exports models to the .obj file format
  3. Contruction Line Tool – Like the Pencil tool for Construction lines.
  4. Sphere Tool – Adds a Sphere option to the Draw menu
  5. Model Location – Set the Latitude and Longitude, Time Zone, and North Angle for a model

Some more general modeling plugins worth mentioning are:

  • OBJ importer – Get any mesh into SU
  • STL exporter – If you want to machine an object
  • Copy along path – A useful and missing function
  • Slicer – Good for cutting any shape up for manufacturing
  • The two freeform and subdivision modeling tools that are currently making the rounds on the SU forums

And there is so much more…

P.S. I’ll add to the list below any plugin roundups that come across my way:

Written by Alex
Read more of my AEC CAD/BIM, SketchUp, , , , posts...

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  • RenderMuncher

    I stumbled on this new sketchup render plugin called and just love it! 

  • RenderMuncher

    I stumbled on this new Sketchup render plugin called Raylectron and I just love

  • bimaddict81

    Check out the SketchUpBIM plugin if you want to do REVIT-like parametric modeling inside SketchUp. It provides a structured process-flow to create buildings and tools to create walls, columns, beams, slabs etc. inside SketchUp. 

    nice work. free download is available at

    • Alexander Schreyer

      Thanks for letting me know. Don’t forget to add it to my plugin index site:

  • Pingback: design/build boeing 747-400 -



    • Alexander Schreyer

      You can always switch to e.g. the TOP view and turn on “parallel perspective”. It doesn’t get locked, though – orbiting can always change the view.

  • Andre Tanguay

    I am looking for a plugin that would delete all components not used in a project

    • Alexander Schreyer

      Just use the “Purge unused” button in the components dialog.

  • Al Hart

    Actually the name of the Plugin is RpImageFilters

  • Al Hart

    We have created a new, free Plugin for SketchUp called RpImageMaker.

    We would appreciate if you could mention it in your newsletters or Blogs.

    Here is the page describing it:



    • Alexander Schreyer

      Hi Al,Thanks for letting me know. Don’t forget to add your plugins to my plugin index site:

  • robb

    hi folks , been using sketchup for many years.. very enjoyable program . I've been putting all my models into game environments far cry and the gta series, ive been having issues with collision files in both .. for some reason sketchup seems to generate hidden lines , I've been told this is because i export a skp file as a 3ds file then re-export in 3dmax or zmod as a > .DFF file format .. is this format available in sketchup or can anyone advise me
    thanks in advance ROBB

  • Gonzo

    Great help, great site, thaks!

  • arun bharath

    i need plugin for using shape files directly into sketchup. i downloaded ruby plugin but its not coming well. is there anyother plugin thru which i can import the shapefile?

    • alexschreyer

      Jim just published one on his blog. Link is above.

      • don clark

        I’m new to sketch up and just trying it out. I use mostly for mech. engineering work, pumps piping sturctural steel, gadgets. Been using autocad 2D for years. Is there a long learning curve for sketch up? How does it compare to Autocad 3d?

        • Alexander Schreyer

          SketchUp is pretty easy to learn and can even be used well for mechanical systems. I have seen plant layout and piping done in SketchUp. One difference to ACAD 3D is that SU is not a solid modeler. It is a surface modeler, therefore, intersections and other solid stuff work differently in SU. If you want to learn SU, check out my new book (ad is in the sidebar).

  • sam

    would* ha

  • sam


    Im studying architecture and SU is an awesome tool, although i am stuck with my design for my roof. Is there any known plugins that spot unconnected( un looped) lines as the space isnt filling. is there a plugin to merge spaces together as one aswell? any help fould be great

    thanks Sam

  • mhac

    does anyone of you have the plugin for maxwell exporter?

  • Rich

    Hi, I'm new to sketchUp, but am getting addicted to it. I do interior design, and I am looking for a way to include drapery styles to the windows. Any of you brilliant people out there able to help? I'd appreciate it.

  • anfaal

    h ,
    does any one of any plugin for night renders .

    • alexschreyer

      Usually all renderers can do night scenes – after some tweaking and a bit of patience. Kerkythea can do it, for example (see my other post on that).

  • Will B


    Don't know if a plugin exists for de-selecting multiple faces with one click, would be useful for hiding line work etc ?

  • chrisglasier

    We at SCF (particularly me) are having a great deal of difficulty using Sketchup's web dialogs and Macs. With PCs they work just fine and demonstrate new horizons for Sketchup use.

    Here is one post that sums up the problem:

    Anyone interested in helping resolve this problem?


  • chrisglasier

    We at SCF (particularly me) are having a great deal of difficulty using Sketchup's web dialogs and Macs. With PCs they work just fine and demonstrate new horizons for Sketchup use.

    Here is one post that sums up the problem:

  • artrossi

    How do I dxf a FACE ME OBJECT into a cad system without loosing the fixed axis [ face me].

  • prabowo

    woa nice artikel…. do you have pugi in SU for droop component to countur surface
    keep rock in rool

  • Kaeox

    Hey Everyone im new with SU but im loving it… anyone knows if there is a way to place images on walls or ceillings or just any surface at all? do i need another program to do it or a plugin?
    Im doing it in Photoshop but id like to stay in 3d!

    • alexschreyer

      Easy! Import an image using the menu. In the file selection box, make sure you check "Use as texture". Then paint the image onto a face. You can right-click the image and adjust placement.

      • Kaeox

        Hey thanks you were right its really easy!

  • Christopher

    A list of free: Indigo, Kerkythea, Podium, Sunflower, Povray
    Paid: Irender, Vray and other via export
    The best for me: Irender… fast and accurate it works from inside Sketchup and has many bells and whistles… the best is that it uses all of sketchup settings plus has many of its own…

    • Kelvin jake bunquin

      but for even right now it is not for free unlike vray.. but still, it is the best renderer for me!.. do you have the crack for it??. thank u..

  • taking

    Very good

  • Alex

    Hi Burt, give VRay fr SKetchUp a try. It is not free, though.

  • burt

    what is the best renderer for sketch up?? i mean the fastest and has the most realistic effect.

  • http://myspace.comyokyanus yunus


  • Mike Compton

    Anyone know of any RPC plugins for Sketchup Pro?

    • Al Hart

      IRender nXt will render place RPC objects into SketchUp (as placeholders) and render them with its renderer.


  • JB

    Does anyone know where I can get an IGES importer or exporter PLUGIN for Sketchup? Your help will be greatly appreciated.

  • Alex

    Hi Derek,
    Just put the .rb files into SketchUp’s plugins directory and restart SketchUp.

  • dereck

    how do you insall the plugins, im clicking it and only shows texts, thanks

  • Thomas Greentree

    Hi Alex,

    I’ll try your advice and post back my experiences,

    Thankyou kindly.

  • Alex

    Hi Thomas,
    You can export great quality images from SU. The secret lies in exporting to a larger image size than you need and then resizing the image in Photoshop. You will need SU Pro for this, though, since SU Free only exports to screen resolution. Workaround: Install SU Pro and only use it for the functions that are not in the free version. That way you can stretch the trial period very long.

  • Thomas Greentree


    I am wanting to know what is the best modelling package for exporting fairly simple models into Photoshop to be digitally painted upon. I am using sketch up, but, finding the edges very rough, and it seems not to be vector based. Using AutoCad also via pdf995. Both producing poor results when scaled or altered within Photoshop. Hope the answer could evolve around sketchup as Studio Max costs the earth.


  • Alex

    Thanks, Jim, for the clarification.

    (And thanks for those great plugins, of course)

  • Jim

    I really appreciate the article, but I feel I should clarify.

    The top scripts listed are the tops scripts visited on my blog and which I am the author. I don’t have stats about plugins I didn’t write myself.

    I do post about a lot of other plugins I find interesting, I only host my own.