What to do with Plugins in SketchUp 2013?

May 24, 2013 in Tutorials

So now that you have upgraded to SketchUp 2013 you should be facing the question: What to do with SketchUp’s plugins in this release. After all, when you started the new software for the first time, it likely only had the default plugins installed that Trimble released with it. But there was also a new toolbar button for the Extension Warehouse! At this time, you have a few options. Let’s look at them:

A) You are upgrading and you had plugins installed in the earlier version

With the new Extension Warehouse and the SketchUcation Plugin Store now available, which both include one-click install and easy updating, it makes most sense to get plugins that are hosted in these places through the respective installers. So even if you had installed specific plugins in a previous version of SketchUp, I would recommend to go to these tools first to find them (instead of simply copying the Plugins folder). So here’s my suggested order of operations:

  1. Since the Extension Warehouse is a Trimble product that is tightly interwoven with SketchUp, try to find a plugin there first. Go to Window > Extension Warehouse from within SketchUp, log in and find and install the plugins you are looking for. This will set you up for update notifications when a newer version is available. You can also enable/disable plugins easily here and coordinate your plugins between multiple SketchUp installations.
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  2. For those plugins that you can’t find in the EW, go to the SketchUcation Plugin Store. You will have to install their store plugin manually (it is not hosted in the Extension Warehouse). Just download the RBZ and go to Window > Preferences > Extensions tab > Install extension… to install it into SketchUp. Afterwards go to Plugins > SketchUcation > SketchUcation Plugin Store to search for and install the other plugins you like.
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  3. At this point, you might want to look at your old SketchUp version’s Plugins folder (where SketchUp stores plugins). On Windows, this is at: C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Google SketchUp 8\Plugins and on the Mac it is at /Library/Application Support/Google SketchUp 8/SketchUp/Plugins. You can now copy other plugins that you can’t install from the above mentioned locations by simply copying them from here to the new installation path (on Windows it’s C:\Program Files (x86)\SketchUp\SketchUp 2013\Plugins and on the Mac, the new plugins folder is located at Macintosh HD/Users/Library/Application/Support/SketchUp 2013/SketchUp/Plugins). Make sure you always copy the main plugin’s RB file AND all of its miscellaneous files that are typically contained in a similarly-named subfolder.
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  4. If you are still looking for a plugin you can’t find elsewhere or you need to update a manually installed plugin, go to the custom search engine that is included on this page.

Although plugins now install without the need to restart SketchUp, sometimes you might still need to do this if you run into any problems. Also, when plugin toolbars don’t show up immediately, try toggling the toolbar display (go to View > Toolbars…) and see if it shows up. Also:

  • Remember that you can always install plugins by downloading the RBZ or ZIP file and then going to Window > Preferences > Extensions tab > Install extension… to install it into SketchUp.
  • If you copy/paste a larger plugin that has been installed from an installer (e.g. an EXE file in Windows) from the old to the new Plugins directory, ëspecially links might not “line up” properly. You might need to reinstall the plugin by specifying SketchUp 2013’s new location.
  • You could also install my On-demand Plugin Loader plugin in SketchUp 2013 and load plugins only when you need them from any location, e.g. your version 8 Plugins folder.
  • Keep an eye on the Extension Warehouse. The number of plugins will likely increase quickly very soon when more and more developers move their plugins there.
  • You can disable plugins on the Window > Preferences > Extensions tab and now in the Extension Warehouse (as long as you access it from within SketchUp).
  • Check this help article on the SketchUp site, too: http://help.sketchup.com/en/article/3000029

B) You have never used plugins before

I see, you’re new here! You might want to go with #s 1, 2, and 4 above – with a strong emphasis on using the Extension Warehouse from within SketchUp. Using plugins has become so easy with it now that you really have no excuse not to use plugins anymore!

4 responses to What to do with Plugins in SketchUp 2013?

  1. BNDR said on May 26, 2013

    where can I copy my sketchup pro 8 plugins to if I’ve upgraded to sketchup 2013 on MAC.

    • On the Mac, the new plugins folder is located in…

      Macintosh HD/Users/Library/Application/Support/SketchUp 2013/SketchUp/Plugins

      • Hi Alex, I have the same issue as BNDR. When I installed SU 2013 I cannot find the files as in the past. Typically the files would install into the Library/Application Support/Sketchup 8 folder. However, this version appears to install differently, so I am having difficulty finding the folders to transfer components, materials, scripts and plugins to. This version does not install as in the past.

        Thanks for your help.

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